Awkward…that’s a great word. And that’s how I feel about 64% of any given day.
Here’s another great word…well, two words. Emotional Intelligence. These words, I think, cause me to feel awkward. I hope this doesn’t come across as bragging but I have high emotional intelligence. Some question it’s mere existence, but emotional intelligence is real. It can be a really good asset, but lately I have found it to be the root of my melancholy. Emotional intelligence is a great tool when you are a leader or manager because you can better anticipate your subordinates’ needs and respond accordingly. You’ll “know” them so well and you can spread responsibilities and workloads in a way that makes those subordinates shine through their strengths and gifts. They will love you for that “sense” you have to bring out the best in them and most times they have no idea how you do it.
In a social setting, this is a totally different ballgame. I can see genuine care for others just as plainly as I can see subtle facial expressions that contradict pleasantries coming forth from another’s mouth. I can see these subtleties like I can see a billboard. And for the record, I have been tested and my accuracy is on target. It’s amazing how fleeting that facial expression is before the phony one replaces it and most can’t see it, but it’s there. Muscles have to be used to force a smile that isn’t genuine and those muscles twitch in a slightly different way than they would had they been activated by true happiness, laughter or appreciation. Eyes glance more frequently in a “hostage social situation” than they do in a mutually desired interaction.
With genuine care and interest in a person, I can see eye glimmer, focus, intensity and desire to be in the company of another. I see a tendency to draw into the other person, to connect through hugging or a simple touch.
No matter the interaction type- forced or desired- I see the clues in interactions with myself and I can see it in interactions with other parties. Sometimes it’s neat to watch and sometimes it’s painful because I can see the truth. I can read you like a book…and sometimes that book has a crappy ending.
I think social media has exacerbated awkwardness in us all…we don’t know how to be social anymore. We know wayyyyyyy too much about each other. Every opinion on every little thing. And we use that to judge whether we want to be friends with others. Social media has become the litmus test of friendship. That is sad. And I am just as guilty as anyone else.
So, here we are…knowing too much about each other, secretly annoyed by each others’ political views, quietly judging obviously bad parenting decisions we’ve noted online, generally irritated with incredibly dumb interpretations of scripture as if we are the “be all and end all” of what Jesus meant when He spoke. And then, we contradict those feelings inside with a fake smile and banter when we come in contact with each other. The depth of relationship development is gone because we are so irritated with each other. And I see all of this on the expressions of those around us.
So, here we are. Unable to depend on most “friends” because we’ve inadvertently driven them away with our own views and opinions we stupidly shared with the world through social media.
Don’t worry, my next post won’t be this dreary and this isn’t a cry for help. I just wanted to put this out there to see what you notice in your world. Carry on.