It seems today we feel driven to describe our feelings in abstract or subtle ways. We used to be dating, going steady, or just in love. That would be far too obvious today. I am just seeing someone. Romantic, huh? Significant other? I guess so but just how significant? It seems we want to take our interactions on a scale from one to ten to see how real they are. Okay Kath, I feel 9.999 for you.
Rather than trying to quantify I want to just take the concept for a moment. Webster tells us the definition or relationship: the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected. Objects? You mean I can have a thing for my car? Some people do. Many of us feel strongly about our ideologies or political bents. I guess the description is apt but are we giving short shrift to our humanity.
As you may realize I am finally coming out of my shell and reaching out here and there. The last few days are somewhat typical. On Sunday we played golf with a very nice couple whom we had never met before. You spend four hours on a golf course and you start to get to know them. A really pleasant afternoon. Winning second place in the tournament doesn’t hurt the rapport either. Chalk up one for the good guys.
Yesterday I started off at hospice. I met four entirely different sets of patients and their families. I am always somewhat astounded when in the final hours of someone’s life you take it from zero to sixty in a matter of moments. You surmise the situation and try to figure out the best way to play it. In the end you are as sincere and open as possible and miraculously you watch shades of doubt or mistrust disappear. Good stuff.
Later on in the day I got into it with a provider who in my mind had screwed up. Rash assumptions, and of course my Irish, amped the situation intolerably. Slammed phones, veiled threats and of course the walking away, wiped out all the good points I had accumulated from my morning toils. Worse was the regret and angst over what was said. About .0005 on the relationship scale.
But I have to ponder further. I have a lot of meeting opportunities from friends, and colleagues to a woman at the gas station counter. I try to make the most of each one. I think the first key is openness. You can be aloof or private if it is your thing. I like to see how many times I can interact if in just the briefest way. I am not trying to invade your space but maybe just tell you it nice to have you around on this big blue marble.
The more you get into it, the more complex. Let’s say you and I are just shooting the breeze. We do small talk. Then at some point a topic pops up that is of mutual interest. You take one track and moi either agrees or perhaps has different point of view. You can slam the door right there and move on. Or you can see if there is common ground to see if you can move this thing forward.
Things start to get dicey. If I show my true colors will they be scorned or God forbid totally ignored? This relationship thing is really a matter of trust! As you feel more comfortable you reveal more about you and your beliefs. Any strong tie will have opposing forces. Can you accept that or is it your way or the highway? Make or break time, dead ahead.
Every day whether it is at work, church or the local gin mill you run into people you have seen and possibly met before. You don’t remember their name so you say, “Hey buddy how is it going?” ( Please note big guy, my man or good looking can be interchanged here).
Why do I reach out and want to find out more? Am I just plain nosy or inclusive? Excellent question. I guess I enjoy all different types of people. My friendship palate is not terribly discerning. I am an equal opportunity glad hander. In my mind the more open I am to possibilities the more interesting and fulfilling my life will be. Selfish isn’t it?
I went to church with a friend one Sunday and afterwards we went to Publix to get some bagels for breakfast. I proceeded to say hello to workers at the floral, deli and meat counter. My buddy looked at me incredulously as if I was embarrassing him. He wanted to put distance between him and this lunatic. Even as I explained why, he wasn’t buying it. Interestingly this friend doesn’t let you get past the surface. In conversation when you approach dangerous territory his arms get folded and the body language of “Don’t go there!” gets exhibited. Or he just changes the conversation. I get it.
I am not trying to criticize or put down anyone who does not share my enthusiasm for pressing the flesh. I guess I just want to let you know of all the fun I have with people. When you put on a big smile or unabashedly give a compliment, or even better yet get into a deep conversation there is just this stupid thing that makes you feel very much alive. My tragic flaw.
Simply put, I am in a relationship with everything and everyone I see. I hope that does not sound too haughty or outlandish. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I screw up beyond compare.That’s what happens. But at least I am trying and that’s the fun part. Hope you do too.
Ted The Great
Hugging is inappropriate today but it is a proven stress reliever. How’s that for conflicting sides?
Intelligent people have fewer friends than an average person. Not because they are repulsive to anyone but because smart persons are very picky when it comes to friends. Uh Oh! Not good for TTG.
Those women who spend more of their time with male friends than they do with female friends are generally more often in a good mood.
Being alone for a long time is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day
We’re losing friends at an alarming rate. The average number of confidants in the average person’s life has fallen by a third in the past 20 years. Now, twice as many people have no confidants at all!