I am Not a Fan of Certain Small Talk Questions
by Erin Olson on August 31st, 2012

I have issues. Small talk issues. The top two small talk questions I really dislike are often the ones most asked. You would think by now that I would have come up with an adequate answer to each one of these questions. Not so.

The first question is, "So, where are you from?" For me, this is a loaded question with many twists and turns and I know for a fact most people don't have the time nor do they really care to hear the answer to that one. This used to be a form of torture for me when my husband practiced law. We had to attend client dinners and events and inevitably, that question would come up at least one time during a night. If I was really lucky, I had to answer that question more than once! Painful. It usually started with a desperate look at my husband with a silent plea for intervention and then it continued with a nervous laugh by me and occasionally, my arm pits started sweating. Seriously.

The second question is, "So, what are your interests or hobbies?" I just got asked this question yesterday on a questionnaire. I usually leave it blank or scribble something in like reading, exercising or an honestly, I don't know yet. Other than reading, I can't think of a single hobby or interest I have. What in the world is my problem?

My husband was recently playing golf with a fellow and he asked my husband, "So, what are Erin's hobbies?" When my husband told me the story, he said, "I couldn't think of a single thing."  Now before you think this turned into a "I can't believe you don't know me speech" (those only happened when I was hormonally imbalanced due to pregnancy), I said to him, "Yeah, I am still trying to figure that out myself."

So either I am completely lame because I have no hobbies or interests or, as I tend to think, a poor manager of my time. I really do have aspirations to be a hobbyist. I have grand plans to scrapbook, sew and garden, but the supplies just seem to pile up.

Do I have too many things going on?

Probably.

But, is there something else going on?

Definitely.

At the start of every school year, I have grand plans. I really do plan on tearing into all the closets that are stockpiled with knicknacks, memorabilia and probably a little junk. However, by week two of school, I quickly realize that I've only started on one closet and it's contents are now spread out on the office/schoolroom floor. And worse, every time I walk by that room (which is often because it is right off the kitchen), I beat myself up for not getting it done and secretly just want to go throw everything in bins and stuff it all back in the closet, organized or not.
This is how we handle our lives at times.

We have good intentions of "cleaning up our act." We resolve to reconcile relationships. We set forth a plan to "soul search." We really do have good intentions. But the problem is, there is often more packed in those closets than we realize. Nostalgia catches up to us and we find ourselves going through everything very methodically and that takes time. And if you are a poor manager of time like I am, way more time than you allotted.

We then find ourselves stumbling over things. We get easily irritated and stressed because we are procrastinating or the world around us isn't cooperating so we can focus (yes, my dear children I am talking to you - momma is not a full-time waitress).

So instead of having hobbies, I am constantly trying to fix the mess I created in the first place. Why can't I put things away in an orderly fashion to begin with? Why can't others in the house do the same?

When we start with and keep closets clean, neat and tidy, we have more time to do things we love and/or enjoy. Plain and simple.

Same with our lives.

If we do things right the first time, we spend a lot less time cleaning up messes. Live a life that is unoffended. Then there isn't a need to repair as many relationships. Will it be perfect? Nothing ever is, but at least you have a better shot. We must choose to stay on the narrow path, the road less traveled. The wide path is broad with many distractions and ultimately leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14).

Start today. Colossians 3:8 says, "But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander and dirty language." Examine yourself and figure out where your weakness lies and where you are creating a blockage between you and the Lord. Determine how you are or aren't using your time to better His kingdom.

God, please bless me with a gift of organizational skills and time management so I can better serve You. Many lives depend on this. May I lead a life that is full of more right choices than wrong choices so I don't continue to spend time cleaning up messes, hurts and relationship issues. In Jesus' name, Amen

***Please note, no closets were cleaned during the writing of this blog!


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4 Comments

Deanna - August 31st, 2012 at 9:52 AM
I have never thought about how much I dislike the question too...the hobbies/interests one. What you wrote about it is exactly how I feel about it. My hobbies have really turned into what my kids interests are at the time. Sports, scouts, play dates....those are my hobbies now. As for the where are you from question....I like to discuss all the places we have lived. We have been fortunate to live in many places across the country, all with pros and cons. I am from where my family is not where I was born, lived the longest, where my parents are, where I went to school, etc.
Chris - August 31st, 2012 at 3:36 PM
We are we from? You are right, that is a lengthy answer but it can lead into some great conversations. On many occasions it has opened the door fro someone to tell me how we lived in one of the same states. It gives me the opportunity to turn that question back around and let the one asking become the one answering so that I avoid answering any more questions as I probe them on their lives.
Gil - August 31st, 2012 at 5:57 PM
Where are you from? That doesn't seem like a hard question. I answer that question all the time.
Where are you from?
California?
Oh. Where in California?
Ontario.
Where's that?
Oh, it's like, um, by Los Angeles.
Okay, so like by the beach?
No. Um, do you know where the Inland Empire is?

It's kind of like, in the desert but not really...

Okay fine it's a tough question!
Deanna - September 1st, 2012 at 8:35 AM
Agree with Gil....that being from CA can turn into many more questions because CA just isn't enough for people. Northern or Southern? Then if I say Cucamonga they look at me like I spoke another language. If I say LA they think beach or Hollywood. Just goes on and on and on....LOL!
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