The fact that I blog may lead you to think I enjoy talking about other people’s business. Blogs are commonly associated with sharing intimate details, whether that be about someone else’s life or your own. And while I definitely value opening up about topics that tend to be more difficult or closed off, I don’t like just talking about other people to be talking about them. That’s why a lot of conversations irritate me and make me clam up.
I know some people who will quiz you for information so they can log it and spread it. They’re like parasites who feed off of other peoples’ situations, looking to know how bad things are on the other side so they can judge and feel better about their own lives. You know who they are. The people who are always comparing themselves to you and saying “ooh, tell me more” when you have the slightest bit of misfortune. The ones you low-key mistrust because in their eagerness to get you talking they start spilling other people’s tea and then you think, hmm, maybe they’re doing the same thing with everything you tell them. Beware.
I’ve got a good lot of friends, though. We talk about sports, books, memes, goals, our personal lives, and very little of everybody else’s lives. It reminds me of a quote: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” I can understand the inclination to discuss people, but I certainly thought twice about it after reading that.
Unfortunately, family members tend to be the worst offenders. That isn’t to say they’re all small minded – I actually think your moms, brothers, cousins, nieces and nephews just learned to relate to you based on the people related to you. I know you because of Jim, so I think of Jim when I think of you. Now, let’s talk about Jim. However, this logic is the bane of my existence.
The moment someone in my family starts talking about another family member, I sigh the heaviest of sighs. Occasionally, it’s just a brief fact exchange. “Did you know she’s having a baby?” Most often, it’s a dissertation of the follies of doing X, Y, Z. “Can you believe that heffa is getting married?” And then we’ve got to talk about it. I’ve had to endure hour long monologues about how someone hurt someone else twenty years ago, or how someone I loved pissed off someone else I loved and how I should be pissed, too. I’ve felt the light leave my eyes and the energy drain from my soul, at the very the mention of what Jack and Jill do over there on their hill. I don’t want to hear it.
And I have to check myself sometimes, too. I have my days where I have to release some angst about some insecure piss-head trying to bring me down. When it happens, it tends to be because of something very personal, a situation where I was directly impacted. If the conversation veers into a review of all the other person’s faults, I tend to feel uncomfortable, like the immature part of me is taking the reins. I’m better off when I mind my own business.
I think this came about when I started meditating on the things that make me unhappy – the things I want to avoid. I don’t like inviting negativity in my life, and too much of that negativity comes from talking about other people. Humans are generally judgmental as hell – in the most literal sense. The very thing our spiritual minds tell us not to do is the thing we do with ease, without even a strain on our body. I wish more people challenged themselves to share the good things.
Tell me less about class suspensions. Tell me about the excellent behavior weeks. Tell me less about bad bosses. Tell me about that raise you got anyways. Tell me less about the reasons relationships, careers, travel plans won’t work and more about how awesome it would be if things pull through. What’s small minded is entertaining yourself by bringing people down. What’s great is the idea that we all have something to learn and appreciate in one another.