Over the past 6 months, I keep noticing that my ability to maintain one side of a conversation is quickly deteriorating. Part of this has to do with me being extremely busy at work, thus extremely tired and unable to really focus on anything intelligent. Another part has to do with the fact that I find myself just not caring about certain topics anymore.
The most noticeable symptom of this problem is my seeming need to repeat back what I just heard someone say. Years ago, and ex-girlfriend and I used to joke about a guy who used to do this and now I find myself doing. The strange this is, that guy was extremely popular and even now some people are starting to accuse me of being able to talk to anyone. There's a lesson in there somewhere...but back to the topic at hand...
So what could be the deeper, less noticeable cause of this malady?
Think about it. Where do you normally find yourself repeating back what you just heard? That's right, in your language classes. In a normal world, if I asked you, "Do you like Beijing?" You would say, "Yes, I do." However, in a language class, you tend to repeat and say "Yes, I like Beijing." This is only a very simple example, I'm sure you can think of other, possibly better Q&A's.
Lately, my Chinese has been improving to the point that I can have basic conversations, but I still find myself parroting my conversational partner at times. I'm hoping that as I continue to make progress, this effect will begin to wear off. If it doesn't, I'm going to end up being known as a shallow prick or get invited to speak at the next Toastmaster's event.