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[personal profile] smallhobbit
This was suggested by Okapi as of benefit to some of the things I do in church.  Initially I thought about BSL, but then realised if I was intending to do this properly it would require more than a month, so I decided to learn some Polish instead.  There is a significant Polish contingent in our area, so it seemed logical.

I signed up for Duolingo and began the first lessons.  But after nearly a fortnight I realised I wasn't going anywhere, although I had a large list of vocabulary.  I have nothing to hang the language on, in that there's no similarity to any of the other languages I have a smattering of.  And nothing was going in.  I decided to admit this wasn't working and stop, rather than battling on for another week.  On the plus side, I now have a certain feel for the language when it's spoken.

To the replace this, I've been watching a youtube video with basic BSL greetings, which means I might at least be able to sign 'welcome' which would be welcoming.

I haven't even done much of my sewing.  We were away or out most of the weekend, and this week I've been sorting odds and ends for our holiday and have generally been feeling uninspired.  All I've done is sew one button, which I think helps to pull the appliqué together better for this square:
pics )

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Oct. 18th, 2017 10:04 pm
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[personal profile] navaan posting in [community profile] public_call
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They also serve who only

Oct. 18th, 2017 02:39 pm
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[personal profile] desperance
As I write this, Karen’s in surgery. By the time I can post it - for I have no wifi at this hospital - we’ll be back at the apartment, and she’ll be fine. Drowsy, maybe. It’s a minor procedure, to connect a port to her bloodstream so that she can be a cyborg for a few days; local anaesthetic and a sedative, no more, but they say she’ll go to sleep.

We have a room that is ours for the duration, and all I have to do is sit in it and wait. Half my task here is waiting. (I have never liked waiting, and do it poorly.)

Outside our room in one of those windowcleaners’ cradles that hang on cables from the roof. Two men are in it with all the tools, and they are doing all the things to the wall at my back: hammering, sawing, drilling. It’s like being in the apartment, transposed to a minor key: for there they are building another tower block just next to ours, and that affords us all the noises of major construction.

I am in a weird mood, I find. I feel ... pent. Potentially eruptive. Popacatepetl in miniature. It’s just the waiting. Karen will be fine, and so will I.

I’m rereading an old favourite novel, Elizabeth Lynn’s “A Different Light”. I still hope to meet her one day, for I know she’s local and we have friends in common. (I’m also rereading “The Count of Monte Cristo”, though I have no hope of meeting Dumas. That’s on the other Kindle, back at the apartment. Reading different books on different Kindles may seem perverse, or contraindicated, but really it’s just about power management. This one, the original, a full charge lasts for weeks; t’other is a tablet-in-embryo and I only get a few hours out of it, less than my phone even.)

I thought I’d be doing more work than I am, but apparently a man can just read and shop and cook and watch TV. Maybe after this week is over, when the procedures are behind us and Karen’s just apartment-bound in neutropenia, I’ll find the mindspace again. These next few days are going to be rough: apharesis and chemo and then at last the transplant. At the moment she’s in a lot of pain - or would be, but for the shots - which they tell us is a good thing, a sign that the process is working as it should. Her bone-marrow is sending lots of stem cells out into her bloodstream, ready to be harvested, yay: but this is a painful process, and her bones ache. Tonight’s going to be the worst of that, and she’ll have the discomfort of today’s operation to deal with also. Plus a lot of stress about tomorrow, when we’ll be all day at the clinic.

Now there are weird noises happening just outside the door. Power-tool of some kind, I think. I’m not going to look. They said I can go down to the cafeteria and get some coffee, but I think I’m just going to sit here and wait till Karen gets back.

When Scientists Say "Me Too"

Oct. 18th, 2017 07:05 pm
[syndicated profile] sciam_feed

Posted by Ushma S. Neill

Listen to us when we share. Don’t let us bear the burden of shame. Don’t let us think it is our fault.

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
mllesatine: (pink clouds)
[personal profile] mllesatine
I just wanted to point out that owning a car and being able to get to and from work without the constant time pressure is fucking awesome. 10 out of 10, would buy again. So nice to sit in a nice, comfy car where I can blast my own music and don't have to smell the train station or have to touch anything I don't want to touch. I really enjoy not being around crowds of loud, inconsiderate, smoking people. Communiting is amazing and everyone who says it's bad hasn't dealt with public transport. I do not miss the smell of piss in the train station, I don't miss the late trains or the missed connections, I don't miss having to carry my bike up and down flights of stairs.

