I will preface this post with this isn’t about anyone or any one thing in particular. This is something I have been thinking about. A meandering mash up of things.
In part this is about the nature of friendships and relationships, a lot of what I have been thinking about in part are relationships between women. Now these can be family members who are female or they can just be female friends. But I look at my male friends and they’re pretty consistent throughout our aging process. But the women? Not so much a lot of the time. Women can be hurtful friends. Even when that is not the intent. I am sure I have been guilty of this behavior myself.
Men in my opinion as friends will take you for who you are male or female, be less judgemental, and are upfront if something is bothering them. I will include a caveat and say sometimes men you are in intimate relationships or marriages with may be less open, but I think that’s because of a difference in those relationships to begin with. I actually will leave my own husband out of that category because he is who he is, and is very consistent and upfront with how he is feeling. But then again, sometimes I wonder if part of the way my husband is, has to do with the fact that we’ve known each other for so long and were friends first, or just because that is the way he is? I don’t know but I am grateful he is by my side.
I will admit that I am tough as a person at times. As in I can be tough on people. But I am very devoted to my friends, family, and others that I care about, so when I can’t understand certain behavior, and I seek clarity, but feel like a proverbial door gets shut in my face, I find it hard. I am not saying life is always about me, but what I am saying is sometimes the delivery or expression of what someone is trying to say, sucks. And again, not saying that I am not also capable of this or excusing my personal behavior. These are observations.
I have discovered over the past few years that a lot of the way my relationships have evolved, is I am the person people come to when they need someone to talk to. I keep my own counsel and if I give my word I keep my word. It is an honor to be a trustworthy friend/human being, but I have found sadly as I’ve aged that not everyone reciprocates similarly. Not everyone keeps conversations that are supposed to be private to themselves, and there are some people where conversations are sort of a one-way street, as in when they want to have one it’s cool, not when you might need to have one.
On occasion, I am the one who just needs to talk; needs someone else to listen. Reaching out when that occurs, is not something I just randomly do, so when I do and I feel shall we say, unheard by those who should know me pretty well, it’s not fun.
Sometimes I also find myself having basic trust issues with people, who I feel very guilty about having trust issues with. But I don’t know how to articulate it any better. Especially since COVID, a lot of people are just going through stuff. So I have discovered people don’t necessarily think the same way as they once did. The communication changed and we were all by ourselves for so long that sometimes I think people will just say whatever and have lost the ability to filter.
And the reason I’m writing about this now is I’m finding myself in situations where I’m a little unsure. Sometimes you just feel like you’re doing all of the emotional giving, with little receiving when you need it. It’s hard when you put your proverbial toe out to try to test the water to talk, and it’s like others are not available. Or don’t want to be available. And sometimes it feels hurtful, even if that is not the person’s intent. And well I think no one intentionally wants to be overly sensitive, I think this is a byproduct of all the alone time during COVID.
Now part of the problem with me personally I’m sure is I’ll open my mouth about politics and social issues and I’m not shy or reticent in my opinions in general. But if you’ve known me even briefly, you know that about me. Also as a blogger, I have had people say to me that they couldn’t possibly be friends with me because I am a blogger. Seriously.
There are people who no longer think I am worthy to be friends with since they realized my politics aren’t precisely theirs. They went from people I used to do things with and swap Christmas cards with to complete crickets. I don’t wish them ill, but they know where I live if they ever decide I am worthy again. But sadly, I feel they were but a season in life. You know that old phrase about people being in the categories of reason, season, and lifetime? Sometimes we just have to move on, even if we really don’t want to.
But also since COVID a lot of people have pulled in on themselves and aren’t as communicative. I can also say that about myself honestly, as well. I find that I’ve pulled in a bit. Maybe that’s because we all had to spend so much more time on our own, and perhaps it’s all about getting used to being around people again? Or has COVID made us all a little bit more selfish? Or has COVID just reset the clock a bit to perhaps more the way we were before social media?
In that vein, I can’t control how other people feel or their actions. And I know that I can only control my own actions and reactions. But still I have questions, I have doubts, and I have human frailties. Sometimes, right or wrong, I feel like I’m not supposed to have any of those in the eyes of others.
And then there are the perfect strangers who contact me every day, often all times of the day and night about things going on. I’m not just a blogger, I’m a human being. I have my own life. Sometimes it would be nice for people in general just to say “Hey how are you doing?” I can’t tell you how long it’s been since somebody has asked me something as simple as that.
If we are talking about me simply as a blogger, I like being able to help people when I can. I like being able to help people promote their events. But when I promote an event, generally speaking I have a connection. Either I know people involved with the event, or perhaps it’s just something I support and attend. I am not compensate it in any way when I do something like this I am just paying it forward.
