Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Please, do continue...

Some months ago, one of the ladies at a dance class I attend came to a startling realisation.  She turned to face me, said that she'd told me a lot about herself, and that she'd done so because I didn't say much, so she'd had to fill the silences.

Soon after the above incident, another lady, from the same class, said that she had noticed how I sat and listened to a number of the ladies in the class, and that I didn't say much.  She said that, when a man sits and listens so patiently to a woman, it could be interpreted as meaning that he felt a sexual attraction towards the woman in question.  Later, when I was alone, I thought about what she'd said.  It seemed to be a very cynical interpretation of male behaviour, and I hoped, while it was obviously not my reason for listening, that it wasn't true more generally.

More recently, I was out with a friend, and a woman I don't know so well joined us at the table.  Within a few seconds, this relatively new acquaintace started to laugh, and said that she found the conversation between my friend and I to be strange.  What she saw, apparently, was that my friend would talk, and I would often simply nod in reply.  My friend replied that she often has to fill silences, because I talk even less than she does (she's generally thought to be quiet).

Later in the evening, the woman who had found the earlier conversation so strange found herself sat alone with me.  As she talked, I nodded and used other continuation messages to show that I had heard and understood what she had said.  I got to know her better.  She asked questions about me, and I answered, showing her that the conversation wasn't just going one way.  She sat next to me when she next saw me with my friend, and talked to me again.

I don't talk much, but I'm a good listener.  I'm genuinely engaged and interested in listening to what others say, and it seems to show.  Whether it's right or wrong, it's who I am.

No comments:

Post a Comment