As a researcher, I’m trying to get better at losing myself.
I see my job as creating open space for other people’s words and stories. I do this by bringing as little of myself as possible into the interactions I have with interviewees.
It’s not like I say nothing; quite the converse. I practice active listening. I aim to provide well-timed, brief, and contextual prompts, so that those I’m speaking to can figure out what it is they have to say.
As I examine my motivations, it’s hard to distinguish. Do I employ manipulation, or is it allowing? Am I getting people to open up? Or am I trying to get people to like me? Trust me?