Update: Many folks have been writing their own “What I Wish People Knew” posts, and I intend to either put a list of them here, or in a separate post in the very near future. If you’ve written one and haven’t let me know, please drop a note or a link in the comments so I can be sure and catch it!
This post might be completely narcissistic. Sorry. By all means skip it if you like.
But I had a really interesting conversation with some friends over on Google+ about the fact that social media can create really superficial vantage points. We can see a few tweets or a blog post or a Facebook status from someone and think we’ve got them all figured out. So much nuance can be lost in the midst of snippets of electronic and fleeting communication.
By contrast, social media has and continues to bring me some of the most meaningful friends and relationships I’ve ever had. It destroys the limitations of geography and circumstance, and instead makes chance more possible than ever, lighting the spark for connections that can run fast, and most definitely deep.
But those relationships can be the exception, can’t they? It can be easy to get swept up in wanting more connections, more nodes, more superficial touches that make you feel surrounded and supported and even liked or known or seen or heard. And if we’re managing to the many, it can be damned near impossible to make the most of the few.
Do You Know Me?
I will definitively say that social media has brought me VASTLY more rewards than downsides. Without question. So in the spirit of trying to make sure I’m as genuine as I know how to be, and finding like-minded or curious people who might share an interest or a value or two, I want to do what a fleeting few tweets can’t do. Or try.
I want to share a few things that I wish you knew about me. Or that I wish I could frame much of my online experience in not as a disclaimer, but as context. As dimension and an attempt at nuance, both of which are so critical to dynamic human relationships. Maybe I’m hoping you’ll confirm what you thought you knew, or learn something different. Maybe I’m hoping we can connect better than we have. Maybe I’m a self-centered idiot for bothering. Not sure. It’s expression in stream-of-consciousness form. I’m just writing as I think it.
I also fully recognize that a few paragraphs here isn’t much more useful than a handful of tweets, but it might just be the stuff that doesn’t always come up in everyday conversation. And perhaps it’s not as nice as sharing a meal or a glass of wine, but it’s a little something more. I’ll let you be the judge.
Afterward? I hope you’ll write yours. I hope you’ll share a bunch of things that you wish people knew about *you*. Want to write them here? Email them to me and I’ll post them as a guest post. Or write it on your blog, take a video, whatever moves you, and I’d be happy to link back to it on this post. Want to simply share in private? That’s okay too.
So Then….In No Particular Order
I’m a mom. I have a young daughter, and she is everything in the world to me. I’m relatively private about my sharing in regards to her, but she is my whole little world. My nights and weekends are often hers, and no work or internet anything will ever compete. I’m drastically scaling back my travel the rest of this year because she’s suffered for the first part of the year, as have I, and that’s not okay with me anymore. My own family is small and close if completely dysfunctional, and since she’s my only kid, getting this right matters a lot.
These relationships matter to me. I’ve been ambitious – probably too much so – about trying to connect with lots of people, because it honestly matters to me. I like talking to people, learning about them, finding things in common and different viewpoints on things both big and small. And while I won’t lose much sleep over disconnecting with someone who’s just a jerkface, I *do* notice when people reach out, and I really try to reach out in return. That said, true close friendship – characterized by deep trust and unconditional love – is something I take quite seriously, and do rarely, but when I do, it’s the real deal. When I love, I love fiercely.
I’m far too sensitive. I’ve tried to grow a thicker skin because of the internet, and have failed many times. Negative comments or criticism hurt when they’re delivered with vitriol (I actually quite welcome thoughtful questioning of things if done from a place of respect). If you lash out at me, I’ll feel it. If you want to hurt me, it’s unfortunately not that hard, because I react emotionally to things first, then logically. I put up a BIG, confident wall out there most of the time, but behind it is a marshmallow. I promise.
I love to cook. Passionately. I’m no chef, but rather someone who simply loves food. From burgers to foie gras. If I’m not working, I’m often in the kitchen. But man, do I get crabby when people get all food snob on me.
Music is my first love, words a close second. I was a music performance major in school, and could never get enough of classes on writing, literature, and the like. I’m the consummate romantic, and am often moved more by music or beautiful writing than almost any image you can put in front of me. Most often, I’d rather curl up with a book than go out to a party, or turn off all the lights and put on a particular playlist and just listen with good company. Which leads me to…
I’m an introvert. Which surprises a lot of people, because introverts are grossly misunderstood. I’m not anti-social, far from it. But social interaction drains me, rather than energizes me. An event or a speech takes everything out of me and I need to retreat and recharge afterward. I’m motivated by intrinsic things, not extrinsic. And I cherish quieter, more intimate gatherings where I can really feel comfortable and at home (I cower in the face of the dreaded “networking event”).
My work is not my life. I’m truly passionate about solving the puzzles of business, but it’s not all I care about. I work hard, but I also love to talk about random silly things, to talk about books or music or even just some sidelong philosophical discussion. I may be continually connected online, but it’s not because I work around the clock. I don’t care about my Klout score or lists or rankings or any of that. I truly don’t. I’m reaching out to people that matter to me, and sometimes online is the way I do it. But work does have an off switch, and rather often, actually.
I struggle with the personal/professional balance. A lot, which is likely why I talk about it so much. I take great pride in my work, have a lot of respect for the people I work for and with, and take my professional responsibilities seriously. But I also like to have fun, and want to just “be me”. I have a vulgar and sometimes twisted sense of humor that I withhold often, my natural speech patterns have a liberal dose of colorful language that I mostly edit out, and I have thoughts and opinions on things that I often don’t discuss for fear of offending someone somewhere. The reality is that these worlds collide online, and I totally accept that. But I struggle with it, too.
I’ll live in the country someday. With horses (I’ve ridden off and on since I was a girl, jumping over fences and stuff). Where my neighbors are very far away, and where water is very near.
Animals are important to me. I have two rescue cats and two rescue dogs (pit bull mixes). My chosen charities are usually something to do with animal rescue, protection, or conservation. I can’t imagine a house that doesn’t have fur along the floorboards and I don’t think I’d want to. They’re a rather quiet but vigilant cause for me in many respects.
I notice and respond to kindness above most everything. Compassion is a beautiful thing, as is empathy and a genuine attempt at understanding. I note and am drawn to people who exhibit care, kindness, selflessness, and genuine concern for the people around them, and try to do the same myself, albeit imperfectly. So many things can be solved by a bit of patience and kindness, even in the midst of a difficult moment. Hippy as that may be, I believe it, and the people I surround myself with most closely do too.
I judge very little…except judgment itself. I’m opinionated, and sometimes I shoot my mouth off before I think really hard about it. (We all have our flaws). But, I have friends from all walks of life, have experienced crazy things in my own journey, and am incredibly open and tolerant of people whose experiences differ than mine. More often than not I take issue with the *way* that people disagree, not THAT they do. I get bristly when I see people casting judgments, so I guess that’s judgment in its own way.
But context is everything in life, and you just never know where someone’s been or what they’ve been through. I wish more people asked before they assumed, and I try really really really hard to accept and embrace the amazing diversity of people and experiences that I’ve been fortunate enough to encounter.
It’s dorky to presume there’s something you’d want to know about me that I haven’t mentioned, but if you’re curious, ask away. Other than the deeply personal stuff, I’m happy to try and share.
And I’m deadly serious about you going off and writing your own. I want to know even if you think no one else does. I won’t do something cruel like tag a bunch of people and call you out. But I’m genuinely interested.
What do you wish more people knew about YOU?