No, I am not going to see a therapist of any sorts if that is what you inferred from reading the title of my blog this morning. Some may say I need a therapist, but that is besides the point as I am not going to one and not going to write about going to one. Rather, the whole "therapist" theme I am writing about today is more in regards to myself feeling like a therapist at times. What brought this all about was an event Friday night, which due to the request of the person involved, will not be mentioned in detail here. (Boy, if that doesn't sound like a therapist's disclaimer, I don't know what does). Anyway, lets move on from the pitter patter and get into the meat of the matter. For those of you who know me on a personal level outside of the blogosphere, you probably know that for the most part, I don't talk unless I have something meaningful to say. I prefer to adhere to the age old saying that since we have two ears and one mouth, we should listen twice as much as we talk. I prefer not to inject myself into conversations unless I can contribute something. I would much rather listen most of the time. Letting a group of people carry on in their conversations is the best way to see what they are really like. On Friday night, I was kind of an outsider to the party. The 8 people who gathered together on Friday night (9 including myself) all grew up together in upstate New York and it was a reunion of sorts for them. Myself, I got invited only because one of my best friends was there and we hadn't seen each other in a couple of years. So needless to say, whenever all of them were gathered together that night, I got to listen to their stories and catch a glimpse of what their lives are like outside of that one night. But being part of that group is still not the main reason I felt like a therapist that night. Rather, it happened later on as we were moved from a comedy club to a bar down in Greenwich village.
We all congregated in a little bar, the music turned up way too loud, and an empty dance floor in the rear. Most of our group was split up in the bar, involved in little conversations here and there. I floated around and talked to people here and there until at one point, one person from the group came up and started talking to me. We got involved in a conversation that inevitably turned personal for them. At one point, they looked around to make sure none of their friends were too close and told me something that he had only told two other people, their hair stylist and their therapist (ironic, right). It wasn't some personal issue they were dealing with or some down and dirty little secret; rather, it was a game changing decision they had made a few weeks back and still seemed uncertain of this past Friday night. That is all the detail you will get about it. At that point, I kind of felt like a therapist. I asked questions, I pondered, I offered my ideas/advice when necessary, but for the most part, I let this person talk. It seemed almost as if they were still trying to figure out if they had made the right decision and what they were going to do going forward. Personally, I agree with the decision they made although the more I heard about their personal life and other issues, the more complicated the issue became. Nothing is ever cut and dry once you into the deep underlying layers of life and how everything fits together. In short, this person was trying to figure out how to piece together the next part of their life and still wasn't sure if they had made the right decision. I still feel that they did, but I could only offer so much consolation. However things turn out, based upon the decision they made a few weeks ago, I am sure that everything will turn out just fine for them.
Its weird sometimes feeling like a therapist. Friday night is not by any means the first time I have felt like one. I think part of the reason I get picked by people to be their "temporary therapist" is because I listen without judging and only talk when they are done talking. I have been told "secrets" by so many people I have forgotten most of them. If I am sworn to secrecy, I never open my mouth to anyone and I think that people have come to trust that about me. It is a little funny to me, however, that most times I become that therapist, there have been drinks involved and people's tongue's seem to be a little looser than normal. Still, my therapy sessions are not limited to the bar setting. Maybe its the fact that people find me trust worthy. Or maybe they just really value my opinion on different things. Whatever it is, I will probably continue to be a therapist to friends and others whenever it is necessary. To me, apart from the fact that I have the opportunity to potentially impact someone's life, I enjoy listening to unique situations and how people deal with them. Being a writer at heart and a watcher of people, every little insight I can get into humanity, individualism, and the convoluted mess that is the human brain, the more I can build up my own repertoire of experiences to use at a later time. Every time that someone shares personal information with me I find that I re-commit myself to being a better listener. There are times when I don't want to listen, but most of the time, my ears are open and waiting to hear what people have to say.