I was with my mom tonight when we ran into one of her old co-workers. It had been about 5 years since they had seen each other. They both seemed excited to reunite and the co-worker (let's call her Y) proceeded to ask my mom a million questions about her life and how she was.
My mom answered her questions, briefly and succinctly, but little detail. The questions continued from Y as my mom gave her 1-5 word answers. I noticed that my mom didn't ask her one question. Nor did she give the obligatory, Wow, you look good too.
I say all of this because over the years since I made my secession from the family unit, I've noticed a few things about myself. I somehow dodged the etiquette lessons during my growing up years. Of course I know my pleases and thank yous. I know the his and byes. What I feel like what I don't do is "play the game". You know...all the obligatory, "Oh, you look great too. You haven't changed a bit. You look just like you did in high school (20 years ago!!!)" You know what I mean, all the niceties that adults are supposed to pass back and forth.
About myself I've noticed that I often let the conversation be about me without passing the spotlight back to the other person. Over the past few years I've tried to make a conscious effort to "play the game". (As a sidenote, it isn't always a game. Sometimes there are those conversations where things go deep, beyond niceties...I'm more referring to the shallow, hallway conversations that happen with people you may never run into again.)
It wasn't until this afternoon that I watched my mom in this semi awkward situation and realized why I am the way I am. Do you ever do that? Do you see yourself in close relatives? Sometimes it's flattering and other times you just want to run as fast as you can. Other times it makes you want to change and be a better person. So you can hold me accountable because I'm working on it.