Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Little Conversations

Little Conversations by Concrete Blonde was something of an anthem for me growing up.

The little conversations
On me are very rough
They leave me all in pieces
You know there's never time enough
Like a book with missing pages
Like a story incomplete
Like a painting left unfinished
It feels like not enough to eat.
I was never able to do small talk. Part of me envied the people who were. The other part of me dismissed it as shallow and pointless. How could people be talking about sitcoms and celebrities when there was tragedy all over the world?

As I've gotten older, having meaningful conversations has become both easier and more difficult. They are easier because I know more now and because I am more open to other points of view. They are harder because the farther I have gotten from home and childhood, the more other points of view I have encountered.

As an adult, serious conversations have a lot more minefields and potential for the kind of conflict that costs. If you offend someone you go to school with, you just stop talking to each other. If you offend someone you work with, you could have a very miserable working experience.

Some subjects, like racism, are particularly difficult to talk about. Attorney General Eric Holder was right, we are cowards when it comes to talking about race. But we have some reason to be wary. Mistrust is high. And if you look on the comments section of any website dealing with race, you will probably see why.

That's where the little conversations come in. Talking about sitcoms and celebrities gives you the chance to build a relationship. Next thing you know you're talking about your family or bitching about your boss. All these little conversations allow you to get to know a person and build some trust.

And any conversation that builds trust, builds bridges, and builds relationships is meaningful.

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