Communication and the Lack Thereof

I’ve been doing some thinking lately. I tend to spend too much time thinking sometimes. But lately, I’ve been thinking about people and relationships and communication. People are pretty interesting, especially in how they communicate and how they relate to other people. In my own experience, it can be pretty hard to find other people that you truly connect with. And then, even if you do, sometimes those people may not feel the same way.

Moving across the country has been an interesting experience for me. (And for Rickytoo, I’m sure.) We basically left behind almost all our friends and family and really only knew a handful of people here when we moved. Which has made for some interesting dynamics. Obviously, it changed the relationships we had with people back in Indiana. Ricky has no intention to purposefully go back to Indiana for a visit. I, on the other hand, usually go visit about every six months or so. I’ve been back three times since we moved here almost two years ago. But even with our lack of face time (not the iOS app), we still manage to maintain some pretty decent friendships with people back there. A few have even been out here to visit us (or happened to be passing through for other reasons and made the effort to connect, which we always appreciate). I still consider some people in Indiana to be my very best friends, and I make a concentrated effort to see those people when I am back for a visit. These are people that I have a pretty meaningful history with and have grown to basically see as family. I love these kind of people. They are the ones I can truly be myself with and don’t feel like I ever have to worry about losing them as friends, even if I am a few thousands miles away most of the time now.

There are other people in Indiana too, or in other states for that matter, that I may not see very often, but thanks to the popularity of social media nowadays, I have the ability to keep up with their lives and even see them every now and then, usually. I’m grateful for this, and it’s one of the best things I see about social media. These people may not be family or “family” but I’m grateful for their presence in my life and I like that I can count them as friends.

There are also new people that I am meeting. Ricky and I didn’t meet a lot of people right up front when we moved here, but it has happened gradually through various channels. This is what’s interesting to me. Some of the people back in Indiana I have known for years and it was through common interests or activities – school, church, work, etc. Well, most of those channels no longer exist for me. I don’t go to church or school anymore, and all of the people on my team at work are in other states. So the people I meet tend to be through more non-mainstream avenues. It also means they tend to be people that I have to make an effort to spend time with. What I mean by that is that I don’t see them on a regular basis like one would in the more mainstream channels I mentioned above. This makes for an interesting dynamic and is where that whole communication thing really comes in. Ricky and I have had different experiences with people that we’ve met out here. He’s pretty good about perpetuating contact with people and making an effort to spend time with them. Especially people that reciprocate. But you get different responses, which always make me wonder what people are thinking. Some people reciprocate and also seem to want to make the effort. Some people seem to want it at first, then for whatever reason their effort at contact seems to die down. (These people always tend to make me really curious, especially if they are people I felt like I connected with. I wonder why they seem to lose interest. I have to restrain myself from overanalyzing it and just accept that the connection might not have been what I thought.) Other people may not always be the best at making the effort to connect, but let you know in other ways that even though they may not be good at it, they do want to connect. (These people tend to be nice in that even though you may not see them all the time, you do know that they care and are almost always there when you reach out to them.)

We are all funny, fickle people. We change and adapt and grow. We also help each other and hurt each other. I, for one, have a tendency to let myself be affected a bit too much by other people’s actions, when really, those actions have way more to do with that person than me. What I hate is feeling like I don’t know why someone seems to have no interest in connecting with me, especially when I feel like I can easily connect with them. I don’t know why I try so hard to understand it or feel offended or hurt by it. It’s happened often enough that I know it’s really not about me, nor is it usually worth worrying about.

Things like this also affect how I react to other people. I meet people that I do connect with or people that I even admire or respect almost from the get-go, and I worry that I will somehow turn them off – that I will say or do something to make them quickly lose interest in me. If they do, I should know that it’s just not meant to be. But these types of people generally are the ones that I want to like me the most, because they are the people I respect and admire. But of course the only thing I can do is be myself. My messy self. And if they like me, they like me. If they don’t, they don’t.

I really have no conclusions about any of this. It’s all just observation as a result of way too much thinking. But sometimes it makes me kind of sad how precious little we ultimately all really think of each other. We are so wrapped up in our own lives or our own thoughts about ourselves that we give little thought to how we make those around us feel most of the time, or how we might be able to help them. It’s also a bit sad how little we open up to each other, how little we bare our souls. Ironically, doing that would likely be the way we would best connect… having someone understand us even more or love us in spite of those things that we didn’t even want to talk about. It’s oddly enough the things we hide that would likely bring us closer. Yet our fears tend to keep us from sharing our true selves.

Oh well. There’s always the internet to hide behind.

[Disclaimer: if you think this is about you, then yes. It is.]