Sunday, January 10, 2010

On Conversations and Secrets

Thoughts inspired by a conversation with another professional conversationalist.

I am a professional conversationalist.

It's true. I can strike up a conversation with nearly anyone on nearly any topic and keep a person engaged for hours...often until he or she is divulging secrets to me they've told no one before.

I've come away from conversations knowing the other person feels as though they've connected with me, become intimate friends with me, after one meeting.

In truth, what I've done is asked a few pointed questions, encouraged them to talk of themselves, and I've listened, filed away, and offered no information about myself.

It's always funny to me to hear later how fabulous that person thinks I am when I've given her nothing upon which to base that judgment...except an ear. But then, to actively listen to someone speak of her favorite topic - herself - IS fabulous, yes?

Subsequently, I am also a professional secret keeper.

For my part, I have very little interest in knowing you have a sock monkey puppet fetish1 but if you feel it necessary to disclose that information to me, it's OK. I won't tell. And even when the secret is about me, I do nothing with that information other than to file it away in the folder labeled "Secrets About Jane".

Several years ago, there was a woman in my life - a toxic, miserable girl - whose covert actions against me were consistently brought to my attention. Finally, a friend asked me what I intended to do with all this information I'd received unsolicited. "Nothing," I answered. "She will make her own bed and she will lie in it. It is not necessary to help her along or to give her any satisfaction by reacting or confronting. I'm keeping my enemy close until the day comes when the question of just how much I know and the knowledge that no matter what she does cannot solicit a reaction eat her alive."

There is nothing petty, malicious people hate more than to be ignored.

But that's not the point. The point is that secrets get shared with me...sometimes they are about me. Regardless of the subject, I'm still not in the business of disclosing them. I've been entrusted with knowledge. That is powerful. And I only use my power for good. Even when it's about me.

This does, indeed, make me a good friend. This does, indeed, connect us. Even if the connection is mostly one-sided, I protect it with my silence.

Secret keepers are rare. Think. Care.

1: That's a made up secret. I don't actually know anyone who believes sock monkeys make sex better...but I've got my eye on a couple of you *laughing*.


zero hour said...

For the record that incident in Vegas with Mr. Sock Monkey was a ONE time only thing,never to be repeated.
OH,and it was NOT a puppet,just a regular sock monkey.

thank you for your time.

Just Jane said...

I worry about you.

zero hour said...

me too dear...sigh,me too. ;)