I try to limit the number of trips I make with my dump truck to the dumps (i.e., ears) of my friends and family. I have found it most efficient to recycle my quandaries through my system until any nuggets left will vaporize once they hit air. Seriously, I’m not trying to add to the landfills of my friends’ heads and hearts with my stuff. When I hear myself complaining, I get embarrassed or feel needy. If my complaining turns into whining, I cut myself off. I can live in silence for days with books, music, work, chores, walks and TV keeping me going. No need to talk at all.
I think if a poll of my friends and family was conducted, you’d hear that I keep my feelings and issues pretty close to my chest. Most friends and family know few details about my projects, experiences, disappointments, rejection slips, and other relationships. A big reason for this is that I don’t like to repeat things – positive or negative. Each experience is a thing unto itself. I live through it once, try to really be in the experience while I’m having it, then it’s on to the next. (I remember reading a book by Ram Das, Be Here Now, when I was 19 or so and have tried to practice, with intermittent success, being in the present moment.)
So, for example, I had two friends over for breakfast last week – one on Wednesday, the other on Friday and, until I wrote it here, only the people who came knew it happened. I enjoyed the breakfasts, enjoyed the one-on-one with one friend I’ve known for at least 25 years and another I’ve met a couple of years ago. (I have a list of people to break bread with and I’m working my way down it as time allows.)
Now, I have a friend, who I love dearly and if she’d had people over, we would have had half-a-dozen conversations about it. She would tell me:
- who was coming over,
- what she was cooking,
- what they talked about, and
- who she planned to invite next.
She shares everything (!) – what her co-workers said or did (on nearly a daily basis), what’s on sale at the store (she calls me while shopping), etc. I listen, sprinkling “uh-huh” and “really” throughout the conversations while I tackle the mountains of paper at my desk or play solitaire on the computer.
I consider her a dump-truck (a pretty one), who half of the time dumps mundane things that take up no emotional room but the other half dumps more serious topics that worry me for a while until I remind myself that she always works it out, whatever is bothering her, and that she doesn’t want my advice and won’t follow it when I give it. I used to try to get on my white horse and run to the rescue with a solution. Now, I just listen or cut the conversation short when I can’t bear any more.
There is a deep loner within me. I have an aversion to clutter (except paper clutter in my office). I don’t like to burden people. I mention something once and if it’s not caught, I let it go and figure it out myself. I also find blogging is an outlet for my thoughts and ideas.
All of this is written as an explanation/apology to someone very close. You must realize that because I don’t expect (or get) pampering, hand-holding or similar stroking from you, I am slow to give it. I don’t get it, try not to need it, and won’t solicit it and therefore I forget that part of being who I am in your life means that I should recognize the need for solace, tenderness, stroking, and repeating of the story/situation/experience a few times.
I try so hard not to take things to the dump! I strongly dislike being dumped on but I know that’s what those of us who are close are supposed to get from each other. Bear with me, this is a hard one for me, but I’m learning. I’ll do better next time.
As I read your post, especially the part about the friend that tells you EVERYTHING, I thought “Sounds like me.” I am not a big talker, but when I do, I do. But this friend of mine tells me so much that I begin to tune her out. Why do I need to know every detail of a sales call that she made and every detail of a doctor’s visit. And like you, I look for that perfect opportunity to politely bow out and begin to get rid of the stuff that tries to stick. (Like her being so staunchly Republican that she has to have a serious talk with her brother because he voted for Obama. And I’m goinng to stop there.) Friday I was feeling a bit low and my first impulse was to pick up a 6 pack and have a pity party while belting back a few brews. Instead I called a friend. We talked, went out to dinner and I found myself feeling much better instead of caving in to self pity and depression. And having talked about it I feel more confident in making certain decisions pertaining to this thing that got me down. Anyway, I had to reply because I saw a mirror image of the relationship that I have with this woman.
I think in some ways I am a dump truck. But only when I REALLY need it – something BIG that I must hear myself repeat over and over to find all the little clues to my own sanity (or lack!). But, I don’t want handholding, or hugging, or clucking. I just want someone else to help me sort out the clues, tell me what I’ve missed. But for normal stuff, what I’m mcooking, who’s coming and going, I don’t talk. I am solitary and you said it well about nor repeating experiences, I always think that the “trivial” is not worthy of words – words are for important things. So, een when I’m with people I am often silent…I don’t remark about this or that around me which I assume evferyone else can see as well as me. I don’t do the huggy hand holding stuff either. The people who do sometimes seem more cheerful than me so I wonder if I might want to cultivate those skills?