Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Friendship for People Who Don't Like People

I have often thought that I don’t like people much, in general. I don’t seem to “get” most people. I’m not on the same wavelength with mainstream average Americans. Why do I bring this up today? Why do I mention it at all? I’ve been thinking a lot about it the last couple of weeks, ever since I had a conversation with a lovely woman at church a couple of Sundays ago.

I was on duty as greeter that day, at the Northeast entrance of the church. I was there at the appointed time, about 45 minutes prior to services starting. To tell you the truth at our little church not many people arrive until about 5 minutes or less prior to services starting so I wasn’t terribly busy at my post. As a matter of fact I sat down on the bench just inside the door and was lost in thought over various and sundry things when “Pat” (not her real name) wandered out to where I was from somewhere within the church. She had come for the adult Sunday school class only to find it not in session that week. She sat on the bench opposite the one on which I sat, and we chatted.

Pat and I were not well acquainted but did know one another in passing. We have been in the same Sunday school class together a few times, and we’ve chatted briefly. I knew that she is retired and has mostly raised her grandson, and she knew that I am mom to N. We started our conversation talking about our boys and childrearing and how to handle certain behavior. You know, typical “mom talk.” We progressed to talking about our histories and our marriages and our divorces and our careers. We got to know one another quite well in our half hour or so of conversation.

During the conversation Pat shared that although she had gone into psychology as a profession it probably wasn’t a great choice for her because she doesn’t really like people. I found that to be a fascinating statement. Here she was saying the same thing I’ve felt for years. I don’t really like people. As she went on to talk about her career and how she mostly had administrative and managerial positions so she didn’t have to deal with actual clients much, I was thinking how similar that sounds to how I would feel about it. In college, I toyed with the idea of becoming a psychology major. However, the thought of actually having to listen to people drone on about how awful their situation is while being unwilling to work to change themselves to better their situation made me decide that being an accountant, playing with the numbers, sitting at a desk and not having to interact a great deal with actual people, was probably a better career choice for me.

As more and more people arrived for church I had to take my greeter duties more seriously, and we wrapped up our chat. Pat said to me that although she doesn’t like people she had really enjoyed our conversation. I told her I felt the same way. She went on into the sanctuary as I turned to greet the late arrivals.

I think Pat and I just may have a new friendship in the making here. . . in spite of the fact that neither of us likes people.

7 comments:

Cocotte said...

Pat did make a fascinating statement about not liking people, but going into psychology.

I wouldn't say I don't like people, but I do not enjoy chit chat. I'd rather have a real conversation, but many people are not up for that.

Serenity said...

All i can think to say is, Amen sister. Testify. I feel the very same way...

John said...

I think the "Not Liking People" thing is more common than you think. One of the main reasons my wife chose her medical specialty was because for most of the time, her patients are asleep.

Desmond Jones said...

You know, when I was in college, it struck me how many of the psych majors I knew were really pretty 'misanthropic' types. I always thought that they sorta knew they were 'odd ducks' and they got into psych to 'figure themselves out'. Really had very little to do with other people at all. . .

Fusion said...

I'm the polar opposite here, I'd go crazy without others to talk to, guess that's why I like retail work.

Trueself said...

Cocotte - I'm wondering if it is less not actually liking people than being an introvert and feeling that interacting with people is draining. I know that's true for me so maybe that's what Pat meant too.

Serenity - And once again we find a bit of similarity between you and me.

John - You may be right about it being more common than I think. Maybe there's a bunch of us people haters out there.

Des - Now that I think about it I always thought that was why FU majored in social work before becoming an attorney. Nobody is more in need of a good figuring out than FU.

Fuse - Ah, a true extrovert. Retail would kill me I'm afraid. It's good there are people like you out there to handle those sorts of jobs.

cameronsharpe said...

I just happen to be passing by when I read your post. Nice post and keep up the good work!