The last few months have been a difficult time for my friends and family. Loved ones have passed away, intimidating diagnoses have been received, and unexpected news has made us feel like we’re on unstable ground. My heart hurts for everyone in my life who has been suffering and grieving for any reason.
One of the hardest things to do while going through the stages of grief is function normally, let alone practice any amount of self-care. How can you try to meditate when you are consumed by anger or sadness? How can you put on a face mask if you can’t get out of bed? Self-care is daunting when you simply don’t have it in you.
Moments like spilling feelings to a crush, coming out to my parents, and revealing hard news to a friend all occurred in moving vehicles. I bet you’ve had some heart-to-hearts on the road too.
Some of the more serious conversations of my life have happened in cars. Just this morning a friend asked if he could pick me up and go on a drive to talk through some problems. I obliged, and he shared his feelings as we cruised down the highway.
What about driving puts people at ease to talk freely? I have a few thoughts on the matter.
A Sense of Intimacy
Cars present an interesting environment. You’re totally in public while you’re out on the road, yet being in a car is also a very private experience. The riders are alone and close together in a small space, and there’s no easy or safe exit while driving. Essentially, you’re locked in a moving box with windows.
Wording it that way sounds a little creepy, but the sense of closeness cars create are perfect for hard conversations. Talks can be kept totally private with closed windows. Furthermore, certain forms of physical contact, like hand-holding, come naturally in close quarters. Intimacy encourages openness.
No Eye Contact Necessary
The eyes may be the window to the soul, but eye contact can be pretty uncomfortable for some. If long periods of eye contact make you anxious, consider having your next heart to heart in a car, where eye contact is generally discouraged. If you want to make as little eye contact as possible, be the driver.
Eye contact doesn’t make me nervous, but it’s pretty likely that I will cry if I make eye contact for a while during a tough conversation. I always let myself cry if I feel like it, but sometimes I simply don’t want to cry. If I’m having an argument or want to express anger, crying (the sniveling kind, in particular) can inhibit me from getting my point across.
Parents can talk to their kids without the slam of the bedroom door. Singles on a date can reveal their feelings without the interruption of a waiter. Talking in the car makes it easier to stick to the topic at hand.
There are fewer distractions inside of a car than other private areas. This is likely because of how small the space in a vehicle is compared to, say, a living space. There’s so much to do in a house (cleaning, cooking, watching television), while all you can do in a car is sit and listen to the radio. Of course drivers need to primarily focus on the road, but most can still easily converse while steering the wheel.
Give It a Spin
Do you want to open up to somebody about an issue but are afraid to do so? Try bringing up your feelings on the road. It just might be the perfect setting for you express yourself.
Have you ever had a deep conversation during a car ride? Share you experience in the comments.