Listening to Each Other

I hesitated about whether or not to write about this subject, but I made a mistake recently and it’s been on my mind a lot.

The set up and mistake: Hubby and I went to the horse races, and overall, we had a fun day. But, it was very crowded. And everyone was saving seats, so every time we went to sit down on the bleachers, we got “sorry, we’re saving those seats.” My back hurts if I stand for too long a time and hubby’s back hurts no matter what, but is worse with standing. So I get that I wasn’t in the best frame of mind when I asked a man if the seats next to him were saved. His response was “My wife is coming back.” So I asked him if we could sit for just a couple minutes to rest our backs and he was fine with that.

At the other end of the bleachers, a lady offered to scooch together her family so we could crowd in with them. We were very grateful and scooched. I looked to be sure I left a seat for the wife of the nice man who’d let us sit there.

Mistake #1: I didn’t turn to this man and let him know we were staying, that the others had moved down to accommodate us.

Ten minutes later, the man leaned over to me and called me a liar. He reminded me I’d said I was going to sit down for just a couple minutes. I explained then that we’d crammed in with the others on the bench and I’d make sure I left a spot for his wife.

He said “I didn’t say I needed one spot. I said my wife was coming back.”

Mistake #2: I did what I accuse our government of doing. I didn’t listen. I was so stuck on the semantics of his statement vs. the one seat I left, that I couldn’t see past them to understand what the man was saying. And he was not listening to me, either. He just kept saying the same thing, and he called me a liar two more times.

We ended up getting up and moving to stand at the rail, because neither hubby or I wanted an out and out argument. But I spent a lot of time thinking about this. It’s how I learn, so I don’t make the same mistake again.

Neither of us were listening, but I am only concerned with learning from my actions. I did not try to understand his side of things. I intensely dislike divisiveness. Our government drives that dislike home on a regular basis. I keep telling my legislators that I wish they would listen and compromise. Very hypocritical of me since, when put in the same situation, I did exactly what they do. I followed the party line. My line.

What I should have done was 1) told him right away we were sharing with the other end, and 2) I should have listened when he got upset. Had I tuned into to his frustration, I honestly believe I would have simply apologized and moved, and I would have felt good about it.

For now, I’m hoping that putting my apology out on the airwaves is enough. This man was a stranger and I doubt I will ever run into him again. But I am truly sorry I didn’t listen. And I will try harder from now on to stop and think about what someone is saying before responding.

There. That’s it. My personal journey blog. Hopefully, I won’t have to post another one like this for a long, long time. 🙂

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10 responses to “Listening to Each Other

  1. Barbara Smith

    Well…dear, sweet, kind Laurie,
    First…he was a jerk. That aside, you had every right to assume he meant “wife” only by the way he phrased it. You got up and left…good for you for peacefully ending his anguish. We do not stop often enough in this busy life to hear everything someone is telling us…true. However, I don’t know how you could have seen this one coming. Just an observation though -good thing Lavada wasn’t with you! 🙂

    • Lol. Lavada and my husband are a lot alike in a lot of good ways. Which is why we just moved. 🙂 No matter how it happened, it was a learning experience for me. I dislike confrontation and consider myself a pacifist. But what it really boils down to is that if I’d listened, I’d feel better about it, eh? Thank you for your kind words, Barb!

  2. OH MY GOSH I am sitting here laughing my rear off. Barb, years ago I found a thing that said as a Libra I was a dove. OKAY, I found it on a book of matches.

    Laurie, I know what you mean about listening but it helps if the person words and presents a friendlier verbiage. Darn hard to listen when it starts out as him calling you a liar. You do listen, I just don’t think this one was fair to think any person could ‘listen’. It started off bad to fast.

    Feel better, you are one of the best people in the world. Hopefully the guy feels bad as the lesson to learn was more on his side then yours.

    Maybe it is a good thing I wasn’t with you.

  3. Dear Laurie I do hope you have let this go now.. We all get caught up in situations at times that we later think we should have handled better. You seem such a kind person to me, not that we have met face to face, but this situation developed around you. Hindsight is supposed to be a good thing but is it? Good thing it wasn’t me! X

  4. Well, I can only say that I think you handled the situation with style and class, Laurie. That man is the person who should be feeling bad, not you. Listening is a two-way street. I’m glad you’re feeling better about it now. You rock, lovely lady!

  5. Oh Laurie, I do feel for you but you handled it well. No way should you have felt bad over the issue. As we say here, his problem and issue, not yours. Hope you are feeling better about the whole situation now, and apologies it has taken me so long to respond. x

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