The other day someone said to me ‘I never know what’s going on in your life.’ So I barely began to tell them about the Loyalist workshop and they launched into twenty minutes of details about their summer plans on the west coast, when they were done I saw once again that many people are more interested in their lives than anyone else’s. I’m a good listener – if anyone really cares to know what’s going in my life they can check out this blog anyway – if they can’t be bothered – it’s their loss & they never know much about me beyond the fact that I’m a good listener.
In recovery I’ve learned people often merely want to be heard, not responded to, not given sage council. What they really want is confirmation or assurances – sometimes a reminder that what they find difficult or painful or frustrating – are things we all feel difficult etc. It’s more ‘helpful’ to say ‘you can get through this’ ‘or ‘other’s have gotten through this,’ as opposed to telling them how I think they can get through it.
That is a big part of why I (& many of us) write – it’s a chance to say things & not be interrupted – a chance to be heard. Not that I’m a confessional writer (far from it, truth be told). I also know when people hear me perform or read what I’ve written they hear themselves in my words, not me. What I say and what you hear are often two different things.