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PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN
Yesterday, a once-upon-a-time-good-friend cancelled a dinner date with me for the second time in 2 months. This is not the same person that upset me with the cancelling just a little while ago, but it is one more in the series of events that have added to the soul-searching, and self-evaluation I seem to be in the middle of.

I don't have the time or energy to continue making the effort any more with that particular person. If she tries to reschedule again, I think I will just say no. And if she asks me why, I will try very hard not to be the enabler and make it seem like it was no big deal and that I'm okay with it. "I can't don't want to deal anymore with your cancelling on me whenever we make plans," I'll say. "I know that you have good excuses, and that you can't always help it, but I would rather not set a date with you just now," I'll add. I will try not to sound martyred. I will try not to sound accusing. I will try not to hurt her feelings.

I am not particularly interested in hurt feelings myself. I think they are blinders and distractions.

There are 3 cancelling friends, you see. Last week one set a lunch date with me, and today she kept it, and made another. That felt good. Later today the 3rd cancelling friend called me just to talk and see how I was doing because she noticed I didn't seem quite myself yesterday. That felt good, too.

I underestimate, and overestimate, constantly. Both my ability to be there, and my friends'. It worries me that I am becoming more rigid in my ideas of what is acceptable and what is not, and that people will be scared to make plans with me, for fear that I will be angry if they have to change or cancel them. I only lop the heads off repeat offenders, though.

I got into a bit of an email discussion with someone today about how the writing in an online journal tends to be candy-coated sometimes, when it comes to people's lives. I know that I am consciously guilty of it here quite often. I tend to write about the good things, the positive things, and the funny things as much as possible, because that's where I want my focus to be. But it does give a lopsided view of my life. We're all voyeurs here, aren't we? Peering into other people's lives, watching through the windows. Learning dribs and drabs about people whose writing we admire or whose art gives us pleasure, or whose lives seem so very much more exciting or interesting or OTHER than our own.

Online writing, is, like any writing, only one facet of the author. Even though blogs and journals allow us so much instant gratification, and so much immediate knowledge and such an intense sense of relationship with other people, there is still a screen between you and me. (In fact, there are two.)

Sometimes my writing, and my life, might seem to be an open door, a beckoning gesture, a warm welcome. And sometimes it might actually be a veil, drawn carefully across the window, showing you only what I want you to see. Telling you only what I want you to know. Focusing the direction of your attention: look! over here! something shiny!

While over there, perhaps, something not so much.
 thoughtful
mood: thoughtful
music: Psychedelic Furs—Love My Way


Comments
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I have 2 cancelling friends myself and so much of what you've written on the topic is familiar. I always do the "it's okay, no big deal" thing, so I admire you for deciding not to do that again.

Heh. It's easy to write, isn't it? Not so easy when faced with the actual moment. We'll see how it goes. :)

Orff with her head!

*to strains of "Camina Burana" by Orff*

your words ring true
in many ways
I would adore a lunch date!!!!!!!!!!
I have NO - count them NO in the flesh in my reality not in cyber space friends...
omg I sound sooooo lame
but it is true
I would cherish a true hearted friend
I cleaned out my so-called friend closet years past and it is still empty
sadly I have met many fine people to whom I am sure I could spend real time with - life just seems to be so much around me that I forget to open up the door and let someone in...
I would not cancel - but darned it - if only we were in the same country!
: )

Sometimes it's essential to clean out your friend closet, but it's certainly a painful process. *hugs*

Sometimes my writing, and my life, might seem to be an open door, a beckoning gesture, a warm welcome. And sometimes it might actually be a veil, drawn carefully across the window...

And that is the charm of life on-line, isn't it? You can redefine yourself and your life every day.

And don't think your readers mind if everything isn't roses all the time. After all, that would make the rest of us feel like losers. Be human!

Human? What is this human you speak of? :P

A not so shiny comment

I feel your constantly canceling friends pain. Not so much now and here ('cause, gosh, are the Dutch puntcual and good at keeping appointments) but in college I had several years of such experiences. I learned to lower my expectations and do lots of things alone.

That said, even now I am almost always the initiator. I'm the one the makes the plans and visits others. I live in a provincial city and god forbid anyone from Utrecht or A'dam or Rotterdam leaving their urban oasises and visit me in my backwater.

Except there was this nice woman out of Sweden who bothered to come visit me. That made me feel good.

