Recently I had the pleasure of having breakfast at a quaint, small-town diner. As we walked in, heads immediately turned as the locals sized up who was stepping into their small world. The local peeps were huddled together in a relatively large number at a table near the back of the restaurant, and I could tell that they were briefly curious about who we were.
The service was top notch; we had a server who was very helpful and suggestive in the menu items we chose. I was pleasantly surprised at everything I was seeing and after ordering, I was excited to see what food I would get.
As we waited for our order to be prepared, I could overhear the conversations that were being had by the group of locals. One lady was talking about her neighbor’s second wife and how helpful she was. Another discussion was about a cousin who was involved in a minor traffic accident, but she was expected to be OK. I was amazed at just how much these people knew so much about each other and while to some it may seem petty, I was quite amused.
People really love to talk about other people.
Let’s face it; we are put on this planet to interact with each other. There is a very tiny minority of people who can survive without interaction with others. While yes, we may feel as though we need to get away from certain people, it doesn’t take us long before we feel compelled to get back into their lives. Our observations of others are what validates our thoughts and feelings; it is what makes us feel normal. So it is only natural to share those thoughts and feelings with others, to just further validate our lot in life.
“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events and small minds discuss people” – Eleanor Roosevelt
While there is truth in that quote, I believe it is incomplete. We need to understand the people around us, to feel for them, to serve empathy and to normalize their behaviors to formulate ideas of our own. If we cannot understand the plight of others, then we cannot come up with solutions to the problems that they may have. So long as what you are discussing is not hurtful or deceitful and meant to further your agenda, discussing our observations about others can only serve to solidify or modify our thoughts.
As we received our meals, I was thrilled with the service and quality of food that we had received. I hope that as we left, the locals who were talking about their own, began to talk about the strange young family that had occupied their tiny diner. Hopefully, somewhere in their chatter, they found inspiration from our presence as much as I had found inspiration from them.