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Talking past people and simply becoming "ships passing in the night"

"Ships that pass in the night, and speak each other in passing, Only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness;
So on the ocean of life we pass and speak one another, Only a look and a voice, then darkness again and a silence."

Written in Tales of a Wayside Inn, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1863.

On a Sailing Ship by Caspar David Friedrich; oil on canvas, between 1818 and 1820

We meet briefly, shining our light on one another to exchange a few words. Then, we often drift back into a sea of faceless travellers - rarely to be seen again. So, when we use personal stories to engage our listeners, the challenge is to avoid becoming self-absorbed. 'Talking past' our audience makes us lose touch, gradually wearing away at the human connection that we were trying so hard to build - we become a drifter with a pale light.


~Raif Douthwaite & Eloïse Ashworth

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