Change requires listening with
same level of passion that we feel when we speak. - Harriet
Recently I was chatting
with Sharon about how a satisfying friendship of hers had turned sour.
“We had lots in common
and the relationship filled the holes in my marriage that only girlfriends can
do,” she explained. “I looked forward to years of sharing. We went to lunch
together, visited museums, talked about books we read and our grandchildren.
We even went to the gym and worked out.”
“But…” and as her voice stumbled, she took a big sigh. “Her politics
were different. So I cut the friendship off.”
was flabbergasted and wanted to grab this person by her shoulders to
shake some sense into her. Who has so many gratifying friendships that
we can easily toss one overboard because the person holds a different
wasn’t like this other woman was a child molester, had embezzled funds
from her employer to cause bankruptcy or had a cocaine addiction.
Sharon dumped her friend because she held a different point of view.
Two friends share and listen
And apparently, that was just over the top for Sharon’s
friendship is defined only in parameters where we must agree on
everything, where is the growth? How does our world open up so we learn
something new? Would Sharon feel as smug about her decision to let the
relationship go if the person involved were a different religion or a
opinion that authentic relationships involve having genuine conversations. That
takes both risk taking and the willingness to be vulnerable. We must feel safe
enough with another to put ourselves out there and be willing to be wrong; to
feel secure - yet free enough - to say “I don’t know how I feel about that” and
to change our minds if new facts come to light.
love if not offering a holding place for another to express what’s in their
“You can be
yourself with me. I may not agree or understand, but I choose to listen to what
you have to say because you matter. We matter.”