Category Archives: Communication

Retracing Back to the Starting Point

Retracing Back to the Starting Point

The difficulty in assessing the correct answer to the question: “What the Hell Happened?” is that most of the time I am still inside the situation when I start asking that question.

It isn’t until the situation dies down, to a practically non-existant level, that I can look back and see the starting line more clearly, then I realize where it all went awkward.  In hindsight, my first clue to most ackward interactions with people was in fact the first real interaction of the era.  Relationships (of any kind or magnitude) have eras, each of which have distinct characteristcs and levels of involvement which can and often do fluctuate.

So the awkwardness usually starts at the beginning of pivotal points, either when first realizing that the human body presenting itself to me actually is more than a typical drone/robot, when starting to hang out with someone again after a long period of not hanging out with that person, or when moving from acquaintance to friend.  Anyways, in two cases, I have to admit, I honestly loved the awkwardness of it.  I think it is fun and flirty.  The real spark of this writing situation, however, just plain sucked because it was set up vaguely from the start and remained that way the entire time.  I was confused.  In wondering why everything was so vague, I realized that it was me in the first place who kept playing along despite the fact that I can’t handle vagueness with people. My brain fills in the gaps with a bunch of paranoid crap that makes me delete phone numbers because I have no way of ever knowing if I will ever actually get to know certain people who keep appearing in my life.  Perhaps a post on “timing” or “people who don’t talk but still want to communicate” would be more appropriate.

Oh well, the sun is already coming up in another world, I’m sure it won’t take long to find out what is weird about this one.  There is always something weird, one must just be patient and wait for it to manifest and then choose whether or not the person is worth the weirdness and if I am capable of living with their issues.

Difficulty in Answering Questions About the Future

Difficulty in Answering Questions About the Future

I get nervous when people start heavily interrogating me about my point of view or what I want in life. Sure in an interview these are questions I can answer fairly solidly (or at least I think so because I’ve been hired), but just in everyday life from friends or coworkers I get really paranoid.

I begin to wonder “Why are they asking me this?” or “What difference does it make?” My difficulty with such questions is that people tend to use my answers to forecast some future event and they forget that life doesn’t pass exactly as planned and that perhaps events in the future may inhibit something I have planned from happening.

I think people get fixated on needing to know about the part of their future that revolves around me because of some difficulty in coping with how uncertain life can be.  Anyway I am hesitant to even answer some questions. Especially questions about what I want in the future. How can you receive answers to that type of question seriously? Sure I may want “A” at the moment, but that is because I have no idea that “B” will happen and make me want “C” more than “A.”

Do you see that there is no good answer to questions about the future? Life works like this: You have elements in life such as skills, knowledge, connections, past times, assets, etc. At any given point in time you have a finite amount of life elements at your disposal, therefore you will make decisions based on the present elements as a way of heading toward desired elements. But those desired elements, which you hope to have in your future, do not exist in your life now, and may never exist exactly as you postulate because you are only creating an idea about future life-elements based on the present elements you have in life.

You don’t know what else you are going to encounter that may make you change your plans and neither do your friends. So in trying to answering people’s questions about the future, you leave out the unknown, because that is what people want to hear. “Based on what I know now….I will probably do…blah blah blah.” Nod and smile and change the subject….

Then as time passes, you just go with the flow and perfect the art of collecting elements that complement who you want to be.

How Talking is the Whole Point

How Talking is the Whole Point

“if you talk too much you might say something that upsets someone, so it is best to keep talking to a minimum.”

Isn’t that the whole point.  To see how well you can handle someone when they are under stress?  To not want to upset someone is simply a cop-out, a brilliant dance around their emotions.  “Look! Look how well I can fool some one!  Look at how well I’ve got them figured out!”  That’s not love, that’s simply knowing that you’ve got someone at your disposal who you can take advantage of, someone who you can control to fulfill the empty pieces of yourself which you are incompetent of completing with your own mental capacities.

Someone might say you are lazy, but no, you don’t deserve that stipulation, you aren’t worthy of being called LAZY.  For lazy is a virtue due to it’s self perpetuating drive to preserve itself at the heavy cost of time and emotion.  You, you are only worthy of being called pitiful.  You waste your time seeking approval after underhanded deeds, after proving to have flirted with Satan, your self-created god still forgives you!  She is not your god.  She is your toy, a toy who at the same time does not want to admit that you are not her self-projected crush.  So fine, you be stuck in your instability.  You suffer the fate you’ve created for yourself by not just letting yourself be itself.  Go ahead, seek approval, get it, and suffer knowing how weak you are to give in to such futile existence at such an old age.  Know that no matter how far you go, your brain is still limited in it’s scope of what it can imagine.  THAT, my friend, is the metaphor we all know of as HELL.  I won’t be floating any further down the river styx on your behalf.

