Social isolation?

Tigr smoking a pipeI quite enjoy reading Zen Habits and recently came across a discussion of social isolation that happens to people who are not quite like everyone else.

Being different means some people don’t know what to talk to me about, because the normal topics don’t apply to me. It’s harder for them to relate.

Yes, I can certainly see how that may happen. We were talking with a friend the other day and he mentioned that other people find it difficult when he does not talk to them of sports and politics. They seem not to know what else they could converse about. And we, me and him, can roam the city together for the length of a whole day and never run out of subjects to discuss. And we never talk about football.

I do not like myself to talk trivial subjects like sports. I think sport is there to do it, not to talk about. So it is great if you play football and can tell me about your game, but if you only see it on television, why talk about it? I often have this difficulty with business people of all sorts. They would invite me to a dinner and then fall into an awkward silence when they find out I do not plan to have a meaningless conversation about baseball. And then it is like if they have nothing else to talk about! People feel themselves on unfamiliar ground, they are lost, they struggle to find a subject of conversation…

But behold – just ask a few questions to find out what really interests them, and the same people will liven your whole evening with tales of fishing in Thailand or going around the world in a kayak. Is it not far more interesting and enjoyable than a place-filling and time-wasting standard sports conversation? And if they do not have any interests beyond eating, drinking and watching sports on television, I do appreciate that they never call on me again.

Sometimes I just don’t feel like hanging out with people who are being unhealthy or going through life not caring about what they do or who just want to get drunk or stoned. I don’t think they’re bad people, but it’s not that fun for me.

Precisely. We do not want those people to waste the time of our lives. Let us have conversations that matter.

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