I have one friend who makes me laugh. Really hard. All the time. In fact, when my phone rings and I see her name pop onto the screen, I don’t even try to contain the grin that involuntarily spreads across my face. No matter my mood or my circumstances, just the sound of her voice lifts my spirits instantly. I love her to pieces.
I have another friend who makes me feel like home. She has always been there and always will be. I don’t have to explain things to her because we have so much history and, after all this time, she just knows me. She’s my anchor and I can count on her for anything. She’s part of me. I love her to pieces, too.
Why am I writing about friendships when this is supposed to be a blog about communication insights? Honestly, I’m not completely sure, but I think this is the reason. Through my friends, I get to know myself better. I’ve learned to recognize the times I reach out to them and the reasons for them. I’ve learned to celebrate the ways they make me feel and the buttons they push to do it. Through my friends, I learn my own native language.
If you think that sounds self-centered, I respectfully disagree. If I can’t recognize my own language, I certainly won’t know how to translate it for you. It’s like this: if I speak English and you speak German, we might have problems communicating. But if I also don’t KNOW I’m speaking English, I won’t even know where to start fixing the problem. To be really effective, knowing my audience isn’t enough. I also have to know myself.
Thanks, Sally and Robin. You give me so much.