I’ve been told I am a good listener. I’ve also been told I am a terrible listener. I guess I listen to what I choose to listen to and ignore all the rest. Which is how I approach many things. Throw myself into what I love, sigh loudly at all the rest.
Part of the ‘Melissa is a terrible listener’ judgement is that Tyler believes I do not listen to him because I am able to have a conversation with him and, at the very same time, listen to an entire conversation that is happening elsewhere…between two strangers on the sidewalk, in a restaurant, or in a subway car.
This became apparent to him when I sat next to actress Michelle Williams at a restaurant in Brooklyn. When we left I was able to relay huge portions of her conversation to him. But Tyler had not seen me distracted throughout the meal.
Tyler doesn’t think it’s possible to be a part of both conversations and believed I must be fake listening to him. But it’s just not true. It is possible!
I’ve started to think this is a skill that women have. To be able to ‘engage’ in multiple conversations, file them away and pull them out when necessary. But I also think it’s a skill that writers have. Being present in our own lives while sneaking into a stranger’s life for a time.
Are you a good listener? A selective listener like me?