Saturday, 15 June 2013

You will never understand another person

Today started strange, and continued in that respect.  I passed my final exam in Microsoft Networking Fundamentals this week, which means no more study until September.  I have more free time now, and that proved valuable today.

I was woken at roughly 7:45am by a text message arriving on my phone.  A friend of mine wanted to contact me before his shift at work, to tell me that he is thinking about abandoning his involvement with Samaritans.  It's strange, because we met just over 18 months ago, as volunteers.  I recently turned my back on that part of my life, and now he is thinking about doing the same.

One thing that comes from serving as a listening volunteer is the realisation that you can not judge anyone.  You are not that person.  The best you can achieve is to develop some empathy for others by imagining what it would be like to be them, in their situation, though it is unlikely you will ever truly understand them.  All we have is what we are told and, unless we truly listen, we may not even have that.

I don't know if my friend will want to discuss his dilemma with me, but the worst thing I could do is to offer any kind of advice.  Apart from what he tells me, I have no idea what factors may be involved in any decision he makes.  Often, advice is unwanted, and has an unfortunate habit of being the wrong advice.  Again, we can never fully know or understand a person.

The day continued with me getting a text message from one of my very best friends, on a visit to the area with her new man.  It's always good to see her, but the other side of that is feeling sad when she has to leave again.  The message was a surprise.  Going to a cafĂ© to meet my friend had also not been something I was planning, but my day was all the better for it.

The joy of never truly understanding someone is that they can still surprise you.  Put simply, it is our differences which make us interesting.  When you fully comprehend the implications of this, bigotry, intolerance and even anger do not come easily, nor is it possible to be judgemental.

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