Why being a good listener is really important.

I pride myself on being a engaging, empathetic listener. I really try. I think it’s important and it’s a skill that will help you in life. But some people make it hard. People who talk. A lot. They barely breathe, they are just dispensing words at an insane pace. You feel like you don’t even have to be there.. Well, turns out you have to be. As I discovered when I might have accidentally told my aunt, me and my friends all have AIDS.

Ok. Stay with me. This all starts with a dream. I had a dream my friend had AIDS and she came to party and gave it us. It was basically like 1980’s AIDS, when we all thought we could get it from a hand shake. Not cool. I know. But I can’t help if my dreams are not educated on the AIDS epidemic. It was a bizarre dream, as my friend is married, does not use intravenous drugs nor has had a blood transfusion, like ever. So I text my friend and let her know. This is when shit gets WEIRD. The SAME night, she has a dream that she got pricked with a needle and got AIDS and is scared that we might all know she got it. So we all laugh at the bizarre coincidence and move on.

A few months later, my Florida Aunt comes over. She talks. And talks. It’s physically exhausting. I’m not sure why, but it makes me actually tired? I’m basically just a sounding board. She talks about nonsense, for instance how upsetting it is that people are saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” LIKE IT’S AN ACTUAL PROBLEM IN HER LIFE and how much money she has. I nod and smile and wait for opening to talk, which rarely comes. She begins to talk about how her son is psychic and they share dreams and how everything her son dreams comes true. I’m only half listening because it’s hour four of my saying “Uh huh” and shaking my head every 3 mintues. But I hear dream and I see an opening!!! I have a fantastic dream story!! I tell her my AIDS dream expecting to knock it out the park. Who doesn’t love a dream about a politically-charged life-threatening disease? Well, not this lady. It is met with crickets. Nothing. She quickly moves onto how much money her son makes and I move back into my comatose state of listening. It wasn’t until a few days later I realize; her whole point was that her son’s dreams ARE REAL and she thinks my point was probably the same. So I’m pretty sure she thinks me and all my friends have AIDS. I don’t for the record. Unless you can get AIDS from dreams. Then, maybe.

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