Archive - December 18, 2008

How Well Do You Really Know People?

How Well Do You Really Know People?

A friend yesterday said how she’d had a tough time Christmas shopping that afternoon.

The problem wasn’t so much the endless queues, tacky shit, people pushing and shoving or falling over themselves trying to get a 20% discounted hairdryer in Tesco for cousin Charlotte, no, it was something far darker and sinister.

“I find it difficult knowing what to buy people, and it makes me realise just how little I really know them”.

Isn’t it totally true?

I find it difficult myself – I don’t know what movies people have seen, like, got, whether they have normal or Blu-Ray, I have no idea what books people have read, what ornaments go well with what, etc etc.

If you settle for something generic it just looks thoughtless. It is difficult, and all the more so because we live in a culture where everything is accessible and most likely downloadable.

But back to the point.

How well do you really know your friends? And family? We seem to slip into a sort of rut whereby we take people for granted, they just become superficial characters that we think are easy to understand.

“Oh, Dave likes James Bond stuff, just get ‘im a calendar or somethin'”.

Dave says “ah, cheers mate, yeah, that’s good that” but is thinking “what a pile of toss, I’d have rather had the ten quid you wasted on it”.

Its easy to take people for granted though, we’re able to reduce meaningful conversations to Facebook wall messages, text messages and emails.

I don’t talk to my friends as much as I used to, and I assume that most people are too busy to talk. But its a shame, because that great zone where you really get to know someone becomes more and more elusive.

Its so interesting when you have a real conversation with a person, where you discuss fears, insecurities, goals, anxieties, perceptions, stuff you think might be embarrassing but actually isn’t at all, where each persons insights and confessions spur the other to open up more and more, until you really feel like you’ve delved into someones soul a little and really got to know them.

So perhaps it’s totally stupid to go trawling the High St to buy some tack, when you could have spent the same amount of time just talking to whoever you were trying to buy for.

I would much rather have drinks and meaningful conversation with a friend than get another bloody calendar about hamsters, that’s for sure.

What do you think?

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Related – When No-one Asks After You

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