Wednesday, June 26th, 2019

R Relationships by Dr. Bill Austin
Log or Hog?


"I am a hog and he is a log," is how one lady introduced her husband and herself. She went on to explain that she was talking about their communication styles. Since she did most of the talking, she was the hog. He, on the other hand, was the knot on a log because he rarely talked.

Some of us can relate to the hog. If there is silence in the room, we think it is our job to fill it in with talk. We are great at gatherings because no one has to worry about "What are we going to talk about?" We find ourselves waiting for a break in the conversation so we can jump in with what we know everyone wants to hear! We probably talk in our sleep because there is not enough time in the day to get everything said!

There are different hog levels. There are hogs whose "conversation" is more like a monologue. They dominate the conversation to the point that we get the idea that what we have to say is of little interest to them. They talk incessantly. A friend of mine said about his wife, who is a strong conversational hog, "If she was a greeter at Wal-Mart, the line getting into the store would be two miles long!" The only way he gets to join the "conversation" is to talk louder than she does.

Then there is the conversational hog who is so wordy and introduces so many topics that we are not sure what they are trying to say. They seem to "talk around" the point. We want to interrupt them by saying, "Could you get to a point?"

Good communication involves taking turns
between being a listener and a talker.

Then there is the log who doesn't talk much. Some logs don't give enough information. Often the words they choose to express themselves are too abstract or vague. In their mind, they believe they have communicated all that is needed. I remember a lady who said she was going to give another person "a piece of her mind." After the conversation, the lady said, "I guess I told him what I thought." I must have missed it because what she said was so vague, I did not know what point she was trying to make.

Some logs have a slower conversational pace than others. It takes them longer to say something so we find ourselves trying to finish their sentences.

Good communication involves taking turns between being a listener and a talker. It involves choosing the words that are more specific and concrete. An example, when we are really angry, to use the words "upset" or "frustrated" does not convey how we really feel. Therefore, the response may not be what we wanted. Others may not know how strongly we feel about something because we used a lesser word to describe our feelings.

Dr. William E. Austin is a licensed psychotherapist and holds a Doctor of Divinity degree. He is a therapist with Tidewater Pastoral Counseling Services . He is well known for his warmth and sense of humor. His book, Creating Our Safe Place - Articles on Healthy Relationships, can be purchased through

Tidewater Pastoral Counseling: 623-2700