Here’s the Skinny…

A Salaried Sleeper

I write those words at least three times per week. It is where I have failed at getting through to my audience with the expanded version and give in to the abbreviated, bullet list which surpasses the attention span of most everyone I encounter.

No. I am neither kicking those with an attention deficit diagnosis nor being supercilious. To be perfectly frank, I am exhausted.

First and Second

It all begins with a simple call where someone asks me to interpret a situation. This a simple fact-finding mission happens between friends every day of the week. First friend calls second friend and explains a situation. Second friend is not embroiled in the situation and sees it very clearly. Second friend restates the situation from the new perspective, often filling in the signals first friend missed. First friend’s light bulb goes on and can see the situation as clearly as the second friend.

At least that is the plan.

The emotional state of first friend confounds what would otherwise be a simple examination of the situation. The consternation clouds the view of second friend’s perspective. This is the place exhaustion takes over.

Get Smart Shoe Phone

No Reconnaissance

First friend cannot let go of the emotions which were clouding judgment in the first place and keeping clear perspective at bay. Second friend has to defuse the emotional static on the line before the message gets to first friend. Ever play a game of emotional telephone?

Shoot the Line

Telephone companies do it all the time. They send the equivalent of a bullet down the line to clear the static. Enter bullet list. Listing only the highlights leaves little room for static. Usually.

It turns out, if the bullets are fired too rapidly in succession, they are not seen as separate points and clog the line when first friend gets to the one which is a bitter pill to swallow. First friend is having a hard time being a good listener. Most frequently, the bitter-pill bullet falls into one of these categories:

  • Lays blame for the situation on the listener
  • Points out the culpability of the listener
  • Points out the sign the listener missed by
    • Denying culpability
    • Believing a lie
    • Being fooled
    • Failing to see not everyone is good

Occasionally, the bitter pill comes as a result of being unable to recognize the truth. Denial has a way of making people unwilling to accept the consequences of their actions, be they good or bad, but especially when they are bad and the main reason first friend needed to talk.

Denial can also be the mask for a lack of understanding. Sometimes consequences are not the direct (easy to follow) result of an action; consequences can go rumble like a 9.6 earthquake through a number of people’s lives before first friend feels the aftershock currently setting the line atilt.

Whichever the cause for the clogged line, the first friend is still just as stuck as when the conversation began.

At some point, we have all been the first friend. All it takes to clear the line is to stop filling it with excuses as to why our perspective is correct. In fact, had our perspective been correct, we would have absolutely no need to call second friend in the first place.

Just a bit of food for thought.

Do you have a first friend who clogs the line of communication (no names)? What can you say to first friend to get an ear open for the bullet(s)?

Hashtags: #communication #friendship #lifelessons


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  1. Red,

    Part of why I love you has to do with your level of insight, whether it be personally, or, for others. Maybe it’s your realization we are all so much alike which gives you that, but, whatever it is, your posts seem to always strike a chord in me, having to do with personal insights…

    To answer, I must admit I don’t. Have friends who do this. I have, but, have also seemed to have reached a point in my semi-long life where the ones who brought that sort of drama with them have faded into acquaintanceship, & don’t call me for that sort of emotional support. The friends I have remaining don’t experience much drama, none they don’t deal with on the spot, so, don’t end up calling…

    It may have to do with the results of a recent FB quiz (one you actually referred me to…), to measure “why do people avoid you?” Your’s, as I recall, was because you’re too honest. Mine was I am too blunt in my honesty.

    Which leads to the personal insight I mention, to wit: perhaps I need to examine my own level of compassion, and how I express it…. Part of that has to do with the morning’s events, of which I’ve already spoken elsewhere, and won’t detail, other than to say I’m not happy with my own ‘self’ today , so far…. Day’s young, though…

    Good one. But, you knew that….


    gigoid, aka Ned

    gigoid, the dubious recently posted..Manifestations of reality….My Profile

    • Sadly, I am not encountering the drama to which you refer. I am finding an inadequate judgment system, single-source information masquerading as the pinnacle of trust and a lack of self-interest to make your Resting post seem as though it is about a different species. In truth, I believe it is. Which raises a perplexing concept: We are a triad.

      One is the ego-driven oppressor, with or without cognizance. Two is the oppressed, herein “First Friend”, see statement about trust. Third is the inhabitants of my island, those of us crystalline enough to see the bull without personally testing either the goring horns or the shoe-sliming pile. In our quaint desire to see all things in couplets, yin and yang of complementary differences, pairs mating for survival and sport, we completely dismiss the omnipresent voyeurs who marvel at the antics in the non-judgmental way we view a virus under a slide.

      I shall stop at this juncture lest this comment become a post of epic proportions bordering on religion.

  2. When we experience problems, we are not always objective about them and sometimes do not even realize our inability to see things the way they are.

  3. I suspect it is always difficult for us to see what is before us when we are in the center of the storm. There is always an emotional component, always. No matter the trust we might have, we are still going to react to what is right in front of our hearts.

    I think there are not enough truly intellectually driven humans in the world today.


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