The older I get, the more I think that one of the most important skills of adulthood is just pretending to give a shit about stuff you could care less about in order to make the person presenting the care-less info to you feel better. I literally do this 10–12 times/day. People send me texts about inane shit, and I respond with an actual response. Most people I have in my orbit do the exact opposite, and just don’t respond. I literally texted a 20-year friend of mine about IVF the other day — seems like a big fucking topic — and, days on, no response. I can type “Good luck!” in 2 seconds. Why is this so hard for people? Maybe you don’t give a flying fuck about my wife’s egg retrieval. In reality, you probably don’t. But if I provided you the information, you should respond in kind with “Prayers!” or “Good luck!” or some such. At the point of response, I almost do not care whether you actually care. I just want the response. So lob that bad boy over the fence in 2–3 seconds, and go back to your actual life.
I would love to come out here and talk about “deeper connections” and the like. Talk about “being empathetic to others.” But the reality is, most people have a very specific nexus (locus) of control, and can only manage certain things in an hour, day, or week — and some days are bad, and you forget to respond, and yadda yadda yadda there are a million excuses we all give. So deeper connection is possible, but not at scale. Those are special relationships. For all the other relationships, just feign interest, acknowledge the text or email, and make the other person feel seen/heard before you return to your glorious existence.
Feigning interest: the key to adulthood? Perhaps.