What To Do When The Gift Of Your Attention Is Thrown Away

[Subtitled: When Expectations & Reality Do Not Align In Interpersonal Communication Exchanges]

[Sub-subtitled: People Suck, Don’t Take It Personally]

A CONVERSATION WITH a genuinely nice friend who is snitified about, of all things, Christmas cards.  Sending of said. Receipt of said. Subsequent action taken [or not taken] as result of receipt of said.

The conversation covered the following points:

  1. sending a card is optional;
  2. sending a card is giving the recipient the gift of your attention;
  3. sending a card does not obligate the recipient to send one back to you, but it’s delightful if they do;
  4. discovering that recipient has sent cards to other people, but not you, is your cue to ______ ?

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-1-37-41-pmWHILE THE SPECIFICS of this conversation were about Christmas cards, as we talked I realized that this gift of attention scenario plays out in other areas of our lives.

For instance, what do you make of someone, a friend &/or family member, who you send friendly texts to, but they never include you in the texting and photo sharing that they do with everyone else in your group?

Or to put it in blogging terms, how do you deal with someone who allows your comments to show up on their blog, then never bothers to respond to you, while publicly talking with all the other commenters on their blog?

To be fair, I truly don’t know if these people who throw away the gift of your attention are even aware that they are doing so.  They could be clueless.  They could be crazy.  Who know?

screen-shot-2017-02-02-at-1-38-27-pmBUT THE THING is, people like my friend notice this sneaky ungrateful behavior, and it hurts them.

She’s a person who sincerely believes that you need to model the behavior you want to see in others, so that they may learn from your example.  This means that for her, when someone ignores her, she is flummoxed about how to react.

That is, in this specific case, should she continue to send the card because she is remaining true to her values by showing the recipient the way to live?

Or should she acknowledge that the recipient doesn’t care about their relationship, as shown by the recipient’s behavior– and give up on this person altogether?

I know what my answer is, but for some people this is a difficult decision to make.

Published by

Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Midwestern by chance. Kindhearted most days.

84 thoughts on “What To Do When The Gift Of Your Attention Is Thrown Away”

        1. nancy, thanks for the links. You and are on the same page. I’m clear about why I do what I do, but I think that this friend, who truly is a nice person, is confused about what to expect regarding her impact on the world. I felt sorry for her because she was more upset about this than I could initially fathom. But then I got thinking about how the gift of attention is thrown away all the time, and how all of us can, in certain situations, find ourselves confused with hurt feelings.

          Liked by 2 people

  1. I’d tell her to do what makes her feel better. It’s a question of balance honestly, does the positive feeling of giving attention override the negative feeling of not receiving that attention back?

    I make decisions to do, or not do, certain things in my life. If someone near me has a problem, and they don’t tell me, then I don’t spend precious time thinking about it. Doing something for or giving attention to someone expecting a return is guaranteed to fail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrew, I agree with all that you’ve said here. Balance is key, as is doing what makes you feel good in the situation. For me, listening to this story, I keep returning to the issue of expectations– and her desire to do the right thing assuming people were noticing that she was doing the right thing. Therein, it seemed to me, was the crux of the problem.

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  2. We have a former neighbor who moved to NYC years ago and still sends a card each Christmas even though I stopped sending anything (okay I never really sent cards much anyway) almost straight away. For some time we were FB friends as well, but then I got tired of FB and deleted my account. It really was more about drifting apart, due to distance I think, than a need to clearly snub them on my part I think.
    If she is bothered enough to wonder about the receiving person and their views on the relationship (or not) then perhaps it’s time to cross them off the list??

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Deb, I think like you do. Your example of how people drift away makes sense to me. People come and go in your life, and that’s ok.

