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Saturday, March 12, 2022

Anyone Home?

Spending time this past week with nineteen fellow travelers I'd never met ratified an observation I first made years ago with respect to how people interact socially with strangers  Please share with me and others how closely this aligns with your experience in similar situations. 

I'll start with group one, i.e. people who usually enjoy interacting with strangers. Put me in this group and label me an extrovert, if you must. Although I am genuinely curious to learn about others, I do try to avoid asking intrusive questions, I respect boundaries, and I stay tuned to the need that others have for space and privacy, especially those who I perceive to be much less extroverted than me.   

Group two is made up of people who may or may not enjoy interacting with strangers, may or may not be introverted, may or may not make an effort to initiate contact with others. If someone from group one engages them, and they perceive that person to be sincere and a reasonably good listener, group two folks will attempt to reciprocate, in their fashion. That is, an appropriate question asked of them will often prompt a group two person to ask one or more questions in return. From there, how far the interaction goes is frequently situation dependent. 

Group three can be extroverts, ambiverts, or introverts. I'm rarely clear about whether people from group three actually enjoy interacting with others. What I have observed is that no matter how many questions are asked of them - by folks like me from group one or, by the more reticent folks from group two - there is little to no reciprocity. I'm not referring here to folks who will not respond to any question in the first place. Group three are people who will tell you where they live, what work they do or did, how many children they have, where they've traveled previously, what their hobbies are, etc. But in the end, people from group three will know next to nothing about their questioner. 

Your observations?


8 comments:

  1. I am group one but consider myself an ambivert.

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    1. Ines; Thanks for the comment. Based on our many conversations over the years we've known each other, I think the group one description fits you indeed. And of course, people from that group could be an extrovert like me, an ambivert like yourself, or an introvert. What all three of those personality types share in this circumstance is the willingness to initiate interactions with strangers AND an interest in other people, especially those who reciprocate that interest.

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  2. Pat, you are spot on with your group summaries. I sometimes sound like a reporter when I play back interactions I have had with new people because, like you I am very curious about what makes my fellow man tick.

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    1. Jen G; SO happy to see a comment her from you so soon. Thanks for doing so and also for the affirmation re my observations. It was a genuine joy being with you & Kat this past week. Look next for an e-mail from me with a link to my Bandcamp site where you can listen for free to the CD of my original music with my daughter singing. Listen to the first song ("Happy Just to Start a New Day") and then decide if you want to devote another 25 minutes to the remaining seven. Then, I'll anxiously await your feedback. Best to Kat.

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  3. Pat, your observations of personality types is right-on. There might be interest in sharing of oneself, but not necessarily of wanting to know about others. I for one must remind myself how important it is to show curiosity and interest in others, and not forget to have a balance in conversation.
    You and others were fun to talk to on the trip because there was that marvelous balance!

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    1. Unknown; Thanks for the comment. Special thanks for the insight you shared about your need to "...show curiosity in others..." and have "balance in conversation". Saying this shows me you learned a little about yourself and that is gratifying to me as the writer of this post.

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  4. Hello, Pat. I hope this finds you all doing well. Staring way back in elementary school and into my freshman year in high school, I was clearly an introvert. Something that, for anyone who has known me for any part of the last 50 years, will find very difficult to believe. I used to sweat and shake (both body and voice) when I had to do anything in front of people. But, once I hit my sophomore year in HS, and got involved in theater .. a whole new me. I like being able to interact with anyone at anytime. To not think about anything other than that other person, or group of people, and what each of us has to share. Listening is as much a part of a conversation as talking. And I've come to enjoy each so much.
    Be well,
    Bob

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    1. "Anonymous" Bob; Thanks for the comment and sharing more of your story with me. Your experience of finding "...a whole new me..." sounds familiar to me. In my case, it was music that made me feel like I'd been plugged into a socket from which I'd always be able to get juice. Aren't we both lucky to have discovered our passions reasonably early in our lives?

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