Hello one and all!
I work in an industry that affords me the ability to talk to many people from different ways and walks of life. This doesn’t usually result in any meaningful interactions, but today was an exception.
There is a woman I speak with here and there, often for just a few minutes at a time, and today we spoke for nearly an hour. Many topics we covered are controversial, and there were some things she said that I disagree with but chose not to dispute. There were other topics with which we had similar experiences, which were pleasant to discuss.
Aside from the thought-provoking nature of some of the specific elements mentioned, the incident got me thinking about how I communicate with people. I tend to be very reserved, not branching out beyond the usual small talk. To some extent, I share the same attitude even when speaking with friends. There are interesting discussions I have all the time, but only with my parents or my partner. Just last week, I spent a few hours with a very old friend of mine, and it occurred to me then that I just don’t bring up the same topics with him or any of my other friends, no matter how close we are.
To some extent, I think that may be because I have a persistent fear of looking foolish. I know my parents will call me out on anything I say incorrectly, as will my partner, but I worry that most people will simply smile and nod just as I did with the woman I spoke to today. The silent judgment that occurs without me being aware is something that I fear more than someone telling me I am wrong.
When it comes to how that impacts my friendships, I think I have a long way to go before I am comfortable having those intense discussions with them. There’s the issue of bringing up the topics in the first place, and then hoping they care enough about that topic to contribute (unlike my poor partner, who loves me enough to let me talk his ear off!). But, as with everything, you live, you learn, and hopefully improve!
How do you get more comfortable with people? What do you discuss with your friends?
As always, much love!