      It was the shock of finding out that she wasn’t included, while everyone else was, that made this friend unhappy. That feeling of being left out, especially when you leitmotif is to inspire others with your good behavior, had her in the dumps & questioning how this could be. I had a few cynical thoughts on the subject, but they didn’t exactly jive with this friend’s world view. 😉

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      1. Clearly left out of the group…I think that’s an obvious message for sure, but I can understand the hurt feelings and the questions as to why but unless you’re prepared for the true answer, maybe best just to let it all go…

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        1. Deb, you’re onto something there. This friend is very much defined by how other people view her. I realize it was difficult for her to fathom being left out, but it happens. Snit, snarl, and move on would be my advice, but she’s not quite there yet.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I tend to fall into the, “Do what feels right for you” camp. It is nice when attention is reciprocated, but it isn’t a business deal. Give your gifts where you choose and understand that a true gift does not impose a debt. And, if somebody really isn’t interested, its them, not you – move on.

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    1. bobcabkings, I agree wholeheartedly with what you said. I do what I do because I want to do it, never expecting a thing in return, pleased as punch if I get something in return. However, this woman is a generous soul with high expectations who was astonished to learn that she’d been excluded. I felt bad for her, especially because it was my comment that clued her into who’d left her out, so I was the messenger. By accident.

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  4. I like what Andrew says: Do what brings you Joy. I stopped sending Christmas Cards because I hated it. (Truthfully, I dislike anything which smacks of Obligation, because it is too much like something/someone Bossing Me Around.) After a while, the cards from others dried up, which was fine, but it proved to me that Christmas Cards are nothing but a big reciprocity thing. I was glad I gave it up. No Joy!

    Plus–all that paper = bad for our environment. (And I always sent recycled paper cards, but still. There it is.)

    And I like what bobcabkings said, too. True gifts do not impose debt. They also should not be a Social Graces Lesson. I finally had to drift away from what I thought was a friendship of 20+ years. Took me that long to realize that *I* was the friend/therapist. She, for all those years, simply had been a Taker. (Yeah, slow learner here.) I kept thinking I was Being The Bigger Person. Bigger…something.

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    1. nance, I agree that Andrew and bobcabkings are talking my kind of sense. I never view gift-giving as any kind of reciprocal thing, but lots of people do, you know? I wonder, now that you mention it, if this friend, beyond believing she is modeling good behavior, also believes she is being the bigger person by sending cards. That’d explain her reluctance to let go of people and behaviors that don’t bring her joy. I dunno. I don’t have this kind of problem.

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  5. Ok, I get your friend. I’m not sensitive but in the last few years have become sensitive to social friends who expect me to do all the planning work — dinner out, progressive dinners, parties. We have a couple friend we sincerely enjoy. We used to do dinner once a month and occasionally have them over. In 13 years they had us over once. She doesn’t like to entertain. Ok, I get that. Not a problem but I get annoyed when she’s says “We have to get together for dinner. Call me.” What the freak is wrong with her calling me? Then she says I should come up with a restaurant selection but she never likes it. Late last summer I decided to not do any planning to see how long it would take her to call me. It’s 5 months and counting. BTW she lives across the street so it’s not a distance thing. The crux is that I don’t feel valued because I know they have dinner with other friends. I wonder if she makes all the rest do the planning too. One of these days I will get over my snit and call her….maybe. It is balance. I don’t mind doing the majority of the planning but once in a while….

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    1. kate, I get your frustration about being the one who organizes things, but that’s a ridiculous situation to be in. You’re wise to let things roll on, waiting to see if there’a a [any?] reaction from this woman. I’d say your neighbor is a user and once she realizes you won’t be used anymore the relationship will cease to be. Not being valued, it seems to me, is the downfall of most relationships. It certainly plays out often enough in social media to make me wonder if we all need a refresher course entitled: Friendship 101!

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  6. Yup. “Expectations” is the key here. Send the card, by all means, if it meets your personal value system. However, having expectations that the recipient will model the behaviour and send one back? That’s the fault in her thinking.

    Actually, this post was very helpful to me – I haven’t sent cards for decades, yet there are two or three people in my circle (apart from my dentist and the car dealership) that send me cards every year, and even follow me when I move. Every time I get one of these cards, I feel a pang of guilt. But understanding that this is just them doing what they want to do to celebrate the season, then, great! I can live with that, no problem!

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    1. Maggie, you’ve nailed the fault in her thinking. So did I, but I let her talk hoping she’d come to see the light. I was the one who innocently mentioned that I’d received a Christmas card from a mutual friend– and that’s when she realized that she’d been excluded. Hurt feelings + much muttering ensued.

