Updated: Apr 28
Who listens to you? I mean, when you have something meaningful to say, who do you go to?
In last week’s post, I asked the question, “when was the last time someone turned to you and genuinely asked how you were doing?” Man, I was not prepared for the response that one got. I’ll leave it to you to guess if it was positive or could have been better.
Just this morning, as I conducted my standard Facebook scroll to see what’s new, there were a few funny quotes, a constant stream of ads trying to make me younger, thinner, richer, posts of kids selling lemonade, political stuff and two different kinds of personal posts.
One type of post is always a group of family members or friends having more fun than anyone could imagine. They all look so happy. The other type of post is from someone lonely, frustrated, mad, sad, struggling, lashing out and just wanting someone, anyone to agree with them or share their pain. While seemingly different, some of these posts are the same.
The posts are the same because they demonstrate the need to connect with other people. This is a very good thing. But, when I look at the happy pictures, I often wonder if during all the merriment (a trip, party, sporting event), did the poster get the chance to sit, talk, catch up, share, and absorb that they are lucky and blessed to have had that time together? Or did they run around minding details, preparing food, trying to keep everyone fed, watered, happy or on track while watching kids/managing people and running over to be a part of the gang when someone suggested they all take a group picture? If at a restaurant, did everyone try to squeeze in snippets of their life between ordering drinks, reading the menu, trying to eat, all while yelling down the table to be heard six people away from them? Did they leave happy, heard, fulfilled, or exhausted?
The lonely, frustrated, mad, sad, struggling, lashing out post is quite clear. “I have something to say and there’s no one around to hear it so I’ll post it here.” I always hope and pray that person has a shoulder to lean on or another outlet for their emotions. But one thing was really clear to me as I scrolled, while I see all these postings, I was not “listening” either. I’m just flying by, thumb working overtime to move me along and view as much as I can to proclaim, “I’m all caught up now.” Even though I’m looking, how many of these do I stop to read? Only a rare few. This was someone’s attempt to share, to reach out and I scrolled. I know we can’t like, share, and respond to every post, and social media is surely not the platform to share all secrets or make deep, personal connections. But it reminded me that deep, personal, connection is essential to everyone’s wellbeing. Will we get what we need in the Metaverse? Who knows, and it’s actually a scary thought that someone thinks they can.
People feel very disconnected now. We’ve all heard it, too much technology, too many commitments, no attention span. I won’t bore you with that. We are aware. We don’t make many new connections. I know I don’t. Those who do are lucky. Most new connections are superficial at best as people already have their “friends” or “tribe” and aren’t looking to expand their circle. But let’s try to change that. There’s so much to be offered and ultimately gained by expanding our personal bandwidth to connect with another human being that enriches our lives.
When was the last time ...
Chatted with someone at (you insert the venue/location), enjoyed the conversation and actually sought that person out again the next time you saw them because you wanted to learn more about them, their work, their family, etc.? Just listening…
Laid in your child’s bed, stared at the ceiling, and let them talk about all the day’s wild adventures? Giving them the best of you which is what they so desperately want. Just listening…
Called someone without a reason, something to plan or confirm and caught up on what they were doing or how they were feeling? Just listening…
Someone at work lingered a little too long after a meeting and you got the feeling they needed a little attention, so you sat back down with them or stayed on the Zoom call? Just listening…
You looked at a mom or dad and noticed the tired look in their eyes, so you suggested a shared coffee break? Just listening…
As a woman, employee, wife, mother, friend, I need that sometimes and am so very grateful when someone notices and connects with me. You likely need it too, but we don’t often admit it.
As a health coach, part of what I do for individuals is provide that uninterrupted, safe, supportive, non-judgmental space for those that need it. The result is connection, growth, change and hope for that person who needed to be heard. You never know who needs it. But isn’t it nice to know you can offer it?
Sometimes, we feel like no one is interested in what we have to say. Be the person that wants to hear it.
Do you need to be heard? I’m ready to listen.
Take care and be well,