Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Essence of People

When people say "getting to know each other," they usually mean talking for great lengths of time (e.g., a first date).  You ask the typical questions: 

Where do you live? 
What do you do? 
Where did you grow up? 
What do you like to do on the weekends? 
What are your hobbies? 
Do you have pets? 
On a scale of 1 to 10, how awesome at life are you? 
(Okay, not that last one, but I usually think that in my head.) 

The answers to these questions are facts.  But I find that one of the best ways to see the essence of a person is to observe who (s)he is to others.  How does she interact with others?  What does his body language say?  How does this person care for others?  What kind of friend is she?  Try it!  You'll see what I mean.  You truly see people for who they are when they don't know they're being watched. 

My weekend was filled with these observations.  Here's the deal.  One of my best, best friends got married this weekend.  "Besties," as she says.  SueEllen and I have been friends since our 10th grade World Cultures class in 1999, and although we have our own circles of friends, we have always been close.  I was one of seven bridesmaids in her wedding.  With the exception of her older cousin who was usually busy with her husband and four children, I knew the other five gals.  Great, right?  Well, kind of.  We had all gone to USD, but they only knew me as "Sueee's bestie" and "the girl who sings at Founders."  We would see each other occasionally but only shared quick exchanges.  All of them, on the other hand, were a really close group through being RAs and other campus organizations.  Last week I realized that I would be spending a lot of time with them.  Bridal shower, breakfast, bridal errands, nail salon, rehearsal, rehearsal dinner, sleepover in a hotel suite, wedding day.  That's a lot to do with five other girls who have a really strong history.  People may be nice and fun, but you just can't compete with history!  I'm not going to lie.  I was nervous I'd feel like an outsider the whole time.  I had to keep reminding myself that "it's not about me; this is about SueEllen and Sam getting married."  An experience is what you make it so... deep breath, smile, dive in!

Guess what?  I had a great time!  As expected, there were moments when I clearly had nothing to contribute to the conversation.  There were times I only saw backs as they turned toward each other to gab.  I wasn't as free with my words as I would have been if it was just Sueee and me.  When we had to look at a plan B during a time crunch, I was careful to not suggest too much and sound bossy.  BUT... I did find time to speak with each of them.  In the process of completing our bridesmaid duties, I had really positive one-on-one moments.  I really tried to put myself out there.  But more than anything, I feel like I really learned why they're so important in Sueee's life by watching them.  Hearing their banters, figuring out each of their roles (the liberal, the planner, the constant helper), seeing them find every way to alleviate Sueee's stress, just watching. 

I may not know how many siblings they have or what they majored in at USD, but I know they love Sueee and that they are genuinely good friends.  It made me happy to see that, especially for Sueee as she married Sam. 

Take the time to know the essence of the people in your life.  Get the facts, but get to know them wholly too.  You'll appreciate them so much more.


Annie said...

This brought tears to my eyes.

I love you so much, Lindsay!

Lindsay @ Trial By Sapphire said...

Thank you! I want to share the love, too, but I have no idea who you are. Who are you, Unknown?

Lindsay @ Trial By Sapphire said...

I clicked on "Unknown," and the profile says "Annie"! I love you, too, Ace!