I met someone the other day who went on to tell me he’d been in hospital for quite some time and that that’s why he hadn’t been around for so long.
Now what do you do when someone says something like that to you? Do you ask what was wrong, or do you say something like, “O, I’m so sorry to hear that. I hope you’re feeling a lot better now.”
I chose the latter. To have asked what was wrong would have been intrusive, I thought, but I couldn’t help wonder whether by not asking I came across as rather uninterested and uncaring. I’m glad I didn’t ask though. I feel it was the better choice.
Driving home I pondered on the thin line between sounding uninterested and being intrusive. It’s a conversational sensitivity we need to develop. Without it, surely we blunder in to sacred spaces we have no business entering.