Surface Only

I’m going to cross-post to Facebook less and less. I’ve found the algorithm doesn’t really give me that much of a signal boost. Only about ten people are even getting my posts and even fewer of them are even clicking the links to get here. That’s okay. There are some things I write here that I don’t need broadcast over there. Some things are entirely too personal–though it’s funny to say that–for me to want to share a lot of what I write to people I went to high school with or my mom’s friends or others.

After all most people reading here are strangers, voyeurs even, who observe casually, but I also feel a little bit of a buffer too, since the few I have had conversations with that read these posts independent of Facebook prompting them are some very judgement free people. I am happy to call them my friends. Even if we have not yet met in person. I’m glad to have the conversations.

Sometimes the people I know in person want something else out of me. They expect me to be a certain way. Sometimes they think I overshare. That can make people uncomfortable.

The other day, an old friend was passing through town and introduced me to her new boyfriend. I’m not around people in person a lot, and her guy is one of those still waters run deep kind of guys. Very intelligent, but quiet, just kinda standing back and keeping his eyes and ears open. Nicole and I were much like we have always been. Chatty, oversharing, jabber-jabber-jabber. Some people I just click with and you can’t shut us up. I’ve have a few friends like that in my life. They are like gold.

I remember one girl from college, Emily. She and I would just freaking TALK. Jokes. Song lyrics. Stories. It’s a wonder we even breathed. I learned later that her roomate, Jill, was into me, so we drove to Boulder one night just because. Emily and I did NOT SHUT UP the whole time. Once we got to Boulder, Jill turned to us and said, “You two haven’t shut up the whole time!” Unbeknownst to me, I was apparently on a date with Jill that night and Emily was along for the ride. Jill found herself being the third wheel on her own date. She threatened to leave Emily and me in Boulder and we could find another way to get home if we didn’t shut up. Kids today would say that was her “toxic trait.”

No. I did not date Jill. That was a red flag.

So, the other day, Nicole and I are just oversharing the hell out of our lives and her guy handled it great. I guess on the drive home he was really open and talking about a lot of things he would normally be quiet about. Nicole reminded me later that the people who think you are too much aren’t the people for you. It was great to see her with a man who was so different, yet totally got her vibe.

Nicole knew me back in the days when I was dating the Professor. I’ve talked about those years here at length. Looking back now nearly four years later, I remember all the times Professor would warn me before meeting new people to just be “suface only”. Which meant pretty much making small talk around her friends and family. Since you’re a reader here, you know good and well I don’t do “small talk.”

On the drive home, she would reprimand me. “Why did you bring that up?” or “Why did you say X?”

Well, they asked.

But you don’t have to tell people everything that comes into your mind.

Then she would be “busy” for the next few weeks. Yes, this from the same woman who always got to choose what was appropriate to share with people. Like the stories of her sexual exploits with her ex-husband, which got her shock value and cred in mixed company. Which I thought was just tacky.

I’m sure there is some kind of happy medium between an introverted extrovert writer who has these stories clawing their way out of his brain at all times and Joe Six Pack who works all day, falls asleep in front of the TV and expects his woman to bring him a cold beer every couple commercial breaks and to keep them kids quiet.

But that ain’t me.

I’ve been reminded to not overshare for many, many years. I remember those chilly car rides back from social events with my ex-wife, who used to remind me of every perceived violation of good manners or simply taking attention away from her. It got to the point where I waved off from being social. If it meant being criticized for making friends or being chatty with people, well, the hell with it.

Nowadays, I can read a room within a few minutes, and if I’m going to be stuck having a “surface only” evening with people, I usually peace out and go do something else. Sometimes I might say goodbye. I like deep conversations, silly conversations, laughing at old stories, flirting mercilessly (and harmlessly), and laughing so hard that my ribs hurt.

You don’t get that from “What do you do for a living?” and conversations about things like the weather.

There’s a lot of that on social media. And anyone who reads here knows there’s not much room for that kind of bullshit in my life anymore. The people who get you get to be around you. I’m goofy, awkward, and a lateral thinker. I talk in anectdotes. I’m generally melancholy but I also love to laugh hard. I have opinions. I’m not for everybody.

Anyway, here’s a song I’ve fallen in love with lately. Enjoy.

Wolf Alice – Don’t Delete the Kisses

3 thoughts on “Surface Only

  1. Maybe I’m getting old & cranky but I find that it’s much easier to just be who you are. That way, people who get to know you get to know someone more approximating the real you.

    It takes more effort to “present your best self” whatever that means, and frankly I find it 1) too much effort, 2) too much like like I’m pretending to be someone I’m not.

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