When you don't see people very often, they usually ask you about three things: how's work, where do you live, and are you seeing somebody? The Big Three questions that are supposed to tell you what the other person has been "up to" and how they are doing. There is nothing wrong with those questions; in fact, I much prefer them to the Fly-by-hi. This is the person who sees you, usually at a store, and says hello to you as they move toward you. You start to smile and say hi back, readying yourself for a conversation. Instead, they keep their momentum up and sail past you. However, they don't want to appear rude, so as they are passing you, they say, "how are you?" You begin to turn to answer, but they are walking briskly away and are not looking back. On these such occasions, I will sometimes shout after them, "Fine! How are you?"
These interactions irritate me. I'd much rather both parties pretended not to see each other by focusing intently on items on the shelf, the floor, the ceiling...whatever. What is it about seeing someone you know, even vaguely, that forces us into these awkward socially "correct" boxes?
I am getting married in barely over a month.
People love to hear about it. Sortof. They want to know "how plans are going," and what we have left to do. They also want to know what we have already planned on, and usually, how much it cost/where we got it.
When I first started being asked these questions, I was under the misinterpretation that these people genuinely wanted to know about my wedding as it relates to myself. In other words, they care about me and what I am doing. However, I have discovered that this is not always the case. Usually, in fact, it isn't.
Everyone knows someone getting married, or they have just been married themselves, or they were married 15 years ago, or they want to get married someday. Notice that none of those things relates to me. I am not trying to say that everything should be about me; to the contrary, I very much would like for most things to not be about me. However, if you are asking about my wedding...that's about me.
At work the other day, one of my coworkers asked me how my wedding plans were going. I gave a vague answer, something like "we've only got a few last minute things left." She then began asking me about my DJ. I told her who our DJ is going to be, and she asks how much it costs. Here I hesitate, because money makes me uncomfortable to discuss with most people. I tell her anyway, now starting to realize that she may have an ulterior motive for her line of questionings. This is confirmed as she turns to one of our other coworkers, and says, "Oh, we can get one WAY cheaper. That's a lot of money for a DJ. My fiance' and I are...." Coworker number 2 eagerly chimes in with her own wedding plans.
I stood there for a minute, staring at the two of them agreeing that I have overpaid for my DJ and how it's not really worth spending so much money on anyway. THEIR plans are going to be just fine. They continue on trying to talk to each other about their own wedding plans, and essentially ignore me. Yup. The entire reason they even asked me about my wedding was to confirm that they had the best, cheapest DJ. Essentially, their wedding was going to be "better" than mine.
I could continue to give examples of similar ways people have been socially acceptable in a rude way, but there is no point.
I'll just continue to make it a point in my own life to only ask someone else about their lives if I genuinely want to hear the answer. Not to compare and contrast to my own life, but because I care about theirs.