Be More Human
Lauren and I got engaged last weekend and we couldn’t be more excited. Her therapist told her that sometimes people get engaged and second guess the decision and the person and have a hard time with the realities of it. Not us. Not yet at least. We’re still basking in the love glow of the ring and the news and the vision of our wedding and future. In sharing the news with people over the last week, we mostly called around. Went down our list of who should know and had really meaningful short conversations as we delivered the news. What surprised me most was how many people called us out for having a phone call. They thanked us and felt honored and touched that we would call instead of what they had experienced with other couples. A mass text or mass email, an online chat conversation or a Facebook post.
In a call to one of Lauren’s single friends, the conversation went a bit long as they caught up over other news as well. She shared a recent story about a guy who ghosted her after 2 dates. Are you familiar with that term, “ghosted”? It means you just slowly or suddenly disappear without a word. You stop returning calls and texts and stop communication and dating because you don’t want to face the confrontation of breaking up or saying you’re not that into someone.
This week also brought up a huge project we recently won, where I have to lead a workshop for a new client in a way I’ve never done before. I spent a day or two mapping out the desired goals and outcomes and drew up a few plans to organize the day. But I really didn’t understand how to do what they wanted. So instead of reading minds and pretending like I was an expert, I went to my boss and asked for help. Admitting inexperience, I sought his help in collaboration and understanding what the assignment was. It turned into a great conversation and helped me feel closer and more trusting of him.
The lesson in all this, for me, is to be more human. I’m not a newspaper, or a ghost or a mind reader. We’re empathetic, compassionate beings full of emotion and expression. We react and we respond to other humans, we build relationships on trust and you build trust through risk, vulnerability, support and other intangible things like eye contact, touch and quality time. The digital world might feel like it’s real and by all means, it is easier. But that’s the point. Being a human is hard. Making a phone call, confronting a hard conversation or being self aware is not easy and is not answered on Google or experienced on SnapChat. But the value of doing things the hard way and being more human pays off in the relationships you’ve forged, the character you’ve built and the experience you’ll gain to be a better human along the way.