Earlier this week, I blogged on sanfordcoffee.com about how volunteering for Palate Coffee Brewery improved my confidence. And I wanted to go further into something.
Particularly about how it’s been a pattern in my life to hear people say:
“Rachel, you don’t talk much.”
Honestly, I hear that ALL the time.
My friend tells me, “You don’t ever have to worry about talking about yourself too much.”
I guess I’m quiet. Heck, Savvy called me ‘quiet’ in the first version of our Savvy & Rachel bios. (Not gonna lie, Savvy, at first I was like, really? Now I’m like, oh rightrightrightrightright.)
But I started to wonder if this was a good quality of mine. After all, it can give way to a lot of one-sided conversations. Not to mention, I can come off as evasive.
For example: every other Saturday, my co-barista and I catch up while we steam milk and rinse out espresso shots. But if I ask about his life without thoroughly catching him up on mine, he goes:
“No. Wait. Let’s have more of Rachel.”
It makes me so grateful to have the kind of friend who asks about my life. Those kind of people model for me something that I deeply believe in.
Sometimes the most friendly, feminist, evangelical, social-justicey, book-smart, street-smart, loving thing you can do is listen.
I didn’t come to this conclusion on my own. A few years ago, when I transplanted to Wales, homesick and shaken by having been burgled, a couple down the street took me in.
Because of their faith, they believed I could be an angel and that they were called to welcome me into their home. They asked about how my life in Wales was going and if I needed anything.
One afternoon, the man said:
“You know, everyone has a story and some people are just waiting for you to ask them about it so that they can tell you.”
“Mhmm.” I nodded in agreement.
“No, seriously,” he said. “Go ask someone.”
So I did. The next day, I asked a grumpy-looking woman at Tesco what her tattoo meant. She got so into telling me about her tattoos that she lifted her shirt to show me the one above her hip. It was awesome.
As I said in the blog post about being a barista:
“Asking questions could transform a customer. A person would amble through the door looking as closed-up as a clam, and then stroll away, bright and bubbly as kombucha.”
So I don’t think it’s a bad quality of mine. My friends, family, and the daily, drop-in people in my life have so much to teach me. I want to offer a listening ear. I also will never take it for granted when someone offers me a listening ear.
And I just want to say: thank you for reading my blog post. Thank you for reading my thoughts.