Tuesday, November 14, 2006

"All or Nothing At All"

In a recent post about "schmoozing," someone suggested that small-talk is a little TOO small. I often agree.

I think one of the times small-talk is particularly bothersome is when one person is unaware that the other is deliberately holding-back. In other words, one person's trying to have a conversation while the other's attempting to engage in hollow small-talk. It's all about expectations, I suppose.

I can be pretty blunt, but I really don't take pleasure in stepping on other people's toes - especially unnecessarily. I have an over-developed conscience and feel terrible when I feel that I've overstayed my welcome or strayed too deeply into someone's psyche.

Recently, I found myself, once again, wandering around someone's psychological neighborhood without noting the obscured "One Way" signs. Information was meant to flow in exactly one direction and I was bucking the current, trying to explore territory that the other person wasn't TRULY interested in exploring... with me, anyway.

Without the invitation to "go there," I generally assume people are uninterested in discovering new truths or delving too deeply into the often taboo subjects like religion and politics. When someone else initiates the conversation, though, I think it's safe to come out of my shell and be the real, inquisitive, but sincere me.

To receive that faux-invitation and then suffer a rebuff is worse than a tease. It's like some type of emotional entrapment, where I feel guilty for walking into your home after you handed me the key. Intellectually, I don't think I did anything wrong, but emotionally, I feel like shit.

This is the kind of thing that results in people retreating into their shells and never venturing out into the open, ever again.

I confess. I don't know how to fake it. I was never good at sparring - at fake fighting, loving, or liking. If I'm going to participate, I'm going to give my all.

Once again, though, it's become clear that very few are at all interested in what I have to give.


chele said...

This one is kind of tugging at me. I'm so vain, and I think this post is about me.

Maybe not. But I know there are times when questions are left in my comments and I don't respond to them. It's not because I don't care about what the commenter has to say. In my case, there are some truths about myself that I'm not ready to face ... so I choose not to discuss them. Textbook avoidance.

In other words, it's not always about you ... sometimes it's the other person. You are one of the most insightful cats I've come across in the blogosphere and I appreciate your presence here.

Royce's Daughter said...

For some reason this made me sad...LOL!! And I have no idea why. Perhaps it's because I am always on the defensive...wondering what someone's motives are and therefore reluctant to really just let loose and talk about how I feel about whatever. There is always a line drawn in the sand with me and I don't often like to cross it in conversation...which is why I tend to hate talking on the phone I think. Anyway, as a result I often hear that I am cold and distant when dealing with new people and I think it's because I don't want to be judged by my opinions or feelings about things. My release is blogging but behind the computer I am safe...talking about it is a whole different realm and it's just difficult to trust people's intentions...I wish I could change that side of me...yup this made me sad!

But it was well written...I read your stuff but tend to stay in stalker realm...had to come out cause this one moved me. Thanks...for making me think!

West said...

Thanks, ladies. I'm just feelin' a bit crappy about the many times and places I've felt... whatever (it's too damned pitiful-sounding to type out, right now).

I'm going to work on changing my expectations a bit. As I was considering posting, later this week, there are people who say they don't give a damn what anyone else thinks. Some folks say that and don't mean it, but others do.

I'm working on becoming a little more like the latter group.

I don't want to have a cold heart, but I'd really like to see some changes in the way I've responded to people over the years... if only to spare myself some grief. (Cuz I damn-sure can't do anything about anyone else's behavior.)

chele said...

If changing your expectations means developing a cold heart ... don't do it! There are enough cold-hearted people in the world.

BTW ... your comment on my post went into "awaiting moderation". I don't know why but I finally got it a few minutes ago. And responded.

eclectik said...

Nice post...first time to the page; good business! I'll be back



The Messageboard

Shai said...

West, this is a sticky subject for many because it steps into intimate territory.

I have to say that some people like to dive into other's psyches but are not reciprocal.

Intimacy is scary, to share your most sacred thoughts and feelings is risky. You risk being judged, or maybe not even like anymore.

Even if a person gives you the key, remember to step in with caution. Just because a key is given does not mean to run around the house or go in off limit rooms.

I am inquisitive too and I am sensitive too. So I guard myself more now because folks have run away with my openness, giving me unsolicited advice, trying to chastize me or even laugh.

So I have one person I open up with about some deep subjects, someone who may not understand everything but she knows me and vice versa.

West said...

Okay, chele.
Welcome eclectik.

Shai, I imagine it's something of a balancing act all the way around.

To extend the home analogy, maybe I just don't know which rooms are off-limits and which furniture is the "good furniture" that no one is supposed to sit on.

Shai said...

West, that is so true. The host sometimes forgets to state the rules of the house. And then some folks, not saying you, don't have good home training. LOL.

Balance and discerment are key. Or for me sometimes I keep my damn mouth shut. LOL.

In my Love blog, I talked about Intimacy and who you let in. Check it out. LOL.