Sometimes I just can’t get past myself to really listen and empathize. I don’t intend to co-opt others’ feelings but I open my mouth and my own story flows.
I did this to a friend recently. She is in deep grief after the death of a mutual friend’s wife. We were discussing his welfare when my lesser self stepped in with my personal narrative. How did it feel when I was there? How have I reacted in similar situations? Worst of all…what would I do if it were me?
I think of my responses as commiseration. Sharing loss and hardship create rapport.
And it’s all true.
But none of that is as valuable as a listening heart. Nothing is as important in a friendship as providing a safe haven without expectation and without judgment.
I owe my friend an apology. I hope I have the chance to listen again.