The Casting Dock

A Little Lauren Love

I spent a glorious 24 hours with this girl this week:

We call her Lauren.

Lauren is another one of my college roommates and I basically owe my career to her.
Well, her and Miss Stephanie June…

(quite possibly the most photogenic person I know)

How, you ask? Well, let me provide 2 snapshots of my time in Bromley 308.

SNAPSHOT 1: Lauren and I, though we didn’t know each other at all before signing off to sharing an apartment, hit it off right away. She’s very lively, likeable, and outgoing…one of those people who seriously knew e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e on campus. But throughout the course of the year we found ourselves in quite a few “discussions” leaving me feeling like we just weren’t really getting each other or she was mad at me or I don’t even know what, but something, was wrong. It was perplexing to me for the longest time. These discussions usually went something like this:

Lauren: You know I don’t really think _(insert name of someone)_  likes me at all.

Me: (shocked, because as I said, EVERYONE knew and liked Lauren) WHAT?!!? Yes, he does. Are you kidding me? He came up to our apartment yesterday specifically to catch up with you, he invited you over to his apt for dinner 2 nights ago, and he always seems to gravitate towards you in the group setting.

Lauren: Mmmm, yeah…no, I don’t think he likes me.

Me: But that makes no sense. He makes a point to say hello to you and his actions/body language/etc. all seem to say that he thinks you’re a cool girl and a good friend. Why do you think that?

Lauren: I don’t know…I just do. (quiet and starting to withdraw from the conversation)

Me: (recognizing that something’s off but feeling so confused as to how we got to this point…)

SNAPSHOT 2: Steph and I are talking with our friend JD one day about some
activity he did in a Communications class.

JD: Alright, so you have to read through each of these 20 statements and determine which ones are male characteristics and which are female characteristics (hands a page to me and another one to Steph)

Steph finishes before I do.

JD: (looking over her sheet): Yup, you got them all right. (looking over my sheet) You got 19 outta 20.

Me: What? Which one did I miss?

JD: “When my friends come to me with their problems, I help to fix them.”

Me: Yeah, that’s a female trait. That’s what girls do all the time…

JD: Nope. That’s what guys do…Steph, what do girls do?

Steph: Girls just listen to the problem and empathize. They don’t try to fix the problem.

Me: But that makes no sense. If you know how you can fix the problem, why would you just want to listen and empathize? Wouldn’t it be better to just fix it?

Steph: Oftentimes girls don’t want someone to fix it. They just need to know someone is there for them.

I am S.H.O.C.K.E.D by this. Like blow my mind shocked. Honestly, at the time, I thought it was the stupidest thing I’d ever heard. Listening to problems without doing anything to fix them? Craziness. BUT, it shed a whole new light on why Lauren and I kept running into the same problem.

“AHA! She keeps trying to tell me how she feels and I keep telling her why she shouldn’t feel that way…”

I thought that what she was saying was irrational so I would spout off a TON of what I considered “evidence” to refute what she thought. My intention was to allow rational evidence to overtake irrational thought/emotion. But this only served to alienate her from me. All she wanted all along was just for me to listen and empathize.

Honestly, Lauren and Steph taught me the importance of just listening. Not refuting or questioning or judging whether the thought or feeling is justified or rational (though there is a time and place for all of those things), but just listening. Listening/empathizing is the biggest part of counseling. It’s also the reason why I know I would hate just straight up counseling, hour after hour, session after session. I used to think I would thrive in that setting, but Lauren and Steph showed me otherwise. Being empathic is a conscious effort on my part. I have MUCH more of the “guy” wiring in that sense. I want to fix. I want to provide evidence. I want to be an active part of the problem solving process, not a passive one. That’s why I work with kids. They need more direction and they thrive on things being clear and concrete. And that’s why I love the school counseling setting. Every day is different and it’s definitely not hour after hour of, “Tell me more about that….”

So Lauren–seriously–thanks! I am much better at what I do because of you. And sorry for all those times I berated you with my “evidence” as to why what you thought/felt was wrong…it really was with the best of intentions…ha…


1 noche { 08.26.11 at 5:07 pm }

Good that you could put it all together and recognize the disconnect. Really good that it impacted your choice of career for the positive. I must say I think you got some of the fix-it gene from me….I call it being resourceful…accepting the challenge to find a way to make it work…maybe that gene makes for a good teacher since being resourceful (aka finding ways to help kids succeed)is such an integral part of the job.

2 bryan { 08.26.11 at 7:03 pm }

all of your friends are photogenic, i think. they are like the friends on Friends. Steph Acker, if I remember your old facebook page, was always one your ‘interests’. She’s the cutest thing around.

Also, I think Steph Acker is a cool name. Lisa Logan is pretty cool too. That is such a roll of the dice. I mean, getting married. People meet fall in love get married forget punctuation rules. But they don’t make these decisions based on their future husband’s last name. It’s just luck. Some girls get Logan. Some girls get Vanderslice. Ya know?

Steph Acker… if you get married, i hope it is to a dude named Acker. (make sure there’s no relation.) and then you can maintain your cool name. Like those Kelly Hillebrands from Good Morning America. Cept not quite cuz there probably aren’t any men named Steph Acker, but there could be, like a black stephon acker, like stephon marbury or stephen curry, and they go by steph… so that’s possible.

In any event, I hope steph meets a nice Acker and settles down.

3 susan { 08.26.11 at 9:49 pm }

FABULOUS Lisa…I loved reading this.. And I am so much like you also, I just want to “fix” things and situations. I have had to learn and continue to learn how to listen rather than inject my ways to “fix” it. Thank you for being such an incredible friend along with Steph to my Lauren. She loves you both so much. (Lauren’s mom) p.s. I absolutely love the pic of Lauren and JD!!!

4 Craig W { 08.27.11 at 8:44 am }

The theme of “she just wants you to listen” is repeated over and over in Christian marriage seminars. You really put flesh on the bones with this real life illustration. Sweet photos (I’m the guy that likes even the photos of people I don’t know).

5 Lauren { 08.27.11 at 10:41 pm }

Okay, I just left a fantastic comment and then it didn’t load properly. A-nnoying. Let me try to recreate it: “Girl, I freaking love you! I learned so much from YOU about the importance of communication (which I’m also sure is repeated over and over in Christian marriage seminars, though I am not 100% since I have not attended one and have no reason to at this point in my life!) I adored spending quality time with you this past week. It went by far too quickly. You are a gem. Claire says hello. xxoo”

6 Maggy { 10.11.11 at 9:53 pm }

Ha! I loved reading this. I am tooottalllly the same. I want a fix, not a conversation. I’m glad you got to see everyone :) Hope you’re well!

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