Just to follow-up on THIS POST, I've been fixing my anti-social self, making concerted efforts to "get out there" and interact with the world. It feels good. It feels right.
I've been mulling over an idea from Stephen Covey that, "Most people listen with the intent to RESPOND instead of listening with the intent to UNDERSTAND." I am guilty! I've been analyzing myself, noticing how often I interrupt or get so busy formulating my response to someone that I fail to really listen. It takes effort to shut up, especially when you're a talker/verbal learner. But the connectedness you feel with someone when you REALLY listen is anything but superficial, it's like soul-talk.
I have a friend who is a master listener. She's more concerned with YOUR self-discovery than she is about getting a word in, leading you to realize the answers you already know, validating like crazy, and infusing you with the courage to take action. She is a saint, the most down to earth, human, REAL saint I've ever met, and the first to admit that she is far from perfect...and it's not just lip service (that's what's so endearing about her). She is extremely self-aware and full of hard-fought wisdom through years of living. She's my mentor in a BIG way. Rereading this paragraph makes me so unbelievably grateful that she's in my life, that our friendship is reciprocated (because I'm the leech in that equation).
More often than not, people don't need solutions, they just need validation. They can solve their own problems, but they need a sounding board, reassurance that they're okay in the midst of hard things. I am so grateful for people like that, who create a safe place for me to dump. Although I often wonder how many other people feel safe to dump on them, too, and I feel kinda bad for them...hah, but not bad enough that I don't stop calling them! Just say it, I'm a parasite! I know it!