The Art of Conversation

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I’ve been swimming at the local recreation center a few mornings each week. The most prominent culture of the class is the clicks or friends that just want to chat amongst each other that don’t listen to the instructor. Along with the more openly socializers that may chat a little but want to work out. I’ve chatted with Sue and Betty and Jo, but the one class member that talks the most with me is Mike.

We swim around the pool while he tells me about his family, his past work career and his health issues. I don’t mind the chat but he has a different sort of humor that at times feels outdated, especially when I make a joke in response and he doesn’t smile or laugh. He always seems to have something going on in his life to chat about.

The women in the class are quiet unless they’re with friends but even in the locker room they keep to themselves. It’s a bit strange. I try to chat with a couple of them in the hot tub but they don’t seem interested. So I take the time to enjoy the heat.

I was thinking today about how conversations bring us closer and the lack of them can keep us from knowing each other, even if we occupy the same space for weeks.

I always smile in hopes that they feel comfortable to have some small talk that could lead to something more. I’d like to have the time to know each of their stories. We all have our life stories, unless we write them out may vanish as we do.

Conversation brings us into the lives of others and introduces new perspectives or thoughts that we may not have had otherwise. It shapes us as we grow into our adult selves. It’s pretty powerful and today I took time to appreciate my chat buddies in swim class and relish in the deep discussions that my partner and I have for hours. They’re all treats.

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