Overanalyzing and Drama

I have this friend
that over analyzes
everything.

I feel like our conversations sometimes go like this:
I say, “I love your hair cut. It’s so cute. I wish I could wear my hair in that style,
but it makes my face look round. It looks wonderful on you!!”
She hears, “I love your hair cut, but it’s cute like a ten-year old.
When are you going to grow up? I wonder if you realize
that style makes your face look fat?”
So, after we talk or email or text,
there is this back and forth exchange of conversation
– that I personally find draining –
to try to eliminate hurt feelings
and explain away misunderstandings.
It’s quite exhausting and so, I find myself, shying away from her
which is a tragedy because she’s a wonderfully intricate, beautiful woman of God.

As much as I value and treasure words and communication,
I really don’t have a tape player running in my head
that replays over and over again
past conversations.
Well … not often, at least.

But, I heard something last week
and said something recently
that seem to be stuck on “repeat.”

About a week ago, during a tender conversation with a friend
about struggles in marriage,
I found myself asking,
“Well … what if you …..”
“maybe you could …..”
or “have you ever thought about …..”
In our chat, he sandwiched naturally in between two sentences,
“You don’t have to try to offer me answers and solve the problem,
I am just sharing the details.”

And I remembered that I do that.

I can’t just listen – I want to “FIX” it!!

Sometimes that’s a good thing,
but sometimes
friends just need you to
be quiet,
be still
and listen.

Yes, sometimes silence
can be dramatic.

The wisdom comes in the deciphering .

The most recent “recording”
is of a (dramatic) compliment
gone awry.

In a phone conversation, another friend said that he needed to send a birthday card to his nephew.
He’s a single dad. I know married dads who have wives who remind them,
“Your sister/mother/brother/father/cousin/best friend has a birthday on Saturday.
Don’t forget to sign the card on the desk
(that I bought and stamped for you … so I can mail it for you.)”
But, this guy takes the initiative to be thoughtful. I was really impressed.
I could have said, “That’s so sweet,” but … that sounds so …. syrupy and average. *yuk.pew.cough*
So, to make an impact, I said, “Really? You send birthday cards? Wow. You know, you’re such a girl.
I mean that as the highest possible compliment. Honestly, that’s absolutely amazing!!”

As I walked back and forth from one side of my queen sized mattress,
securing clean sheets over tight corners,
I hit the repeat button.
I could have said, “Really? You send birthday cards? Wow. That’s absolutely amazing!
I don’t many men that are that thoughtful.”
But, what is memorable about that statement?  Not much.
And I wanted to make an impression.

And I probably did. *winces*

When Joy leaves the house, just before the door closes,
I yell at her from the corner of bedroom,
or the utility room with my head deep inside the well of the washing machine,
or from behind a laptop screen –
“Use your drama for good!”

Each child is different. I want them to have some phrase that sticks out in their head …
something that they can use to finish the sentence,
“My mama always told me to _______________.”
That’s my chosen phrase for Joy.

And yet, I have to be careful myself. I need to continue to strive to be just a bit more attentive to make sure that my words and my silence are both chosen for their uhmpf …
I need to continue to focus on using my drama for good.

Because verbal drama gone awry
is not the kind of drama I want on the recorder
in the memory of acquaintances and friends.
I want to use my drama for good.

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