Social Question

wundayatta's avatar

Are you aware of your interior dialog?

Asked by wundayatta (58349 points ) August 11th, 2011

I just saw some twins talking to each other, and I was thinking that would be an awful lot like talking to yourself. Then I wondered if I had a twin, what would I talk about. Then I realized that I have a kind of twin inside me. Sometimes I debate issues or discuss them within my head.

However, a lot of the time, this dialog happens in a way that I do not pay attention to. That is, I know it’s happening in the background, but it doesn’t come to the foreground very much. I’d say, I’m semi-aware of it.

It happens a lot as I write. The words come, but there’s another part of me that evaluates the words as they come to see if that’s really how I want to say something.

Normally, I’m not aware of this happening. But when I focus on it, I can watch it happening. Maybe it’s not so much a dialog as it is a part of me watching me.

What about you? Are you aware of an interior dialog? If so, what do you talk about with yourself?

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36 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

Yes and I would be genuinely surprised if not everyone is. There are times where I will sit for hours thinking to myself on what to do or not to do. I have had to make many big decisions in my life and even though I often can reach out to someone for the perspective, I will always mull over all the options with myself.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I am well aware of it and I won’t tell you what I say. :)

YoBob's avatar

Not only am I aware of my internal dialogue, I often get annoyed that the sarcastic little voice inside my head does not know when to shut the “F” up!

tranquilsea's avatar

I’m very aware of it.

redfeather's avatar

I’m too aware of it.

Blackberry's avatar

Yeah, I assume everyone is aware of it. I can’t imagine a human not being aware of it, unless those are the people that say god talked to them.

wundayatta's avatar

I need examples, so I know what you’re talking about. Maybe you think of different things as dialog, or maybe I really don’t do things that other people do. It is not so obvious to me at all that I have an internal dialog all the time. In fact, I think that one reason I write is so I can find out what I am thinking.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Yes I’m aware of it. I just wish I knew where exactly it was coming from.

sliceswiththings's avatar

Oh yeah. Sometimes I catch it and smile in spite of myself that that particular conversation is happening. Then sometimes I’ll email it to my brother to put in a screenplay :)

AmWiser's avatar

I can hardly think of one thing long enough to have a real dialog with myself.

Pandora's avatar

OMG! That really doesn’t happen with sane people. All you guys should seek some sort of help.
Especially @Blackberry. That God thing can be a concern.

Coloma's avatar

This is part of what self awareness is all about, being the watcher of your thoughts. Reminding and catching yourself when you become aware of the internal dialogues. Not the same as consciously using the mind as a tool for problem solving or practical application.

It is being aware of all the bullshit mind chatter and returning to a place of inner stillness.

It is an ongoing practice and I often, especially while driving, remind myself to bring my attention back to the now, the ‘just this’ of driving.

Once you get into practice, it is amazing how aware you will become of all the useless mind chatter when you become the witness of such. ;-)

Blackberry's avatar

@wundayatta An example would be me deciding to approach a woman:

“Wow, she’s so attractive, should I try to talk to her?”

“She’s probably taken, why bother anyway?”

“But there’s always that small chance…”

“Yeah, I guess you’re right, but why would she be single anyway?”

“She either just got out of a relationship, is going to school and doesn’t have time, or just isn’t interested in someone right now. Maybe she’s been hurt?”

“But even if she is single and looking, how would I even know if she likes me?”

“There’s never a way to know in these situations, you could try to make eye contact and smile, but that’ll just be creepy most likely”

“That’s true, so I guess I should just try, anything could happen”

“what time is it?”

“Shit! i gotta go anyway.”

And then you’ll see slight disappointment in my face. Lol.

disenchanted_poisongirl's avatar

Yes, and most of the times she tells me weird things. She’s crazy, and I love her. But..If she tells me to do something, and I don’t really want to do what she tells me, she gets pretty annoying..

ucme's avatar

Of course, trouble is “he” usually wins any argument we may have…...funny dat!

tranquilsea's avatar

@ucme funny but I can beat me into submission.

rebbel's avatar

“Hey Great Question by @wundayatta , lets answer it!”
– “Huh?”
”@wundayatta…, Great Question…”
– “Let me check it out….........., ah, yeah, I see it now…......., not bad.”
“So, answer it, or not?”
– “Well, errr….., yeah, lets.”
“Oh shit, now he wants examples too…., I am not so sure anymore then.”
– “Come on, you chicken, just write what goes round in that little brain of yours.”
“Isn’t that a bit….., uhhh, simple?”
– “Nah, he will love it…., mark my words.”
“Okay, here goes!”

ucme's avatar

@tranquilsea Yeah but he goes on & on & on, like a stuck record. Anything for a bit of peace.

