My dear friend Laura asked me this month to reflect upon romantic love by doing a bit of reading. She also asked that I dive into my interpersonal relationships by instigating recorded conversations through formal interviews.
Her simple requests gave me a fantastic opportunity to observe how I engage with the excellent people in my life. The interview process opened up new methods of interaction and communication and led to mixed results, some new positive pathways and some unexpected roadblocks. Being on either side of a microphone immediately changes the way we converse with one another. Some of us immediately fall into playing roles and I quickly realized that not everyone is comfortable being in those roles.
Not everyone that I intended to have an interview with even agreed to be recorded. For whatever reason, whether it was the microphone that made them uncomfortable, they didn’t have the time, or they didn’t want to be recorded, some people I really wanted to interview chose to decline. This may have taught me the most important lesson of the month: Sometimes NOT accomplishing what I set out or want to do may actually be the best way to learn what it is I need to learn.
Conducting an interview can very much mirror how we conduct relationships. In successful interviews there is an awareness of one another. There seems to be an easy flow, a give and take, a push and pull. The interviewer instigates, questions, guides the direction, but also is ready to receive, follow a new line of thinking and most importantly – listen openly and attentively. The interviewer must not expect or assume specific answers or outcomes. The interviewer needs to learn acceptance of what the interviewee is willing to share or not share. Whether it is deemed successful or not, there is much to be learned in any interview, by observing yourself preparing for and conducting it while also listening and asking of others what they might need and want to get out of the process.
Because this blog is not the place to share specific revelations that I learned about the important people in my life, I will leave you with only a fraction of what I personally experienced and learned in these past four weeks. Below, I will share the discoveries that I feel to be the most worthwhile and useful to me while developing my interviewing skills.
- Let go of assumptions of how others think and feel about being interviewed
- Let go of specific expectations of what could come from an interview process
- Accept and be thankful for what is created or shared from the interview exchange
Hmmm…. What would happen if I applied these lessons to my interpersonal relationships as well?
Just finding this blog today? Read more about the Living Chapters project here.