There are two types of people in this world: those who like to talk and those who like to listen. I suppose it’s good that there are both types as a world filled with talkers would be insane while a world filled with listeners would be deadly quiet. I’m sure you know the type of people that I am referring to. You know that friend that is always the center of attention with great stories to tell? The one that lets everyone know about how perfect last night’s date was, exactly what both people wore and what they ate? The talker never realizes when the listener has stopped listening and the listener is so good at listening that she can float in and out of the conversation and still know exactly what the talker is talking about even though the listener has not given the talker her full attention for the past 20 minutes.
The listener is the person that sits quietly and nods at just the right time, adding a few verbal cues here and there, but never really saying much. It isn’t until you notice the engagement ring on her hand that you realize first of all that she has a boyfriend and second of all that she has been dating him for three years! Furthermore, they have extensively traveled the world over the past few years and you had no knowledge of this despite the fact that you consider her one of your best friends.
As a listener, I can share that it is an amazing thing and even, if you will, a God given gift. All of my life I have been amazed how virtual strangers will approach me and without much prodding (if any!), they pour their life story out for me to hear. As a teenager working in a department store, we were required to ask customers why they were returning items. One day, early on in the job, a man started telling all about how he and his finace had broken up with details as to why and that was the reason that he was returning her clothing. It was horrible and sad, I was young and did not know what to say, so I vowed to NEVER ask a customer again!
I have a new friend that is a listener. It’s very odd to me. Those of you that know me know that I had some serious health issues last year. 9 months later, I am still in the recovery stages and I have permanent life long damage as a result. This friend is an online friend that I have never actually met, we just have small email conversations – no big deal. However, I have always been the listener in my friendships and it is very odd for me to have this role reversed. He checks in with me and makes sure that I am ok. When I ask him questions, he may skim over them with a quick answer, but he never really lets the focus be on him, it’s always about making sure that I am ok. I am confident that I am not receiving special treatment from him, that this is his personality and that he is like this with several people on the board, yet it has me pondering tonight.
To have two listeners become friends really puts quite the twist on things. I like that someone seems to care, yet it really bothers me that they are not sharing. The irony is that when I am with my talker friends, sometimes I wish that they would just stop and listen. Kind of crazy.
What makes a person a talker or a listener? Does it go back to the old nature vs. nurture? Is it a God given gift or role in this life or is it influenced more by the way that we were raised? Or, is it all of the above? Growing up in my family of four, I am the only listener. Even though I wouldn’t classify my mom as a talker, she is by no means a listener.
I suppose I don’t really have a point, merely pondering tonight. It’s an odd twist to have someone care. I wish I could find that in my daily life…a man to make sure that I really am ok at the end of the day. As this friend once told me, I hold hands all day long in my career, at the end of the day, it would sure be nice to have someone hold mine. Wow. He figured me out fast.
14 years, 1 month and 19 days…
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