I am a shitty friend. I tend to neglect friendships by not keeping up, or arranging lunches or emailing regularly.
I don’t know why I do this, but I do.
When I was a kid, and people would compliment my mother on how good her children were, her stock response was, “They thrive on neglect.”
I don’t know about the “thrive” part, but she was certainly honest about the neglect.
I am always amazed and deeply grateful that the people in my life who I consider friends, who I value as friends, who nourish me and comfort me and make me laugh, who touch my heart and enrich my life beyond measure still want to talk to me, and see me, and seek me out, and hang with me even though I neglect them.
I want to tell them I’m sorry. I want to repent my shitty friend ways. I want them to know how much I appreciate their generosity in the face of my stinginess. I want them to believe that I love them even though lots of times they don’t really feel it due to the way I act, or don’t act, in feeding the friendship.
I am grateful that they don’t die as friends a result of my neglect.
I just spent four and a half hours talking to a woman who only recently has become a friend. We met for dinner at the local brewpub at 6 pm and didn’t stop talking until 10:30 and we could have gone on way longer than that but I had to get home and post this blog before the clock struck midnight in order to preserve my streak.
The conversation we had was a meditation, a sacrament. I felt heard and I heard. I felt seen and I saw. I felt understood and I understood in return. The food came, the food was taken away. The waitress brought the check and it was ignored. The intensity of the conversational energy was so intense that, even though I saw people I knew, they didn’t approach to say hello. (One of them slipped me a note on his way to the bathroom to say “hi,” that’s how intense the conversational vortex was.)
Towards the end of the night when the kitchen was closed, and the staff was cleaning up, and there were just a few people left, the intensity subsided enough that a waitress who I love dared to venture over timidly, and then my trainer paid a visit, but that happened way later. In the heaviest of the conversational force-field, there was no restaurant, no other people. There was just dialogue.
Sometimes I feel lonely in this town. Who am I kidding? MOST of the time I feel lonely and alienated here. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: this is not my tribe.
And while it is true that the dominant and ruling tribe here does not align with my values or my politics, there ARE people with whom I share a worldview and who I feel deeply connected to. These people save me. They save my sanity. They mitigate my loneliness. I would miss them if they moved and I couldn’t sit and have dinner with them and just talk for hours.
If they neglected me, I would not thrive.
I would wither.
Namaste, dear ones.
4 thoughts on “The Importance of Conversation and Connection”
Excellent post. Captured so much of what I have felt at times. Namaste right back at you.
Thank you, John!
I regret having neglected so many friendships during my sojourn here in the vastness of Mongolia… How I long for conversation that is meditation. These posts and insights into your life give me so much. “Thank you” doesn’t express my gratitude nearly enough. But thank you nonetheless, dear Kath!
Moonbeam! How I have missed you! You must be getting to the end of your incredible soujourn, no? Let me know when you are close and we will talk endlessly, meditatively, sacramentally, hysterically! Cannot WAIT! so much love to you. so much.