Getting To Know You

Being in our heads all day every day means that it’s a leap to see us as other people see us.

From inside, we sound different from the way others hear us, we look different from the way we (think) we look, we don’t smell the same. Most people understand that this is the case, but understanding  in the context of dating is different. Friends and family who know you already have a template of your personality and emotions. The new person is working in a dark room, blindfolded.

Why doesn’t she see that I’m yada yada yada?

Can’t she tell that I’m thinking this and that and this?

How come she didn’t notice my blah blah blah?

This is the critical nature of meeting and beginning to understand people, that we have a whole lot of stuff to learn about each other but only limited ways of doing so. Language is wonderful, but limited in so many ways. Body language is often accurate, but requires skill to interpret. Text, phone, email and everything else is a step away from the complexity and nuance of the way we really think, and so oftentimes only hinder the process.

My feeling is that getting to know someone requires time and patience. Imagine sitting on a train, commuting to work. Every day you pass the same set of buildings that you like the look of. Every day you might learn something about who lives or works there, how they look in different light at different times of day, in different seasons. Who goes in and out? Who hangs about on the street? Are there improvement or repair works going on?

Over the course of months and years, you get to know the rhythm of that building, know what’s normal and what’s not, and what’s part of its character and not.

People are not buildings, but I think you get the idea.