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I talk a lot. Words just flow from my mouth - sometimes before I even realize what they are saying. However, recently I have become aware that for all my mouthing off, I don't always feel like I am communicating. My first urge is to spout some more words but I try to resist that.

However, as much as I practice listening, that isn't always the missing key either.

I started thinking about the conversations I really enjoy - when there is an exchange of ideas and after it all you are not really sure who said what but everyone involved is really charged. There was usually laughter and some "aha!" moments too.

This sort of falls in with my relationship reflection earlier - it seems I have several different types of (fruitful) conversations. There are the ones when someone says something that just rings and echoes through my head - sometimes forever. And there are times when I say something and I see it have that effect on my listener. While these are both important conversations to have there is a third kind where both parties equally create the dialogue. The radiance of the first two depend on the wisdom of the speaker and the open-mindedness of the listener. Yet for the third type of conversation, no one has to be the wiser, you just have to both be open minded. Neither person necessarily knows the answer but in trying to describe or understand the problem, solutions are figured out and comprehended more fully than if someone told them to you (or you read it in a book).

So I ask myself - how can I have more of those kind of conversations - where we are both learning something and not talking "at" each other?

The first thing I noticed is that I need to stop assuming I know the answer - because that is when I try to give people advice (whether they want it or not). A lack of assumptions seems to be key in real communication. Secondly, even if I think I do have the answer, it doesn't matter. The important answer isn't the one I have in my head but the one both participants come up with together. This is creating or shaping new music instead of just replaying old songs, which will echo and get stuck inside heads for all eternity. Also, this way if the solution fails - I won't be the only one to blame...

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