Thursday, September 30, 2010

Clarification on What I Consider Friendly

Here are some things I consider friendly.

1. Smile when I pass you.

2. Say, "How's it going".

3. Wave in the parking lot.

4. Say hi to my kids.

5. In a meeting, nod like my contribution was valuable instead of checking your watch.

6. In a group, give and take in conversation. Or just listen without checking your BlackBerry.

If you want to actually talk, I'm up for it.

That's . . . pretty much it. I don't want any stalkers or creepers telling me my hair smells nice.


Patrick said...


Great post as per usual. I'll play Devil's Advocate for a minute though...because as Bryce can attest...I love to do that. Many are the times Bryce would look at me in horror and say, "Pa-aa-at" while struggling not to laugh.

Speaking as a man who considers himself friendly, even a little extroverted, at church I'm always happy to chat with moms who are likewise out in the foyer with their likewise misbehaving beasties. Darci is 2 and has a Wagnerian operatic soprano so I have plenty of opportunities. I've had great conversations on everything from politics to chipmunk traps.

But, from time to time, I'll get a bad reaction. I'll give a smile and approach thinkiing of a common thread to kick off a conversation. But, the eyes will widen in fear, they'll look behind me for rescue, nervous laughter. I'll realize "Yikes, I'm making her uncomfortable", gobble out some sort of exit line and scurry off to pluck a tithing envelope that I don't need out of the holder.

I'm a resilient guy and can laugh off that sort of thing. But others, slapped down often enough, will become gun-shy and shut down altogether.

I think a couple of things are going on here. Most of us, men and women, are decades gone from our dating prime and we just don't remember how to open a conversation with someone who isn't our spouse.

Also, some people are just socially awkward.

Plus, I think we're missing some contextual stuff here. I know some people avoid me like I'm an escaped lab monkey because they fear a calling. Rebecca, if you are in a position where you can call someone or give advice to someone who can, people will see you coming and think, "Holy Crow! She's going to ask me to take the Blazer boys! Fleeeee!" ;-)

Rebecca and Co. said...

You have very good points, Patrick! And they are very devilishly well-said.

You are super-friendly in an appropriate way. I really can't imagine someone not appreciating your outgoingness. I think you have a way of making people feel comfortable. But I guess that's me, coming from my experience--one where I've not been stalked or made to feel uncomfortable by people in the past.

And I do think that some people are just socially awkward. Men AND women.

I'm glad you commented, Pat! I hope your family is doing well. I can't believe Darci is already 2. Please give a high 5 to your kids and tell Cynthia I say hello. :)

Denalee said...

Interesting couple of posts Rebecca. I say, come visit Newport Ward! (or who knows ... maybe you'll be IN Newport Ward soon with the boundary changes). I don't feel that at all in this ward. There's lots of comfortable conversation that goes on. Or maybe we could just loan you Greg Longman. He'll make up for everyone else.

As I read I was thinking about recent short conversations with Brother Knudson (who, btw, is in the bishopric and I DO sometimes try to avoid) Easy to talk to, fun to listen to ... short and sweet, but genuine conversations.

I guess I'm just lucky.

I really enjoy reading your blog - particularly when it makes me think. Enjoy conference weekend!

hwscutie said...

hmmm... now I wonder if you felt the need to post this since I asked if John was nice to you :)