Seelix's avatar

I’m totally aware of it. I really wish I’d shut up sometimes.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Occasionally, it’s mental preparation for a discussion, like when I’m about to speak to a class or talk to an individual. “You are about to go into a meeting with X. She likes to-the-point discussions, so prep and stick to the topic.” Or, “You are about to go into a meeting with Y. She prefers social chit-chat for the first 10 minutes before getting down to business. What can you talk about?”

Sometimes, it is just a mental voice plotting out a game plan. “You need to run three errands. While the grocery store is closest, it would be better to go to the farthest place first since you need milk and other perishables that might go bad if there is some delay.”

Then there are the two internal voices debating with each other. This week, it has been about whether to turn on the light when I get up in the morning while it’s still pitch dark.

Voice 1: “Turn on the nightstand light.”
Voice 2: “Nah, I know my way through the bedroom.”
V 1: “Right. (sarcasm). Four days ago, you stepped on the suitcase on the floor, fell down on its corner and ended up with a bruise that looks like a horse kicked you in the backside.”
V 1: “Why don’t you just put the suitcase away?”
V 2: “It’s too daggone hot in the attic.”
V 1: “Then why not stash it in the empty walk-in closet?”
V 2: “It’s not a priority right now.”
V 1: “What would happen if you had a really serious accident and couldn’t call for help?”

Heading off to put the suitcase away in the closet.

Russell_D_SpacePoet's avatar

Well aware. Apparently my internal twin plays devil’s advocate.

pezz's avatar

Oh so aware, I have one ready for what ever mood I’m in…very useful to get the right answer i need.

wundayatta's avatar

@Blackberry, @rebbel, and @Pied_Pfeffer. I really appreciate your examples. It reminded me that I did this once for an answer here—long ago. It’s kind of fun. I think it’s funny how sometimes we are debating with ourselves and sometimes it’s more like a discussion. Are we on our own sides?

I just listened to an interview with a neuroscientist who was talking about this phenomenon where we seem like we are two (or more) people and we don’t know which one is the real us. It seems hard to recognize that both are.

linguaphile's avatar

I’m always aware, and like some others, too aware. I actually have a dual-track internal dialog going on. The first one is the normal one for everyday thoughts/functions, then another one that micro-analyzes the first track and what I see.
The first gets me through the day—the second tries to understand why and how things are happening, the cause and effect, the repercussions, the possible consequences, the impact, the underlying meaning, the layers of conversations, how things are linked, etc, etc. The first is conscious, the second’s quieter, but there.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

So aware it drives me crazy sometimes.

flutherother's avatar

Interesting question, do I have an interior dialogue. Well yes I do, doesn’t everyone, though it is more of a monologue I would say. Let’s read through and see what others say. Yup, as I thought it is not just me. I’ll give it a good question in a minute. Glad I’ve got the day off tomorrow, I can get a long lie. I’ll read a little of Ubik before I fall asleep. Interesting book, I love Philip K Dick, he had so many great ideas, it’s a pity he ended up insane. Too many great ideas I suppose. I wonder if he had an interior monologue, or dialogue. Maybe that is what his books were, his interior monologue written out. I can’t believe how much rain we have had recently. I’ll maybe take in a film tomorrow the local Cineworld is showing digital films now I wonder if I will notice a difference. I’ll have to go to Tesco soon now let’s see what I will have to get, porridge oats, milk, bananas em that’s about it for now. I’ll give John a call to see if he wants to meet up after work on Saturday. I’d like to see his new flat and his new girlfriend. I’m going to have to put some music on in the background probably some Zappa there’s always something of his that suits my moods, or maybe I should check if there is anything on the BBC iPlayer. Wonder if the weather will improve for tomorrow. If it does I may go off on my bicycle, though the tracks are going to be muddy. Maybe better wait until they dry out. It hasn’t been much of a summer but I prefer this to the humid heat they have been getting in the States.

rOs's avatar

Generally speaking, these are examples of the conflicts that arise between conscious and subconscious thought. Our choices are the end result of a ‘debate’ between multiple competing systems (e.g. I want to taste the delicious cake / I don’t want cake because of my diet). ^^^

downtide's avatar

I’m very aware of my interior dialog. I tend to think in words rather than images, and there’s often a full conversation going on inside my head.

MilkyWay's avatar

I’m aware of it all the time. Sometimes I even tell my “other side” to shut up.

rebbel's avatar

@flutherother So, you tell us that the subject of sex hasn’t crossed your mind in that minute?

flutherother's avatar

@rebbel It did, but that happened visually. Breasts mostly.

rOs's avatar

@flutherother I’m more of an ass guy myself

martianspringtime's avatar

For the most part I am aware, but sometimes I find that if I’m sitting around idly I’ll have an extensive and intricate scenario about the most irrelevant possible thing going on in my mind without my realizing it. When I try to recall what exactly I’m thinking about, I lose it – sort of like we lose dreams when pressed to remember them. I get the gist of it but can’t backtrack and follow my thought process.

_zen_'s avatar

We fight constantly.

Did someone say breasts?

GabrielsLamb's avatar

Constantly

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