We have new neighbors. They moved next to us in September 2020 so we initially had very little contact. We have gone out for drinks twice since life opened up and we like them, a lot. This is blowing my pre and post pandemic mind. Going out with essentially strangers for several hours playing ‘getting to know you’ is one of my descriptions of my own personal hell. I never considered myself a big ‘social’ person. I loved “quarantine” and the zero social obligations that a traumatic global pandemic caused. I thrived in that environment. I am a person who normally gets easily drained with social interaction. People call that being an ‘introvert’ but that title drives me crazy. To me, it’s #trending to engage in the ‘introvert/extrovert’ label and I’m SO OVER ‘labels’. Like, so over them. Besides that, I’m not sure I really am an introvert. I think of myself more as an open book. While I DO love to focus on my own inner thoughts rather than engage in conversation with too many people at once, I find myself questioning, do I not like people or do I not like the conversations and interactions I am having with people?
Engaging in small talk? No. Just no. I won’t do it. I just . Can’t. Do. It. And the pandemic solidified this fact for me. I literally feel like getting into a fetal position at the thought of engaging with anyone in inauthentic means. It’s a waste of everybody’s time and energy and even writing that is so NOT trendy to say. But it’s true. THAT drains me. Fake , sh*tty blathering about nothing is exhausting and unnecessary. It accomplished nothing other than me feeling either inadequate or superior. (Both assumptions are incorrect. I am neither. ) I am just too tired to play pretend. I’m simply uninterested in what isn’t real. Life is stressful even under the best of circumstances and that is true. That is real. That is certain and that is something we all do know. I will not pretend otherwise. So my question to you is, Do you?
Why do I love our new neighbors? Because they very openly discussed some of their private struggles in being a blended family. Because we engaged in a conversation about how life REALLY is behind closed doors and we didn’t have to put on any airs. Our interactions felt so natural and fulfilling. There was nothing , and I mean NOTHING draining about our time together. There was no ‘oversharing’ either, in case some of you reading this are wondering about that aspect of conversation. (Perhaps I’ll do another article on that!) We all walked away not only really knowing each other in such deeper means, we all learned from each other. We connected. We are all so different, and yet our struggles and deeper questioning are exactly the same. Nothing is perfect no matter how perfect life appears to those on the outside and because that is true there was nothing to feel awkward, insecure or judgmental about. We were all being quite REAL.
I love conversations that are ‘real’ and meaningful. I love to hear about other’s genuine thoughts and experiences are on pretty much anything. I like to hear about struggles and to see a person working on finding their own inner solutions. I love when people ask questions and seek to find answers, insights and guidance from others. I love to share ideas and to learn about travel experiences that rocked your world or about perspective shifts that left you questioning your own past. I love to hear about who people admire and why , or about childhood experiences that left indelible marks on a psyche. I love when parents actually admit to being tired of being parents. I love to share that no, finances aren’t perfect, and neither are our kids. Life is messy and filled with complicated situations to navigate. I LOVE when I hear people being the REAL HUMANS that we all are.
Pay attention to how YOU are showing up around others and truly pause to notice how it feels to be you, versus being a false version of yourself. Notice if you really do hate people, or if you just hate how YOU interact with them. You are more in charge of your ability to connect than you realize. It’s time to get and be REAL.