ALH Anna Lee Huber

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Confession: Sometimes...I don't listen very well
August 16, 2011

Sometimes...I don't listen very well.

And I never realize it until after the fact. 

I take great pride in being a good listener. In knowing how to do it the “right” way. In being an active-listener, and repeating what the speaker said to make sure I truly heard and understand them. In letting them vent their hurts or frustrations, and empathizing while not always offering a solution, because I know sometimes people just want someone to listen. 
But sometimes, on those rare occasions when I meet a friend for coffee or dinner, I become a blabbermouth. I am so excited to be talking to a, usually female, companion face to face instead via email or Facebook that I come down with diarrhea-of-the-mouth. I chatter and I laugh and I enthuse over something. I railroad over the conversation with my eagerness. I can see it in my companion’s eyes—the almost deer-in-a-headlight stare that tells me I need to take a deep breath and sit back and listen for a while. But the words build up behind my lips and come spewing forth again two minutes later. 
I blame it on isolation. I work from home, and the only human being I see on a regular basis is my husband. I love him. He’s my best friend. But sometimes I need to have conversations with other people. Adults, preferably female, who can relate to me and laugh with me. 
I don’t have many friends that I physically spend time with. I bounced around through four states in my late teens and early twenties. By the time I landed in northeast Indiana, I was working mostly from home and rarely venturing out into social situations. I was never a big bar-hopper to begin with. My preferable method for friend making was close-proximity and similar hobbies. What works well in college, doesn’t necessarily translate to adulthood. So, with most of my friends fifty to seven-hundred miles away, I don’t often meet up with them.
And when I do, it seems I have to contend with the verbal runs. 
I don’t always get them. But when I do, I end up contemplating the conversation several hours or days later, suddenly realize what I’ve done, and feel like the worst friend ever. And like such a dork. Thank goodness most of my friends seem to know this about me and accept it, otherwise I would have scared them all away long ago. 
I wonder if they make Mylanta for the Mouth.

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