How do you answer that? Don’t worry. This isn’t one of those motivational stories that are gonna help you love yourself more. I mean, yeah, you should but that’s not what this about. I’ll quit hugging myself and get to the point.
This is the worst question I get asked. It’s a robotic greeting sub sentence because ended a cheerful greeting/bump in (especially in a small community) because simply saying ,”Hello” and having that awkward, hesitation pause of “Okay, who’s going first?” would happen and then you’d have to say something creative.
Some people will even add that third…or when very exited to see someone you actually would like to prioritize time to see them more often.
“Oh Hey!!!! Oh my gosh…how are you? How’ve you been?! <half breath> What have you been doing?”
You’re usually nodding, smiling and returning with the stock, “Fine! Pretty Darn great! Very well Thank You! yada
Internally, while exchanging level four salutations your mind is thinking, “Wow she really looks great. You can tell in her face. I really do like this chick. I wonder if there’s a way I could genuinely say we should get together. I won’t say it if I don’t mean it cause that’s bullshit. Hmmm. This weekend I’m <fill in 3-5 things> I could do next Wednesday but then I wouldn’t have my drinks and apps night during our kids’ confirmation class (back to back kids means 4 straight years of it. It will always remain a tradition now cause we like it.) Finally, 4 weeks out I know I gotta pay attention cause we are at the point of either actually sharing personal info that matters or we accept that moment of exchanging we really do like each other vibes but neither of us gots the time for that due to the hustle life. I digress and don’t offer a time we really can set aside.
Either way, brief salutations or five minutes of how do we end this so we can move on? part. It’s the context of our chance bump in.
If it’s Krogers and we got food thawing in our carts – maybe five minutes. and any re-run to aisles because of random shopping patterns of “oh shit I forgot to grab”…. you smile and one liner each other as you passby…again.
If it’s ending up in the same seats for something your kids or work or whatever are doing, you can technically chill and catch up and get a two fer…no need to plan anything right now.
I feel like we all know someday, when the kids are leaving the nest (sadly, sooner than later) and work slows down, we’d definitely consider pursuing a transition from the outer third ring of influencers to second for each of you. That in and of itself is a compliment and realistic sign of mutual maturity and self confidence.
No second guessing each others intentions within brief awkward moments of silence. We fill the time to share vibes, eye contact of truths and smiles to let each know “Hey, you’re cool. I’m cool. We’re cool. Let’s do this. You go, Home Depot.” Dividing and conquering to make america great again. Until we meet again sista.
So I accept the four level salutation greeting system that’s been bred into us for generations. I’m guilty of initiating tons of them.
Similar to all the friends that just drifted over time, past co-workers you really liked, old neighborhoods where you could walk down the alley on a Friday night and end up in a circle of us storytelling and tying them on around a fire.
Have a dear true buddy just one yard cut from you. Man, I miss that alley.
and hereby self-nickname it the extended salutation positive people do.
What if you decide to use the robot level four salutation when you’re tired, overworked, brain dead, fully in an introvert mode and hadn’t those kids learned to quit drinking a gallon of milk a flipping day – you would be at home time. And When you are in a pretty healthy place, you want to be creative and disrupt the norm. Whether you have 30 seconds or 30 minutes, you want to talk about some interesting. You would rather anyway cause it’s funner and they would follow suit and give a little more insight or info on themselves. You know, actually get to know one another better.
You can learn alot. Plus – it truly does fuel your spirit to interact authentically and genuinely with other people.
And thin your herd. Or, the opposite – thicken your list of those you say that when you get older and don’t have all of these out of whack priorities that are probably aging you faster and giving you panic attack stuff. And if you’re like me, you don’t even keep up with the Joneses. This is just because you said you would do something and honor your word.
I am fortunate to have such a thick third circle ring of cool people. Really cool people. Current coworkers. People I’ve met through our new community. Our family’s friends who are in their second circle thereby autoplacing them into our third -almost second circle (gratefully, actually! They have great taste)
I even love that our second circle proximity friends have added our family and their friends into their almost second circle.
Oh, Hey Heather? What the eff are you talking about? What’s a 2.5 circle?
You know, you’re all friends on Facebook and not only get invited to private events set up on Facebook for each other, but there’s more chances than not you all end up at the same tailgater, Fireball Friday and/or Firepit night. Or canoe trip. Birthday party. You know, 2.5 circle.
If someone asks me how it’s going or what’s new – I create a silence and look up and actually think about the question.
I want to provide a true, unique to me, answer. I want them to know beyond the standard non-verbal cues and tone while blurting out salutations like you do a “Bless You” to a random sneezer to the “Thank you so much for serving our country” to any dude in a vet hat. To all of them.
Why not? The impact you will make in that very moment of both lives is the secret sauce of what to take from this life. Seriously.
I also love that because of this thinking, I need material. Lots of it.
Do you know what? I have yet to run out. I have yet to regret the decision to change this way thinking. It’s more effort, sure. But it’s also so much more worth it.
What if more people stopped and thought about that and started created that habit? Would our world change? I think so.
How can a country become so much more connected and as a result of it, be more disconnected than ever before?
We’ve lost that loving feeling. Every interaction with each other outside of our second and almost 2.5 circle is scaled for productivity. We stay in our first and then second circles because it’s too overwhelming to be everything for everyone. I don’t disagree. But if we all have mutual maturity to realize we all are the same – no matter what we do for our living and work balances – why can’t we take an extra minute or ten or twenty with someone to be genuine and transparently sharing?
First of all, it feels good whether you are the initiator or receiver and engage in the talk. Second, it makes you more acutely aware of your present life to ear mark more stories to share so you are prepared to make other people enjoy the interaction and seek it out again sometime.
Disclaimer – bitching about the gas prices or latest work policy, gossiping about something that is more like cruelty do NOT count. That’s second circle disease.
Side bar self proclamation: I love it when it’s a stranger. If I end up making a stranger laugh, sparkle or thank me and exchange those vibes of “you’re cool, I’m cool” with me – it’s like a sip of bota box cab after eating a dark dove chocolate that reminded me how cool everything is.
I am always looking for funny things to share. I am always open to witnessing acts of humanity (and non). I notice how the sky looks and take longer moments to take it in and think about why it’s so awesome to me. I have more patience with people. There’s alot of people out there that are seriously assholes. I try to help convert them but sometimes you just can’t. Pray God teaches them the lessons without an innocent bystanders in their circles having to be sacrificed for it.
If someone asked you right now what’s new with you or what’s been going on, what could you say as an answer that you find interesting or note worthy to share?
Everyone is bitching about the fact that our outgrown subdivision’s four lane is under construction for a 5.5 lane with new turning lanes and stuff to make school/work times less annoying. It’s been WAY too long and is currently stripped down and full of cones, bumps, dust and yeah – a shit ton of cars trying to get to work.
OH, Hey Heather – what’s new with you?
Me – Living the dream (Drake White reference) and always looking for more ways to have fun and soak it in. I’m so glad this crappy road stuff will save me like, two hours this weekend. I think I may have to binge some netflix later.
Them – How is it saving you time? It sucks. They should’ve paved that a week ago. Its ridiculous.
Me – Oh yeah, I know. It’s weird they haven’t even started that after tearing it all up. But it’s so crappy dry and filthy that there’s no reason to wash my van cause the first time I leave home – which is way too often – I gotta wash it again. So, whatever. I’m leaving it.
Them – no kidding! Why even bother?
Me – there’s always a silver lining! Great to see you! Hope you find a few hours to relax this week too! Take care.