Nothing shuts my mouth like another’s. When I feel that my speaking is being wasted and that the other person is not hearing me, I shut down. That’s how I feel about the past year. I feel like I’ve been shouting within me because I wasn’t being heard on the outside.
In differences of opinion, I try to remain calm and hear the other person out but once someone raises their voice, I shut down. When I feel like I need to raise my voice to be heard in turn, I know I’m not being heard. That’s the reason I started to raise my voice in the first place.
I remember a few years ago, I was talking to MadScientist and he cut me off at the mere mention of FB. “I am not joining FB.” I wasn’t trying to convince him to join; all I was trying to do was to tell him about a funny conversation I had through FB. I just wanted to tell him a story. I didn’t tell MadScientist anything after that. [Several months later, he's on FB]
On the other side, Los endeared himself to me long ago. I remember hanging out with Los at the bench while everyone else had a class to go to. We just talked as people do. Weeks later, hanging out again, he mentioned something I had said the previous time. I don’t remember what it was now, but I know it was something specific that showed that he had been listening to me before.
I remember how that felt to be heard and so I’ve been working on being a better listener ever since. It would help if I had a better memory for what I hear, but that’s not going to stop me from listening. And I want the other person to know that I’ve heard them. When I was trying to tell someone that I would be silent and let them speak first, even that upset the other person and so that was probably the last conversation I tried to have with that person. Why is it so difficult?
On a Focus on the Family broadcast [Truth: Can We Both Be Right?] Ryan Dobson talks briefly about the difference between a conversation and a debate. To paraphrase, oftentimes we enter a conversation with someone and it turns into a debate; conversation gets shut down. When you’re going into a debate, load for bear and shoot often. When you’re having a conversation with someone, ask questions, ask them “why?” “Why do you believe that?” “Why do you feel that way?”
I remember talking to Redlance over IM. We finally met together in person over a meal. I made a little joke in reference to something he had told me on IM. He startled for a moment, then realized what I was referencing and he laughed. I think he was pleasantly surprised, as I had been with Los previously, that I had paid attention to what he had said. We had more conversations after that.
I want more conversations. I miss the conversations. I want to hear. I want to be heard.