I say this a lot in my life, “why do people feel the need to fill space?” We all do this, I’ve been consciously been making an effort for the past year not too. When people open up and talk about their lives we feel this need to comment. A general comment is expected, of course, that is what a conversation is. But we dig deep, we try and find something in our lives that could relate. Why do we do this? To be kind, to show your interest and to fill space.
Experiencing People Trying to Fill Space
Has anyone ever been in a relationship where your partner just says I love you all of the time? And I mean repeatedly, like multiple times within ten minutes. To me, that is just filling space. One it loses all meaning by that point. And two why can’t some people just be content with silence?
I’ve come across people trying to “fill space” in conversations a lot more since having children. Other people just love to comment on your children’s live’s, or something in regard to your parenting choices. I can only describe my feelings about that with the sound “eugh.”
It may be a surprise to some, but when someone is sharing something about their life with you it can simply to be to just share. Not everyone requires input afterwards.
What to Actually Say…
I’m already getting the impression reading this back that I may come across as angry or bitter. And in all honesty, it makes me a little angry. Not all the time, not in all circumstances. But just sometimes it makes me a little angry.
I’ll give you an example of how this has happened in my life recently. I’ll mention something about one of my girls’ birth or health issue. Which is met in response by something along the lines of, “Oh my child couldn’t speak but their absolutely fine now.” That’s where the “eugh” comes in for me.
Now I’m obviously not upset that their child can speak. And I know the purpose of them saying that. It’s an attempt to be comforting. It’s showing that something good came out of a bad situation. But what is really important to remember is that there can be a lot more going on for people that they haven’t shared.
People assume when they find out Poppy can’t speak that she’s just like every other child that couldn’t speak when they were growing up. And to some degree that is true. But as I’ve shared previously there is so much more going on in Poppy’s life than other children.
By no means do I think what has happened to my children is the worst thing that has ever happened to any child ever. But to me and my family, it is. If its the worst you’ve ever know, then its as bad as any scary situation. My main point here is that some things are not comparable.
Sometimes saying “I can’t even begin to imagine how that feels” or “I’m sorry that happened” is more useful than trying to “fill space.”
As a person that has dealt with this on a number of occasions I’m telling you that those answers are okay. They are more appreciated than advice. Of course, this whole situation is different if you’ve asked for their advice or opinion.
Asking If Someone Is Okay
I’m not sure about you but some days I want people to ask me if I’m okay and I want to be able to give them a genuine answer. Now, this may be all me, and no one else can relate at all. But I’m here to share.
We ask people when we meet them or see them for the first time if they are okay, or how their day has been. Do you expect an honest answer? Or are you expecting “I’m not too bad thank you” response?
I would love to have someone ask me that question and feel I could genuinely answer it with complete honesty.
Us Brits are notorious for being polite by not actually wanting to deal with the answer. There’s a sense of awkwardness. To most asking if someone is okay is a simple greeting. But imagine if you’re having the worst day and the person making your coffee asks how you’re feeling and you feel you can genuinely answer? Weird right?
Acts of Kindness
None of the things I’ve talked about does anyone do on purpose. I can guarantee that at some points in my life I’ve done the same. But going through some rough things really makes you question these responses to people.
I’ve learnt to be kind, be a listening ear to anyone even if they spill their emotions on me. It’s important to still put your own happiness and well-being first.
I guess the whole point to this post is to tell whoever is reading this, that is okay to say you’re not okay. If anything it’ll help you identify you genuinely want’s to be there for you and who doesn’t.
And if anything being a listening ear for someone who needs it can be perfect and allowing someone to talk could really improve their day.
Danielle Swan x