“Do you want to come over for dinner tomorrow night?”  “Sure, what can I bring?”  “Oh, just your lovely husband.”  “Harry would like that.”  “Good, around 7 then? Oh, could you bring a bottle of that nice Merlot?”  “I think we have a couple of bottles left; sure.”  “See you then. Oh we’re having ribs and aaa maybe corn on the cob.”  “Great. Look forward to it. Bye.”  “Bye.”  “Harry!  Harry!”  “Yea babes.”  “Charlotte invited us for dinner tomorrow night.”  “Mmm.”  “What?”  “Nothing.”  “You think she’s feeling guilty about?? “No; maybe.”  “I wonder if her new boyfriend will be there. She wants us to bring a bottle of your precious Merlot. You have some left, don’t you?”  “A few bottles.”  “You bring two and she’ll down one herself.”  “Mmm.”  “You did tell her not to worry about the dent she put on your van?”  “As she knocked down my little peach tree pulling into our drive.”  “You saved it didn’t you?”  “I replanted it. We’ll see.”  “Harry? Harry!”  “Yea babes?”  “I … I wonder what she wants now.”

Too bad life is rarely simple. A ‘friend’ invites you to dinner. You wonder what is on her agenda. She has a history of take, take, take. You being a giving person accommodate her. You have known her since high school. She has not had an easy life though many of her troubles have been brought on by her own short sightedness and, you hate to admit, her selfishness. You do try to look at the positive in people. But with your friend it is not easy. When you converse with her you always ask yourself “What does she want?”  Of course, you never ask.

Communication on the most rudimentary level is displayed when an animal or even a baby makes sounds that signal needs and wants. Food and play … you are there to provide them … no questions asked. Safety IS also a consideration. As those under your care mature you must be more cautious. Responding to their demands becomes more complex. A dialogue evolves that is essential for training and conditioning. In the case of little ones you must impress on their memory vital information. Neglecting for example the threat of a hot oven could result in pain. Do not want that. So you have the necessary, on-going training. This becomes more challenging as teenagers assert themselves. You try to understand them. You must consider their feelings, their striving for independence. Tact becomes important. Not what you say but how you say it is most often on your mind when dealing with a 16 year old. So what else is new? But try as you might your child knows the ‘whole’ you and will inevitably find faults. You can only hope that your love and caring will lead your child to acceptance and accommodation. This may take a few years. “Whew!”

This is pretty much what you want with the people you meet daily. But ‘word games’, equivocation and subterfuge, driven by desires, needs, fears, ego-boosting, all make honest, spontaneous discourse rare. People put up ‘walls’. They ‘paste’ their images on them presenting what they perceive puts them in the ‘best light’. They develop habits, expressions and gestures which seem effective in their ‘presentations’. Measured, considered responses are the norm. For self-consciousness and preserving a certain image are powerful, consuming motivators. Some never overcome these except possibly with a spouse. Sad. For most people have the same need to be understood and share. Deep down everyone wants to trust, to open up to another.

With a truly caring friend you can be ‘free’ to be yourself. You, the real you, is accepted and appreciated warts and all. Bonds form and sharing experiences becomes a vital part of your life. There is little in life more precious then this. When you talk someone LISTENS. When you are anxious someone CARES. Love flows.

So take chances, more and more, in trusting and caring for people. Begin with dialogues and a keen interest in others. Many will reciprocate. Your life will become fuller. There are no limitations … for you. Just open your heart and welcome the ‘awkward ones’, those who have been depriving themselves of friendship, those in need of YOU.



©2007-2008 Edwin O'Shea and All or part of only one topic, including all definitions and essay, may be used without written permission. Please see full copyright notice on home page.