Hello, Friend.

I wanted to reflect on  chance I had a while ago to connect with a friend for several days in a row. An old friend who knows the deal with stuttering, and knows a lot of what I’ve been through.

First of all, it’s quite amazing to speak with someone who is entirely patient with you. Who you know isn’t judging you at all. Who won’t finish your sentences, won’t tell you to hurry up, won’t make stupid suggestions on how to speak more fluently. Do you stutter less? In some cases, yes. But in others not so much.

I noticed that since I hadn’t talked to this person in a while (in person) a lot of my stories stuttered out. Not the canned ones that I repeat all the time. The newer stuff — my current situation, plans for the future, my take on life here and there. For these newer explanations I tended to stutter more than usual, but I was avoiding less. So the comfort level was higher. I wanted to say what I was thinking — exactly — and knew I wouldn’t get any negative feedback.

And since it was with a friend, and, as with all interactions, ultimately time-constrained, I thought maybe the stuttering was happening more because I wanted to make it all sound more interesting — even the bits about work.

Now that I think about it, there are several levels to comfort, really. And it’s tough to get them all aligned. There’s the audience — a close friend or a colleague? Family? Complete stranger? There’s the time you have and the time you think you have — all day for a few days? Months? A few seconds? And of course content — new, canned or somewhere in between.

I couldn’t help but wonder after our time was over if it would be jarring to go back to the real world with impatient people who might look at me funny. But I know the deal. And besides, don’t I deserve to be comfortable at home and with friends at least? And won’t that eventually lead to being more comfortable at the office?

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