Why is it that there are people who feel the need to share strange and inappropriate bits of their lives with you?
I’m not talking about the friend who unloads a struggle or frustration to you. That’s good stuff. I love sharing life with friends, the good stuff and the sucky stuff. I’m talking about the random cashier at the grocery store that tells you about her boyfriend in prison, or the post office worker who wonders with you if she should get blond highlights in her hair or not.
I have been in several situations recently where complete strangers share strange bits of their lives with me. Usually I smile politely, feigning some shred of concern for their situation and then I walk away, wondering why people are so crazy.
But I keep thinking about it. WHY? Why are there so many people who just have inappropriate boundaries when it comes to sharing personal information? Why are they so eager to unload their outlandish life events on total strangers?
I’ve started to change my thinking.
Could it be possible that these people are living in a world where they don’t have a single person to really listen to them? Could it be possible that they don’t have good friends to share life with? Are their souls so thirsty for authentic relationships that they will soak up any opportunity to interact with anyone who will make eye contact?
I might be exaggerating, but I wonder. Are we increasingly surrounded by masses of lonely people? I sometimes find myself part of this mass. Surrounded by people, friends, community… and yet… surprisingly alone. Not really sharing the good (or sucky) stuff of life with anyone. Just skating along.
Fortunately there are people who dig into the mess and sometimes even sit in the mess with me. To them I say… thank you. Thanks for spending the time in the trenches and on the mountaintops with me– and everywhere in between.
I pray that I will have eyes to see the loneliness in the crowd and the courage to dig into the mess when I’m needed.