One of the great things about Facebook and Twitter is that I’ve been able to meet a lot of interesting people. Further, it’s been incredible to get back in touch with people I haven’t seen or talked to in ages. One interesting aspect of the reconnection, though, is that it reveals that many people are often people come at you with the an impression of, or place they held, you from many years ago. There’s a positive and negative side to this reality.
The positive is that it can, in many ways, give you a window into how people viewed you in a particular slice of time. Granted, most of us have our own filters through which we people, that can color or cloud the view. But, for the most part, I find it interesting to hear people stroll down memory lane–primarily because I see how much I’ve grown or changed over the years. Or, I see how much I haven’t. I actually revel in being “the same ole’ Matthew” when it comes to things like being known as having a good sense of humor. To the extent that the essence of what you liked or loved about someone remains in intact, you can pick up the friendship as if there was never a gap in time.
The downside of people being stuck in a view of you from the past is that some seem incapable of moving past that image. You potentially could spend hours walking through, “Remember when…?” “Do you still …?” The concise answers should provide some clue that the answer is no; but, for some reason, some people don’t ge the hint and the conversation quickly becomes uncomfortable and I’m left looking for an out. Worse, I just tighten up and become terse. This, admittedly, happens when old high school friends call me Matt. I never liked Matt, but somehow everyone seems to think I was ok with it. Irrespective of what you remember, I’m telling you now that I prefer to be called Matthew. Why all the questions and agnst about my name?
I have seen this “stuck” issue reveal itself with relationships. This can particularly arrise when bumping into, or reconnecting with, old flames–real or would-be. Both men and women are guilty of running into someone they once had deep feelings for–even if not revealed. They run into the person after many years and expect them to be the same person they were way back when. Dismay sets in when that person is not what they remember. This issue also can sneak up on couples that have been together for years. People [should] grow and evolve over time. The trouble sets in when one or both of the people in a relationship expect their partner to be the same forever. Unless discussed and accepted, the result can be disappointment and/or resentment. One person could feel he/she is being left behind. The expression “You’ve changed!” should not always be viewed as a bad thing.
As with most things I discuss, I am willing to acknowledge that I am just as guilty as the next for showing some propensity for being stuck, and holding people to previous opinions, actions or associations. It was really going through a divoce a number of years ago that I really had a light shone on my own failings as a partner, friend and family member.
I was guilty of holding my father in a particular place. My thoughts and actions were usually dictated by this child-like box I reserved for him. I was incapable of seeing my father in the present because I was too fixed on my recollections of my father in the past. Interestingly enough, as with many things, the more I looked back — with an open mind — the sillier the my issues appeared.
By no means did I write this as an admonishment. Quite the contrary. I hope this serves more as a precautionary note for all of us. Enjoy the thrill of reconnecting with long-lost friends and family members. Just remember, while it’s good to go have the “what have you been up to all these years?”; it’s paramount that you “take them” where they are in the present. The same applies for significant others and family members that have been in your life for years. People can, and should change. Their growth doesn’t have to be away from you. If you’re open, it can be with or along side your own growth and evolution as an individual.
Just something to think about.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, most people have a “phone voice” — particularly at work. But, as the holiday approaches, and many people are headed home for the holidays, I wondered if people have a “home voice.”
I became aware that when I visit my parents, my speech tends to tighten up. I speak more clearly with crisp enunciation.I have always had pretty relaxed speech when not in a classroom or work environment, but it was only listening to some friends shift, quite dramatically from one speaking voice to another that I take note that I did the very same thing.
My version of relaxed speech is still pretty proper, but there’s a clear difference when in the company of my parents. I am certain that this is a bi-product of growing up with pretty strict rules about speech and grammar. I would, at times, get stopped mid-sentence to identify something I said incorrectly. Though frustrating at the time, I actually appreciate it now. I did reach a point where I realized that I was a little tight around my parents, and had of a moment of release where I said to myself, “You know what? I’m 40+ years old. This is just how I talk. I am not going to change or apologize for it.” I have, in large part, stuck to this release and am more relaxed around my parents now. However, I would be lying if I said that I don’t still watch my pronunciation when I call or visit. The only thing I don’t do around my parents is swear like a drunken pirate. That’s just a matter of respect.
What about you? Do you alter or tighten up your speaking voice when you’re in the company of your parents or elder family figures? If so, was this a product of you have a pretty straight line to walk in terms of your speech? Are you conscious that you do it?
This post may grow throughout the day, as songs pop into my head. Maybe not what you would think of Christmas music, but, quite honestly, I’ve just about had my fill of holiday tunes that has been blaring since mid-November. The playlist will most surely bounce around from genre to genre.
Bahamadia — One-4-Teen
While I sort out my thoughts for a new blog piece, I thought I’d share a winter, cuddle up-with-your-loved-one song.