My Friend’s Feedback SHOCKED Me!

Although she’s been gone eleven years I often think of my dear teacher friend, Arleen Honda, and the day her feedback shocked me. We met my first year in San Francisco when I received a long term substitute teaching position at an elementary school where she taught. One of the first things I noticed about her that I really liked: we could see eye-to-eye. Literally. I’m 4’11” and she was only a quarter inch shorter.

But we also saw eye-to-eye about educational philosophies, classroom expectations and world views. As a child, she and her family had been sent to a Japanese American internment camp and yet her disposition was always sunny. I spent time with the family and found that I was always welcomed with great warmth.

When I left teaching (San Francisco Unified School District laid off 1200 teachers) and started my speaking business, we continued our friendship. In fact, she traveled with me to several presentations including one in Monterey, California that included an extra day in Carmel-By-The-Sea. (It’s on the Pacific Ocean..not a sea).

We could always discuss, converse, share and most of all, laugh. One day I turned to Arleen and said, “You are the best conversationalist. I love that you talk and what you say!” She looked at me quizzically. Her response, although a deep compliment, shocked me.

“Susan, I only really talk when I’m with you.” I had NO idea that she was not as conversant with the other people in her life.

As I thought about it, I realized that we had impact on each other’s lives in ways I hadn’t imagined.

Arleen’s feedback gave me a lifelong goal: Be the person with whom other people want to talk, feel comfortable, appreciated, listened to and feel SAFE.

For that, I am eternally grateful.

About Susan RoAne

Susan RoAne leads a double life as a sought-after professional keynote speaker and a bestselling author. Known as The Mingling Maven®, she gives diverse audiences the required tools, techniques and strategies they need to connect and communicate in today’s global business world. The San Francisco Chronicle says she has a “dynamite sense of humor.” To hire Susan to speak for your company, association or college, 1.415.461.3915