Sunday, November 29, 2009

Deeper then surface

Invest means gain.  Do you invest?

I have never been comfortable making small talk and because I'm not I hardly ever initiate a conversation.  I have become increasingly aware of this as I grow older, especially now being thrown into a more social  phase because I have children.

It's becoming a very rare thing to go to a public place with the boys and not be caught in small talk with strangers.  Someone always has a comment about the boys or questions or just something to say. When it happens a part of my psyche freezes and I cringe.  My mind races, my thoughts collide and as I begin to panic the other person fills the awkward silence by saying even more thus sending me into sensory overload.  Engaging.  Strangers.  I  s t r u g g l e.

Not for the reasons you'd expect though.  I am not really shy.  I am confidant in speaking and sharing my knowledge, my opinion and my thoughts. That's how I am around my close knit friends. I'm a talker, friendly and comfortable in my own skin.

I'm not surrounded by tons of people because of this.  Because I'd rather have 4 close relationships then 261 surface ones. 

When it comes to people... I don't buy, I invest.  My problem isn't turning it on, it's turning it off.

I am not a small talker because it feels cheap to me. Why put in the effort if you're not going to get any return? It's just not worth it to me.  I never know how much to share.  I tend to share to much and often feel over extended and empty because I don't get anything back.  I rarely find the middle ground.  I'm here to have relationships not to chit chat.

Friendships.  I want friendships not acquaintances. 

Our society is making me have to learn the skill of small talk though because without it I'd walk by hundreds of people and never make contact.  Because people are too busy or shut off to new beginnings to invest in someone that isn't already in their life.  I only know how to have emotional connections.  Surface talk makes me uncertain and uncomfortable but I am beginning to see why it works for so many people.

I've learned that some small talk can be beneficial.  Small talk with the customer service representative might get you a discount or at the very least service with a smile.  Asking the gray haired gentleman who speaks of his grandchildren how old they are will make him feel important and appreciated and asking your boss how their holiday was will hopefully lead to more connections with them in the future.  Small talk is like a short term investment.

The fact that I'm not a surface talker is probably pretty obvious but at least I'm trying.   I will always prefer a conversation with a close friend to one with someone who doesn't even know my name.  But I understand they can both be valuable tools to have.  

What about you?  When you talk are you sharing things about yourself or is all the information your "sharing" about someone else you know?  Are you willing to let your guard down and relate to another human being?  Are you being yourself? 

Are you able to connect? Or do you to choose to remain a surface talker?  Asking how someone is but walking to fast to hear their response.  Skimming the surface. Not dwelling on one subject but instead jumping from topic to topic so as to not get to deep or invested.

Invest means gain.  Do you invest? 

2 comments:

unionretired said...

Wow, you are really "deep". Do you
not know how intuitive you are, how caring and how very talented???

It's always puzzling to me that we don't see ourselves as others see us. But perhaps it's a protective mechanism and is best that we don't have that ability.

You constantly amaze me with your insight into even the smallest details of everyday life. You rock!
Love and many, many hugs to you and your sisters.

Kristen said...

A few years ago, I felt everyone I needed to know I knew already. I was content.

My story of investing.

A young kid would visit my husband, it seemed at the time way to much. A young punk kid with nothing going for him..a "loser" Each time he stopped in he would attempt a hello or hey what's up in my direction and wait for my reply. I never spoke. I turned my back on him. He was after all a loser....right? Small talk was not something I did...except for with people I knew. My wall was up and not moving. Months went by in this same manner...Then a tragedy hit this young kid hard. His older brother was killed. In an attempt to support my husband I went to where this young kid knelt screaming. Something stirred inside me. My heart ached for him. Right before my eyes, in a slit second this punk turned into a man. A man that he already was, but I was to blind and naive to see. I went to him with my husband and we held him while he cried. When he was done, he looked at me and said hey. I said hey back. Then we laughed. That night as we sat by the fire we all talked. He opened up to me as if we had been friends forever. I talked to my husband after we got home and I told him how stupid I was for not seeing or hearing others. That taught me a huge lesson. The young man, Todd, is now family to me, my children even call him Uncle. His ability to talk so open and honestly made me rethink my ways alot. I believe I am a better person because of my investment in him.

Most people you encounter don't want lasting friendships they just want to know that someone hears them. A simple smile or even that 10 second conversation with a stranger is what matters.

Simple Small talk and even surface talking can possibly make lasting relationships, friendships and even marriages, but if it doesn't, at least you heard and possibly made someone else hear.

I hear now.

A few years ago I felt everyone I needed to know I knew already. I was content. However, I was wrong.