Have I Known You Twenty Seconds or Twenty Years?
Something so incredible happened to me the other day during a coffee walk/park hang I just have to share it.
I hope I don’t sound like a dick when I say the first part.
I have trouble finding people I connect with. And it’s usually because they’re not good at having conversations.
It’s all small talk. They’re hesitant to share. What they might call “deep,” I consider superficial. We all know what the surface feels like, so why bother scratching it so much?
Most people lack the emotional and intellectual capacity to be open and vulnerable. If you can’t be vulnerable, it’s difficult to engage on anything beyond a basic level. Put yourself out there. It’s a good way to find out fast if you should invest more time or move on.
Why waste your time going back to your friends with what matters? With how you feel? Let the person you’re getting to know see you for who you are and what you feel. If you’re insecure or unsure in the moment, tell them. This should be early-stage relationship stuff. When it’s not, a relationship quickly turns into a game. And, as the inspiration for title of this article, Taylor Swift, says, “You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.”
Anyhow, during our second time together I was in awe of the things my new friend was saying. I haven’t been with someone in a while whose every word I absorb and calmly assess. She has this ability to be intellectual, yet conversational. High-level, but unpretentious. She’s impressive. And super cute as she seamlessly searches for the right words.
As we were talking she said she had to ask me something.
She was enjoying our conversation, however she wondered why I wasn’t asking her any questions. Didn’t I want to know things about her?
This inquiry made me smile at the same time as sort of freak out.
I wasn’t asking questions because I didn’t need to.
In most conversations I spend the entire time trying to extract information from the person I’m with, particularly dates. If I don’t ask good and meaningful questions, we get nowhere. If I find myself having to effectively interrogate my date to get her to say something of personal substance, she’s either not into me (likely) or incapable of going there right away, if at all (a total turn-off).
So I said I wasn’t asking questions because she relayed details of her life and experience in thoughtfully constructed layers:
Here’s what I did. Here’s how I felt about it. Here’s why I ended up doing it. There were alternate options. This is what they were and why they were available. Here’s how I felt about them. Here’s why I didn’t take them. Here’s how I think about it now and why.
At every appropriate juncture, she provided color. A related life story, anecdote, or other parallel. All the while giving me openings to share and take my turn on the conversational center stage. We had a good volley going.
It felt intellectually amazing. My kind of turn-on.
Asking questions absolutely is a sign of interest. I probably should have asked more. On the other hand, I’m kinda happy I didn’t. The fact that she would come right out and say what she said — “why aren’t you asking me any questions!?” — made feel even more into this girl.
She could have discounted me and our prospects, made assumptions, called it a day, and lost interest. But she didn’t. She took a chance. One of many risks she took revealing herself to me so soon. I feel like — and genuinely hope — I returned the gift.
I don’t know where this relationship will go. But I’m interested in seeing where it can go because we’re stretching on the same introspective playing field.
Looking back, I wasted many first and second dates, going through the rhetorical motions. That’s a surefire way to get into a rut (so soon!) and set up a potentially sad situation where you never wind up actually getting to know one another.