Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Social obligation.

This post may get me into trouble in future, but here goes...

I find myself smiling, nodding, chatting, small-talking to people I only sort of know and/or know I am not going to be life-long friends with, every day. You too right? 
It's not a massive inconvenience or anything, but the older (and more cynical) I get, the less patience I have and I'd really only rather talk to people I genuinely enjoy talking to.
I like to be nice, I am actually decent and I try to take an interest in people lives. Ask them about their jobs, family, whatever, because it's nice to do that. However, I often wonder whether if it was more acceptable to be truly honest, I would actually bother? 
I realise that this is going to make me sound miserable to some people but there must be someone (probably a few) in your life that you feel this way about. You see them. You cross the street, you don't have time today. They cross the street too. Oh dear. 
These aren't particularly unpleasant people, just the ones you don't have much in common with and/or don't especially care to spend time with.

I was inspired to talk about this due to an experience I had last week. I found myself in a group situation, where smaller groups were having their own conversations. I was engrossed in an interesting exchange, when I found myself being introduced to a friend of a friend. I discovered pretty quickly that although this person was fine, we weren't going to be forming any close bonds that evening and so decided to take the initiative to turn and carry on (possibly a little abruptly) with the former conversation. I don't always do this, and I realised that it made me seem a little rude, but I also felt quite strongly that it's what had to be done to get the best out of my night.

It really made me wonder: would it be a better world if we could honestly and politely step away from small talk? Shouldn't we, as mature adults, be able to say "I'm sure you're a very nice person but I can tell you don't have time to talk about your dog and I don't really want to listen, so why don't we just call it quits and get on with our lives? Good day!" or "I don't actually know you outside of work and I know we're both only having this conversation 'cos society says so. See ya'!"?
Or words to that effect...

Now, I'm guessing not everyone is as miserable as me, I'm guessing some of you even enjoy chatting, if you do, bloody go for it. 

Don't get me wrong, I love a chat with the right sort of person. If I'm honest though, I've found that the majority of people you meet want mostly to talk about themselves. There seems only to be a small percentage who actually listen and want to get to know you.
Wouldn't it be easier to cut out those social obligations you don't actually care for? C'mon.

On the other hand, maybe thinking in this way will stop me from getting to know people I could potentially be fond of. (Though I have to say, I've gone with my instincts in the past and that's usually worked.) Maybe I'm selfish. Maybe I'm just plain rude. Who knows?

All I can say is that I really hope this post doesn't cause everyone I know to avoid me in the street.
(Though it'd be a bonus if it got rid of some.) (Kidding.)


  1. This is by far your funniest blog. I just laughed and laughed and laughed :)

    And I'm sure you know me well enough to know that I agree wholeheartedly! I like the age old "fake a phone call" approach. My peers must think I have an enormously high phone bill. I don't. I just don't like most people :)

  2. You wonderful person! Thank you! I wasn't so confident if this one was going to work. I wasn't sure if enough people would relate to it, I was afraid it might just come off nasty and not funny :) but now I feel happy with it. As long as the right people can relate to it and find it funny then I'm pleased.