Similarly when I write about an issue, it’s because it’s something I have discovered and I have an interest in. I am not compensated when I decide to do something with an issue. And again, it’s the whole paying it forward because there are so many things in our communities that don’t get any airtime they don’t see the light of day. When it comes to the issues then sometimes people like it, sometimes they don’t.
Recently I had somebody who was a perfect stranger contact me via another person whom I really don’t know to ask me to promote an event. An event was basically happening the next day. I did not reply. And I just didn’t do anything about it. I didn’t write about it, I didn’t share any links on social media about it, I just let it go. One reason was I wasn’t invited to the event in the first place. And I’m not paid to do these things again nor do I expect payment, but it’s also at times a simple question of feeling respected. And if you couldn’t invite me in the first place, yet you contact me in the 11th hour as an total stranger to promote it to save your bacon, how do you think that makes a person feel?
And then after the fact, you discover you did know someone involved with the event, who should have been the one reaching out to ask if I would do something, but then they would have had to have apologized for behavior less than friend worthy a few years ago when who you quietly just let go of that relationship. But this is a person who has left many bodies in their wake in their personal quest for social acceptance and basic climbing, and it will be a while yet before they realize that all of it came at a cost, and eventually they will be alone at the top of their solitary hill, wondering where their actual friends who didn’t care about their somewhat more humble past went? Honey, we’re all still here living our lives without you. We enjoyed your company, would have kept you as a lifetime, but you made yourself a season.
To promote an event or a local issue is not my actual job. As in I’m not paid to do any of this . I do things as the spirit moves me. And most of the people know who know me well know that it’s not a big thing if I decide not to cover something, it’s just not my jam. Yet some people if I don’t cover something, take it very personally. And they often forget the basic premise of I just write because that is my jam. I am not a compensated blogger, and I actually pay to have an ad-free site here.
Maybe sometimes what I’m finding confusing or what I’m actually lamenting are what we were raised with as far as social norms and niceties. You know, manners. A sense of right and wrong.
Also having style is not merely an outfit you wear, it goes a little deeper. Or it should.
One of the other things I’ve noticed since COVID are shall we say boundary issues. People will contact you at really odd times of the day and night. It could be people you know, people you work with, people who are strangers. It’s like all the stuff you learned as a kid growing up regarding when it was polite to contact someone and when you should wait for the following day and so on and so forth is simply gone.
Other seemingly simple things like saying thank you for something. Or sending an actual thank you note. How many of you out there feel like older than dirt because you still send thank you notes I know that you should send them? and that is something I get mad at myself when I don’t take the time for a proper note I just call or text. I know I wasn’t raised to do that. I know I was raised to sit down and take the time and write a note. And I have the note cards and stationary. (Note to self: use your stationary more, it’s a dying art form.)
And then you think about work relationships. How many people now have noticed how work relationships have changed since COVID ? Is it just me or does it seem like work from home also translates to a lot of people that you should be available 24/7/ 365? Is it work to live or live to work? And what about the people who either don’t understand what work from home means, or only want what they want on their schedule, forgetabout yours? I mean sometimes it’s easy to make a mistake because you don’t know what someone else’s schedule necessarily is, but other times is it a mistake?
As our world changes are we supposed to change with it or try to keep some of the niceties we were raised with in today’s world? I don’t know the answer. And it’s something I wish I knew the answers to. It would sometimes make the playing field a little more level or understandable.
Or at the end of the day there could be some things I just quite simply take too personally. And that’s a flaw. But I don’t think so. But I do think about it. Anyway as always, I like to write it out to try to figure things out.
And then there are the sobering realities of life that just make you think and pause.
Two of my friends became widows this year. Neither is old enough to be a widow.
Someone else I know has been diagnosed with chronic kidney disease and needs a transplant to live. And he’s got so much life left to live I am so upset. (Read about this here and share.)
Finally, another friend is rushing to their brother’s bedside, whom I also know. The family is about to say good-bye to a tremendous human being.
Sometimes I wonder what God is trying to teach us while I marvel at the pond scum who blithely inhabit this earth while good people suffer and even lose loved ones. Sometimes if I am honest, I struggle to see the beauty in this world, and remember life’s blessings, I actually really DO try to remember why we are here on earth. But as human beings is it just too much work to be the best we can be all of the time? If so, what is the solution?
I am open to conversation here, because I really would like to know how people feel about some of these topics I’ve raised today in this post.
Stay dry and have a cup of tea. It is the perfect weather for that!
Thanks for stopping by.
Lots of the thoughts on this post resonate with how I feel/see relationships evolve. Of late, I have found my zen in moving on without expectation of closure.
Carla, just wow! So much to chew on and so insightful. You gave me a tiny gift this morning. Your openness and reflection have set my morning in motion to try and do some evaluating after I complete my morning gratitude (something I do for me). To say many things you mention hit home, is an understatement. This blog should be shared/shouted from the highest mountain. You could really get many motivated to inventory themselves.
Thanks- it was a hard post to write because I have literally been chewing on all of this.