This week lots of the bloggers I read regularly seem to be preoccupied with relationships, ineractions; how we get on, and why. It would be nice to report that everyone is filing success stories - but original thoughts, confidential whisperings and admissions of failure are just as welcome. Wendy is dredging up the past over at her Wendy House; I don't think she's the only person with a story like this in her past:
Over at his Potentially Eventually Funny blog, our eponymous author has been told he is a good listener. Instead of taking heart, he is coming to terms with some home truths. Honesty compels me to admit that I know exactly the instinct that he describes in this passage, and the truthfulness of it makes me feel ashamed. Still, it's good to know that I'm not the only one (and - disclaimer - it isn't all the time).
We laughed together at his assertion. It was one of the most honest expressions of closeness I’d heard then or since.
After two weeks of dating that involved lots of
- loud singing after dark,
- passionate debating of the relative efficacies of pychological theories,
- burning of incence, nicotene and canabis
Easing the suprise with the phrase ‘you’re the only girl for me’ and explaining that he preferred boys. With hindsight, this explained the dearth in exchanges of bodily fluids.
20 years later. He’s still passionate, humourful, debating, smoking, prefering boys and I’m still the only girl for him. Only now there is even less excahniging of bodily fluids because the boy’s grown into a christian priest.
Anyway, my point is that I'm not a good listener - whether to females or males - I am simply quite good at finding something with which to agree on about their position and focusing on it. Or, alternatively, I am good at finding a positive in a situation and exploiting it to make it seem that the overall impression that the person I'm speaking to has is that 'everything is, or will be, alright'. I caught myself doing it automatically the other day. A friend (not you) started to tell me about an issue that he/she had in a work relationship the other day. Immediately I discovered that I was scouring his/her testimony for anything to alight upon as a positive or as a signal misinterpreted. I was simply looking for the most simple way of getting from A to B; from concerned / depressed / upset, to at ease / positive / happy. That is not being a good listening: at best it's prostituting my ability to rationalise interpersonal dilemmas in return for friendship, and at worst it's a technique to change the topic of conversation from something boring - other people's problems - to something interesting - my problems.Perhaps because I've just been reading about the slow train crash which is the Copenhagen summit - a meeting beset by the failure of disperate communities to find a compromise for the greater good, Matt's observation over at his Zen Bullets Blog rings true today. Why Can't We Just Get Along, he asks?
Atoms work together to make cells. Cells work together to form organisms. Organisms work together to form societies, and societies work together to make cultures.Agh. Yep.
Getting cultures to work together seems to be the tricky one.