Not Being Spoken For

Not Being Spoken For

Every once in a while I run across a guy who thinks that just because I make some sort of witty comment back at him that I am flirting, or that I am playing some sort of word/communication this-means-I-like-you game. Without knowing my personality, they must assume that I reserve this behavior to someone I am interested in. In this situation (lately it happen to be sailing class where I was stuck on the boat with this guy for 6 hours three Saturdays in a row) no matter what I did I couldn’t escape the guy. If I commented back, he would make it into a bigger scene for the rest of the classmates to witness and if I remained silent I still heard my name being annoyingly tossed around. Even after I declined his drink offer, nothing changed. I can only attribute this behavior towards me to my singleness, because he wasn’t harassing the married girl on the boat. But maybe if her husband wasn’t there he’d’ve harassed her as well.

Confiding in People

Confiding in People

Confiding in people often only has short term benefits. Essentially what you are doing is willingly giving the receptor of your personal information power over you because of your compulsion to speak out the energy on your mind. In the short term you feel better, hopefully accepted and more clear headed to further sort out your dilemmas. But what does the person you passed along your personal information do with it once your conversation is over? They often confide in someone else because the energy you passed along is too great to keep in (that’s the reason you spoke it out loud to a listening body in the first place). So now this person knows something about you, which you will probably forget about because what they don’t realize is that they heard of the issue at just one moment in the chain of processing data and that that specific moment may not really be of much significance once the overall scheme of things has been played out. Sadly they are left feeling empowered over outdated information.

Sadly, they will remind you of your outdated information. The speaking of emotional gibberish is just that gibberish. A fact that a listener should always take into account when attempting to grasp the macro-situation they have become involved in…. good listeners know this and realize that often people just need the physical breathing body in the room to receive sound waves that come out of their mouth to just feel better. Emphasize “feel better.”

But some listeners do not understand what a person is actually accomplishing by transferring information to them…. these listeners think that they must do something with the information, that they are now somehow involved in the direct line of events… when in reality they are simply perceived as an open ear. In essence, now that they are in “the know” it is now their business. Which is not the case…. they then become meddlers.

The difficulty with a meddler is that they think that meddling is a sign of friendship, like in order to be friends we have to know everything about the person and openly deal with all aspects of them….tiring as it may be, they need to meddle to maintain the appearance that they do have “friends” in order to feel something (confident, happy, cool….anything).

What meddlers don’t understand is that many people do not like their privately conveyed information used as a ball and chain.

Misplaced Energy

Misplaced Energy

Some of my nuttiness stems from my belief that if I am not satisfied with what’s going on around me then I must do something about it in order to achieved a more desirable state of being.

The problem with this is that I am not always able to assess the aspects of my situation to realize where I actually do not the have power to change things. So then I keep trying and trying and trying again and end up just being somewhat pushy (or at least thinking that I have overstepped some sort of boundary) until I find something else to focus that energy on. This explains some of the strange things I end up doing or saying in the presence of newer friends (I already have boundaries with the old ones, that’s why I like them). When I have energy for a person, I really can’t handle not knowing where I stand with them and even worse not being in the most desirable positioning relative to them.

So my pushiness is generally in response to me seeing that there is a problem that I think I can solve through different techniques and approaches (letting the energy out as best I can), or…. I cannot solve the problem but don’t realize that the solution is beyond my means.

Aside from pushiness I have really one other approach. Completely backing off and living with the problem in my own head (holding the energy in). The silent time allows me to really think about it and make analogies to the past so I can reassess what is going on as well as get some practical stuff done in the rafters.

The problem with this “in your face, now I’m hiding” behavior is that I completely disregard the fact that some people like having other people around all the time and a sudden absence leaves a huge veil of uncertainty hovering. Me being completely unaware of the veil of uncertainty, jump right back into relationships where I left off, all happy and content because I’ve solved some puzzles of life in my head while I was away. While the person I return to, is more than just a little confused.

Sensing their confusing, I see another problem and thus either push through it or retreat again. I can’t seem to find a middle ground.

