I’m a person who cares deeply about many issues such as politics or social causes. And I have some pretty strong opinions on some of these issues. However, I am also acutely aware that many people in my life — friends, colleagues, clients — have opinions quite different from mine. So, I’ve learned — in some cases the hard way — it’s better to keep my opinions to myself. I don’t want to offend anyone or create unnecessary tension. Nor do I want to learn something about a colleague or friend that might interfere with our relationship or cause me to think of them differently. In my opinion, it’s better to just play it safe, keep some things to yourself, and never over-share.
And this philosophy goes way beyond politics. People don’t need to know what I ate for breakfast, how long my last run was or the balance of my mortgage. I don’t want to know about anyone’s colonoscopy, rodent problem or root canal.
Here’s an example: A few weeks ago, a friend of mine posted a picture of her daughter shaving her legs for the first time. I would have KILLED my mother if she had done that to me. But kids these days are used to it. They’re accustomed to having the important — and more often the unimportant — details of their lives plastered on the electronic walls of people they don’t even know. And many adults are, too.
But this isn’t always good. In fact, I don’t think it’s good at all. Because you know what? There’s something magic about a little mystery. Something very intriguing about the unknown.
When I met my husband, we were 20-somethings working in an office with a bunch of other 20-somethings. We often went out after work as a group and, between that and spending eight hours a day together, we got to know a lot about each other.
But my husband was different. He came along sometimes, but he never really participated in the young-adult over-sharing we all readily engaged in. He wasn’t cold, snotty or aloof. He’s just a private person. He was always perfectly friendly, but just didn’t open up and share much about himself. And, as you can imagine, this made all the twenty-something women in our office crazy. We all wanted to be the one who got him to open up.
As we became friends and he shared things about himself with me, I was thrilled. So flattered he had shared a part of himself with me he didn’t share with anyone else. Every time I learned something new, it was like a little gift he’d given just to me. It was exciting, and fun, and it worked. We’ve been together for more than 20 years, and I’m still learning things.
But I’m not sure that’s possible today. Everything you need to know about someone is all out there, at your fingertips.
Where’s the fun in that? If you know everything there is to know about someone before you share your first meal, what’s left to learn, explore and discover you have in common?
Not one thing. Zero. Zilch.
So what are young couples to do these days? From what I can tell, most of them just sit across the table from each other, heads down, tapping away on their phones.