I didn’t know because you didn’t tell me 3

I didn’t know that really I didn’t. You never told me.  I never asked.  I never thought of asking.  I’m not a prober.

Have you ever had  a good friend start talking about something personal that she thinks you know but that you know nothing about?  She assumes she’s told you the back-story and makes references to family members or past incidents and expects you to keep up with her.  You’re confused.   The unknown reference points are important to the information she’s telling you but you have to interrupt to ask:

  • Who’s that?

  • When did you live in Tokyo?

  • You used to date Miles?

  • Etcetera

I have a good friend (P) and an Aunt (J) who would know as much or more about any of my friends or neighbors in a couple of conversations than I have learned years after knowing them.  They will ask questions, make comments, get up in another person’s mix with no shame.  (Not that I’m calling them nosy but…)

It’s not that I’m not interested (or at least it’s mostly not that).   I simply don’t ask a lot of questions when I meet people.  I tend to only go where a friend decides  to lead me.  If the friend tells everything*, I know everything. If the friend doesn’t, well, I won’t find out until they reveal themselves.  I expect people will let me know what I need to know, a somewhat naive view but that’s me.  (Perhaps this is why I can seem distant to some.)

Lyrics from the James Brown song, Cold Sweat, come to mind –  “I don’t care about your past.  I just want our love to last.”

I also don’t like receiving lots of questions from people when we first meet.  I know questioning is the method many people employ to make a connection but for me, it feels like a probe.  I mean just because we’re attending the same workshop doesn’t mean you need to find out why I’m interested in:                     (Fill in the blank.)

I tend to prefer to tell my stories over time. (Those that I share. I tend to be private/discreet.)  I also prefer to learn about my friends over time as we build trust and a history together.

On the other hand, like many women, I have shared truly personal information fairly immediately, but it’s usually because the conversation naturally flows that way – when sharing a personal tidbit in response to something is totally appropriate and easy. 

There are people it is easy to open up to, especially those with whom there’s a known affinity. Conversations around literature will almost always get me to yakking and, in disclosing recently read and/or favorite books, I learn a lot about people or at least as much as I want to know.

Am I weird or what?

*I’m not going to even hint at who this friend my be but she knows who she is.

About Candelaria Silva

Candelaria Silva-Collins is a marketing, community outreach and programming consultant; writer; and trainer/facilitator who lives in Boston, Massachusetts. She has designed and facilitated workshops on a wide variety of topics including communication, facilitation, job search skills, team building, and parenting issues. She currently coordinates the Community Membership Program of the Huntington Theatre Company. Her work as Director of ACT Roxbury was profiled in several publications, including The Creative Communities Builders Handbook. Candelaria’s children’s stories, short stories, essays and reviews have been published in local and national publications and she is an active blogger. Her publications include the booklets, Handling Rejection; Pushing through Shyness: Networking Tips when You’re Shy, Slow to Warm Up or Just don’t Feel you Belong; and Real Questions about Sex & Relationships for Teens: A Discussion Guide for Parents. She has served on the boards of Goddard College, Wheelock Family Theatre, Boston Foundation for Architecture, and Discover Roxbury. She is currently Chair, Designators of the Henderson Foundation.

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3 thoughts on “I didn’t know because you didn’t tell me

  • SisChris

    Ha! Question askers are annoying. #1 most annoying question after names have been exchanged. What do you do? Annoying and rude. My favorite answers especially tailored for networking sharks trying to find out what you do so they can see if you can do something for them. “Not much, as little as possible, and nothing!”