People Who Base Their Opinion of You on What Their Friends Say

People Who Base Their Opinion of You on What Their Friends Say

Most of my friends, I’d say, have cool friends… who I find fun to hang out with and get to know. But a few times in the past I’ve been stuck having to hang out with someone who I don’t particularly enjoy just so I can hang out with my cool friend. When put in that situation all sorts of thoughts run through my head. this included the thought that maybe my friend has horrible taste in people, then I realize that they have chosen me as a friend, so…. what does that say about me if they have horrible taste in friends? Then I realize that some people are just social whores who have a very basic definition of what a friend actually is and therefore have heaps of acquaintances whom they refer to as friends. Since I normally can’t function coherently in diluted relationships I rule out that explanation as well, because, I wouldn’t be there if I felt the relationship was diluted.

The worst though, is when one of those friend of friends points out things about me that they don’t like. All of a sudden my friend sees me through the prospective of their friend who obviously isn’t compatible with me otherwise I wouldn’t dread hanging out with that person. “yeah, you know what.?.?. You’re right, she is like that” my friend says to their friend. The conversation probably continues on as they build together their agreement about me- which serves as a private bond between them from which they are able to read each other’s silent facial expressions, in my presence, confirming their private conclusions about me.

At that point I realize that my friend whore is either not capable of monitoring their own influences or they are willing to find any reason under the sun to relate to their friend more, even that the expense of me. I have seen it both ways. The end result is usually my distance, which I don’t mind at that point because I will do anything not to have to hang out with that friend of my former friend, what a relief!

Another shitty thing is when a friend can only think I am as cool as his friends say I am. You will see this when you meet new friends whose friends have already heard A LOT about you, and I mean A LOT. Like these people can tell you about yourself for 5 drunken minutes. So there you are on your pedestal, freaked out because you’re only that cool to that one person because he fills a specific friend role for you and you tend to treat that archetypal role much different than people you just met at a party. So inevitably, you get a lectured later on what everyone at the party thought of you and/or what you should work on for next time as if you are socially challenged.

So it was my mistake I shouldn’t have subjected myself to these parties because I didn’t go to the party to hang out with THEM, I was there because YOU invited ME and I like hanging out with YOU. So cut me some slack for passing out early because the friend whores at your parties are boring.

The Multiple Meaning of Yawns

The Multiple Meaning of Yawns

Yawn: “a deep usually involuntary intake of breath through the wide open mouth often as an involuntary reaction to fatigue or boredom.”

Depending on the situation, for me yawns can also mean:

  • I am tired of being here
  • I know this already
  • I’ve heard this many times before
  • I don’t agree but it is no use educating you on my opinion
  • That’s not what I meant
  • Hello, I’m here too!
  • Can we do something else?
  • I’d rather be doing something else
  • I’ve drank too much
  • My blood sugar is low
  • Can I lean on you?
  • I’m going to anyway
  • Hug me
  • There’s nothing more to talk about, but I want to keep talking
  • Can we just be alone?
  • I’d rather not stay on the phone much longer
  • It is relaxing to talk to you
  • I’m having a hard time paying attention
  • Just lay down and relax with me
  • This chair is uncomfortable
  • I’m listening because you’re requiring it of me
  • I have something to say but I’m not going to say it

It is not uncommon to apply excess meaning to natural human actions, but I think my list is a bit excessive, no?  It really just evolved that way because, based on past experiences, I don’t feel it is necessary to express myself verbally.  This aversion to verbal communication, though written off as passive aggressive, has indeed saved me a whole load of trouble in having to constantly stand up for myself or saved me from the repercussions of openly saying things that may hurt the other person’s feelings, or validate some negative opinion they may slightly harbor about me.  The simple fact that my childhood knowledge base was not completely compatible with those of my peers causes much of what I need to say to come out in other ways.  This is reinforced by my ego constantly being inflated by the information that I either withhold or don’t articulate clearly so I feel that I know something that you won’t understand.

That is in no way to mean that inadvertent actions are under my control.  All this evolved and I am only noticing it after the fact… something many many many times after the fact. But regardless, I only notice it because I’ve become aware of how often I use these mechanisms to get by.  This is just one of many compulsive things that make up what people call my personality.  I wonder that if I didn’t communicate with yawns (as Adam terms it) and I didn’t pick my nails, or at times have to eat the same food everyday because I just can’t resist , or keep believing people will do what they said they would do, etc, then perhaps I wouldn’t have the compulsion to write about these things either, I would probably be a different person, compulsively unaware of how all of you only exist to distract me from the fact that we’re bound by these programming walls.

Aside from literal translations I also yawn:

  • To get my oxygen to my brain
  • To tell myself to move
  • To make myself notice that something about the situation needs to be changed
  • To get out the energy I would normally apply to speaking
  • To make myself tired so I don’t participate
  • To make myself appear tired so I don’t have to participate
  • To avoid intimacy
  • To buy myself more time to make a decision without having to use words
  • To keep people waiting

Miscommunication

Miscommunication

I wrote the below email titled “[insert work document here] – who is reviewing?” to the other members of my department this morning:

“Good Morning!