The best thing is that I can now do things like stop at my garden, dig up a patch, take a pumpkin and some plants with me, stop at the supermarket to buy some soil and be home by 5.30 pm. I would have required at least two trips to accomplish what I did today without a car. And today I still had time to repot some of my house plants.

The only thing I miss is that I now no longer have time to read my magazines on the train.

But Satine, I hear you ask, what kind of horticultural masterpiece did you create this time? I took some of the linum (flax?) plants home and put them in pots so I could give them to my mom. She will be pleased because I raved about them. Not only do they have a very pretty, light blue color they also produce blossoms the whole summer.

I hope the weather (it has been 20 °C today) keeps because I'm not nearly done digging up the garden. But at least the hedge has been cut (pruned?) and most of my efforts have been succesful. Will plant more than one pumpkin next summer, will not do so many beans or spinach but more peas and hopefully the Italian parsley will come back. Fingers crossed that only half my plums will have maggots next year. I did my very best with the stupid glue ring and if that doesn't help I will try an insecticide the year after.

10/18/2017 Inspiration Trail

Oct. 18th, 2017 11:00 am
mrkinch: Erik holding fieldglasses in "Russia" (binocs)
[personal profile] mrkinch
This time of year there's little point to going out before sunrise, so it's easy for me to get up too early and then leave too early because why hang about at home? Anyway, I got to Inspiration Point before the sun topped the hills to the east and things were quiet at first, but it wasn't long before it was shining on the trail and waking up the birds. I had a tough time with raptors, just not fast enough to get definitive looks, but I think I had northern harrier, Cooper's hawk, and possibly a barn owl; I disturbed it twice and STILL had no good look. The bird was fairly light colored even in the shade (too light for a harrier, which has a somewhat owl-like face), utterly silent, and I had the impression of a facial disk. But to imagine the best bit of the morning, take a look at this toyon tree )

and then imagine it populated by five or so western bluebirds joined by the same number of cedar waxwings. I was so happy. Fall east of the ridge: )

I also saw a very healthy-looking coyote.
[syndicated profile] sciam_feed

Posted by Dina Fine Maron

A compound that helps rodents and monkeys slim down could offer a promising approach for human therapies

-- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com

(no subject)

Oct. 18th, 2017 11:17 am
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[personal profile] platypus
I'm going to stop crossposting to LJ. Comments are rare, and I feel sort of uneasy talking to an empty room. I am continuing to write (sometimes) at platypus.dreamwidth.org, and I'm happy to add anyone I know there. I'll leave comments open on this, and I'll always be happy to catch up with old LJ friends.

Does anyone actually use their LJ OpenID to read/comment on Dreamwidth? I'm thinking of removing all the OpenIDs from my friends (or circle or whatever Dreamwidth calls it).

Parking Maneuver

Oct. 18th, 2017 01:08 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
How a strongman solves a parking problem.  More common in Terramagne than here, but fun to see. 

Texas Gothic...

Oct. 18th, 2017 06:01 pm
telophase: (Default)
[personal profile] telophase
...that liminal time that happens every Wednesday at 1PM when they test the
tornado sirens.

Still Sick

Oct. 18th, 2017 10:53 am
christina_maria: (grouchy cat)
[personal profile] christina_maria
 .. still have the cold, but it is better today *knock wood*.
It took a turn for a worse for a bit, and I ended up sleeping a day away again.

My MIL has been here since Saturday, and I've been trying to keep my distance when possible too. She's here until this Saturday, and then we'll have the house to ourselves again. 

I am so tired of this cold. I miss knowing what being well feels like. *bleh* 

[yawn]

Oct. 18th, 2017 10:04 am
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[personal profile] gorgeousnerd
1. [community profile] fandomlovespuertorico has started auctions! I'm offering One Direction, My Chemical Romance, Dan and Phil, and Disney's Descendants fic here, but there's a bunch of different kinds of fandoms and types of things offered. Check more out here. Auction ends October 23rd.

