Not too long ago a dear friend and I enjoyed conversational banter for almost ninety minutes on the phone. It had been a while since we’d connected. We shared fun stories about random stuff, touching also on a work challenge and my kids’ lives
Yet for a few days afterwards, I had a nagging thought about one piece of the phone call. My internal dialog woke me up in the middle of the night. Had I heard her correctly? Four days later I decided to “take action” and clear my mind. I would lob a “quick” call to ask one clarifying question.
~“Hi! It’s Amy! It was so fun to talk with you this week. I need to ask a quick question to clarify something? Why did you suggest…
~What? You’ve been ruminating on this for four days. Forget it! I don’t need this bad energy.
~Wait a minute, please. I just need to understand a piece of our conversation.
~You so overthink things. I didn’t say that…I meant…
~Ok, thanks- all good. Sorry to create upset. Bye.
There was no “warm and fuzzy”. What happened?
Maybe my question sounded accusatory. Perhaps my word choice was wrong.
“Quick” was maybe a misnomer. My approach might have been to direct.
Why hadn’t I just let go of the concern, like a cloud floating away in the sky? Overthinking is a dangerous trait.
Ahead of dialing the phone number I had quieted my mind but that didn’t guaranty that my friend was “in the same place”. Maybe my outreach collided with what was happening in my friend’s life at the time.
We can’t ever fully understand another person’s life and its daily challenges. As Don Miguel Ruiz recommends in The Four Agreements, “Don’t Make Assumptions” about others! We don’t know. For whatever reason, my friend wasn’t able to hear me. Sometimes we can’t listen well. Although I wondered about what had gone wrong, it wasn’t just about me! Surprise!
Now what? Move on. Don’t take the call personally. Continue to consider my words carefully. Remember that the relationship is bigger than one interaction. There’ll be opportunities to heal and enjoy one another again (and maybe over a meal!).
Sometimes we miss opportunities for deeper connection because we’re unable to listen. Situations just arouse our ire. My biggest suggestion to counteract a “fight” response is to “Stay Calm and Carry On”! To hear others, continue to quiet our minds as much as possible and remain open to possibilities. All will be well!