Gabbing with Grace: since you asked…


Grace Sherban

Enjoy this picture of a tree as Campus Editor Grace Sherban reflects on the meaning behind one of her signature catchphrases… since you asked

Grace Sherban, Campus Editor

As human beings, it is not uncommon to want to share our life experiences, thoughts and opinions with those close to us. The human experience relies on being able to foster connections with the people around us. 

Relationships are an amazing thing because you can live half of your life and then, in a snap, you can be forever changed by an individual who contains as many layers as you do. We are constantly being molded by the people we surround ourselves with. But, relationships are simultaneously a double edged sword since they can be temporary. 

Recently, I have been reflecting on this thought as I navigate through new and old relationships in my own life. Personally, there’s nothing I love more than spending time with family and friends while getting to hear their life stories. 

So, why do I feel the need to censor myself from sharing my past experiences and ideas with people? I have noticed that in conversations, I find myself using the phrase “since you asked” to begin a short anecdote about my day or an opinion I have regarding the topic of conversation. 

The “since you asked” mindset is not something I would recommend because it is very limiting. It means that you are basically assuming that no one cares enough to listen to what you have to say so you justify speaking with this phrase. With these thoughts, I began to grapple with a lot of existential questions and, unsurprisingly, had an epiphany on this subject while watching a movie. 

After subjecting myself to the emotional avalanche that is watching Rob Reiner’s “Stand By Me,” I couldn’t stop thinking about this one line of dialogue that kept me crying long after the credits stopped rolling to Ben E. King’s song of the same name. 

The movie follows a group of four young boys who set out on a journey to find a dead body. 

The framing device provides a retrospective look at this experience so we see the events play out through the eyes of one of the boys who later becomes a writer. As he reflects on this time, the narrator says, “It happens sometimes. Friends come in and out of your life, like busboys in a restaurant.”  

Considering that I am in my “since you asked” era, this line hit me so hard because we can tell someone our whole life story only for them not to be consistently in our life in the future. Why go through the emotional turmoil of developing a relationship that already has an expiration date? 

Despite this, interpersonal relationships are not something that need to be censored just because you don’t want to overshare or consider them temporary. The whole point of developing a relationship is to gather a deeper understanding and appreciation for someone that you care a lot about no matter if you will continually see them everyday. 

To close, I want to tie all of these random thoughts together with one of my favorite Sam Cooke songs, “(I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons.” Now, you may be asking yourself, “how is she going to combine Sam Cooke, “Stand By Me” and the phrase “since you asked”? Hear me out. 

In Cooke’s song, the phrase “I love you” in sequence makes up over 40% of the whole song (yes I did the math). The other 58% of the song is Cooke singing about how much he thinks of the recipient of his love and hopes she feels the same way.

Notice he never explicitly verbalizes an actual reason. They are sentimental. He knows that the only person who needs to hear the specific sentimental reasons is the person who he sings this song to. In a twisted way, the “since you asked” mindset allows us to grow close with those we care about because we save the best of ourselves for them. 

Even the temporary “busboys” deserve our attention and love because they are bonded to us in those special moments that we can look back on sentimentality. Time may pass and the people closest to us may leave but, in the words of poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”