The Art Of Listening.

A friend, more or less a recluse preferring his own company or just a few close friends of long standing got enmeshed in an avoidable situation. His colleagues from the organisation where he used to work had formed a WhatsApp group and he was not even aware of it. Someone in that group suddenly woke up to the fact that he was still alive and posted a request for contact details from anyone who was in touch with him. One unsuspecting colleague gave the phone number and the problems for my friend started.

First the man who asked for the details called him and insisted on sharing details of his past connections and present where and what-abouts and spoke for more than half an hour. This call was followed by a few others in quick succession, all insisting on holding forth on nostalgia as well as updating to the present.

My friend was getting desperate as he simply wanted to be left alone. He finally had to tell the last caller to request people on the WhatsApp group not to disturb him and finally the calls stopped yesterday.

He called me this morning  to share this misfortune with me. I suggested that his old colleagues were simply bored with the present status under lockdowns and were looking for listeners to converse with. He agreed but, asked me why choose him when he was not in touch with any of them for decades. I suggested that perhaps it was because he is a good listener and the callers had run out of people to call to have chats. He was calmed and we disconnected.

After the call was over, I realised that this conversation took all of 35 minutes of my time.

I patted myself on my back for being a good listener too.

10 thoughts on “The Art Of Listening.”

  1. how wonderful that you both listened and advised …. and it appears your friend, values you much more than you thought.

    when I came clean on f/b about why I didn’t want to go out and about with anyone…a couple of people suggested I return to xyz groups. I thought it about and realised that yes both of the groups would be okay, if it didn’t entail having to go with abc who is actually what I deem a car driver who should be told not to drive anymore! I can get to both groups on my own steam (bus/walk etc) but there is this notion that I need to be driven…

    I’ve now revised my stance of going out – but to date haven’t had to explain it in a public forum…
    Catherine de Seton recently posted..The “inks” are winning…

    1. Listening or speaking in a public forum is completely different. Here, the poor fellow just wants to be left alone but, he got so many unwanted phone calls bugging him no end.

  2. there’s only one of him and I think they kind of swarmed him!
    a mark to his geniality. but for introverts who prefer to be alone it can be exhausting.
    people who are not introverts never seem to be aware of that.
    and one doesn’t want to hurt others’ feelings of course.
    your part in it must have made him feel better about it all!

  3. I sympathize with your friend and I was about to do a blog post of my own on such intrusions and neediness.

    I am really into marshaling every scrap of energy for myself these days and energy vampires are everywhere ready to suck the marrow out of my bones.

    I monitor every call for such creatures. I don’t lack empathy, but surely it’s someone else’s turn?


  4. I have come across similar friends who shunting contacts. This is a psychological phenomenon
    Proper counseling would help

  5. It must be infuriating when a bunch of old friends (or work colleagues) take it into their heads to catch up with someone they used to know, someone who has no interest in reliving the past or getting back in touch. I imagine I would feel equally infuriated at their presumption.

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