I think listening has become a lost art form along the lines of hieroglyphics and cubism, as neglected in the 21st century as html language and refrigerator school. And I wonder why, with all we know about how effective listening can be to ourselves and to others, that we continue to go in the opposite direction. Everyone is all about talking now. Indeed, blogging can turn into just that, a way to talk and talk some more without having to listen to anyone else, but it can also be a give-and-take, which is how it was intended. I like to listen.
This morning I had a conversation with a friend of mine about just what I was talking about on here, regrets, and the future. She told me, among other things, that one of the reasons we all have regrets is because life shows us so many alternatives after the fact, like Monday morning quarterbacks, and school is so expensive it’s backwards to try and go back after we realize the degrees we have just aren’t yielding jobs. But best of all she listened to me as I spelled out exactly what I felt wasn’t working, and exactly how I was feeling, emotionally and whatnot. She listened while I spilled everything out there, while I sighed and frowned, and while I eventually exhaled after all that talking.
See, that’s the key to real friendship, those friendversations where one friend can say his piece and the other can listen, because we all need those times. Then the shoe can be on the other foot, and the friend who was talking can be still and listen while the other unloads. It shouldn’t be all give and no take, neither should it all be a time to just bitch and moan about everything that’s going wrong in your life. It should be a time for structured listening, for each person to hear what the other has to say, to acknowledge it, and to give support. That support piece is another thing that’s missing too much these days. We aren’t looking for agreement when we talk, just for someone to be there, to show they care, and to offer their own opinions upon reflection.
So find some friends who will breathe with you because they’re rarer these days than a real Monet.