As far back as my memory goes, I’ve always been ‘The Girl Who Listens’.
I was a silent child, too much into books and puzzles to stop and learn some valuable practical lessons regarding the ‘world’ (which, back then simply meant ‘school’). I was nice and sweet, and never got in anyone’s way, so I made friends easily. I was the girl people told their secrets to.
At 15, I suddenly grew up from a sweet, quiet kid to a girl who had discovered that she could think. I began to actually talk to communicate stuff, and I liked it. I made new friends who liked me for the way I was, and I was happy. I was even friends with some boys from my class!
One day, this cute guy started a conversation with me outside our class. We were both favorites of our Math professor (yes, I was a nerd!) and we spoke a little of this, a little of that. Soon the conversations turned to late night chats. He was bright, intelligent, and the more I thought about it, he was just the kind of guy I would love to like.
And then he finally mustered up his courage, and told me… that he’d been crushing on my best friend for weeks, and could I please find out if she liked him too? I was the girl who the guys approached, to tell me about their crush on one of my girlfriends.
It turned out, she did like him, only to break his heart soon after. And once again, still uncomplaining, I gave him my ear, and also my heart. It did not take him long to notice my tear-stained shoulder and to catch my unbroken heart. And as all teenage loves go, many painful years later, I realized only too late how much of a rebound I was for him.
I’ve now successfully ended things with him – and emerged with my head above the water. I’m older and wiser in experience. I’ve even been approached by guys for myself, to ask me out. I’ve had relationships that did not begin with a shoulder to cry on.
Just yesterday a close friend confided in me that she wants to break up with her boyfriend of many years. Soon after she ended things with him, I got a phone call from her boyfriend, asking me to talk to her and to try and convince her to give him another chance. I realize I’m still the girl who listens to everyone. But now I see it as a good thing. This tells me that I connect well with people. It makes me happy, knowing that my friends are comfortable with talking about their feelings with me, and that they know I’m here for them and that they can trust me.