Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Relationships are Hard

This was spurred on by the comment discussion from Saturday's post. It made me think about communication in general and what we say and what we don't and why. For some, commenting on anything parenting-related is a major faux pas and immediately offensive. For others, not so much- they're glad for suggestions or input. And I think everyone falls into those categories at different times.

In general, I like people being upfront with me. But I know there are cultures and people who don't like that. I see it when we have people over for dinner: there are some people who have dinner and then chat for hours because it would be rude to leave too quickly. Then there are people who have dinner, and then feel like they are being rude by taking up our time and so they leave. I'm one of those people who ends up turning a 30 minute visit into a 3 hour day trip and I know that this irks some people and I actually really appreciate it when someone tells me I've overstayed. I really don't want to put them out, but I also really like talking and connecting with people. I also don't want someone to feel put out but then feel like it's rude to ask me to leave. In the end, they might not tell me and spend time later begrudging me and my over-talking. I don't want to be the source of negativity in someone's life. I really don't.

But navigating those waters is hard. To be honest, there are times when I'd rather not know that someone thinks I'm out of line. Want to tell me I'm causing psychological problems by nursing my children beyond what's culturally the norm? Yeah, I don't want to hear that. But do I appreciate it when someone comes to me and directly talks about something that I've done that is bothering them? Yes. I do. I'd rather that than find out someone had stewed on it or even talked about it with other people. Please just tell me.

Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself. (I am large, I contain multitudes.)

Relationships are hard.

You know how when you go back to your parents' house you start falling back into the same parent/child relationship you grew up with even though you're an adult? That's how all relationships work. I could spend the next 7 years in meditation and reach Nirvana or be translated or whatever, but then when I run into a person that I haven't seen in 10 years? The relationship seems to go back 10 years.  Because it does. I hadn't seen that person in a decade and so the relationship hasn't gone anywhere. Relationships take work and it hadn't been worked on in 10 years. They take being vulnerable and saying something completely offensive and hoping that the other person will be willing to work it out with you later. And sometimes it takes accepting that the other person doesn't want to work it out and you just have to let that relationship go. And that sucks sometimes. Other times it's really freeing.

Sometimes life feels like I'm running around and bumping into other people at random. And then I'm constantly cleaning up all the spills from the bumps.

So I guess what I'm saying is this: thanks for the comments. I learn a lot from them. Because I'm human, I'm probably going to be offensive in the future, but I hope that in the end, I get a hang of this communication and relationship thing. The Internet has taught me a lot. Now to go work on some relationships!

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