Maybe I’m just too boring. When faced with the question on forms, “What are your hobbies?”, I always feel that one word isn’t enough. Like the makers of that questionnaire expected me to have a life full of dynamic adventures. Then it hit me, I love conversation and always feel elated after a good exchange of ideas. I’d never thought of it as an actual activity, but now I always list conversation along with my favorite, dancing.
Studying for a career in counseling taught me the importance of talk, but I never dreamed that my major was actually Listening. Think about the times you’ve poured your heart out. It was probably to someone whom you felt would listen without judging you. Therapists learn this skill and a good one can elicit your feelings with no more than a word or a nod. It’s what they do and is why people complain so much about the fee they charge. It’s an important skill that helps you figure stuff out.
Good conversation is a gold mine. Finding out you’re not alone in feeling a certain way is a great moment of relief, reducing anxiety big time. And if it’s a friend who shares that feeling with you, bonds tighten. Someone else’s perspective can bring new insight and clarity to something you’ve been stewing about. Good conversation leads to elusive solutions. Suddenly “Aha!” pops into your head.
Relationships are saved all the time with good conversation. Being honest with your feelings helps you move forward with some changes that are agreeable to both. Now you know how you each REALLY feel. It’s scary at first to reveal inner thoughts for fear of being laughed at or rejected, but practice eventually makes it feel normal.
I’m pretty sure that kids are dying for more conversation with their parents. I had many a teenager hang out at my house during those middle school/high school days. Sometimes it seemed like they just needed someone to listen to their point of view. The trouble is listening takes time and lives get busier all the time. But think of the benefits. Conversation means two-way talk, which means that kids will learn that their parents are human too. Oh, how I wish I could go back and redo….
Life is so much easier when thoughts and feelings aren’t bottled up all the time. Getting them out leads to better mental health and stress relief, but the two-way exchange of conversation is different than just talking. I’m referring, of course, to that balance between talking and listening, not mentally tapping a foot, faking interest until it’s your turn. Oh…… you can tell.
Have you had any good conversations lately?