We live in the age of Polite Society. When you speak with your friends or coworkers, it goes something like this:
“Good to see you.” You say. “How’s it going?”
Friend, “great. How about you?”
“I’m doing well. Thanks. Talk to you later.” You smile and walk off.
That’s normally it. There might be a little more banter about movies, sports or TV, but normally things wrap up quickly and you both go on with your day or move onto something else. It’s all lovely and polite and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Except. You both lied to each other. Things aren’t great and you’re not doing well, but you don’t want to air your dirty laundry and your friend or coworker doesn’t really want to hear it. So, we pretend for the sake of social graces.
What brings this up? You’re asking. Well, for me there is a lot happening right now and it’s made me take a moment and reflect on all that we don’t know about each other and what we don’t share for the sake of being polite. Over the last six weeks (actually much longer) I’ve been dealing with major family issues, both my side of the family and my husband’s side of the family. I won’t go into the details, however needless to say it’s been stressful and left me in a kind of funk.
I’ve tried to keep it away from both work and social media, because we all have our own crap we’re dealing with. What it’s made me realize are the smiles on each other’s faces are often a mask to hide the drama in our own lives. We want to show the world ‘we’re fine’ and ‘everything is great’ when in reality it’s the opposite.
Look, I’m not a proponent for ‘airing your laundry’ to the whole world (in face there are some people who do this way too much just for the attention they get) and a certain amount of ‘stiff upper lip’ is important. However, when we see all those smiles and we have our pleasant generic chit-chat about sports, or movies, or TV maybe peek past all that. Ask yourself if this is a moment I should go a little deeper, does this person need to talk, really talk, or do they need the false charade to help them get through all the crap they are going through? Because it does work both ways, sometimes we need Polite Society to get us through the day and provide us a break from our world of crap. Regardless, it’s worth at the very least a mental question and perhaps we should take a moment to open up and really talk to people especially our friends.
I don’t know. It’s just what’s been going on in my head these last few days. I’m not the only one to think this and I’m not the only one to point this out.
Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love hearing from folks.
Also, I wanted to let you all know that I’ve read two really amazing books recently:
Until next time have a great week.