Adults, Children, Awkwardness.

What is considered too personal to share?

I was talking with some friends from my workplace yesterday about those awkward times when kids say something tragic about their little lives and you don’t really know how to respond to it.  I’ve had kids tell me for example, about their dead pets or their dead grandparents and it sets a small cloud over the room.  It’s hard to know how to respond to something like that.  But when adults say things that are construed as awkward or an” over-share”, it’s even harder – because we don’t want to say the wrong thing and offend someone, but we don’t want to be too caring and come across as insincere.  Sympathy is always a fine line.  We walk it but it can tip either way.  Kids on the other hand, don’t really know what “the wrong thing” is.  I’m sure if you were outwardly offensive or insensitive, it would pierce their innocence but kids have a different social skill set than adults do, even though their level of wisdom is both different and the same.  Because in my current job however, it’s my first time interacting with kids on a serious level, a kid will say something awkward to me and I still don’t want to say the wrong thing – I still don’t want to offend them or make them uncomfortable.  Is it because they made me uncomfortable?  Or I’m too self-involved?  Or my world has become too adult?

The funny thing about me is, my world isn’t ‘adult’.  I almost always feel like a naive and irresponsible child; the world of romance isn’t mine (and I’m only just learning that the romance of Disney movies and teen-angst novels doesn’t exist, and I’m trying to accept that kind of magic isn’t at all real); my room is constantly messy and disorganized, even two days after I clean it; I spend too much money and still feel like I can shrug off financial responsibilities and assume it will all work itself out; even if romance wasn’t dead for me, I still don’t think I could ever be in a relationship, because I have particular problems being intimidated by, and to a certain extent damaged by, the opposite sex.  Sometimes I feel like such a kid, that talking with people who DO have a condo, husband or boyfriend, full savings account, and a travel budget, I feel like I’m a foot tall and clutching my mom’s leg or something.  I’m really just a kid. And like the kids I have in my groups sometimes, or my co-workers have had in their groups, like the girl who explained she had no electricity in her house say, I over-share sometimes.  I tell people things that make them uncomfortable, I force them into a position where they don’t know what to say at all.  And I over-think, over-analyze, over-worry, misunderstand, blow things out of proportion, have tantrums and nightmares.

Kids live in a frightening world.  Adult children live in a scarier, more uncertain one.

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