Have you ever been out minding your own business and a random stranger strikes up a conversation with you? Before you know what's happening, they are telling you their ENTIRE "story" as if you are an old, trusted friend. I think it has happened to all of us at some point and if it hasn't happen to you, just wait. Pretty soon you too will have the joy of having to listen to someone pour their soul out to you and your only recourse being to grin and bear it. The sad part is that it's almost always a sob story, the old someone-done-did-me-wrong song. Today, in an elevator, a women said "today's a nice day. It's still nice even though I just got a pay cut!" As she got off, I stood there wondering what was that about and why she would even share that with me! Was there an applicable response that I was supposed to deliver? Would a "those BASTARDS!" made her feel better about her situation?
There is something underneath all of that: we as humans need to share our thoughts. The preferable option is to tell someone who cares, about them and/or the situation. Often though, some of us don't have that luxury and in those cases, any ear will do. Beware if it happens to be yours. The flip side of that coin is that there are people who PREFER not to speak to their loved ones for fear of judgement or reproach. We have a whole profession dedicated to listening to people so that they don't have to talk to their family and friends! When you spill your guts to a stranger, they don't know you enough to critique your point of view. In fact, if you're truly a random stranger more than likely you will just stand there and listen while as we rant and, for a lot of people, that's all we really want: someone to LISTEN while we go on about how bad our lives are. It makes us feel better. Kinda.
So the next time you get confronted with a drive-by counseling session, just listen and nod, or do what I do...try to out "whoa-is-me" them and tell them about how bad YOUR life is. Even spice it up and make up maladies! Let's see how they like it for a change!
These are my thoughts...what are yours?