Is it rude to ask?

It’s always interesting to see someone you knew from years ago. School friends, work colleagues, old lovers. As I get older those gaps are stretching to 10 ,15, 20 years. Invariably they are still the same people, older and hopefully wiser. The general catch up is nice, as in “that’s a nice jumper”, what I find interesting in is their view on life now and how it matches up to who I knew way back when. When we knew them then, we generally knew what type of person they were and what interested them. Their sporting pursuits, hobbies, careers.

Now they have lived whole lives, loved, lost, had children, had careers, re-trained, changed jobs etc etc etc. My question is: is it rude to ask people about how they saw the world as it flew by. What was the view out of their windscreen? Does it cross the line to probe a little deeper? Depends on how well you knew them you say. Well does it? Maybe my social skills aren’t honed to the sharpest edge. We seem to share feelings on facebook but not so face to face. I know, I know, there’s the security of sitting comfortably behind the computer and all that jazz.

I have to run, cows to feed. A thought or perhaps a challenge to leave you with. Ask somebody today, when they ask you how you are, what are they afraid of.
I’d like to continue this thought later, will update and edit this post.

If you ask me how I am I will ask you what you fear. Even in casual conversations take the opportunity to share, even if the other person recoils, jump in. Its amazing what you will discover. Every little connection makes the world less scary and builds community.

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5 comments on “Is it rude to ask?

  1. Dave you are opening a whole panorama as I try to grab at the images flying by. That windscreen is blurry in places and it must be I wasn’t always tuned in to the happenings around me. I have a tinge of envy for people who can remember detail and bring it to life. Remembering places can provoke emotion and sometimes I refuse to go there. I have total recall for places that were special. Photos are not necessary then. People from the past bring out the guilts. Was I nice , nasty, generous enough? Good old Catholic guilt and I’m not even one. Even to ask the question of others re their fears and view of the world might feel like prying to my generation who were bought up to mind their own business along with their Ps and Qs. Don’t be a sticky beak was something that had to be shaken off so we could show interest in those around us. I’m over that but it took a while. Thanks for the challenge. I am just now connecting with the family oseas that we left behind. We as children had no choice but to come to Aust and did not realise how leaving family, cousins, aunts and uncles and friends would colour our lives. I will have to ask many questions to fill in the gaps. Say hello to the cows for me. Peaceful creatures.
    Susan Lendon

    • Hello Susan, great comments. What you said about photographs being unnecessary was interesting in that as I take more and more photos, having a phone that is a camera and much more, I find myself becoming less attached to them personally. Am I taking them to remind myself, no, I am taking them to leave a record for others. My children being the most obvious recipients. I want my recollections of the past to be distorted, or maybe coloured is a better word, by the passage of time. The point you made about being taught to mind your own business as a barrier to asking the harder questions of others, is a good one. I hadn’t thought of that. Maybe that is another indication of my social ineptness and probably goes some way to explaining why I either find myself either engrossed in conversation or sitting alone at parties.

  2. You are asking difficult questions so most of us will find an easy answer that creates the least amount of conflict. Especially if its been years since you last saw the person. Sometimes we ask questions, but few of us listen to the answers. We instinctively know when someone is REALLY interested. This is a good discussion point – thanks for bringing it up. Enjoy visiting your blog…

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