Monday, March 5, 2012

Speed Therapy

I’ve got an idea. You know about speed dating? It’s usually held in a hotel meeting room or at a restaurant. Single people show up, fill out a questionnaire, then spend an hour or so moving from table to table, meeting other singles. Here’s a helpful video that gives advice, so you can get an idea of it, in case you’ve never attended one or haven’t seen the process in a movie.

My idea is speed therapy. You sign up and write a single sentence on a piece of paper. Something that’s been bothering you. Something that crops up time and again. A deep feeling. One person is the listener; the other reads his sentence. You get several turns to do both. The listener says what comes naturally when he hears the other person’s sentence. Five minutes tops, then everyone moves to the next table. First you’re a listener, then a reader, then a listener again.

What do I mean by a sentence, a deep feeling that crops up? Something like this:

-          I’m not sure people are sincere in their affections.
-          I don’t think I’m a good person.
-          I fool myself constantly.
-          I worry about ________.
-          I have made wrong choices.
-          I don’t know how to proceed.
-          I feel very alone.
-          I’m afraid of ________.

Just a few examples. Because what if we verbalized these things, if we spoke them to another person, a stranger, wouldn’t they lose some of their weight? And what if the listener completely understood and said they felt the same at times? We could register their empathy, or their surprise, or their refusal to accept what we’ve said, and again, the power of the feeling would be reduced. Wouldn’t it? Imagine what you might say if someone admitted one of these feelings to you; imagine what you might write on your sheet of paper. Imagine the listener across the table saying: “I feel the same,” or even, “That’s exactly what I’ve written on my paper.” What if he tells you that you are wrong to doubt yourself, that you should have more faith. I have to imagine that no matter what is said everyone would leave feeling much, much better.

1 comment:

  1. The idea of speed dating never occurred to me. It's seen as a bit of excitement and fun, I think. The video made me squirm.

    I like your idea very much. It creates context for a genuine meeting.


"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka