The Art of Conversation is something that each and every one of us will need for our entire life. Whether it is at a professional networking event, business meetings, or around the Thanksgiving table, small talk is a life skill. As I sat on the plane on my way back from San Francisco, I was frantically writing an article of the trauma faced in incidents of domestic violence. I was uncomfortably sitting in the middle between two people, and asked the man in the aisle seat if I could use the restroom. When I returned, I quickly took out my laptop again and started typing. He turned to me and asked if I was writing an essay. The feelings of fear had suddenly instilled in me, judging that he was an anti-feminist male, about to be critical of a topic which most of the time, men get blamed for.
I responded, “No, I am writing an article. I write for Her Campus at my university, I go to Xavier. Are you from Cincinnati?” He explained that he was and added that he was a middle school writing teacher in the area, and proceeded to ask what kind of topics I wrote about. I then responded, “Oh, you know, violence on college campus, women empowerment, and ‘girly things.’” That is the moment I fell into the easy society stereotypes of: gender. He countered my statement by a very attractive sentence of, “They aren’t girly things, they are important things.” It was in that moment I knew no matter how hard it was to write a triggering domestic violence piece, no matter what anyone thought about what I had to say, someone needed it and someone thought it was important.
It was because of his educated statement the conversation continued to discussions about graduate school, places in the magnificent New York City, and what we wanted out of our writing. The conversation was easy going and natural in the sense that even though we were complete strangers, we could relate on a similar wavelength. From that conversation, I took that no matter what you want to share in your voice, it is important. You can learn from anyone, but all it takes is faith in yourself. I was lucky enough to meet someone that reminded me of that. As we both went our separate ways after baggage claim, I still hear the ringing of his voice countering, “They are important things.”
Originally published at www.hercampus.com