Sunday, September 23, 2012
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.