I write about my life and life itself seen through my eyes for who can write through the experiences of others if not their own?

Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Listener and The Listened. A Fair Exchange.

The world is divided into two kinds of people: The listeners and the ones who seek to be listened. The latter does most of the talking as the Listener…listens.  Listeners not only give the ones being listened attention, but also keep to themselves the secrets shared during those moments never divulging them to others. Listeners are a safe place to share secrets and as such a rarity.

Listening is a skill and not one that is reciprocated easily. There are never equal turns exchanged between the listener and the listened.  In fact, the one listening seldom gets a chance to talk about themselves.

When a Listener wants to be listened, they often encounter the overlapping conversation from the other person (one of the many they have listened to) as they fight to shift the focus back to them.
It might be something like this:

The Listener: “I had a terrible time today at work. I couldn’t finish my project. My computer froze. I might get in trouble.”
The Talker (AKA Listened): "That’s awful. I hate when my computer acts up. I just bought a Mac. I really like it.  My cousin and I are going to…and then I am …. Because I….and have I told you about…? let me tell you that…."

Or something like:
The Listener:  “I had a fight with my husband as I was going for my run”
The Listened: “Really?” I haven’t been running much. I need to buy new shoes. My boyfriend bought me a pair I didn’t like. Did I tell you about him?"
Now you are listening to them.
You know by now there is no bringing that person back to you. You might try another one of the friends that keep you up at night with their texts as they share their hardship, turmoil, emotional heartbreaks, etc. Most will have plans they can’t cancel, a manicure they really want, laundry they must do, a work out to complete, other friends to meet. They would love to see you or talk to you if it wasn’t for what’s going on, but they’ll catch you some other time, they promise.

Don’t hold your breath waiting.

Don’t get upset either. That’s the way it is.

You might choose not to be a listener anymore, but you can’t escape your destiny. Listeners are sought out and spotted by "Listeneds" and once they find you, you won’t turn your back on them. That’s your nature, that’s your role. You know they need to talk to someone and feel safe and some of them won’t talk to anybody else so if they chose you, you know you are doing what you are meant to do. You are the listener and they are listened and between the two there is a balance.

Some people won’t remember you after even if during that time they seemed to be your friend. Some will hardly talk to you once their lives go back to normal and the turmoil they needed to share is gone.

You must think of yourself as a volunteer. Someone who performs a very valuable task. You must remember that your skill is rare and cherished and you will find comfort in knowing you gave someone something they couldn’t find anywhere else: a person to share and trust their most intimidate secrets, and one who will never betray them. And that, right there is most uncommon than being a Listener.

To be someone who never betrays others.

That is your own comfort.