Some people are naturally chatty individuals. They have a gift in which they can just open up their mouth and let their thoughts and feelings flow out without overthinking the situation. They are comfortable enough to talk to those close to them as well as those they have just met.
I admire that about those kind of people. At times I even envy it.
I'm a chatter and holy smokes I can out talk fish underwater, but I am not very good at talking about the stuff that really matters. You know - the personal stuff, the stuff that sometimes one really needs to talk about.
I guess that is why I love to write. It gives me a chance to say the things that catch in my throat and never quite make it out.
I'm a good listener though. Wow that sounds a bit wanky doesn't it. But it's true, I actually enjoy listening to people talk about things that are close to their heart and I can sense a need to speak when there is one.
Listening is comfortable to me but I'm not very good at opening up in return.
I will freely speak of love and passions, of hopes and dreams. I love to retell stories and am even happy to talk about the 101 ways I managed to humiliate myself on any given day. But ask me to talk to you about my problems, my heartache or my fears and I clam up and change the flow of conversation to something I am more comfortable with.
I worry about sharing some of the stuff in my head. I worry for so many reasons. If I say it out loud I could give that fear enough energy to actually happen. If I say it out loud I can never take it back if I happen to change my mind. If I say it out loud you might judge me.
Sometimes I have the words at the tip of my tongue and ready to spill, but the person I am speaking to misses the cue for any number of reasons. They are distracted by interruptions, too busy to talk right now, or sometimes just too busy talking themselves.
At other times I have begun to talk but sensed the discomfort of the other person and so I swallow the words I am about to say. The more words you swallow, the harder it becomes to ever let them out again and so a behaviour is formed that often results in you becoming a serial listener.
It's not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you have another way of getting those words out, like I do with writing. But what about the people who don't have that outlet? How do they get to be heard?
I have been chatting about this to some friends recently and getting their take on it. One friend pointed out to me that people are often hurt by the lack of a two way conversation. If someone is always opening up to you and sharing their feelings, should you not show a mutual trust and return the honour?
I had never thought of it that way before.
If you are a natural listener, I urge you to practice speaking up more. Find someone you are comfortable with and let it all out as you deserve to be heard too.
If you are a natural talker and notice a one sided conversation, I urge you to share the secret of your gift with others and encourage them to open up to you in return. Oh and keep an eye out for the cues.
Are you a natural talker or a listener?