A lot of what I've read so far really resonates with me, including this ideal. But when it comes to my lack of a thirst for bucho sums of book-smarts, it has dawned on me that maybe knowing people a little bit better could be beneficial to generating and maintaining meaningful connections.
I'm not a judgmental person. I don't compare myself to others around me. My attitude toward people is generally a 'to each their own' kind of approach. Knowing how many out there put up walls and wear masks adds to my tendency to often take on a pretty much (inadvertent) passive-aggressive stance on tuning-in. Sometimes I feel, "Why bother? It's not really them." But when someone is willing to open up to me, and share - and I can sense the authenticity of it, I need to make a point of soaking it in, and out of gratitude and respect for their sincerity, pay attention!
I have to say... I do enjoy picking up on people's little quirks, nuances, personality traits... It's fun to observe and see what really makes someone unique and what differentiates them from all others. However, I've begun to realize that I'm just not that good at (or realistically speaking - have not been putting enough effort into) storing to memory the little shared bits of people that make them tick.
I've been observing my bro-in-law's people skills with awe, on regular weekly intervals, and I'm hoping I have what it takes to turn my new found inspiration into a regular practice. Perhaps with enough such practice, I can emulate his ability to recall the life-details, favorites, recent experiences, pet's names, vehicles purchased, drinks ordered etc etc - of everyone he comes into regular contact with - with ease.
I recognize that it's part of his job - But his interest in people is genuine. It carries over into his personal relationships, and I see it in his actions consistently - on or off the clock.
While I have never considered my interest in people to be less than pure, I guess I've just truly not paid enough attention to the details. I "forget" simple (and often important) things about folks - such as what they do for a living, where they are going to school and/or why... their spouses' names. I mean - those are pretty big facets of most people's lives. I figure - If I'm going to get to know someone, I should probably be considerate enough to know those things. It's a starting point.
My B-I-L's consideration of others goes way beyond remembering the details of their lives. Seriously - who do you know in your life who shows up at work to find out he doesn't need to be there... and then sticks around during the blizzard of the decade to help co-workers and patrons get home in said blizzard, and dig friend's cars out of snow-heaps?? Yeah. Probably not many coming to mind, I'd wager!
This guys thinks - and I mean really thinks - about other people! Maybe he's mastered 'being in the moment'... or tuning out distractions... I should probably ask him for his 'trick' - but I'm sure it boils down to years of selfless compassion and a desire to understand people - rather than just 'knowing' them? It's a theory. Just think about that for a minute... What if we all aimed to really understand those around us? We'd still be a heck of a lot less judgmental... How might society benefit? 'Ya think?!
The other day, I met up with 2 friends who I don't get to see as regularly as I'd like to - and so began the test of my abilities. I learned that Karen's wardrobe is primarily neutrals - grays, blacks, whites, & khaki - and Jenni is a self-proclaimed "t-shirt freak"! I also recalled that Karen is a vegetarian - but hadn't remembered that her fave drink is a cold beer. Jenni has a thing for butterflies, and her dog's name is Gizmo. They both share in my passion for a mixed variety of music - and Karen got to see Tom Petty live! Might there be a few concerts in our future?? Hey-haaaay! It's working - Now, to keep that momentum going. Thanks to 'Mr. Nice Guy' - I'm feeling inspired to be a nicer girl. Kudos XO!
TIP: Cherish real friendships. They are hard to come by.
A QUOTE: "When we pay full attention to our world, we are happier and more effective." ~Barbara Ann Kipfer - (you guessed it) 1325 Buddhist Ways to Be Happy
WHIDFML: Nurturing my newly-enlightened mind via motivational wisdom, as is recorded in my recently acquired new book. Continuing to evolve, right along with life!