A friend tells me about another friend we both know.
“Did you see how she dominated the conversation at dinner? It was so irritating!”
Yes, I did notice that other friend tells pretty long stories, describes scenes with detail, took the floor quite a bit during the dinner in question.
But I hadn’t ever thought for one second “she is dominating the conversation”.
So while I noticed certain behaviors, sounds, a way this talkative friend was being….
….I didn’t have the thought it needed to be different.
It never occurred to me.
It wasn’t because I was trying to not be bothered. I really didn’t notice.
I did have a thought about this friend who was telling me about the other friend.
This one talking and telling me about the other one should calm down, be more accepting, stop finding fault with our other friend. She should stop trying to make outcomes turn out a certain way (like all-conversations-with-no-person-dominating).
She shouldn’t be so dominating.
I just joined the party. In an instant.
Who would I be without the belief that my friend’s opinion is uncomfortable, troubling, or dominating for me? Without the belief she should stop being concerned with what she’s concerned with?
I’d hear her. I’d feel like a relaxed listener.
The turnarounds are the most important for me:
I shouldn’t be so dominating of myself, in this situation.
So true. Holy cow.
In that moment when my friend is expressing herself and talking about our other “dominating” friend, I could gently respond.
I could say how, truth be told, I have no idea how to handle someone who is talking a whole lot and that I’ve always just ignored this type of behavior.
I could notice, even say out loud, that I have no solution for this type of intercourse happening in life. I could share that when someone is “dominating” my usual course of action has been to back out of the room slowly, or simply depart.
I don’t want to argue, I’m a bit afraid of the unknown, I’m sad about people not getting along, I don’t know what to say or do.
I notice I’ve “dominated” myself by putting up with numerous incidents in my life, not feeling comfortable about conflict.
I’ve refrained from saying “no” when I felt a clear “no” within. And there I was not saying anything in that moment, in that situation.
I could so lovingly say to my complaining friend “I didn’t notice what you noticed. You could just let it go?” and open up to a conversation with her about it….
….rather than wanting her to be quiet.
In my mind, the other turnaround is also true: “I am dominating her”.
I’m thinking she’s a complainer and trying too hard to control everything about her other friends who talk. I’m moving away from her internally, feeling less connected, less bonded. I don’t like her so much anymore.
Then I feel, I remember, I make contact with the part of me that’s full of compassion, love and honesty, and never in the end afraid to tell the truth out loud.
I’ve always loved this about being me.
And I know a conversation needs to happen.
“To complain is always nonacceptance of what is. It invariably carries an unconscious negative charge. When you complain, you make yourself into a victim. When you speak out, you are in your power. So change the situation by taking action or by speaking out if necessary or possible; leave the situation or accept it. All else is madness.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
And who’s the one who needs to speak up?
That would be me.