I talk for a living, at least a lot of the time. But I also do a lot of listening. I listen to my clients – to what they say, and what they don’t say. And it’s my job to listen to what their higher consciousness is saying about them, and what my own guides are saying to tell them. Or not to tell them.
There’s usually plenty for me not to tell people – things they might not be ready to hear. Timing is everything, and counseling is often a delicate balance between talking and listening.
I do spend a lot of time working on my own, so when I have the chance, I enjoy talking with friends. But there again it’s a balance.
When I’m talking to a friend about my life, I watch for subtle cues they may be loosing interest. I might be fascinated by my latest project, but it’s rarely going to be as interesting to anyone else. So I watch their face, feel their energy, and try not to go on too long about my own stuff, to keep the conversation balanced.
I try to carefully avoid the dreaded tendency for “over-sharing,” and I’ve noticed a number of ways we all do that. Here are some that stand out most.
First, there’s “The Professor.” With I’m visiting with this person, I feel like I’m supposed to be taking notes on a lecture I didn’t sign up for. It doesn’t matter if I already know the subject as well as they do. They launch into it and expound on it in great detail. I do a lot of nodding with this type of over-sharer.
Then there’s what I call the “Free Client.” This is someone who really should be seeing a counselor on a weekly basis, but is using our lunch visit instead. I really do want to know how my friend is doing, but if they need the whole visit to talk about themself, and not bother to ask about me, perhaps it’s time to rethink that relationship.
Then there’s “The Gossip.” This person thrives on talking about our other friends, especially if they’re in any kind of trouble. I always come away from these conversations feeling complicit, and a little bit slimed.
There’s “The Guru.” Do you know this one? The guru constantly rhapsodizes about the beauty of life, nature, children, animals, God… pretty much anything. Very poetic, and potentially entertaining, or irritating, depending on what I’m in the mood for.
My least favorite is “The Uninvited Spiritual Teacher.” This gentle spirit feels compelled to give me feedback from on high, unasked for. “Can I give you some feedback?” they’ll say. And before I can say no, they’re telling me what they really think. Although it may come from genuine caring, unasked for feedback is always a bad idea. I would have a little chat with the “Uninvited Spiritual Teacher” about the importance of respecting other people’s boundaries, see but then I’d be over-sharing too.
Of course, I’ve been guilty of all of the above at some point. I’m glad to say I’m currently in recovery from over-sharing, but vulnerable to having a relapse at any time.
I love visiting with my friends, and despite my complaints, I almost always have a good time. Lately I’ve taken to mostly listening, and sharing when they ask. I figure if friends want to know more about me, they’ll ask. The best ones always do.
If you’d like to hear me do more talking, you can find all of my work, including information about private sessions, workshops, and more than 100 courses and programs, all at TheHealingWaterfall.com. Thank you for listening.