(I'm going to update this post with a Tumblr link later, if you're over there and willing to spread that.)

2. I felt very under the weather yesterday, and I'm not sure why? Maybe just a bad day. I can usually pick some kind of main cause or worsening factor, but I think yesterday was mostly just "you're chronically ill and you're going to have days like that sometimes". My planning format really came through, though - I did a couple of my most important things and let everything else go and went to bed early at least knowing that I did things to help myself long-term but that I was still listening to myself. Balance! It's a thing!

(Also working on forgiving myself when I don't do that, but that's what I'm in therapy for, in part.)

3. Wednesday Reading time!

Books. )

Im Wald

Oct. 18th, 2017 05:31 pm
[syndicated profile] edwardbgordon_feed
Autumn light and colours in the forest…

Herbstlicht und Farben im Wald…


5.9 x 5.9 inch / Oil on MDF board / 15cm x 15cm / Öl auf MDF Bord

If you would like to purchase this daily painting, please send your bid by email. Startprice 150 Euro. End of sale October 19th 2017 at 6.00 pm (local time Berlin Germany). Terms of Sale and Right of Withdrawal.

Wenn Sie dieses Tagesbild erwerben möchten, senden Sie bitte Ihr Gebot per email . Mindestpreis 150 Euro. Ende des Verkaufs gegen Höchstgebot am 19. Oktober 2017 um 18 Uhr. Beachten Sie bitte die Informationen zu den Verkaufsbedingungen sowie die Widerrufsbelehrung.

© Edward B. Gordon, all rights reserved.

tumblr's fucked up

Oct. 18th, 2017 01:36 pm
mandralyne: (Default)
[personal profile] mandralyne
 Well tumblr, it's been a slice but NO ONE wants non-chronological dashboards. https://staff.tumblr.com/post/166540346380

wednesday reads 'n things

Oct. 18th, 2017 11:35 am
isis: (Default)
[personal profile] isis
What I've recently finished reading:

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, which is the sequel to Six of Crows, but really it's the second half of the brick it would have been if published together. I loved the additional character revelations and development, but I think that unlike nearly everyone else, I liked the first book a bit more. This book felt as though there was too much shoved into it, particularly in the last third; I found myself getting bored and wanting it to just be over, already, which is not how you want to feel while reading something you otherwise enjoy a lot! Also, it seemed to me that the narrative depended, even more than the first, on holding back information from the reader (as opposed to from the characters), which is fine once or twice but gets tiresome when repeated constantly, especially when there's an air of "look how clever the characters are! Look how clever the author is!" and I got a bit annoyed with this device.

There are some interesting and appealing relationships, both m/f and m/m, but as I mentioned last week, I also ship the noncanonical but subtextual Nina/Inej. But in general I really liked all the main characters, and I liked all the canonical relationships to some degree. Also I am in need of a crossover with Gentleman Bastards or Old Theradane.

What I'm reading now:

The Ship of the Dead (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #3) by Rick Riordan, YAY! And it's delightful. Though a little odd to be reading with my eyeballs, since I listened to the others as audiobook, especially with Norse terms that are spelled a bit differently than they are pronounced. I was pleased to see my favorite crackship finally making an appearance (skip) Riptide's a babe, apparently! And Jack, true to form, is smitten! Pen/Pendant is best sword ship!! Also, having a Norse name misheard as "Bigly" made me choke laughing.

I read another couple of chapters of Fly By Night but it's mostly on hold until I finish the Magnus Chase.

I'm still listening to Airborn by Kenneth Oppel while pool-running, and I think I might be getting close to the Thrilling Climax, though the waterproof mp3 player I have makes it impossible to tell how far I am into the book. It's very much Boys' Own Adventure (with plucky heroine friend) in Alternate Steampunkish World, a little silly, but entertaining.

What I'm reading next:

Might try to get hold of Provenance by Ann Leckie. I just looked at my to-read list and, gah. So much to read! I still haven't read the currently-last Expanse book.

What I'm watching now:

We have two episodes left of Westworld, which for Reasons we will likely watch tonight and tomorrow night. It's a weird and unsettling show, and I hope that the threads will start tying themselves together next season, because there are so many fascinating ideas and I will be disappointed if they don't GO somewhere.

