14 July 2008

Being polite...

Here's my vent for today: I really hate social niceties. I mean, think about it: how much time do you and I waste every Monday morning either answering the question, "So, how was your weekend?" or avoiding it? I have literally caught myself asking the question and then bracing myself to see if the person I asked will just give the perfunctory "It was fine" and leave it at that - OR if I am going to be regaled for minutes on end with every little minute detail of the preceding 72 hours. And it's not that some of the stories are not entertaining and enlightening - they usually are 'cause I have some INTERESTING friends and co-workers..BUT sometimes, I really don't want to "waste" my time hearing it. Or I asked the question "just to be polite" as I was rushing to do something and now I'm stuck listening to the never-ending saga.

And horror of horrors, don't let something tragic have happened over the weekend - then what do you do? I mean, we've all been in the position when you innocently ask the Monday morning question, only to find out that the house was flooded, or the kid or pet is sick, or word was received of a death of a family member or loved one. And then you're really stuck! Because now you have to give consolation or offer advice or commiserate or...well, you get the picture.

I hate making this admission because (1) it makes me sound somewhat cold, callous and unfeeling - which is not my normal character...[stop laughing!]. (2) I know there will be some people who are going to read this the wrong way and run with the story that I said "don't ask her about her weekend and don't tell her about yours because she really doesn't care." Which is not what I am trying to say at all. I'm just saying...do you ask the question because you really care about the answer - or do you ask the question because it is what is expected of you? Is it just part of what you are expected to do on Monday mornings? How many times have you been asked the Monday morning question and just wanted to invent some fantastic, fabulous, unbelievable story just to see how the person asking the question would respond? I am often tempted.

That may be the reason that I started answering the other hated perfunctory question - "How are you?" with the response, "I'm fabulous - how are you?" When I first started responding that way, people stopped in their tracks..."Fabulous? Really? Why?" and then I could tell them - something, anything...but it started a TRUE conversation as opposed to a false one where no one was really listening. Unfortunately now, at work, people expect that as my response - so much so that when I respond, "I'm fine", people think something is wrong with me.

All I am really trying to say is this: I'd rather have a "real" conversation with someone than a conversation that I will forget the moment I am out of their presence. We have too many "fake" conversations during the course of a day, a career, a lifetime. I think it is time to have some meaningful conversations - conversations that will make a difference. If you don't want to know about the weekend, don't ask. If hearing (yet again) about the fabulous vacation someone just took will make you want to stick a fork in your eyeball - don't ask about it. Don't fake it. Be sincere in your relationships.

Oh, and in case you were wondering: My weekend was great - how was yours? (smile)

Be blessed.

No comments: