Real people, aliens and MPD.

[tweetmeme source=”jesslin”]
Fact: I don’t know how to talk to “real” people. You know, the 30-35+ aged people with jobs, spouses & kids. I just don’t know what to talk about. I can’t do rapport building because I feel like asking about their job is a dumb question because a person is so much more than just their job. If they don’t have kids, I can’t ask about their kids.

And you know what? I think it’s the Internet’s fault. Or maybe more appropriately, my generation’s use of the Internet. We MSN/gchat/facebook (and now increasingly, text) people instead of calling them. Even though I’ve been around “real” people all my life because of church, I’ve never really learned how to get to know them and talk to them. I’m so used to getting to know someone based on something I saw posted on Facebook or their blog or something. How do I get to know a generation who doesn’t really use Facebook or blogs?

This is a huge learning curve when it comes to MPD. Thankfully, after a year on campus I feel so much more equipped to make the calls. After calling people for follow-up, approaching so many people for spiritual conversations, even booking busses for events. I find calling so much easier.

But I still don’t really find talking to people any easier. With people in my generation I talk about music, movies, pop culture in general. But I just don’t share those things with “real” people. I feel like real people are this total other species that speaks a whole other language and has this totally different life that I can’t relate to. How does one connect with aliens?

What’s more, it’s even more difficult knowing that I need to learn to connect with these people or I just flat-out wont get the funding I need to do what I love.

No pressure.

I feel like an awkward teenager trying to be seen as an adult. I’m very nearly 24, but I guess I still don’t feel like I fit into the real world (hence why I don’t feel like I’m a “real” person).

So for you real people out there, how do I connect with you? How do I learn this basic life skill that I obviously seriously lack?

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4 thoughts on “Real people, aliens and MPD.

  1. Meredith says:

    Hey Jess,
    Good post. Give me a call and I’ll tell you how to connect with …. ‘real people’?

  2. Terra says:

    Yah, I feel the same way. I find it really difficult to connect with people outside of my ‘stage of life’. yikes. It is intimidating. I hope you find people gracious. I would just encourage you to try to learn about them, rather than letting them let you do all the talking. It gets even more difficult to make connections with supporters if you never connected with them in the first place. Just saying. 🙂

  3. Lydia says:

    Hey Jess… I’ve been thinking, since you posted, about how to connect with “real adults” and trying to come up with some meaningful advice. I think it’s overall a hard concept because by the time you feel like you could connect with them it’s because you’re one of them!
    A number of years ago, when I felt like a gawky teenager (even though I was in my 20s) and like I couldn’t possibly connect with “adults” in our church, I decided – through just sheer determination – that I would go to our ladies’ retreat weekend. At first it was super awkward, but then the more time I spent with these women the more I realized that when you get them out of their context (of being wife, mother, “adult,” etc.) we were all just about the same. Those conversations opened the doors for others, and as time passed it was easier to realize that *I* was the one who’d put the barriers up and not them.
    Bob and I recently did the same thing with a small group in our church… we’d met and chatted with some ‘cool’ older adults and ended up joining their small group. We were easily the youngest by 15-20 years, but it was seriously awesome! I feel like the more I’m able to simply suck it up and take a first step, the easier it gets for others.
    So from the ‘other’ end of the spectrum now (as someone who meets most of your definitions as an adult), I often feel like I’d be happy to connect with people who are younger than I am… but in the same way that they feel awkward in the conversation and don’t know what to say, I feel the same!
    So I’m not sure that I have much advice other than this; 1) Don’t try to “build rapport” but rather start with normal friendly conversation and go from there, and 2) Don’t forget that they feel the same way.
    🙂

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