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You’re Not the Best at Explaining Who You Are. I’m Not the Most Observant Person. Somehow We Make It Work.

·379 words·2 mins

Ten years into my relationship with you, I’m still learning new things about you every day.

The optimist in me wants to say that this is a good sign. To say that this is how things should be.

Like a friend of mine used to say, we’re always growing and changing. Forever strangers to one another. Unable to be completely known.

But while they were technically right, it never felt completely true. Satisfyingly true. Instead, it felt like a technicality. Like saying you’re going to meet up with someone on a day that ends in Y.

It’s technically true but not specific, to say that we’re always growing and changing and therefore can never completely know one another. And certainly not helpful.

Ninety Percent of an Introvert Is Below the Surface

Instead, it’s probably more meaningful to say that introverts are like this. Mysterious. Harder to get to know. They’re like icebergs; ninety percent of them is below the surface. You initially get introduced to the tippy top edge of an introvert, and it’s only after years of interaction that the rest of them becomes evident.

That’s how I feel about you. You don’t like to talk about yourself. Certainly not to stand there and explain who you are, why you like what you like, and how you work to me. When I try to ask leading questions to get to that sort of information, you feel interrogated. So as desperate as I am to know that information, I’ve gradually weaned myself from asking. It just makes you defensive, sets you on edge.

No, the better way to learn about you is to watch you. To observe.

The trouble with that, however, is I’m not the most observant person. I’m patient, but I never direct my attention to the parts that are the most important to you.  I have a hard time figuring out what matters and what doesn’t. What’s a pattern and what’s a fluke. What’s a defensive smokescreen and what’s your inner core.

That’s why it’s taken so long, I think, to get to this point. And why I still have so much to learn.

You’re not the best at explaining who you are. I’m not the most observant person. But somehow we make it work.


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