And I mean dialog which is set up with certain agreed-upon concepts and boundaries, not literally framed for hanging on a wall.
A while back—January 4th, 2021 to be specific—I made some notes about an idea tickling my brain. I had had a conversation with two people. We had decided to get together to talk about… something. I’m not sure what. It probably was something like:
I feel like I need to talk to someone. But, I’m in this place where too many people—basically, all the people I regularly interact with—see me in a certain way. They know me in a certain context. Anything I say or do, they evaluate it as a continuation of what they know about me. That’s not a criticism of them, but simply a statement of reality.
…something like that. Not saying that’s it exactly. I’m asking for a friend. ahem.
We three hopped on a call and it didn’t really go well. We didn’t have an agenda, (which was probably a good thing). But also, we didn’t have a purpose nor clear idea of why we wanted to have the conversation. We expended an hour, (of our expected 694,700 total available,) shrugged, and moved on with our day. After my mind moved on from the experience, when I returned to thinking about the tickling idea, and the conversation, somehow I felt like the conversation had been useful. So in hindsight, it felt like the conversation was much closer to being useful, then I thought it was in the moment.
Since I’m generally interested in conversation, I scratched some notes—as I mentioned, in January a year ago—about what I thought might have been the magic: Time limit, ephemeral, minimal structure, and anticipation. Those four properties seem to be the essentials for my having felt the conversation was useful in hindsight. This isn’t about “talk therapy.” But, somehow, those features (which would be a part of a talk-therapy session) still facilitate… something.