Sometimes, I have found myself spending time with people that I would truly care about and wonder whether or not I would take the conversation down a specific path. We all have friends that are going through tough times, dealing with specific circumstances or scenarios and sometimes, when in their company, I find myself wondering whether I should ask them about those situations or whether I should simply avoid the subject.
For example, I have some friends in the process of trying for IVF these days and others questioning the relationships they are in, wondering whether it might be time to move on. With some of them, I feel like I know when it is best to stay off the subject, either because we’ve already explored it many times and I have the feeling that it would just be bringing soreness to the moment; or simply because it does not feel quite right or appropriate in that moment. With others, I am not always so sure… It takes a lot of listening, picking up on cues and being gentle and respectful… It’s about observing how they react when I ask the question, how they start answering: do they give short answers and stop; or do they keep going and end up going for long monologues as if they had finally been given the option to open a door they too often have to keep closed. I feel like sometimes, it is not so much about getting some information rather than to let them know that I care about their struggle and am always willing, open and ready to listen to them and that they can feel safe to bring it up as often as they would like.
And then I turn things around: when I spend time with people who know about specific circumstances or lingering stories in my life, do I expect or want them to enquire about it? Well, not necessarily… There is a time and a place for everything; and most importantly, there is a mood… And what complicates it all is that there is no set rule to follow; I would say that it is more about moments and momentum, about intimacy and closeness! I’m pretty good about stopping people from going where I don’t want to go as far as conversations are concerned. I’ve learned to side step unwelcome conversations and I will lie if needed. Yet, sometimes, I find myself spending time with people who do not ask the questions I so badly wish they would ask and I wonder whether it is because they don’t dare or is it because they don’t care… Sometimes it might simply be that they forgot about those personal struggles, or that they might be too busy keeping their own head out of the water to recall. But still, with my close friends, when we are in the midst of having conversations on intimate subjects, I think I need them to inquire or at least open slightly the door, if only to check whether it might be welcome while still being ok with possibly being turned down.
And so I ask myself if there are some questions that I avoid; and when I do, why do I? The answer might be that sometimes, indeed, I do not care and other times, I simply do not dare… In the first case, it might be that with some questions with some people continuously take us down the same old road and sometimes, I just need to stay off that path for my own sake. But I do not think that I would ever make that choice with people I truly care about… or at least not for the long run… Cause when you care, you always find the courage to dare. Or at least, when you have a meaningful relationship with someone and you are used to open up and talk about everything, there is always an opportunity to approach a sensitive subject and make it known that you there and ready to listen.