Peripheral acquaintances, friends of friends. People you recognize but don’t know. In many situations a hi! from a distance is good enough. And then there are situations where you are brought together to mingle at the mutual friend’s gathering.
There’s a time and place for deep connections and there’s a time for a kind of friendliness that stems from the polite performance of good manners. A time when a little shallowness needs to be forgiven for the social lubricant it aims to be.
And still it’s easy do it wrong too. Last night I cheerily asked a woman I’d only met once before, ”Is everything fine with you?” Her avoidance of really answering the question, a moment later made me remember (Oh shit, didn’t somebody say she had cancer).
It wasn’t a total catastrophe in any way, I found a better conversation later at night and shared some laughs with her and her husband. But it’s still humbling to see your shallowness mirrored in somebody standing on the verge of the abyss.
There are so many lives lived in parallel.