Re: A not so shiny comment

:) Aw! It's the pretty little backwaters that are the coolest, for sure. The really cool people tend to live in them, too :)

I like you so much, Liz. Even if all we get are glimspes, I think this medium lets us reveal more about ourselves to strangers than we'd ever dare in "RL". Which makes me grateful, because it's let me make new, though long-distance, friends that I would never have had the joy and opportunity to know otherwise.

I like you so much, too :) I agree that we can reveal more about ourselves than me might dare in real life, but we can also very much shape WHO we choose to become in this very forgiving medium.

I'm not very good at maintaining friendships with people who don't follow through with definite plans either. I am such a chicken about confronting them though. I admire that you can be be assertive about it.

As for putting your best blog face forward and one-dimensionality, I'm not so sure that any of us really manage to to that in the long run. More of ourselves leaks out between the lines than we realize.

"putting your best blog face forward" ...I like that :)

I don't want to deal anymore with your cancelling on me when we make plans

I feel honored at the view of your life that you share, whether through a veil or with windows flung wide. You share so much of yourself. Thanks. And thanks for being you. Sugar coated or blue.

It is very annoying to have repeat cancellations.When it happens to me I get a message of," my time and activities are more valuable than yours." Of course they are (to the person), but what about respecting a friendship and a date that you entered into freely to enjoy each other!! Geeze.

Anyhow, a little unsolicited advice that is disposable if it doesn't suit (I hope I don't offend here.)
"I can't deal anymore with your cancelling on me whenever we make plans,"
Just consider how different it might sound and be if you changed the "can't" to "don't want to."

I don't want to deal anymore with your cancelling on me when we make plans

This was suggested to me years ago, and when I remember to do it (if I'm not too intimidated by the possibilities to follow through) I always feels more powerful. Not as in power over, but as in at choice, less submissive, etc.

Re: I don't want to deal anymore with your cancelling on me when we make plans

Point well taken. Thank you for that gentle hint. :)

Great post!

It always fascinates me when someone's online journal DOESN'T seem candy-coated. Are they really so brave? Or is this actually the candy-coating, in which case... yikes. But either way-- you got me thinking about this even more. Thanks!


candy coated journals?

Well yours is yummy.

Maybe it seems that way, because when we plunge into our journals we tend to bring the mood we are in, but as we enjoy writing our mood lifts and brightens.

Personally I find I need to focus on being sad, or grumpy, to write sad and grumpy without losing the tone as I enjoy the writing! If that makes sense.

However also, who wants to write self pitying, whiny, type entries that they will have to read in the future, and others may read. I think we want to recall more of the sugar coated candy moments - not the acidic bile stirring ones.

No, see, I actually LIVE in your computer. It's true! Shake your monitor and you will hear me complain, "Ouch ouch stop it stoooooppp!!" Ha ha!

sillybutt!

I can so relate to "cancelling friends"... I had to let one go and she didn't come back so then I knew I never really had her... Hugs

Most of us online use veils, nothing wrong with it. As long as it's not revolting lace :)

"It worries me that I am becoming more rigid in my ideas of what is acceptable and what is not, and that people will be scared to make plans with me, for fear that I will be angry if they have to change or cancel them." I so relate to this. But I too only murder repeat offenders. And sometimes I'm proud of my increasing rigidity and thus 'definition'. You sound very tolerant actually.

(Anonymous)

wow if two minds could think a like it would be you and me! Really you have to care for your heart and soul first and worry about others later. Recently in business I made I guess a sort of blunder and apparently over stepped my bounds. Good for you for standing up for you and awsome that you have friends just checking in thats is really cool. Our lives are our lives, the views in these journals here are always one sided discriptions of our make believe lives. WE can not record every feeling and thought, my journal the other way slides, into depression and saddness while yes these are elements of my life the are not the whole things, while happiness is your strong element it is not the other thing there...that would be unreal of course...okay I have gone on long enough. -www.pseudarthrosis.com *hugs* Alex

That's so true...about the "not so much" thing. It's all I can do to not fall off the chair laughing when I get comments and emails about how people love to read about my "fun" and "interesting" life...I'm like, I have a LIFE?! As for the canceling thing, I think I'm just one step shy of cave-dweller...I've become VERY selfish with my time. Recently someone canceled on me twice (the second time telling me she was in the midst of an emotional crisis...which led to me offering support over the phone...only to find out she really went shopping), so when she suggested a reschedule, I was like...mmmm...not so much. :)

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