At a dinner party recently I was struck by the somewhat surreal way the conversations seemed to go, really a series of shared monologues. Some one would share something interesting they were up to. Then someone else would chime in with something they were up to, and so on. Now on the one hand, there is nothing wrong with this, actually a rather typical rhythm of group conversation.
What struck me in retrospect was the lack of followup questions or curiosity about something that had been shared? What was this about? What I missed was the depth and sense of wonder that comes from inquiring further about other peoples experience. There would be lull’s in the conversation until someone else came up with something else to share. I can’t remember a part of the conversations that started with a question.
And this included me. Was I in a bit of a trance where I lost my own ability to probe beyond the surface to get at added texture and facets of each others experiences. Or is this a new norm, maybe a fallout of the intrepid on line one way communication and sharing that has become the standard of interpersonal communication, if we can call it that?
Or is there so much on all our minds, so many different inputs and distractions that it is becoming harder to listen each other. Does our ability to really listen to each other mean less being on our mind in the first place?