I’m crazy enough and dumb enough to honestly say many of the things I think out loud. In the process, I recognize that I give voice to things other people think, or give rise to new ideas in response to the ones I’ve put forward.
This leads to a lot of conversation, debate and dialogue. I know this will happen and it’s often welcome, but not always. Sometimes it’s draining and sometimes it’s a waste of time–particularly when the discussion is only tangentially related to the idea I put forth.
It is not my job to to mentally walk anyone’s mental journey for them , even if I’ve inspired it. Nor is it my job to hold space for anyone’s devil’s advocacy, especially if the ideas I’m espousing are speaking to people’s humanity. That’s their job for their space, in their voice—not something I’m obligated to entertain in mine.
Just because I triggered a train of thought doesn’t make me responsible for entertaining it.
As I’ve agonizingly analyzed language and communication, I’ve found that what we often mistake for people not listening is people responding to a different part of something we’ve said. Even so, there comes a point at which speaking past someone’s point in favor of theorizing is asking too much of them.
At this point in my life, it’s a question I feel increasingly less compelled to answer.