What I'm watching next:

I am going to be on my own for up to 10 days beginning Friday afternoon, so maybe I should watch something that B wouldn't care for. If you've got a rec for something on Amazon Prime or Crunchyroll (or other free method) that I might get fannish about, I'm open to suggestions. Though...

What I'm playing now:

Still Dragon Age: Origins. I'm a bit put out because I apparently started my romance too late to trigger a necessary conversation in order to make it work right. Also I'm always too full up with inventory. I got bored for a while and only picked at the game. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the quest involving escaping prison, so I'm more excited now, and since as I said I'm going to have a lot of free time next week, I will probably play a lot.

What I'm playing next:

If I lose interest in DA and all the DLC quests I have available, I might fire up Witcher 2 and see how that goes. At least I'll finally be able to understand the half of the fandom that's based on characters from it!
[syndicated profile] captainawkward_feed

Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain Awkward,

Over the years, my smart, funny, fun friend Elizabeth has become ruled by her insecurity, anxiety, and grievances. She’s close with my friends from a couple of overlapping friend groups — I met my boyfriend through her — and somehow, her emotional needs have become the center of our lives. We are constantly trying to manage around Elizabeth’s irrational reactions.

Any time she isn’t invited to anything I’m doing, I’ll hear about it directly and again passive-aggressively. It doesn’t matter the reason. Every low-key hangout becomes a dilemma: do I invite Elizabeth, do I lie about my plans, do I just endure the confrontation. If I invite her when I don’t feel like it, she claims I wasn’t happy to see her. If she’s busy when we make plans, she’ll still say how left out she feels. Any time anyone has big news — they’re engaged, moving, pregnant — telling Elizabeth is a whole thing that has to be strategized around.

It’s not hard to tell this is the result of some deep and miserable insecurity and loneliness. I feel terrible that she feels that way. But she is using her anxieties to control everyone around her, and I’ve realized it’s a fucked-up game that I can’t win.

If she weren’t friends with all my friends, I would cut her out of my life entirely. Given the overlap, though, that would be difficult and dramatic (and maybe end up ruining her relationships with people who are frustrated but not yet totally fed up. She does need friends. I just can’t be one anymore). I am trying instead to see her as a friend-of-friends who I don’t care for. I don’t feel guilty about ways I inadvertently hurt those people. I don’t vent for hours about them to mutual friends. I don’t go to parties we’re both invited to and leave frustrated by all the ways they are disappointing me.

But I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to react the next time she tries to make me feel guilty or make something about her. I don’t know what to say that doesn’t turn into a big, involved, emotional conversation that I do not want. She always wants more from me. I want to give her less. I know what my boundaries are. How do I make them clear to her?

Hello! I think your question is going to resonate with a lot of people.

Story Time: Once upon a time a group of friends and I were trying to decide where to eat dinner. One of the group members had her sister in town, and Sister is apparently a VERY picky eater. Not medical-issues or food-allergies-picky, more like: Most restaurant food is gonna be too weird/too spicy/too ethnic/contain too many foods, like, the “rocks” and the “trees” might touch each other on the plate, so we had to find someplace that would have something she could eat. Great! A challenge! Chicago is a restaurant-rich environment. Surely there would be something.

I tell this story not because picky eaters are bad and shouldn’t be accommodated as much as possible (seriously, do not fill the comments with details about you don’t & can’t eat, I don’t care and it’s not the topic of this column). I tell it because the conversation went on for almost two hours with people raising suggestions and others shooting them down and because during all of this the Sister never said a word. She never said “Ok, Mexican or Thai is cool, I can eat some rice there” or “The diner is fine, I can get a grilled cheese probably and they’ll put everything on the side for me” or “actually Italian doesn’t work for me, sorry” or “Listen, why don’t I make some Kraft dinner here so I’m not starving and then come keep you company later at the bar” or “Hey, I know this is kinda weird, thanks for trying to help find something that will work for me” or “Can we pull up the menu online and see if there’s anything I can eat?” She just sat there quietly making frowny faces and grimaces for almost two hours while 6 people (most of whom she’d just met for the first time) tried to find something she could eat and auditioned options for her while her sister tried to interpret her face and mediate between everyone else.

It was so weird. It was one of the most amazingly dysfunctional things I have ever seen. I say “amazingly” partly because of the way that the visiting Sister had trained her sibling to anticipate and worry about her around eating and to fear her negative reactions to the point that she didn’t even have to say or do anything at this point. The mere prospect of her being sad or upset or unsatisfied was enough to have everyone strategizing around it. It was amazing how quickly we were all trained, by proxy, to react the same way. Also notable was the amount of effort it took to break out of the pattern that was instantly established among us, the amount of energy that it took to be able to say  “Listen, I’m starving, we gotta goooooooo.” (We ate Mexican food. There were plain quesadillas. It was fine. Also, this dynamic played out before every single meal of her visit, three meals a day).

I tell this story because your story about your friend is partly about habits and group dynamics and the way they calcify. Elizabeth has trained you all to strategize around her and dread her reactions to things. She has to an extent trained herself to be let down over and over again. It has become a self-perpetuating cycle – the more negatively she reacts, the more she’s left out, which makes her react negatively, which makes people want to be around her less. Stir in some Geek Social Fallacies and it sucks for everyone, Elizabeth most of all. Since you can’t change what Elizabeth will do or how she’ll feel, so can you change the way you react to it so that the relationship works better for you? And can your example help steer the group to help break the pattern?

Relationships where one person is always apologizing and the other person always needs an apology are pretty unbalanced, yes? Relationships where you have to strategize around the possibility of them blowing up at you over pretty minor things are also unbalanced and exhausting. Whatever you’ve shared in the past, that’s where you are now. So, since you do have a lot of social overlap and history with Elizabeth and don’t want to ostracize her from the larger group, figure out your threshold for inviting her to stuff (it sounds like big group hangs are where it’s at) and do that. When you want to invite different people, hang out in smaller groups, make plans without her, or announce good news, do that. When you don’t want to go to something she’s organizing say “No thanks, can’t make it” without giving a reason or apologizing. Then, the hard part: Let her feelings be her feelings and don’t work so hard to fix them or manage them. Be kind and polite without being effusive or engaging deeply and otherwise withdraw to the place that you are comfortable and that feels sustainable for you.

Part of setting and maintaining boundaries with others is internal. It’s making & owning the decision that hey, my line is here, and if someone crosses it, I will withdraw from interacting with them, and if that upsets them, that’s sad, but it doesn’t automatically make the feelings my problem or my fault. Once you decide that you can deal with Elizabeth’s negative feelings without making them your problem, you’ll feel a lot more free and relaxed.

If you end up talking about things with her, say, when Elizabeth inevitably notices your withdrawal and pushes you about it, the script you are looking for might be some version of this:

I definitely don’t want to upset you or hurt your feelings, but I also don’t want to apologize for something that isn’t actually wrong. 

For example, if we’re going to stay in each other’s lives, it has to be okay for me to  hang out with other people without consulting you first. It has to be okay for me to do social stuff when you aren’t available. It has to be okay for me to tell you good news about my life and hear ‘congratulations, that’s so great!’ instead of comforting you about the things in your life that you are unhappy about.

I’m not doing those things AT you or in order to hurt you or exclude you, and it’s not okay when you expect me to take care of your feelings when I do them. I find these conversations really exhausting and I don’t want to have them anymore.

For another example, when Elizabeth starts venting about people who have wronged her after parties, what if you said “Hey, let me stop you there. I don’t actually want to listen to this”? Or what if you redirected her away from venting about people and toward talking to them? “You sound really upset with ______, why don’t you talk to them directly about it?” It sounds like there’s a dynamic here where Elizabeth is expecting you and other friends to expend a lot of energy listening to her grievances with others but won’t take the actual steps that might fix the situation. What if you removed yourself as that outlet and put the work of fixing whatever it is back on her? You can’t control whether she actually talks to the person but you can actually control how much energy you’ll expend on the problem.

See also:

  • “Listen, every time I hang out with someone who isn’t you, it can’t become A Thing Where We Have To Have A Giant Talk. I really don’t want to.”
  • “Where is this coming from?”
  • “What is this really about?”
  • “What would make you feel better about this?” 
  • You’re right, we’re not as close as we used to be. I feel like I have to walk on eggshells around you, and I don’t love it.” 
  • You’re right, we’re not as close as we used to be. Sometimes it makes me sad to think about, but also I think it’s okay if friendships evolve over time.
  • “You seem really unhappy in general lately, what’s going on with you?”
  • “But friends don’t have to do everything together.” 
  • “This is really weighing on you, and you seem so unhappy lately, do you think it would help to talk to someone about it?”
  • “I feel like this comes up every single time I do something without you. Do you really think friends need to do everything together?” 
  • “Wait, I just told you good news. Can I get a ‘congratulations’ for a second before we talk about you?” 
  • “Can you not?”
  • Hmmm interesting
  • Okaaaay?
  • Wow.
  • Yikes.
  • “Ouch.”
  • Not cool!
  • “Okay so we’re going with worst case scenarios then?”
  • I can’t talk about this anymore today.”
  • Have you told ____ what you just told me?
  • What are you going to do about that?
  • “If we all suck so much, why are you friends with us?”
  • It’s a giant bummer when every party or brunch needs this giant post-mortem with you. Can we not?” 

There’s a pretty wide variety there, so, find that script or scripts that lets you engage constructively with her behavior and disengage from a performance of feelings. It might be really valuable to have this out once and for all and really argue with her, like, “Hey! You are stressing me out a lot and making it hard to be friends with you! Knock it off!” It might be better to quietly withdraw. Don’t (for example) ask a lot of questions and dig deeper into what’s going on if you’re ready to be done with the friendship.

I think that given your long friendship it’s worth addressing head on and in depth at least one time. If you’ve never actually said any version of  “Hey, this is an unreasonable question, you’re not the boss of my social calendar, knock it off!” before – for example, if you’ve defaulted to mollifying her in the moment (and then resenting the hell out of it later) – remember to start gently and give everyone a couple of chances to reset the relationship. It’s a longstanding problem for you, but it may not read that way for her if this is the first time you’ve pushed back. Does that make sense? Maybe give her a little room to have a less-than-ideal initial reaction and a little bit of time to self-correct things before you tap out forever and ever.

Also, never, ever invoke the wider feelings of the group when you talk to her. Own your own annoyance – “It bothers me,” I’ve noticed,” “I am annoyed by…” etc. Other people may well have these same issues but appealing to the the group will not lend you authority. It will only justify Elizabeth’s paranoia about being left out and distract from the conversation, like, “Wait, everyone feels this way about me? Who exactly? What exactly did they say?” She already worries that she’s being ostracized and/or bullied, do not feed that worry. Keep it focused on you: “I can’t speak for anyone else, but it bothers me when you hear about me having brunch with other friends and take it as a slight.

Speaking of “the wider social group” and “things that you can control,” try to stop talking about & complaining about about Elizabeth with the larger friend group as much as you possibly can. There is power and freedom in venting, but sometimes venting also feeds on itself and it becomes a habit unto itself at the expense of action. While you try to break Elizabeth and yourself of bad habits, what if you also tried to redirect the group’s habits, too? When her “b-eating-crackers” behavior comes up in the group (and it will), what if you channeled the complainstorm into “Yep, that is pretty annoying. Have you tried talking to her directly about it?

  • I know we all try to strategize about how Elizabeth will react to news like this, but what if you just told her ‘I’m engaged!’ and let her feelings be her feelings?
  • Yeah, she can be like that sometimes. I’ve been trying to set boundaries and just talk to her directly when it comes up instead of spending so much energy talking about her.” 
  • “I think we have this weird pattern, where Elizabeth overreacts to stuff and then we all overreact to her overreaction. I’m trying to break myself of the habit and just take her as she comes without too much angst about it. I wish nothing but good things for her, and I wish she could be happier but I don’t have the energy to dissect all this every time we see her.” 
  • “Elizabeth’s gonna Elizabeth, let’s not feed the fire. How is [new topic]?” 

People may or may not follow your lead. Set the boundaries anyway, and then enforce them by changing the subject or walking way from Elizabeth-centered conversations. Go talk to anyone else about anything else (the way you wish Elizabeth would do!).

It will take time and probably a few tries to disengage. Be gentle with everyone, especially yourself.

