Conversations

I don’t have serious conversations much anymore. I put a lot of thought and study into being a good conversationalist and part of that is not being too serious, not making conversations all about me or what I want to talk about. It’s why I started blogging, so I good indulge my serious introspective nature. And in turn that allows me to indulge my fun side when I’m talking to people face to face without feeling like I’m hiding the deeper part of me.

Lately I’ve had some late-night-after-everyone-else-has-left serious talks with a few people and it reminds me of what intimacy used to feel like.

I think it’s because the close friends I can speak with openly will listen and will aim to comfort me, to cheer me up and that can mask the loneliness temporarily. But I find it’s the times when someone listens and shares back that create intimacy. It’s not an easy thing to do and I assume we’ve all had the frustrating experience of confiding in someone just to have them reply and go on a rant about themselves. As if whatever problem you’re talking about is a contest and their entry wins.This happens to me a lot because of my desire to be a good listener I often conversationally steam-rolled into being a wailing wall for people who won’t give me the respect I’m giving them

The other side being that if someone only listens, offers advice, and sympathizes it can leave the speaker feeling like they’re the only one who feels this way and like an object of pity. This is something I’m going to check myself for starting now. Being a good listener doesn’t mean not talking about yourself, it means knowing how and when to talk about yourself. The great conversations I’ve had are always a balance. Each person listens and each person talks about themselves.

That’s what I’d call intimacy. The feeling that you are together in something, even if you’re together in loneliness. We’re both lonely and we can just be lonely together without having to bolster each other.

I talk a lot about team and belonging, it’s my core emotional need. I need to be a band mate, a boyfriend, a coworker, a drinking buddy, in order to give my days a purpose, to give myself a future to think about, to guide my decisions and actions. I think a side effect of that is I rarely feel like just me. I feel only as good as I am effective in my role.

And I do need to feel that way in order to keep improving myself. I’m always aspiring to be a better friend, a better person. Sometimes it’s nice though to feel accepted without having to try and be my best self. I tear myself apart trying to be the best version of myself because that’s what the people in my life deserve. But I need to turn that pressure off sometimes. And to be sad, or selfish, or nihilistic without regulating it for the sake of someone else. And then to find out someone feels the same way and you can both take off all the layers of personality and just be flawed, just let your flaws breath for a second.

I guess it’s nice to say something out loud and not have the person try to fix you, or tell you you’re incorrect, but just to say that they’re also bit broken and that makes it okay for you to be broken too.

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Singer/songwriter, jerk.

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One comment on “Conversations
  1. You’re learning earlier than I did, Al — I didn’t figure this bit out until I was in my late forties. Good for you!

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