Who doesn't want to be friendly? Meeting
one-to-one makes our world a happy place.
Sharing with others reinforces the fact that
we're all in this together. And that while all
unique, most of us experience quite similar
highs and lows. Camaraderie is if nothing
else reassuring. Yet some consider exposure
to another's hum drum life banal. All due to
the fact that it's hard enough to slog through
one's own days and nights. Thus many feel
that added exposure to other's challenges is
of no benefit to them. And therefore would
prefer to whenever possible be left ALONE.
Living in a small town can be tedious at times.
Within a limited sphere of influence it's hard
not to get involved in other people's business.
Back in Lewistown our population tallies at
just under six thousand. Meaning that your
chances of not knowing all who you meet are
slim at best. As a transplant I initially found
such intimacy rather charming. Yet ultimately
resented the presumption that I be required to
recall every detail about imperfect strangers.
Are they wrong in assuming that given they
seem to know all about me - that in return all
I desire is to know every detail about them?
Who isn't busy? Each of us have our own
responsibilities and obligations. Hence it's
rare that one gets the opportunity to clear
their head. Often the only time to do so are
those vacuums in life when we've no option
but to wait. Rather than a waste of time,
part of me relishes being forced to cool
my heels as the ultimate luxury. Thus this
man considers any chance to stand in line,
wait for the next subway train, or be stuck
in traffic as "me time." Meaning that the
last thing I want to do is such a situation
is strike up a conversation with strangers.
It's nice that you want to share. However
I've no need to be exposed to your trials
or tribulations. While important to you -
they're of no consequence to me. Thus
I'd much rather be populating my bucket
list or next steps than sharing the moment
with somebody I'll probably never seen
again. Don't get me wrong, there are times
when I'm ready and willing to interact. All
that I ask is that you be intuitive enough to
read my body language. And to know that
a smile is NOT an open invitation to active
engagement. I'm simply trying to be civil.
Having one's solitude interrupted isn't nice.
There's no excuse for presuming that you
can join my private party. Last evening we
hosted visitors at one of our favorite spots.
Our ingenue server was either attentive or
elusive. Rather than get to business they
preferred to tell us all about themselves
and then disappear. While some may find
sharing "news" fascinating, I'd prefer to
converse with my guests alone. And so
even if our vociferous attendant thought
they were quite charming, the evening
quickly became all about them - not us..
Rules of order
Paying five hundred plus for a meal should
also buy some peace and quiet. However in
this case for most of our repast our table
was either ignored or overwhelmed with
too much personal information. Said ebb
and flow often meant that we had to sit
and wait for our food, cocktails, or for the
next act of the floor show And try as we
might, they were oblivious to our not so
subtle attempts to shift the dialogue in our
favor. Therefore our evening was beyond
unappetizing given all that we consumed
was whatever was on our servers mind.
The fact is that I'm as friendly as the next guy.
But dear readers, there is a time and a place for
everything. The ultimate gesture of friendliness
is knowing when, where, and how to engage.
In the best of situations - both parties must be
willing participants. Nobody benefits if forced
to interact. Little is as discourteous as pushing
oneself upon others. So while I'm certain that
your intentions may be more than good - please
mind your own business. Don't attempt to stick
your foot into my world unless I open the door.
And most important, embrace the old adage -
REMAIN SILENT UNLESS SPOKEN TO!