How are you? What's new in your world? They are simple questions. And whether you have much news to share or not is hardly the point. What matters is that the question is asked and the person waits. Listens.
That question was posed to me by a "peripheral" friend on Friday. He waited for my response. He genuinely listened. I didn't have much to share, we'd just seen each other less than a week before hand. But it was the way he asked that resonated with me - and put my luncheon today with a "dear" friend into sharp contrast. She and I have known each other for years. We have watched our children grow together. I have spent time with her family. Hell, I even dated her brother-in-law for a short time. I considered her someone special in my life. And I still do. But in the 4 hours we were together she never once asked me how I was. We talked of what was new and exciting her life, and there are a great many things. We talked about some reoccuring difficulties and I listened while she released her frustrations. I think she needed it. In fact, I want to chalk up her lack of consideration to the fact that she did indeed need to talk, to let some things out. The truth though, is that our times together are always that way. And when I do share some of the things in my life it is often turned back to her. She is a friend. I care about her very much. But still, the realization stung.
I have to wonder. Do I have friends, people I consider important in my life, that I don't ask - I don't take the time to listen to? Do I use them as a verbal dumping ground for my stuff without caring to ask about theirs? I find that I might and it's unsettling. From this point on intend to be purposeful about it. When I'm with someone in person, on the phone or via cyber space, I want to intentionally ask them how they are. I want to genuinely wonder at what is new in their world. And I want to listen.
So, my Cyber-loverlies. How You Doin?