Are you a multitasker, or is it easier to do one thing at a time? When someone is speaking to you, do you focus on the person, or do you try to finish your e-mail, or keep your nose in a book? Let me explain why I am asking these questions.
Everyone wants to be fully heard, and everyone has a story to tell, but we don’t always do a good job of having real conversations anymore. There are so many distractions that pull us away from each other, and I find this heartbreaking because we need to share our experiences with each other, face to face, not only on social media.
The reason I am writing this is because of an experience I had at a race today. My friend Raleigh and I went to a trail race that is part of a series run by a wonderful family. We have gone to enough of their races that they at least recognize us. One of the men who helps with the race was putting medals on people as they were called up during the awards ceremony. They would call third place, second, and finally the winner for that age group. I walked up to receive my medal for third and thanked the man as I climbed onto the podium. As second and third place were called, he started a conversation with me. He said, “How did you like the course?” I replied that I thought it was beautiful. He then said, “It’s a course you have to warm up for though, and I didn’t warm up enough.” He said something else, and I had the feeling he wanted to keep talking, but second and third place were standing there with a look that said, “What in the world?” “Where are our medals?” My point in telling this story is this man needed to share his race experience with someone, and I was willing to listen, and I would have loved to hear more, but as usual, there were distractions .
I want to do a better job of listening to other people’s stories without interrupting to interject my own. Listening to others shows we value them and what they have to say. In a time when we all need to bolster our mental health, I hope we can work on the art of positive conversations.