A High-Quality Conversation

I had a high-quality conversation yesterday.  The highest-quality, in fact.

It was at a farewell party for my boss.  I came to the party late and just sat pretty quietly (as usual – haha) with some coworkers.  Then I saw a seat open right across from another coworker (counselor), an older gentlemen, who I’ve connected well with in the past.  So, I went over to him, sat down, and asked him how he was.

That was the beginning of an engaging, intent, at times intense, 90-minute conversation.  We covered all manner of topics…  how to spend ones time wisely in life, his wife, my social life, the hard parts of living alone, paperwork, guilt, God.
I’ll tell you though why this conversation was of such high quality… eye contact.
When I sat down across from him and asked him how he was… he looked me straight in the eyes.  And then did not look away for nearly the *entire* conversation.
Toward the beginning I was slightly caught off guard, but being the I’m a counselor for goodness sake, I can handle some eye contact.  So I tried to give as good as I got.  But not too far into the conversation I began to wriggle.
I never realized how difficult it was to maintain eye contact during *silence*.  Seriously.  It’s tough.
So, anyway, I finally just said (mostly to ease my own discomfortable), “You have a very intent gaze.”
To which he responded, “You do too.”
That launched us into into a discussion on eye contact, how it aids counseling, why it aids counseling, why it aids connection between people, etc.
As our conversation went on neither of us would break the eye contact and it got continually more comfortable.   By the time we decided we were each ready to leave, we’d had an astounding conversation and I left feeling like I’d really connected with another human being.  I wonder… what portion of that was simply the eye contact?

~ by Eva on April 3, 2010.

2 Responses to “A High-Quality Conversation”

  1. Good conversations are hard to come by… (and sometimes it seems the best are done without eye contact… at least the difficult ones). I am glad that you had a wonderful one today — if you are like me, they tend to stick around for a while.

  2. You might like this blogging entry I found, about the difference between good and bad conversations.

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