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Who can I talk to? Wednesday May 15, 2013

We know how powerful talking can be at lifting our mood. Here are three qualities associated with people who are especially good to talk with.

Are they non-judgmental? Some people just can't resist sitting in judgment on what you say. You are right or wrong. They agree or disagree with you. Sometimes, they express their criticisms explicitly, other times by giving unwanted advice, often starting with 'If I were you, I'd ...' People who are non-judgmental make good conversational partners.

Do they share? We all know people who'll happily listen to what we say but rarely share the details of their own life in return. They may be good listeners as such but it's a one-way street. This sort of one-sided conversation may be satisfactory while you 'unload' but ultimately it's like talking to a tape recorder rather than a human being. It's good to share.

Do they challenge you? For a conversation to have therapeutic value, your partner must feel free to challenge you when you say something that deserves to be reality-checked. For example, if there's a discrepancy between what you say you believe in and how you behave in practice, then they should point this out to you and you should respond with honesty and openness. Remember, change comes from challenge.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Anonymous Wed, May 15th 2013 @ 6:40am

Finding people and/or a person to talk with during the most difficult times is especially important. I feel that most people--myself included--are embarassed to share intimate, unseemly situations with someone else, even if the venting or sharing is beneficial. Example: marital problems. Working on them with your spouse or partner is the most important thing, but what happens when an outside voice or ear is needed?

Julia Wed, May 15th 2013 @ 9:15am

I think being challenged is the hardest to bear and it's difficult to challenge a friend's behaviour too unless done with jest and with humour. (unless he or she asked me to be honest during a deep conversation and really needs help)
I THINK I would like someone close to me to tell me that my behaviour does not reflect how I tell him I am feeling or what I believe in. But I am not sure who I could trust to do this. It's an interesting thing to think about, challenging one's behaviour. I challenge it inner critical voice.... It's too early in the morning for me to analyse this properly but I will think about it! The non judgmental quality of a friend is to be treasured. So important.
I find with some people, I cannot share as there is a past history where the other person has been so used to pouring out her troubles and others have been there to help her, that talking about myself has never or will never be an option. But as a general rule, I agree a good conversation is about sharing but sometimes neutral subject sharing is safer. I think if I opened up too much about my feelings with some friends, they may not be able to cope so I am usually pretty guarded and generally speaking prefer to listen. However I have started to "share" so that the conversation is not too one sided, for the benefit of the other person more than for me

Anonymous Wed, May 15th 2013 @ 9:33am

Maybe more professional, objective help is needed if it's too awkward to talk to friends, and the issues are between you and your partner. A counsellor or someone at Relate perhaps? I've used both, and it's remarkable how easy and helpful it is to tell a stranger (allbeit a professional), things I would never have told anyone else.

Anonymous Wed, May 15th 2013 @ 1:22pm

When people do not share backyou are left feeling vulnerable and exposed. Whilst a counsellor is a very worthwhile experience, you do not get any feedback about your behaviour. The listening is good, but not always a way of resolving things. Hiding behind a mask becomes second nature. You kind of know that if you admitted how you felt, the depth of it, reaction might be drastic. And then no going back, no hiding or privacy possible. Not everybody, even close to you, WANTS to know how you are feeling, I find

Kevin Elliott Wed, May 15th 2013 @ 2:01pm

Sharing with a trusted friend is beneficial at times. But a lot of times I prefer to journal. I can do this in a 1st person monologue or sometimes I will do this in conversation form. I will start with how I am feeling and then the other person in this conversation would be a "sane" me and the words of encouragement I would give to a friend that would saying what I was saying. Sometimes my dialogue is between me and God. He still speaks!

Anonymous Thu, May 16th 2013 @ 8:54am

Yes, I find this useful too. It's strange how the act of putting pen to paper helps you see things differently.

Anonymous Fri, May 17th 2013 @ 9:09pm

Change comes from challenge?? Mmmm I wonder about this. Change comes I believe from understanding ourselves and others more... I'm a bit nervous about this word 'challenge'. Maybe its how you go about it is the important thing. Challenge someone in the wrong way and you may instantly turn a friend into an enemy and end up with a big big problem on your hands - hurt feelings, loss of trust and God knows what else. I think this needs a bit more consideration about peoples feelings and needs .... for connection and understanding .... but for challenge? Not so sure about that.

Agnes Zirinis Sat, May 18th 2013 @ 6:24pm

Maybe it depends how you challenge. We do not all have the same personnality. Some take the challenge, some don't. Love and compassion are always necessary. I agree that it's in the sharing that both can learn the most. I also keep writing to clear my thinking, and always listen: it's true God still speaks! He always did!

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