Today I’m writing for Five Minute Friday, where we write flat out for five minutes, unedited, on a one-word prompt. Join the fun with your own post or just read what others have done with their 300 seconds. Check it out at http://lisajobaker.com/category/five-minute-friday/ Today’s word is Listen.
“Oh, my gosh, I really do think I’m the center of the universe!”
That’s what I realized one day when I was talking to a dear friend of mine. She and I were both in the throes of planning weddings for our respective children and spent a lot of time commiserating with one another over all the things one commiserates about when planning weddings — primarily the expense, at least from our perspectives.
My friend was in the middle of a story about the most recent drama she was embroiled in with her daughter when I found myself thinking, to my horror, “Hurry up and finish your story so I can tell you my story.”
I began to pay attention to what I was really thinking whenever I was talking to people, and I was surprised at how often, instead of really listening to what they were saying, I was merely waiting for them to finish so I could tell them my story. Formulating what I was going to say in my head while they were still talking. Mentally tapping my toe until they paused for a breath and I could jump in with my oh-so-amusing similar anecdote.
There are lots of times when friends gather and swap “guess what my kid did today” stories, and we laugh together and it’s a great time. And that’s fine, that’s good. That’s the time to talk over each other and one-up each other with “Oh, I can beat that.”
But there are times when a friend is going through a stressful time, or just has a lot on her plate, or is dealing with an uncertain situation, and really what she needs is for me to listen to her story, not to be shunted aside as soon as the last word is out of her mouth so that I can demonstrate how empathetic I am by telling her all about me and my stories.
She just needs to be the center of the universe for a few minutes instead of me.
Yakety-yak, don’t talk back.