I’m still puzzling over some interactions I had with friends of mine. I hadn’t seen them in a while and I was looking forward to catching up with them with some reservations.  We have had disagreements in the past about issues that were important to all of us and haven’t always gotten along well, but I was hoping that we could make this occasion a time of fun and reconnection.

Of course, when old friends get together, female friends anyway, there is a large spate of just talking non-stop to plough through everything that has happened which is relevant to this now and all the social interactions that go with that.  I expected that and participated fully.  However, along with all the talking goes all the listening. If you’re doing it right you are listening as much as you are expressing and that’s where the relationship and the connectivity starts.  Responding to what you have heard in an appropriate to the subject matter, hopefully positively, is the next step which can lead to action and so on.

In this case, with both friends, whom I caught up with at separate times, I was eventually rendered speechless.  I, who live and practically wallow in words and meaning, had absolutely nothing to say for hours on end.  It wasn’t uncomfortable for me, just surprising as I usually don’t drop into wordlessness around people I’ve been looking forward to talking with.  I’m still working through all the aspects of it, but one thing that has occurred to me is that I stopped talking because they stopped listening.

I was happy to listen to them and respond and interact with them, but they were unable to do the same.  They spent their entire visits in monologue mode.  Even when comments were offered, they seemed to have no meaning and fell by the wayside.  And, taking the specifics out of their monologues, what is somewhat disheartening and sad is that what they really were saying over and over again was, “Please see me.  Please hear me.  Please accept me.  Please acknowledge me.”  Which we all were, but they were so busy talking that they couldn’t get that.

The only response to this that made any sense to me, subconsciously at least, was to stop talking and just listen.  Not in sullen silence or in frustration or anger, but as if they were part of the scenery all around me.   Like they were birds in the trees calling to each other or the sound of the creek in my backyard or the cat purring in my lap.  The only answer was to be speechless so they could express their need to be heard.  It’s a reaction they don’t normally get, I think, and they didn’t quite know what to do with it, but having heard from them recently, they seem to want to experience a bit more it.  Perhaps that’s what they need to wind down out of monologue and be able to dialogue, if not with me, then with someone…eventually.