Listen with your heart

listen with your heartI need your advice. One of the things I’ve learned since starting this blog is it’s just as much important to understand what doesn’t make you happy, as what does make you happy. I also know that sometimes you just have to Let it go, and channel your energies into something positive instead of focusing on the negative.

Last week we spent the evening with a group of people we see often and are close to us. It was a nice night but it occurred to me at the end of the night, they didn’t ask a single question about my work, what we’ve been up to lately, or a big trip I’m taking in a couple of weeks. It really hit home when we got up to leave and not a single person said “Have a great trip” even though they knew they wouldn’t see me before I left.

I’ll admit I was a bit hurt. This same group of people have stated on many occasions (including that night) that they are way too busy to read my blog and have never read it.

For those of you who do read this blog, you’ll know I often post about my family. I know there’s lots of people out there who won’t like what I post and who don’t get this blog and I’m okay with that. But I would have thought people close to us might check in from time to time if for no other reason than to see what my family is up to. To blatantly dismiss it and show no interest is bizarre to me and frankly a little hurtful. Since they’ve told me many times they don’t read it, I don’t have to worry about them seeing this post.

Dave and I had an interesting conversation afterwards about the art of conversation. I observed that it seems people don’t truly listen anymore or take an interest in what others are doing. He agreed and told me that to this day, a close co-worker has still not said “sorry for your loss” or acknowledged in any way the death of his mother this February.

There’s a funny little column in the Toronto Star called The Dating Diaries. Each week, someone goes on a date with a person they met online, then describes the date and rates it out of 10. I’ve noticed a theme in these columns. Often the person writing the column rates the date low and says that the other person talked about themselves the entire time. No second date.

Dave blames social media for the narcissistic society that we have become. We post what we’re doing every minute of the day on Facebook and bloggers like me take to the net in a never-ending stream of self-gratification. We are living in selfie age. I agree, but I also think social media is a great way to keep in touch with those you might not be able to see, support people, and engage and share in conversations.

So, dear readers, now it’s your chance to weigh in on the debate and give me your advice. Am I unrealistic to expect people to take an interest in my life? Have we stopped listening with our hearts? And do you think social media is to blame or are we just so busy in our lives we’ve stopped listening with our hearts and caring about what is going on in other people’s lives?

This week’s #HappyAct is to leave a comment to help me understand and to actively reverse this trend by listening with your heart. Make a conscious effort to stop what you are doing, shut your mind to distractions and completely focus on your conversations with people and ask about what’s happening in their lives.


25 thoughts on “Listen with your heart

  1. I know exactly what you’re talking about Laurie, and I wouldn’t feel too upset. When I started writing my blog, I would wait impatiently for the likes and comments to roll in. When they didn’t, I would feel disappointed. But I realize the demands on everyone’s time can be daunting. It doesn’t mean they are not reading and enjoying the content. A lot of people have told me the old fashioned way, face to face, that they enjoyed my pieces, even though they never liked or commented on social media. In the end, I write for myself. I feel a rush when I get locked into writing a piece, and a huge feeling of accomplishment when I’m finished.
    Have a great trip to Ireland Laurie! My mom visited there a few years ago and loved it.

  2. Laurie….I read and enjoy your blog every week!! I don’t see you very often, so find it is a great way to hear what you are up to. I thought about your comments re: asking questions. I have some friends and family who feel that questions are prying….like the “Spanish inquisition”, so I admit I often let them share their thoughts when they are ready. It is a fine line.
    Do enjoy your trip, sounds fabulous! I am envious 🙂

  3. Hmmmm. This is a very personal way to view the world, to different people. I understand and really do get what you’re saying, as a similar issue has just happened with me as well. But what it has taught me is that we cannot assume that everyone “wants” to know what we’re doing in our daily lives. They are so busy with their own lives that it doesn’t occur to them that having interest in our own lives is important to us too. I know in my situation, the offender often relies on the old adage “no news is good news”, and they are content with that. I am not, so I do take the time to ask about what they have been up to. And within that conversation, I include snippets of my own life because I enjoy talking about it even if they don’t ask. (Even if I bore them about my chickens !)
    Not sure if that helps to answer your confusion, but it is how I have learned to adapt to these types of people.
    I don’t think it’s so much to do with social networking as much as it has to do with selfishness and entitlement, and ignorance.

