Things My Friends Have Taught Me: You have to be present to see the world in new ways.
Everyone experiences the world differently. They see the universe through the lens of their own ideals, experiences, and privilege. By taking the time to step out of our own shoes and be present with--and truly understand--those around us, we connect more deeply with one another. We build communities on compassion, curiosity, and authentic relationships.
Keep reading for more on what I learned from my friend, Logan.
Logan moves through life on a daily basis with more grace than many of us could aspire to have in a lifetime. Where some people stop to smell the roses, Logan smells the roses, paints a picture of them, makes a playlist about them, and then asks the roses how they came to grow.
His curiosity is positively contagious and his compassion unparalleled. He eagerly invites others to be their unfiltered, authentic selves, and demonstrates regularly just how lovely kindness can be on a person. He is one of the warmest people I've ever known.
Logan and I hopped on a video chat to record a 90-minute interview. In the interview, I asked him fifteen questions about the person he is today.
Here are few of his answers that I'd like to share with you.
Kait: What makes you laugh?
Logan: So many things. Cleverness. Banter. Humor that’s inclusive. I’m not a fan of outrage humor or humor that punches down or humor that’s at the expense of other people (unless those are people in power and it’s evening the power dynamic). I love inclusive humor... absurd humor.
I don’t particularly enjoy small talk. I like big talk.
Storytelling in all its guises is the most inspiring thing. It speaks to what is important to each of us—what we believe is happening around our existence in every moment.
I like bullshit—the absurdity. Small talk is, in a way, absurdity so I’d rather use outright absurd humor to be inclusive with someone instead. If that person jumps on board with me, and is absurd with me, I form a better connection with them. I far prefer that to learning where they’re from and where they grew up. That feels tedious even as it rolls off my tongue.
Absurd humor with other people feels inviting if you’re willing to join in. You have to be willing to be a little foolish. It makes for a level playing field.
What do you do to feel the most yourself?
I’m most myself in relationship with others. Not that I don’t love solitude, because I do. I need it to renew and recoup and start fresh. But it’s during conversations with people who I care about that I feel most enlivened.
I enjoy talking about human behavior and why do we do the things that we do. I like to try to come up with narratives or stories that make sense of behavior in helpful ways. Sometimes that’s been in coaching clients or spending time with friends or going on a road trip with Becky where we talk through our days and try to figure out why people behave in particular ways.
What do you wish you were better at?
I wish I was better at being more organized. I’ve really had to lean into that in my work. I’m almost horrifically right-brained so it’s something that I have to very intentionally practice or it just goes to pieces. And even practiced, I still need more practice.
Life is filled with a thousand opportunities to compromise just a bit on the person you’d like to be. I am working towards a life where the person I am internally and externally is entirely consistent.
I also felt some kinship with you when we started texting as an attempt to better maintain our friendship between the (very infrequent) times we visit in person. I can't speak for you, but I think we both find keeping up those kind of long-distance relationships difficult.
I feel like I’m great in the moment but my follow-up is not always great. I can be super present with somebody in a given moment, or when they need me, but several months down the line, I struggle with the follow-up. It’s something I wish I was more practiced at so it didn’t take quite so much thought.
What inspires you?
I’m moved by storytelling—by people piecing together narratives in ways that create meaning. That’s the work of conscious beings: to piece together disparate experiences in a way that makes sense of things.
When people are able to connect ideas for not only themselves but also others, they can help others who don’t have the language or facility to do it. I love when it makes other people feel less alone. I think I’m very moved by stories of people who thought that they were alone and found that they were not.
I don’t know if I ask this question specifically, but when I’m having a conversation with somebody, what I really want to know is, “how do you make sense of the world?”, because I’m just endlessly curious about it.
Storytelling in all its guises is the most inspiring thing. It speaks to what is important to each of us—what we believe is happening around our existence in every moment. Storytelling speaks to any sense of overarching purpose.
Who do you admire?
I admire Tatiana Mac for her advocacy. For the way she has created windows into her experience as a woman of color—a woman of color in tech and in design. I also admire her for her excellent artistic and design eye.
I admire Sarah Esterman for her advocacy around health and dealing with chronic illnesses.
I admire Justine Jordan for the way that she pioneered in the email industry. She helped create the community that we have there. The community was created by many but Justine really helped by giving words to the many thoughts people were having. She’s like the doula of email.
Small talk is, in a way, absurdity so I’d rather use outright absurd humor to be inclusive with someone instead.
The throughline for those I admire at this point in my life is people who have different experiences than me right here as a straight white guy at the top of the privilege pyramid. I find myself inspired by people who have lived their lives fully by embracing the things that are important to them.
What are you working towards?
I am working towards a life where the person I am internally and externally is entirely consistent. I’m working towards a life where, moment to moment, the actions I take are consistent with the person that I want to be. That’s not always the case.
Life is filled with a thousand opportunities to compromise just a bit on the person you’d like to be.
My life doesn’t look like I thought it would ten years ago. There will always be a number of circumstances outside my control. However, choosing to be consistent with the person I aspire to be and ensuring my actions reflect those aspirations is in my control.
As much as I have any say in how others experience me, I hope when people experience me, they know I am present and that they matter to me. They can be absurd with me or deep with me. We have to hold a safe and sacred space for people to be human with one another. If I’m going to expend my energy in working towards anything, I want it to be towards that.
More Things My Friends Have Taught Me Coming Soon