Can I Be Blunt?


Can I be blunt?

My cup doesn’t have room for your neighbor.

I heard this quote the other day by Brene Brown that I haven’t gotten out of my head:

“I don’t come in here and say, hey I know what’s going on with John – blah, blah, blah. Because when we do that, I do that to get connection with you. I do that as a bid for connection. Let me tell you what’s going on that you don’t know about. But when I walk out of the office, you trust me less because I’m using stories that are not mine as currency.”

Do you know how I found that quote? In a conversation that I loved, talking with another person about things we’re learning to better ourselves. She suggested that I listen to her speeches and read her books, because of how helpful and positive they are. We discussed similar things that we struggle with, and that was truly the entire dialogue.

Conversations like that fill me with so much warm energy, and I adore them. I crave more of them.

There’s one thing I’m finding in common with every interaction that feels cold: gossip.

I learned quickly in my teens that a great way to connect with other people, a way to be considered cool, was to gossip. If you’re talking about that person, me too. If you’re judging what you heard they did, that we don’t even know is true, I’m in. If you think we should spend our day worried about them, sure – I can do that. I loved when I could offer something juicy that someone didn’t already know, and the way I felt more accepted at the expense of someone else. All I wanted was to fit in.

But the more I’ve grown up, the more I need… more. The more I want to offer YOU more, too.

I’ve always been quirky. Weird. Out-bursty. A bit like Jessica Day. Kurt has told me before, in a complimentary way: “You’re weird, but it’s charming.” I’m only comfortable in that now that I’m older.

For a long time, I thought I was a little socially awkward. There are moments when other people laugh really hard, but I don’t think it’s funny, so I fake it. There are conversations that feel extremely forced because I don’t have much to add, but pretend. I feel obligated to give a bigger reaction than I actually have. A lot of the time, when I walk away from being social, I feel exhausted.

The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve come to realize that I’m not socially awkward; I just don’t enjoy gossip anymore. Sometimes that makes me an outcast.

I just want something deeper than what I’m getting.

I can make small talk if I want to, or if there’s awkward silence that needs to be filled, but I hate it.

I can ask shallow questions and offer shallow answers. I can mask my quirkiness just fine. I can make you believe that I feel satisfied with just that, even when I’m not. As much as I hate it, though, I’d take that any day over “spilling the tea.”

Now don’t get me wrong – I’ve been guilty of feeding into this as an adult, to feel connected to someone I wouldn’t otherwise connect with. I am FAR from perfect. I’ve realized as I’ve grown, though, that if a conversation can only flow when it’s about other people – we no longer have anything in common.

If you’re my Mama, you’re getting all my guts. My husband? Everyyything. My Dad, brother, my small handful of people, you know my stuff. But even in these conversations, I’m usually venting in search of help, a solution, and once that’s done, let’s lift the conversation a bit.

Again, being blunt here. If you’re not those people, if I don’t know you on a deep level, and you’re bringing me information about so-and-so, do you know what I’m thinking in my head?

  1. You’re becoming less credible to me. Because I know that whatever I say to you, will be spoken to someone else soon. Therefore, I don’t trust you.
  2. Why. Should. I. Care? Truly, deeply. WHY should I care?
  3. I’m shutting down.

If I don’t know you on a deep level and I bring those things to you, I’m sure you’re feeling the same way.

Do you know what I want to talk about with you?

Anything else.

Tell me something funny you saw in a movie or something your kid said that made you laugh. Tell me about a series you’re super into right now and why you’re emotionally invested in that one character.
Tell me what you’re dreaming of doing with your life.

Let’s talk about deep stuff. Hard stuff. The stuff that makes me give you a hug. The stuff that makes us cry.
Tell me some random fact you learned that you thought was interesting, or a book you’re thinking about reading.

A place you found with a pretty view.
Show me your pinterest board and all of the stuff that you’ve found that feels like you. Brag on yourself, what’s your most recent accomplishment?
What’s a new hobby that you’ve loved trying?
Something embarrassing that you did.
What’s something you did as a kid that you really wish you still did?

Let’s sit on my porch in silence.
Let’s play a game that makes us laugh so hard we ‘bout pee.
Hell, talk to me about stuff that’s weird. Ghosts. Knitting. Birds.
How an animal you saw once made you feel like your dead Grandma was saying hi.

Those are the conversations I have with my best friends. The conversations I love. Those things make me feel connected to you. I feel my happiest with people I can be weird with, and it’s the best when you can feel that someone else feels that way, too. Your people. The ones that just get you. The conversations that feel easy and satisfying and full of energy when you walk away. I want you to walk away from me knowing that I won’t share those weird things with the next person I see. How am I supposed to get to know you if you never talk about you? How can you remember me for me if I’m busy talking about other people?

But if I approached someone with any of those things as conversation starters, I would be the weird, socially awkward, girl.

If I approached someone with gossip, I’d be normal.
I don’t want to be normal.
I want to be quirky and “weird but charming.”
I want to make people feel good when they walk away. I want to give big hugs.

I want to feel warm.

I want to be trustworthy.

I want to be psychologically challenged.

I want to be remembered as someone who made people feel good, not someone who spent a lot of time talking about people.

I can only be those things if I’m not masking myself in a conversation that makes me feel pretend. Tired. Cold. I can’t control what other people converse about, but I can decide how I contribute to that conversation, or if I don’t have anything to at all.

I also want to have grown so much that I don’t let gossip bother me, which I’m still working on. Whether it’s about me or other people – understanding that people who initiate it often, just simply haven’t grown to understand that there’s a different way to connect.

So… to be blunt:

I don’t want your neighbor in my cup.

I want my peace in there, and if you have that, I’ll welcome yours, too.

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