Recently, I read that introverts have this quality: the ability to just stand there and have many people just tell you their life story.
It doesn’t always happen every day. But occasionally, when I ask someone out to lunch or coffee, I suddenly find myself hearing the deep dark secrets, the drama, and the trauma. It’s not that I don’t want to hear it, I do really. It’s that I wasn’t necessarily seeking it, but it appears suddenly on my lap.
On occasion, those people often remark that they haven’t been able to tell that story to many people, except me.
But I did nothing different except nod solemnly, almost eliciting those stories to fall out. Now, in no uncertain terms, do I ever share those stories, but I am sometimes shocked that they’re there, for me to hear.
I hear about the breakups, the sadness of parents, the terror of a former partner, and the ill family members. Maybe I question why I deserve to hear it. Because there are certainly moments when I am looking at a watch in my hand wondering when I can politely leave or when I can dish out my own story. But in those moments, I find that I can’t and I don’t want to share. It’s easier this way, I think, to hear and listen, because so few people actually do.