Can We Talk?
As I was busy cooking before hubby arrived, and trying to pay attention to my friend on speakerphone, who was filling me in on a troubling circumstance in her life, I heard her ask…”Can we talk?” But wait a minute, I thought we were talking. What was I missing? Did she say something that I didn’t catch in between the stir frying of vegetables and bubbling of jasmine rice?
I stopped everything and said, “Let’s meet at the coffee shop in 45 minutes”. I felt a little guilty for not fully providing her my full attention, and knew in our coffee shop spot, I’d be all ears and heart. As we sat down, I noticed that her body language was slumped, her hair unusually messy bunned, and her eye contact somewhat reaching into my soul for an invisible anchor to rest from it all. She took a deep breath and verbally dumped. Literally dumped everything from her fears, doubts and insecurities; all conjured up from this “circumstance”.
Patricia, my friend, was never the needy type. She’s always proven resilient, confident and in control during the most challenging of times; yet today, clearly not her normal self. I was taken aback for a moment, as I took my eyes off of her for a reaching distraction, and grabbed my spoon to stir my coffee.
After listening and providing my best wisdom on how she can use her strengths to overcome this challenge, Patricia kept pushing back with excuses to why the challenge was more dominate than her abilities to overcome it. It was after she kept dodging my wisdoms with heavily grey filtered responses for over 35 minutes, that I became thoroughly exhausted. I suddenly realized, in the dodgeball game of it all, Patricia only wanted to vent. I was invited to ‘talk’, but this was a way for her voice, which had gone unheard originally, finally be heard. She didn’t want me to come to the rescue or offer a way of escape that had gone previously noticed. She wanted to stay where she was, and claim defeat.
Not all of our friends want advice or a way to even grow from an experience. And knowing when to pull back and not allow ourselves to be drawn into the frenzy is self and relationship preserving. “I could’ve listened just as well on the phone while still at home”, I thought to myself. But in my cooking frenzy, which had now become guilt for not really listening at the beginning, and in all honesty, need to be a friend, I put on my ego empowered wonder woman cape and came to the rescue.
The point of this open and honest writing is to make sure in the everyday conversations with love ones that we are fully present, and if at that time the opportunity is not conducive to be so, let people know you’ll connect with them later. This is a way to not only honor yourself, but also them. I’ve learned a lot from that coffee shop meeting. I’ve challenged myself to be present minded in conversations, to allow others the space to voice what they need from me, and to ask more questions verses providing unsolicited advice. We are all walking on different paths on this journey called Life, and meeting each other where we are, is the best way to be a friend.
This article was written by Angela Hicks, “The Lifestyle Guru” . Angela is a transformation coach, helping women around the world to clearly define their seemingly impossible goals and create a plan of action to live a life they love. Click hereto invite her to speak at your organization or for information on private to group coaching sessions.