In winter and after Christmas, it is a good time to reflect before fully engaging with the new year by letting go of the past.
I used to be the enemy of small talk as I felt that talking about small things was just passing the time and, for me, talking needs to be about something of a deeper meaning, worthy of my attention. This arrogant attitude made me regularly say “I am not interested in talking about hair and nails, but I like talking about feelings and people”.
It was strange to understand that my willingness to talk about something of substance prevented me from deepening relationships with people and actually making long lasting friends. By showing a contempt for small talk, I have realised now that I have prevented myself from growing and learning. When meeting a stranger, I used to talk very quickly about my life, my aspirations, my ideas and, although people seem to be enthused by my enthusiasm, I have realised now that, more than often, they were put off by my directness and my over-the-top exuberance , and being bombarded with information they did not need to receive straight away from someone they had never met before. I used to blame them for rejecting me as I thought it could be because I am a foreigner and that they could not understand my bubbly and forward manners. With reflection, I noticed that I was doing the same in France, during my younger years. Unconsciously, I wanted to get close to people very quickly, and felt that it needed to happen now!. I was failing to leave time for the relationships to mature and evolve naturally.
This realisation is not old for me but it has had three implications on my life:
1/ I have stopped blaming the past and my parents for this inadequacy. This has been liberating! I changed schools so many times in my childhood that I had to adapt quickly and, in other terms, lose and make friends easily. I wanted to get attached but could not as I was likely to move on. So I developed a shell to protect myself, so that the loss of friends was not so painful anymore. This has helped me to cope rather well, even if I am on my own. I now thank my parents for giving me this strength from a young age which has allowed me to be strong in difficult situations.
I can not change the past but I can change how I feel about it and then relish the present in order to shape the future.
2/ I have accepted that even if I do not like small talk, there is value in it, and that I listen more and talk less, not always though- still loves talking! I feel lighthearted in people’s company and, these days, much less desperate to make and have friends. I am more relaxed and happy as I will take what people give instead of expecting them to give (I can tell you I am still working on this one!)
3/ By being more relaxed, I have now accepted that some people will like my bubbly personality and will embrace who I am. Some others won’t and it is fine. Not everyone I encounter is going to like me and vice-versa, but with the people who do, and whose feelings I can reciprocate, we will be in a win-win situation. Our relationship will be able to grow and enrich both parties. As I heard once in a training, what other people think of you is none of your business.
I have made friends with the past and it is very liberating. Have you?
Helene is a dreamer, a poet, a trainer, a coach, a mother, a daughter. She is passionate about helping others to find their voices through her training. Get in touch with her helenemusso.com. If you want to book a discovery call with her, please get in touch on 07875627485. If you want to buy her book, click here.