Sunday, September 23, 2012

It's personal

Have you seen the movie Get Smart? It's one of my very favorite movies (and the only movie I like Anne Hathaway in besides The Princess Diaries). I've been reminded lately of a scene where Max asks Agent 99 to answer a personal question (why she had to change her identity) and she gives a vague answer about facts becoming known and identities being compromised. Then, the kicker: Max says, "That was a great answer -- in which you revealed absolutely nothing about yourself."

The people I connect with most -- and whom I've noticed that other people gravitate to -- are those who can tell stories and share details about their lives and make you feel like you were there with them. I like the sort of people who can make a routine trip to the grocery store so funny that you're laughing hysterically and wishing you'd gone with them to pick up a gallon of milk. They have, in a way, allowed you a glimpse of their personal lives without giving you a play-by-play of their doctor's appointment (which, let's be honest, no one needs to hear).

Perhaps Kathleen Kelly puts it best in You've Got Mail when she responds to Joe Kelly's defensive "It wasn't personal" with "It was personal to me. What's so wrong with being personal anyway? Whatever else anything is, it ought to begin by being personal."

So much of life is impersonal now. I call my doctor's office and get a 10-minute recorded menu before I can even talk to a receptionist and set up an appointment. Self check-outs in the grocery store allow you to potentially find your groceries, buy them and get out of the store without talking to a single person. And people are much more prone to email or write Facebook posts than talk to friends in person.

My goal from now on is to be more personal. Already this week, I've caught up with two friends and had a card-making party with two other co-workers I don't know very well. And you know what? It felt wonderful to connect with them. The word "personality" has "personal" built right into it -- and I want to have the best personality I can.


  1. Okay, only you would appreciate this, "Thanks for shopping at Broulims, i hope you come in again real soon. Have a nice day." per Mr. Williams. *sigh*
    I don't have any supplies but I would love to join you in card making. Let me know when and where, hopefully an evening.

  2. Oh, Broulim's. I did spend several summers of my life working there.

  3. Reading this post is all the more relevant to me now that Seve and I have moved away from all those people I regret not being more personal with.

    I've been trying to put myself out there in my ward, and the women are wonderful, but none are my age. It doesn't help that I'm used to living in my private bubble and don't often try to invite anyone in. I've done a disservice to myself; now I'm not equipped to simply go out and get to know potential friends. I get choked up. Now that I'm aware of it, I hope I can teach Simon differently.

    There's this great quote by Tabitha King, I can't remember the exact words and I can't find it, but it's about why she doesn't like LA: "I can only stand to be there about 24 hours. It'd be disturbing to live in a place THAT crowded, yet no one looks you in the eye. That does something to a person."

  4. Jules, I do the same thing. I don't know how to connect to the other women in Relief Society, and I really don't know anyone in our new ward. One thing I would recommend, though, is having a party (if you're up to it). Invite people in your ward that seem cool over to your house. Andrew and I are planning a Halloween party so we can get to know people. I'm hoping it goes well and that we can make some connections! I've been thinking about you and hoping you're able to make some friends.


Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts! I love reading them.