Monday, 14 September 2015

Listening is for Professionals

Many people ask me, "How come you read people so well?" 

I'm not psychic. I was just trained by my friends in research through Focus Group Discussions and various other research methodologies.

In my past life, I spent many hours sitting across a 2-way mirror, listening to people talk. After each session, we would discuss their statements and behaviors. The goal was to find the tension, the insecurity, the joy and to capture all of that into one strong insight. 

We are trained to listen. However, we analyze and develop judgements as we listen. Each question is designed to help us make a conclusion. 

My ex was also in research. Based on my past experience, he was a very good listener. A lot of people opened up to him. But what they didn't know was that, he would debrief me afterwards. When he de-briefed me, he already included his analysis of the person.

Example he once told me this:
"CH is a very smart a competitive girl, However, she is very insecure and this insecurity fuels that competitiveness. I gather it's because she is a middle child and may not have been the favorite in her family.  I also feel she is a bit promiscuous. She talks about hooking up all the time. I wonder if this sexual appetite is result of her childhood. She mentioned while she was drunk that she was molested by a relative"

Because he is not a psychologist, he is not bound by any patient-doctor confidentiality agreement.

While I also have the same skill set, I am also not a psychologist. 

People who bother to ask my opinion when they know exactly what they want to do anyway... leave a sour taste on my mouth. 

I strongly believe that that need for affirmation is a sign of doubt. And I believe, when in doubt, don't act in haste.

I don't have the patience to listen and to listen. I do not enjoy watching my friends repeat the same mistakes over and over again. I particularly do not want to spend time listening as they journey through their own thoughts until they reach their clarity. That's why there are professionals! You pay them 500-1000 php/hour.

It's as if I am being forced to watch a video in loop of a moth flying too close to fire and having it's wings burned. And it's not fun for me. It's equally boring and frustrating.

I sound like a bad friend! 

But I only speak of people who are not close to me but for some reason feel very comfortable talking to me. So comfortable that they think it's okay to call me at 1 am. 

Strangely, the handful of friends that I have seem to know that in real life, I don't really like to talk it out.  I wouldn't really classify myself as the "listening friend". When my real friends are going through something, I feed them and cheer them up. 

When my friend told me that her dad was dying. We didn't talk about it. I just bought her a ticket so that she could see him. When her dad passed away, I told my dad to send over food. On the 40th day, I invited her and her mom for lunch with my family. We didn't talk about it. We just enjoyed the view of the beach, But during yoga, when she cried, I was there to hug her. That's the best I can do really.

When another friend got accidentally pregnant, I bought and mailed her a shimmery maternity dress. 

My real friends know what I can do and what I am willing to listen to. One thing is for sure, I really hate listening to martyrs. If they plan to do that, I think they should keep their grand plans to themselves. 



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