Finally, if you read this and thought “Shit, I’m ‘Elizabeth,'” here’s some stuff you can do to feel better:

A. First and foremost, if anxiety about your friendships and whether people like you is seriously messing with your life, take the problem seriously and investigate solutions. Here’s a website (with forums) devoted to helping people with social anxiety. There are tons and tons of people dealing with this in the world, you are not alone, there are tons of strategies for managing it, everything from therapy & medication to improv classes. Chances are that you don’t have to feel this awful forever.

B. It’s okay to need reassurance from friends sometimes. If your current ways of reaching out aren’t getting the results you want, can you try out a strategy of asking for some specific action the other person can do that might make you feel better? “I miss you, it feels like we never hang out anymore” or “I feel like everyone is too busy to spend time with me” might be true, real, awful, overwhelming feelings. Sadly, expressed out loud or in text form they read like accusations that require a lot of emotional work on the other person to figure out what to do next. What if you translated those feelings into more actionable requests like “I really miss you, friend, can we have lunch soon? Tuesdays are generally good for me.” See also “I’m feeling really sad today, it feels like no one likes me” vs. “I’m really feeling sad today, what’s your favorite song that really cheers you up?” or “I’m feeling really down today, please send compliments & animal .gifs.” I don’t necessarily know what to do with “I’m so lonely and I feel like everyone hates me” but I do know what to do with “Everything sucks today, can you tell me something nice?” or “I could really use a friend to come over and sit with me and color and watch TV later, do you have a little time?” It takes time and practice to reshape this pattern, so, go slow and be nice to yourself, but try it.

C. If it feels like everyone is always hanging out without you, or like your friend group has calcified into a pattern that doesn’t feel good for you, what can you do to change it up? What can you control?

For example, I get a lot of letters & comments about people who wish they were invited to more stuff. UNDERSTANDABLE. But more often than not, when I scratch the surface and gently ask “Hey, what happens when you plan things for friends to do?” the person says some version of “No + Nobody would come anyway” or “I invited some people once but they didn’t want to come so I stopped” or “Here are 1,000 reasons that this advice is stupid and will never work.” And yeah, okay, maybe so. It sucks, I’m sorry. But you can’t control what other people will do, you can only control what you will do. If the situation is going to change, you’re going to change it, by either changing up how you interact or finding different friends.

Additionally, planning and hosting social events is work. The people in your group who are good at it and confident about it or just defaulted into being in charge of it because no one else wanted to do it also have worries and anxieties:  That no one will show up, no one will have a good time. They worry about accidentally hurting people’s feelings by excluding them, or accidentally inviting awkward exes or mortal enemies, or running out of food or ice, or that they’ll make a ton of food and no one will eat it, or that they’ll suggest a bad movie or a board game that is not fun, or that everyone expects them to do the work and nobody ever helps or even thanks them (I get those letters, too). It’s easy, when you are self-conscious, to forget that literally everyone else is also a giant self-conscious weirdo too.

Mostly, and I swear this is true once we get past high school, most people who like hosting events want people to feel welcome and to have a good time. They do not enjoy excluding people or making them feel bad. With this in mind, maybe you can approach the person in your friend group who does most of the scheduling and inviting and say, “Hey, I really appreciate the work you do hosting trivia night every month, what can I do to help?” “Can I plan something for the two of us where the only work you have to do is showing up?

See also:

  • RSVP promptly when you’re invited to something.
  • If the culture of your friend group is “people bring stuff to parties even when it’s not explicitly a BYOB situation” then be a person who brings baked goods or something to drink. Contribute.
  • Set up chairs, offer to wash dishes, and do other tasks that keep your hands busy.
  • Say thank you to the organizers afterwards.
  • Pay attention to whether other people are having a good time. Is someone new here, do they seem shy? Could they use an introduction to someone else?
  • It’s okay to hide out in the bathroom or on the porch or with the host’s pets for a little while if you get overwhelmed. The person who hosts the best parties I know of in Chicago is a bit socially anxious and take breaks from her own parties.
  • If you don’t really gel with someone, give them space. Find someone else to talk to at the party. You don’t have to have the same level of intimacy with everyone in a social group.
  • Invite people to do smaller stuff, one-on-one. Stop thinking of it as The Whole Group vs. You and think of it as a bunch of people you mostly like and some you like more than others.
  • Try to approach events you’re invited to with the mindset of “People want to be kind and want me to have a good time here.”
  • When you’re not invited to something, try (I know, but try) to cultivate the mindset of “Hey, not everyone has to hang out together all the time. I’ll probably catch them another time.

