It’s a perfect afternoon and you’re sitting with a friend – or anyone close to you – for a coffee.
They offer you a hug and, just like that, you feel great; you know, that something meaningful is happening here. You also feel really lucky and why shouldn’t you?
Time to get to down to business. You have to share your news of the week, month, year or century. You laugh with your inside jokes, with something stupid that is said and, man, you’re close to happily ever after.
Let’s hit a pause button now, shall we? Not all days can be described like this, we don’t get to live on cloud nine. Problems, worries, stress, sadness and grief are always part of the game. And although none of us like them, let me tell you something; without all the unwanted things above, you wouldn’t even know the difference between sadness and happiness in the first place. And secondly – and far more importantly – you get to know who’s there with you, who’s really got your back. It never fails, and I’m a firm believer, these crappy moments offer you golden lessons.
Now, let’s say it is one of these crappy days and you’re feeling, well, let’s say it clearly like shit. Depressed, alone, without any energy ; and let’s not forget to mention the state and condition of your nerves. Yup, they are one step away from officially exploding in everyone’s face. All you want to do is lie on your couch and do nothing, or pretend to watch TV series. And then you’re thinking that it might be good for you to go out and talk to someone close to you, one that will understand you.
You meet, you get the warm hug, but this time it doesn’t feel like the previous one; somehow, you don’t feel that is enough. You sit down and then the question comes: “How are you? Want to tell me what’s going on?”. This is the part where you have to open up and explain your thought process. You have to identify how you’re feeling; you also have to be reassured that your feelings will be respected.
You start talking; the person doesn’t look at you. Usually it’s their mobile phone that does the work, or the television behind you. There’s no eagerness to actually know what’s happening. You pretend you don’t notice, till the time you say something “important” enough to gain their attention fully back. Their hands play either with their hair, or constantly touching – showing a feeling of someone being entirely uncomfortable. Blunt moves, no desire to help… Well, enough.
Okay, I know it might be the psychologist in me talking; but, seriously, enough with this bullshit. When it is my turn to feel down, I swear that I’d rather be alone on my couch staring at the ceiling. Why should I go out (a thing I hardly want to do) to talk to a person resembling a wall? It’s pure hypocrisy; the ceiling sometimes is more honest, and my cat even pats my hand.
I want to be heard and understood. I want my point of view to be examined, and even corrected. But I have come to observe that, many times people “listen” just for the sake of replying back. Well, you know what? Besides this not being the purpose of talking to you, I shall say that this action takes the cake. No, I don’t want to hear any more examples of something similar that happened to you or to your second cousin’s grandmother. Is it related to my problem or worry? No. Thank you.
You’re not listening; you’re just pretending to “support”, “help” and “stand by” me. Last time I checked, though, support, help and care don’t derive by looking at your cell phone. Nor does it come by looking at the television behind me or at the stranger that happens to walk by us. I don’t want you to agree on every sentence and say “uh-huh”; ever heard of active participation? I guessed correctly, you haven’t – and at this point you will excuse me but I’d rather go home. This whole thing is so pretentious, that, in reality, it makes me feel sadder than before.
You’re not listening to understand, mate, and that is my problem. You’re just sitting there typically waiting for the minutes to pass and, what’s even worse, I can see that! I am sad, not blind; and I clearly see now that I don’t have the patience anymore to deal with this shit.
Thank god, there are still people out there that want to understand me and my problems, and really want to help me get out of it. They’ll do it with patience, but above all, by honestly caring.
I wish you were one of them, but wishful thinking isn’t my thing. The same applies to hypocrisy. And, one more thing; do put all your “uh-huhs” up your ass, please. It’s where they actually belong.