So what’s new?

I was working in the coffee shop today and this couple took a seat at the table next to me. They didn’t seem to be a romantic couple (yet), but more like old friends who haven’t seen each other in a long time. They sat there for a long time catching up. The conversation flowed quite nicely. Heck there were times that I wanted to jump in, but I restrained myself. I thought to myself, Why can’t more conversations be like that? Maybe it’s ’cause I can be a bit socially awkward at times, but thinking of stuff to say can be hard at times, and I am very comfortable with silence.

I’ve got a bad habit of always responding to the titular question with, “Not much. How ’bout you?” Similar to “How are you?” (see my post on that here), the response has become so automated that even if there is something new I won’t say it because my Pavlovian response comes out first. Even if it has become a standard greeting and a perhaps lazy attempt to gain access into another’s personal life, it is still an attempt, and I would like to respond in earnest. Can I really not think of anything new that has happened to me since the last time I’ve seen this person? Either I need to think a little harder or need to do more new things, both of which could only be good. But also don’t ask those questions if you don’t really care about the answer. We should be mindful of our attempts to strengthen our interpersonal relationships.

So here’s to actually thinking of stuff to say when people ask things like that, even if they aren’t expecting it, ’cause they should.


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