    1. I should also add that I don’t always comment on your blog either, but I do enjoy reading it as I relate to most of what you write about. Have a fabulous trip! Looking forward to seeing your view of that side of the world!!
      Thanks for taking the time to write,Laurie 😊

  4. I read your blog every week and I really enjoy all the pictures you post and the stories you tell. Sometimes there are even about us, which is cool. I think people still care and some people are better than others about remembering details like “how’s your son doing at school”, “when is the baby due?”, “How do you like your new job?”. I have a friend who never ceases to amaze me by always asking about what the kids are doing and how’s my job going, etc. I think she cares and wants to hear the answer, but I also think she doesn’t like to be the centre to attention and always focuses the conversation on someone else. There is a plethora of reasons why people do and don’t behave a certain way, however I think you always need to go back to the basics and decide if the person normally cares about you and this was a one off…that being said I do feel that there is a certain pace we are maintaining which doesn’t provide for the luxury of sitting around chatting and getting to know people any more.

  5. I always read your blog when it pops up on my Facebook feed, but that doesn’t seem to happen every week and to be honest I don’t think about it until I see the next one. If you wrote about going to Ireland I missed it and hadn’t heard at work that you were heading there soon. We loved Ireland and can’t wait to go back. Will be interested to swap stories when you return.
    I, too, would be miffed if close friends didn’t seem to take an interest in my life. With luck some of your friends who say they don’t read your blog happen on this one, so they’re aware how they’ve hurt you and hopefully change their ways.

  6. Social Media does have an effect on the way people communicate. Sometimes I take for granted that I all ready know what’s going on in people’s lives through various channels. It does raise an interesting point though. An example I read earlier this year happened around Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks passing. People often said the best part about Ernie was that he always asked fans and friends how they were doing, “How’s your wife?” or “How’s your brother doing?” those type of questions and rarely would he talk about his Hall of Fame career. He knew the art of conversation. I’m terrible at it. Always have been. I’m taking this challenge.

  7. I love your blog Laurie. I read it every week. I think I’ve told you before that I live vicariously through you and your family. You are always doing and going to amazing events. I love hearing about what is going on in people’s lives. I lead a very boring life so I really enjoy hearing about what others are doing. Have a wonderful trip to Ireland.

  8. Great point Mark – we do tend to feel we already know what’s going on in each other’s lives due to social media and it has changed how we communicate with each other. Sadly, it definitely is the selfie age. I agree we need to start listening with our hearts again and taking an interest in each other’s lives (myself included). I think our generation is feeling the loss (well some of us) because we know what’s it’s like to have an actual conversation, but when I look at “the kids today”, they barely know how to make eye contact, let alone communicate with each other. Try not to feel too hurt Laurie. Perhaps like me and my terrible memory, maybe your friends couldn’t quite remember the details of your trip and were embarrassed to bring it up for fear of looking like bad friends.

  9. Having spent the last week in a tiny village in the uk with no cell service, I’ve noticed how liberating its been to leave my phone at home. All the family & friend catch ups have been so much more fun because noones staring at their phones! I agree the worlds gone a little selfie crazy. On the other hand, I love reading blogs from my friends near & far, it’s a great way to find out what everyone is up to when I’m not able to meet up with them. I love it when a friend asks me about a blog post or comments on a story, it shows that they took the time to see how you’re doing 🙂

      1. First, thanks to all of you for weighing in. It seems like we all struggle with this. And you’ve opened my eyes to insights I wouldn’t have thought of, like questions may seem prying, that the people may have been embarrassed to ask because they’ve forgotten the details (I’m guilty of this more frequently than I’d like to admit), that maybe they figure no news is good news, and that in today’s busy age, it’s a luxury we don’t make time for. We gave Dave’s Mom a memory book to fill out when the girls were born–we treasure it especially now that she’s gone and one of the questions she answered was what was the biggest change you’ve seen in your lifetime. She answered, people just don’t sit and visit or be still any more. So true. I also agree that with social media, we know now a lot of what people are doing with out even asking! Thanks everyone, this has helped a lot and appreciate all the well wishes and words of support for my little happy act. Keep the comments coming…