I’ve almost finished my review of [insert work document here]. Let me know whom I should give it to when I am finished.

Thanks!”

I instantly got a “reply to all” message from one of the managers saying that she doesn’t know who is going to review it but she will hold on to it in the meantime and also since I am almost done with it she has something else I can do.

My boss called me into the office a few minutes later (with some smoke coming out of her ears) to remind me that when I need more work to do, email only her first! She knows what is top priority. (She had told me to do this same thing last week, so she was annoyed because she had to do it again).

I explained that the email was in no way written to imply that I needed more work… my evidence is that fact that I had more work to do. I told her the tasks that were next on my list and even showed her where I was going to pick up again on a previous task I had to put on hold and that I wrote that email asking who I should pass my last project to. so simple and not worth the interrogation.

Once I finished explaining this to her, I politely asked if there was anything else she needed from me and she said “You’re going to make sure you ask me before you send an email like that the next time, aren’t you?”

With an extreme expression of confusion on my face I replied, “Emails…asking….who is…..reviewing certain documents when I am finished? Okay, no problem.”

She said, “No! emails requesting more work!”

I responded, “I didn’t write an email requesting more work, but I will ask you before I do next time. [Insert manager’s name] is busy and must have been hoping I might have time to help her out. If you open the email you can see I clearly wrote that I needed to know who to give the project to when I was finished, that’s all.”

She cut me off without rereading the email with a smart-ass, “I read the email, and you IMPLIED that you needed more work to do.”

Instead of starting all over again, I went into a explanation of how “I’m having a hard time because I am being as direct as possible when I communicate but I am constantly having to clarify that the words on the computer screen do not have other meanings. It is a simple miscommunication and I’m sorry if it was taken that way.”

Saying I was “almost finished” could also mean that I didn’t want someone to think I could hand it to them right away because I wasn’t done yet… or I want them to take note of how long it took me to do it…or anything…. but in reality, I just wanted to know who to give it to when I was done with it.

I feel like the Gods have cursed me to have the ability to say things clearly but few are able to believe that that is all I mean to say.

Or the boss is cursed to continuously think people are saying more than they really are.

Ultimately, before putting on their critic’s hat, it is the reader’s responsibility to make sure he or she understands the writer in order to avoid loosing what little lint of my respect happen to stick to their clothes as they passed by on their way to the kitchen.

Hospitality

Hospitality

First and foremost when inviting people into your house you must come to terms with the guest on what is expected of them before or upon entry onto your property. If during the visit they overstep a boundary, politely let them know, if they continue to go against your wishes ask them to leave or do not invite them back. Understand that anything you give them of yours- for which you do not ask payment for upon delivery- is a gift. It is customary for frequent guests to bring something in trade for your hospitality but do not rely on this as a source of supplies. If you require something specific, like food or drink, then ask them before they arrive, or before they get too drunk to drive to the liquor store; good guests are more than happy to provide party supplies but it is up to the host to ask if supplies or funds are definitely required.

If at anytime you are unable to provide proper hospitality, then you need to stop inviting people into your space.

Improper hospitality includes:
-Assuming you can request anything of your guests because you provide a place for them to get together
-Providing food or drinks and after the fact telling guests they need to start paying you for them. It is your responsibility to make sure guests know ahead of time what is considered a gift and what isn’t. Everyone has different awareness of how large their contribution to the festivities should be.
-Sharing beyond your means. If something is beyond your means to share, DO NOT Share it. People understand this as long as you communicate it to them.
-Failing to take into account a guest’s contribution to the festivities (how many times has someone brought over a case of beer and only drank one, leaving the rest for later parties?) and focusing on your own monetary needs.
-Assuming guests who leave early and don’t drink as much need to contribute as much as guests who stay later and drink more.
-Relying on unspoken requirements for entry.

It is most difficult for a host to block the build up of a sense of ‘entitlement to respect’ from their guests. At that point, when a host seeks to exercise perceived power, the host has put themselves on a different level than their guests. This imbalance of perceived power makes true friendship impossible as guests are continuously pressured to do as the hosts desires under the guise of how long they have been “friends” and how long a guest has been invited over to utilize the host’s offered resources.

If a host demands compliance from a guest because of the longevity of their friendship…it is in the guest’s best interest to no longer choose to be a guest. If you meet at a bar and a friend needs help…..well…….that topic would be included in a different note titled: “On what makes a good friend.”