The Fine Art of Talking About Nothing Important.

I'm a notoriously private person (for those of you who really know me, feel free to roll your eyes, gnash your teeth, whatever, at this point).  Ok, private may be a bit of an understatement.  Like, way down deep under the earth understatement.  The thing is, people who are merely acquaintances wouldn't believe it.

See, I have mastered the art of talking about Nothing Important.  You know, like funny kid stories, what I made for dinner last night, or the latest book I read.  But nothing really about me.  I worked with the same group of people for more than eight years, and not one of them know my political party, my religious beliefs, or whether I wore thongs or bikinis or whatever.  Not that underwear is appropriate to talk about at work.  Ever.  Just don't go there.  But at the end of a conversation with an acquaintance, that person will inevitably believe I had a lot to share, that I was open, and warm, and loving.  Ha.

It sort of sounds like I'm bragging, and it really sort of feels like it a little bit.  I come from a pretty long line of Private People, and grew up in a very small town full of Gossip Biddys, and it was like a game or a challenge or something to keep your business out of other people's flapping jaws.  My Mama was very good at it, and I think I inherited some of her talent.

Anyway, I'm also very good at the art of deflection.  You know, asking questions of others when they are trying to get too close to the root of me.  People, in general, love to talk about themselves.  Really, all you have to do is ask most people a question or two about themselves, and off they go, to Grandma's sciatica, their greatest childhood fear, how old they were when they stopped wetting the bed, or their innermost feelings about Lindsay Lohan's recent issues.   People, in general, love to talk about themselves.

My friend Natalie says that I will always answer questions truthfully, but that the question has to be specific enough that I can't dodge it.  She's really good at getting stuff out of me, and I bless her heart for loving me enough to try.  Repeatedly.  Up to the point where I believe that she must be destined for sainthood or maybe the loony bin.

I've always wondered about people who seem to be able to share every little detail about themselves freely and without reservation.  Are they happier than I am?  Is it easier to share than to hoard details about your life?

Anyone out there have any ideas?


  1. Private is definitely an understatement. I just have to learn to ask the right questions.

  2. Hmmm, I think that I pretty much tell everyone everything about myself whether they want to hear about it or not, but I am sure it drives people nuts because I cannot stand to be around people that do that! I wish I had the ability to keep my mouth shut about a lot of the things that fly out of my yapper! =) I don't think happier, just different!

    ~The Mama Monster

  3. Happier? Hmmmm. Maybe??? I don't know. When I share everything (as you know I do- with you anyway!) it's my way of working out problems. Sometimes I have to say it out loud to sort it out and you are the only one I can say most stuff to.
    I'll never forget when I came home from Europe years ago and blathered on and on about my trip. EVENTUALLY I got around to asking about you, like why you were so pale with circles under your eyes, and why you were skin and bones and you said, "Oh yeah, well I'm getting a divorce." So, we went and got you some boxes. PRIVATE.

  4. I'm superficially public but actually private. Which I'm sure makes no sense. Except to you, because we appear to be two peas in a pod in this :)

    When I go to work, I chat about what we did that weekend or tell stories about the kids or discuss something in celebrity-land. People always think of me as friendly and open...but they actually don't know ME. The real me, and what makes me tick, and what I'm passionate about, just don't get talked about. It is, however, why I blog ;) I can be open and real and not have to actually share in 'real life' where I can be judged. Not in a negative way, really, just as a green freak with a small budget. Which would be right on the button but seems to have a negative connotation to so many people.


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