Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Invite. Drink. Listen. Share.

Share a cup? 
Photographer Unknown. I found the image here.
Now that expression never truly made sense to me.

A cup? Share? Really?
When I hear that I envision two people slurping each other’s backwash from the same cup of coffee. It should really be "share a pot". Each person getting their own cup. 

This is what we need to do more of. More face time instead of technology time. 
With three simple steps I have a happier disposition, a more positive outlook on life and better relationships with my guy, friends and family.

Step One: Invite a someone over for coffee or meet halfway at a café somewhere.
This "someone other" can be as everyday as your other half. It could be a friend, a sibling or even your mother. Yes, this includes mother-in-laws. By inviting someone over or meeting in a café, you are allowing the time to be with that person. Not your phone or your computer, but with people. 
The air is open for a conversation; an unedited conversation of words, not acronyms. 
When someone texts me LOL I figure their not really laughing out loud, only mildly amused. Maybe they actually are but that’s the big problem with texting and social media of blurbs. Without a face or at least a voice, there is no context.

Besides I don’t want someone to merely laugh out loud, but to laugh so hard there is no sound. Perhaps a squeak sneaks out between gasps for air; this is what happens to me. Then there is the mute seal, silent laughter while clapping hands together. A rare laugh, but highly enjoyable if you get to witness it. Which you can’t over texting or social media blurbs; unless it’s a video upload, but the real thing is just better. Trust me.

Step Two: Pour or order coffee. Drink. Listen.
I used to just get stories to elaborate and fabricate over the years, memories. Recently I’ve been getting a sense of understanding. When I stopped my mouth from talking about my life, my problems, my frustrations by drinking a cup of coffee with a friend, my sister or even my mother an amazing thing happened. 
I listened; by listening I learned.
We all have frustrations and problems in our lives. What I discovered by listening is how similar all our problems and frustrations are. The places, people and circumstances are unique to each person’s perspective, but the root of each is the same.

For example, my medical issues, from a scientific view point, are more severe than my friend's. However, the emotional fatigue and stresses for both of us are the same. The financial strain is the same. 

So, what do you get by listening, other than a full bladder from all the coffee you’ve just drank to keep yourself from talking? You build meaningful friendships and better relationships. 

What about me? I know. I’d like to think I am not a selfish or self-centered person, but let’s be real. Everyone has a part of them that wonders what they are going to get out of it. Some of us have that bit of themselves more concealed than others, but we all have it. I’ll tell you what I got out of listening.

I was able to take the experiences others were sharing with me, how they have dealt with life or tried to deal with situations, and applied it to my own life. I was able to build upon the knowledge of others to improve my own life.
Since I have made the conscious effort to talk less and listen more I find I am judging people less and because of that, I think less about how others might be judging me.
I believe it is the same reason people go to confession at church. Tell things to a listening ear makes you feel like you are not alone, but for the listener you get to hear all the ways that have worked and not worked. Invaluable. 

Step Three: Pay it forward.
There’s a time to listen, but if we all listened at the same time it would be to the sound of the espresso machines and steamers. Someone has to talk for someone else to listen.
Share what you have learned from other’s experiences when you applied it to your own life. 
You can even share now. In the comments box or email me directly sarahjorichards@gmail.com. I’ll listen. In the future I may have the privilege to share your experiences with another (anonymous of course) over a pot of coffee.

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