Ever since I was little, I've been called an old soul.
I always started conversations about things that mattered, I always gravitated towards the "wiser" crowd, and I always craved a deeper understanding about various things. I was never the popular girl with a lot of friends. I was always the quiet girl with one or two close pals. I've always wanted quality over quantity.
But the world is just getting worse and worse as time goes on.
People value fake perfection over flawed truth.
We are much more attuned to communicating on our phones and over the internet, which makes actually interacting in person have no appeal at all. Our society has lost the meaning of vulnerability and realness. Our conversations lack sincerity and meaning. There is basically no substance at all. And as Christians, we should do everything we can to not conform to that.
Of course, I see value in small talk on the rare occasion. We can't just run up to a person we have never met before and ask them if their parents are divorced and how it has effected their perception of love. We have to start off with easier questions, but those easier questions, also known as small talk, should be simply a bridge to talk to them about subjects that are actually important. But I'm never going to find value in wasting time and not leaving a lasting impression after meeting somebody. I want them to see something rare and real in me and be so attracted to my transparency. Life is way too short to not be raw.
I'm definitely an introvert. I've met other introverts that feel the same exact way about this issue. When we are at a gathering and we are in the farthest corner in the room trying to blend in and avoid eye contact with others, we know that people judge us and think we are socially inept or conceited. They assume we hate people.
I love what the Psychologist Laurie Helgoe, author of Introvert Power, has to say about this:
“Introverts do not hate small talk because we dislike people,” she writes in her book. “We hate small talk because we hate the barrier it creates between people.”
You see? It blocks honest interaction. The truth is that small talk allows two people to have an entire conversation without really getting to know each other.
When trying to evangelize, you have to meet people where they are at- and sometimes, that is by utilizing the tool of small talk. You make a good first impression and have to just deal with the small talk in order to get to the meaty, yummy stuff. But I'm not talking about working for the Kingdom. I'm just talking about life in general.
I usually bail on events if I know people are going to be wearing masks and discussing empty things that they normally could care less about. As an introvert, there is nothing that exhausts me more than being around others that are like that. Before you get mad at me for advertising this on my Christian blog, please know that I understand how important community is and I totally get that we couldn't survive without other people walking alongside us. We were made for it. But we were made for relationships that aren't shallow.
You know what I really love? You know what I can't get enough of? Sitting across from a person and unpacking life's biggest messes or most beautiful moments. Hearing their fears, the reasons for their favorite song, and questions about God. Wearing my heart on my sleeve without being ashamed and thanking them for doing the same.
And I know. For some people, that's too heavy and too emotional. But to be honest, I'd rather have too much depth than none at all.