  10. I want to first start of by saying sorry to all of on the loss of your mother and grandmother. I find it hard and awkward sometimes with a passing on what to say and fear saying the wrong thing , maybe it is the same with your co worker, I guess I am worried that you may upset that person. I love the blog Laurie I feel so close to your girls and am honored to be a part of there childhoods and love to see what they do in there everyday life. I think we totally are a read and delete society now and the we don’t think anymore about it, I am so guilty of this. This blog is inspiring and reminds me to tune in which I struggle with all the time. Dan is amazing at connecting with total strangers and always is so genuinely interested in what they have to say, I tend to shy away and hate this about myself. I find you guys inspiring and love to watch you parent your children you guys could give lessons lol, your amazing.

    1. I’m humbled by such lovely words but have to laugh out loud about our parenting skills. I still say in some ways I’m the worst parent in the world. In the past week, my kids have watched Ted and The Bachelor. Good to know I’m scarring them for life. But thank you! And thank you for the kind words about Dave’s Mom. I forget sometimes how hard it is for people to acknowledge a loss and find just the right words to say.

  11. I find it strange when people close to me do not read my blog, but, others, whom I have very little connection with, seem to have read (and maybe even memorized, haha) all of my posts. I have stopped taking it to heart and instead take extra pride when I run into an old friend I haven’t seen for years and they say they read the blog and love it.
    I find using social media makes it much easier to keep up on my friend’s lives…I’m really bad at calling people, setting up time for coffee, or going to social events where I would get a chance to chat.
    As for your situation Laurie, I would be just as offended – that nobody asked about you, your life, your trip – just seems rude. Not necessarily that they don’t read your blog, but, if I’m reading this right that doesn’t seem to bother you as much.
    I’m kind of siding with Dave, that maybe social media is causing a some narcissism – there are now countless chances to talk about yourself online. Do that over and over again it might slip into your offline life?

    1. You are bang on, Matt, as always, the blog thing is just a side conversation, the real question and debate is have we lost our ability to care about what’s happening in other people’s lives? I agree with everything you say, and have to admit I’m the same about the phone and calling people. I’ve never been great at talking on the phone to catch up with people. That’s where I love social media too. Thanks for your support and insights.

  12. I always look forward to reading your blog Laurie. It reminds me to take note of the little things in my life that make me happy. When I am sitting quietly on the dock early in the morning with my coffee and a paper that’s happy. It’s also a great way for me to keep up with all the happenings in your family. We don’t get together often, but I get to see the girls growing. I hope you have enough inspiration to keep on writing. Enjoy your holiday. Hope to see you on Labour Day. Slainte!

  13. The other day Gary & I sat on the beach and watched some guy take his camera on a selfie stick into the water. As he cavorted and tried to get the perfect picture of himself hugging his lady friend, your phrase “is social media making us narcissistic?” floated through my mind. It was laughable in a way to watch this guy.

    That being said … I am as guilty as anybody of posting the odd selfie ….

  14. I think people are simply too busy. I like to think they do care and would be there for us when we really need them. I know that’s the case with me. I don’t read the blog as often as I would like but it is always uplifting when I do.

    The exception would be the ones who hound me with invites to play fb games. Where do they get the time? No excuses there. Lol

  15. Hi Laurie, your words really hit home. There has been many a friend in my 20’s and 30’s that are no longer in my life in my 40’s because it was all about them, all the time. It’s not too much to expect. Friendships and love is a balance between give and take and life’s too short to be with people who take and don’t send it back. Continue to have high standards for your true friends Laurie! Enjoy your trip!!

  16. old school approach. take lots of pics in ireland, and dont post any online. when you are back, invite people over for an informal slideshow presentation of your trip, and see who attends. you will find out who your real friends are..

  17. Even though I don’t comment often, just not really me – I am more of a read and digest it sort of person rather than read and comment – we read the blog and enjoy it each week. It is great to be able to find out what adventures you and the family are getting into. I hope you had a great trip – loved seeing the pictures, so gorgeous – and the family is enjoying time in the lake!

  18. Pingback: Best happy acts of 2015 | Happy Act

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