D. All that said, it’s 100% okay for you, Relatively Lonely Person, to back off from friendships that feel like too much work. If people make you feel like you have to chase them all the time, if people make you feel insecure, if people judge you when you need a little reassurance or cheering up, if people never make you a priority, it’s okay to disengage. You don’t have to make all the effort or have to subsist on crumbs or leftovers to deserve friends.

To be totally honest, I am a recovering ‘Elizabeth.’ I spent my teens and 20s as a needy and socially confused bull in ye olde emotional china shoppe. I had undiagnosed depression and anxiety. I over-relied on friends to process endless streams of complaints and obsessions. I got rejected a lot socially and romantically and received a lot of negative and painful feedback from groups I wanted to be part of. I *often* experienced that moment of saying something and feeling a group of people go kind of silent and limp around my awkwardness, exchanging awkward eye messages with each other, and then changing the subject (“So…anyway…“) while my conversational turd sat there, unacknowledged.

Things that helped: Therapy. Getting older. Reality checks and boundary-setting from friends who were like “I love you but you are too intense sometimes, please knock this off so I can keep liking you” or “Look I know you’re sad but I am done talking about this” or “Do you realize you start every phone call by immediately just talking about yourself and how sad you are and don’t even ask me how I’m doing?” Losing friendships where I didn’t listen to these boundaries and learning from those mistakes. Painful self-awareness and trying to do better. Making the effort to reframe situations where I felt rejected and not automatically default to the explanations that most dovetailed with my poor self-image. Realizing that the “So…anyway…” moments were an attempt to let me save face, and that it’s okay for people to have limits about how much complaining they can absorb. Learning to read the room better and to ask questions before launching in.

It took a long time and it was hard and I still fuck up sometimes. In some cases I let go of friendships that didn’t work anymore and sought less rocky ground. In others I changed my behavior. In all cases trying was better than not trying. In all cases the only person who could really change the dynamic was me.

I hope things get better all around for you and Elizabeth(s). You can’t fix her feelings, so, take care of yourself and be as gentle as you can.

 


illusion_is_mine: (Fallout: Vault Boy)
[personal profile] illusion_is_mine
     My, and I went to the bookstore yesterday, and I found a couple of finds.  I got KMFDM's "Nihil" and a used PC copy of Mass Effect 2 with a working serial number for about $10, and an XB1 controller to use on my PC. 

     I mentioned to my mom about how stand-offish I realized everyone is now-a-days.  Especially younger people close to my age.  I walked in the CD/LP section, and this guy had earbuds in.  I mean I get wanted to be alone or whatever, but I hate how no one talks to anybody anymore.  I say this as someone with social anxiety because I'm realizing that it's a societal issue.  If no one communicates with anyone how will people be able to find common ground?  It's just something that's been bugging me lately.  That's why I mentioned it.  I've also heard people who come to Texas for the first time mention how "nice" everyone is here.  I don't see it myself, but maybe where they're from people are worse?  Honestly I think that's horrible, and people need to be more open to each other.

That aside I had a good shopping trip with my mom, and it was an overall peaceful day.  

On a side note I think I have a crush on this guy at work.  He just started working there about a few weeks ago.  He's really nice, and he smiled at me once.  That's what started it really...lmao.  He's really cute, and he doesn't seem jaded, and angry like most of the other people at my job.  He's got a whole different vibe about him, and I think it's great.  Hopefully I'll be able to work up the nerve to talk to him. :/

Right now I'm testing the desktop computer in our living room to see if I could get it to run Mass Effect 2 on it.  I was able to get it to run on my labtop, but it had some issues so I figured it would be better to test it on the other computer since it has a better graphics card installed. We'll see how it goes since I'm installing it as we speak.   It seems that I couldn't get the game to run probably on our other computer, and doing a few quick searches I found out that a lot of people were having trouble running that game.  Either way I'm taking it back, and getting a refund.  

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