Sunday, May 5, 2013

If you want to be interesting, be interested!

Some simple things can be forgotten in the rush of life and all that goes on in a typical day.  Having just returned from a great trip to Costa Rica with 7 others and recently chatting with a member of the Millennial generation, one of these simple things was brought home:

If you want to be interesting to others, you need to be interested in others.

I am guilty of the info dump, focusing on me, me, me and what happened to me, forgetting that the person on whom I am dumping (usually my patient husband) might also have something to share.  He routinely calls me during the work day and before he can say much more than hello, I immediately bring him up to date on my day, my conversations, our niece's latest antics, our nephew's water polo schedule, my Facebook news before even letting him tell me WHY he called or asking him how he is.  Uh, yeah.  I do that.

On the other hand, if I call someone, I try to start the conversation by asking them if this is a good time to chat and asking them about their day/trip/work/etc.  So, I'm not all clueless all the time.

In the last week we had some fabulous adventures in Costa Rica: ziplining, sport fishing, diving, surfing, spice farm visits, horseback rides, relaxing, nature hikes, animal spotting and more.  Not everybody did everything together, so there were times when we wanted to share with each other what WE did.  On a few occasions someone would share how their adventure went, regale us with the tales (which each of us loved to hear) and then leave the room, completely forgetting to ask anyone else how their day was and what adventures they had had.  Certainly everyone is responsible for speaking up for themselves, but it's nice to be asked, too.  It's nice to know someone might be interested in you and what you did.

In my conversation with a Millennial (those 18-20 somethings), I was hearing really great stuff from them but was never asked about what I was doing or how that week we just spent in Costa Rica went.  I volunteered how our week went, then thanked them for inspiring me to write this post.  It was a sincere thanks and a good reminder for me.

Facebook posts an interesting (if you're interested!) dilemma:  the primary function is to tell people what YOU are doing, how You are feeling, where You are.  It is a product of the Millennials, who tend to be somewhat self-absorbed anyway, but we Boomers just might be the biggest users of the program.  If you want someone to care that your cat did something funny, that you had an awesome meal or were at an airport, make sure you check out, comment on or like the posts by your friends and family, too.  They posted something for a reason (and not the "I have a headache" or "I'm hungry" type posts - those don't necessarily merit comments), thinking someone - YOU - might be interested.  Show them you are and they are more likely to be interested in what you're doing, eating, seeing, hearing.

Yes, there are times when we MUST get our information out and want to share it right NOW, but if you want someone to be interested in what you have to say, best you ask them how their day/trip/work was, too.

I promise to try to be better about that with the patient and quiet man I married, too.

1 comment:

  1. Thoughtful commentary Katie. I've come to realize there are a fair number of friends on FB who choose to be only "spectators" and never - or almost never - post a "like" or comment, which at some point seems to verge on being almost surreptitious. But, to put it all in perspective, remember what Betty White said when she hosted SNL (worth Googling): "When I first heard about the campaign to get me to host Saturday Night Live, I didn't know what Facebook was. And now that I do know what it is, I have to say, it sounds like a HUGE waste of time."