Friday, March 23, 2012

I don't get it . . . . . .

All right folks. I am guessing I have a blind spot about something and want to know your thoughts on the matter. Ready to be profound? Here we go.
When I spend time with someone (either by phone, letter or in person), I tend to ask questions. Not intrusive ones. Not ones that are none of my business. Not under the spotlight, give up the top secret info, we have ways of making you talk kind of way. Just Hey, I'm interested in you. Tell me about yourself. Kids? Partner? Job? Interests? If the conversation is still going, merging into favorite authors/tv shows/way to drink coffee/thrift stores and so on. You know . . . a conversation? But lately, I have been absolutely mind boggled at people who willingly answer all of my questions, sometimes at GREAT length and detail and then never, ever, ever ask me a single thing.

That happened today. Joseph and I met a new couple. We asked them about why they had moved here, if they liked it, were they getting connected, how old were their kids, did they enjoy homeschooling, what kind of work did they do, what hobbies they had . . . you know . . . CONVERSATION. Every question was answered and then . . . .silence. Never once did they ask anything about Joseph or I. Believe me, I left them wide open opportunities . . . statements like, "I have been very fortunate that I have found ways to make enough money writing that we can live on a single income." Now, this woman was also a writer who is struggling . . . surely it might occur to her to ask me WHAT I wrote. Nope. Nothing. Not what type, for whom, nothing. I could have said I was a dumpster diver and gotten the same response. Just silence.

I don't get it. They suggested we meet. What was the point? They know nothing about us . . . how could they? They made absolutely no attempt.

I walked out of there bitchin' and whinin' but I know it really was just my way of handling disappointment. I am an interesting person that is worth the effort to get to know and no effort was made. It made me sad.

So, tell me . . . . do people just not ask questions anymore? Do they think that if you want to share the information you will just volunteer it? I tried doing that . . . . and just got a blank stare in return. I ask a bunch of questions in my letters--it keeps conversation going. It shows that I care what the person has to say/write about different topics. It shows that I am interesting. And I just don't understand why people don't do it in return.

To question or not to question . . that is the . . . well, um . . question.


Ami said...

I'm sorry. Did you have a question?

Seriously, I think some people are just graced with the personality of a bowl of cornflakes.

It just seems like you run into an awful lot of them. Not you personally, generic you. I have met some just like that. More than once.

Sorry it wasn't a success. I know how much stuff like that means to you.

You know I love you, right?

Julie said...

I think it's not that we don't want to know or we don't have questions. It's more that some of us have shy personalities and good conversation doesn't come easily to us.

Derrick said...

Hey Tamara, found your site!

Ok, my take on this one is typical of most people nowadays. self centered and self absorbed.

I know how old you are and how old your kids are. When you get my letter (soon I promise) you will know the same about me & mine.

I truly think this is a rarity in our society anymore when everyone is paranoid about ID theft and shredding everything that comes into their house.

I don't know about you or your readers, but growing up, the neighbors houses as well as ours never had a door locked. Most kids on the street had free reign is you will to open a door and go is ... here dig into a fridge and grab a snack.. Now you know I don't mean this LITERALLY but things used to be much looser and "neighborly" You "knew" the people living on your street. More to the point you WANTED to know the people on your street.

Bev said...

But questions are so easy!! Especially if the other person asked first. All you have to do is repeat them-"Why did you move here?" etc. Some of our best times with another couple have been when we have bothered to take the time to question where they are at, what's going on in their lives right now. They respond in kind and wow! you have a conversation. I really think it's a forgotten art. Neighbors used to gather on front porches. Now, everyone is in their house watching tv or on the computer(maybe even in separate rooms on separate tv's and computers). The face to face thing isn't happening enough.

And you are too interesting enough to have a conversation with. . .and giggle with. . .and have a meal with.

Confessions of a Closet Hoarder but you can call me Judy said...

Some people are just socially awkward, and it isn't that they're trying to be rude. They honestly don't know how to have a conversation. There's a really good chance they went home thrilled that they had found new friends that actually listened to them. Don't take it personally. When/if you meet up with them again, give them another chance. I'm betting they're not even aware of how they slighted you.


And feeling really bad that I never got around to answering your Christmas letter 15 months ago...