Falling In Love With People

[One of my most popular posts from early in the creation of this blog.]

I think one of my favorite things about people is how they light up when you find exactly the right thing that they love to talk about.

Sometimes it’s people–the friends who accomplished something, the family that’s visiting in a few weeks. The new baby and the recently graduated cousin. Or the people who create–the car half-finished in the garage, the quilt that just needs a few more stitches. The garden that’s just coming up in the spring–if only those damn squirrels would leave it be.

There’s the people with topics, who leap in to tell you about the Perseid shower coming up when you mention how pretty the sky is, the ones who hear you ponder a question and offer book recommendations in response. Oh, and the people with ideas! The questions, the new rabbit holes of unconsidered variables, the research you haven’t heard of.

And people are these collections of things that have captured their passion. Astronomy and hypnosis and philosophy and smithing and treehouse architecture and all just waiting for you to ask the right questions. Their eyes will get a little bit wider, their gestures, more energetic. They give you their real smiles–the ones that aren’t just for agreeing and nodding along and making small talk.

And then some of you out there make fun of them for lighting up at the mention of dollhouses or sports or fashion or that one television show. And they back off. They curl their toes in their shoes and change the subject. And maybe the next time, they won’t say “yes! I love talking about the finer points of fencing!”

And you, out there, sneering at their love for beekeeping or birdwatching?

You are ruining it for the rest of us. 


  1. says

    [ astronomy geekery ]

    who leap in to tell you about the Perseid shower coming up when you mention how pretty the sky is

    The Perseids aren’t for another couple of months, but we expect a good light show from debris from the comet 209P/LINEAR around May 23 / 24. These meteors will come in from the direction of the constellation Camelopardalis.

    [ / astronomy geekery ]

  2. lpetrich says

    This issue reminds me of someone whom I’ll call B. She had rather geeky interests, like Japanese anime movies, but she was intolerant of others’ interests, like superheroes and software development. About the superheroes one, she stated that she hated fangirls, and about software development, she was annoyed at people discussing it, because it didn’t interest her.

    I once created an image-edit satire of B as Moses saying “Thou shalt not have any sort of geekiness but mine”.

  3. says

    I can talk about critical care nursing approximately all day. And yes, some of my favourite people are the friends from outside the medical field who Google the terms and don’t freak out when I talk about lakes of poop, and then remember what phenylephrine and propofol are, and get the inside jokes, and are actually excited to hear about my day at work.

    Still, I suppress talking about this topic except to my proven friends, because it has the potential to be upsetting or disgusting to a lot of people, not just boring.

    I do enjoy it when people will talk to my about their own passions and hobbies that I know nothing about. It’s flattering; an indicator of trust, that I won’t be bored or make fun of them.

  4. Craig Pennington says

    Thanks for reposting this, I hadn’t seen it the first time around. It is my firm belief that everyone is interesting when you get them talking on a subject about which they are passionate.

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