Short Thought 185 (revealing)

Without any particular probing on my part, the first time we talked he revealed a lot of personal things about himself, more than you’d normally expect, the sort of things you’d tell if you were building trust and confidence with a new acquaintance. Yet he didn’t seem interested in talking again.

When that happens I think either a) the person is rather forthcoming with lots of people (so there’s nothing special about it) or b) they feel they have over shared and need to back away. In any case what I know for sure is I let it go, I don’t pursue it. It wasn’t always that way but I learned.

15 thoughts on “Short Thought 185 (revealing)

  1. Pistachios

    Hmm this has happened to me before. I mistook someone’s openness for something it was not, but I eventually had the same kind of realisation as you describe here. Live and learn, hey?

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  2. Maggie Wilson

    Your post resonates with me. I had an interesting encounter yesterday with a fellow at the library where I volunteer. He is a frequent patron but we’ve never had a long conversation. Until yesterday.

    The things he told me! His age (72), his real estate deals, his net worth, his girl-friend in Florida, his son’s promotion to president, a slightly naughty joke. He listed all of the places on the planet where he worked in mining… on and on.

    Listening to him tell all of these stories, it was clear that this was a performance. He had a grasp of rhythm, modulation, suspense. It was obvious that these were much repeated stories. I not the first to hear them, and certainly not the last.

    Not once did he ask about me, engage in a give-and-take dialogue. But he did hit on me. “You’re a fine looking woman, I’d date you (but you need to do something with your hair.)

    Through it all I was by turns flattered, embarrassed, insulted, amused, but mostly fascinated. He reminded me exactly of a fellow I dated 35 years ago. Then, I bought into it: wow, look at how much attention he’s giving me!

    As you commented above, live and learn, and learn, and learn. Of course the guy back then and the guy yesterday were not giving me attention. It was I who was their audience for their performance piece!

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Aw gee Maggie, you best hurry to the hair stylist lest this prince get away!

      Very interesting. I’ve met guys like the one by in your library. And what you say about the rehearsed story sounds so familiar. I’ve written things very similar to what you’re saying, almost identical! https://writerinsoul.wordpress.com/2014/04/27/i-dont-want-to-be-your-audience/

      A man that age has been doing that soft shoe routine to charm the ladies a long, long time. Probably with some success. When you’re young that kind of bravado and seeming confidence in a man can certainly have its appeal.

      The man I talked to spoke of family illnesses and significant deaths, his parents’ divorce when he was young, the new step family, early retirement and major upheaval in his life. Personal stuff, not the sort of thing you roll out to charm anyone. Not surpringly, as with your “guy”, he learned little about me. I knew this even in the moment.

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  3. Sheila Moss

    I think you got it with b). They share too much information, then later feel uncomfortable about it. I just act as if it never happened the next time I meet them, unless they bring it up.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      You’re right about laying low and taking cues from them (I do this with women too) – it gives the person the room to back away and stay backed away or to pick up the thread where they left off. What’s really puzzling are the people who swing wildly from “your new best friend” to “remote stranger”, back & forth, back & forth.

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  4. Cristina

    I can imagine he may have been embarrassed about oversharing, but I can certainly understand why he may have been drawn to do so in the first place—something tells me you’re just the kind of person that upon meeting, I’d get completely wrapped up in conversation as well! 😊

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      Aw thanks Cristina, that’s a lovely thing to say. I think I could talk to you too. You may be right; people tell me a lot of stuff but perhaps feel overexposed after. In this case I was puzzled by his withdrawal; I used to press in younger days to “know why” but I’m much better now about leaving things be.

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