Have you ever had a conversation with someone and thought you were having one conversation to find out later the person with whom you were talking, although in the same room, with the same words said and heard had a completely different conversation? It’s like someone says, “I like you,” and the person hears I like you, you’re a good buddy and they respond with, “of course I like you too.” Gives the other person a soft punch on the shoulder and walks away.
One person was declaring their feelings towards someone and the other received it as a statement of the obvious, friends like each other. One person walks away totally hurt and destroyed, the other walks away thinking, what a great friend I have, how lucky am I.
I was just in a conversation with a friend who is struggling with communication in a relationship that he’s in. He says one thing, the other person responds, there maybe one exchange of words, but there are two different conversations.
I dated a guy for a while a few years back. He and I make a commitment to be honest with each other and to tell the truth. He had a friend coach him on how to approach different conversations with me. I remember this one night he called and said we needed to have a conversation. Of course I was already jumping to conclusions in my mind as to what we needed to talk about. The first words out of his mouth were, “Cari, I first need you to know that I am not planning on breaking up with you in this conversation.” Immediately the stress left and we were able to have the conversation… and actually just have one conversation.
It is amazing what perspective can do to a conversation. He set the table for me to hear what I needed to hear. We often hear things with a filter. We hear things through insecurity, fear, pride, love, care, concern, self-pity, and the list goes on. When our filter is shame, we do not hear observations, we hear value judgments. When our filter is care, we hear with an intent to express such care. Sometimes our filters hear more than what is actually being said, and assumptions, good or bad are made.
I have a friend who when I tell a story of personal struggle, this friend immediately feels guilty because they believe it is their responsibility to get me out of the struggle and already believe that they are failing. So I share a struggle just to share a struggle and this friend walks away hurt, because they are not enough for me. Once the above friend and I talked about it, we were able to engage conversations differently
Perspective AMAZES me.
When I think of how Jesus interacted with people, I wonder how people perceived Him through their various perspectives.
Can you think of an interaction with Jesus where perspective played a role?
Have you had a conversation or encounter with a person where perspective got in the way of listening?
Tell me about it….