      I like to send Christmas cards, so as a representative of the friends who send you a card each year, just go with it. I’m sending cards because it makes me feel a bit more connected to the meaning of the season, but I have no expectation of anything in return. Christmas cards just make me happy.

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  7. Hmm. I relate to this in the strangest ways.
    There are people who comment on my blog and I never approve their comments because their own blogs are… the antitheses of mine… and I don’t want to participate or invite that in. Also, plenty of trolls.
    Then, about the actual Christmas cards, well, when I send out holiday cards, or really, any cards, my hope is that for a brief moment, someone is surprised and pleased and feels a bit of cheer. This last year, I had supply and stamp issues and I didn’t want to buy more, so I made a list, not so much nice vs naughty, but more, who needs this bit of cheer? who are my elders? who’s been there for me? who will receive a visit or a gift instead? I like receiving cards, but lots of people don’t send them. If I’m not a priority on their list? No matter. To me, that’s not what cards are about.
    I don’t need a lot of tit for tat. Some people feel it’s very important that all things be reciprocated and I suppose they have their reasons.
    Like when I first met Beauty Queen and she didn’t want me to pay her to babysit, I simply asked her, “Is that because you don’t feel your time is worth money, or because you’d rather trade favors?” Maybe for my friendships, honesty is the obligatory expectation?
    I can tell you that I am, without a doubt, the taken for granted friend among most of my friends. I have been there so long, I am so reliable, I am so independent, I can be avoided or ignored much longer than other friends, and at times, I wilt inside because I am not the ‘it’ friend of the moment. This wilting is brief, for I, too, have other friends who are closer, who I see more often, who I do different things with.
    At the end of the day, if I felt a Christmas card was the end-all be-all hallmark of friendship, I think I’d be utterly sad.

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    1. joey, I understand your rationale behind how you interact with commenters on your blog. I go entirely with my gut when it comes to who I’ll allow here and where I’ll leave a comment. I’ve seen people ignore my comment, then go on to chat with other commenters. I feel that is bad manners, and more of a negative reflection on the blogger than on my comment, so I deal with the teeny tiny minor hurt feelings it causes me.

      I’m not a tit for tat person, either. I send cards because I hope, like you said, they bring “a bit of cheer” to someone. I like the idea that someone would want to send that feeling back to me, but it doesn’t happen often. Good thing I’m self-cheered! 😉

      I hear what you’re saying about being the reliable friend. So much so that I’m forgotten… until there’s a big problem then it’s always talk with Ally, she’ll know what to do. There’s something about having always been an old soul that makes people think of me when things go wrong. [Or maybe it’s because I’ve screwed up so many things that they figure they’ll look better compared to me.]

      I think this Christmas card situation was just the tip of the iceberg with this friend. She’s a nice woman, but not too self-aware. Yet.

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  8. The gift of attention and generosity can’t be marked by expectation or else it is something else entirely. I only comment if I think I might have something to add to a conversation and if I have the time to think about it. I imagine it’s the same for a lot of other people. Benefit of the doubt is another gift.

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    1. Michelle, that’s a great point. Perhaps this woman is not giving the gift of attention, but instead the gift of “look at me I’m wonderful to be paying attention to you.” I dunno exactly what to call the gift, but I do know that this friend was upset/irritated when she found out how she’d been left out.

      It was one of those conversation that came at me out of the blue, and left me wondering how many other people nurse hurt feelings over cards and texts and blog comments. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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  9. Ugh, what an uncomfortable situation to be in. I sympathize with your friend! I had a friend who moved away, but I would, at minimum, call every year on her birthday no matter where she was geographically. She returned the favor for a few years, but then stopped while I knew full well she continued to keep up with our other friends. I know how hard it is to stay in touch when separated by life and distance, but I also remember how hurt I felt when I realized I’d been deemed the one worth leaving. It was a hurt I held on to far longer than I should have, but eventually, I realized that her decision gave me time to spend more attention on the people who still wanted me in their life.

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    1. Allie P, this is a wonderful way to understand the experience of being left out. Sorry that you were, but you’re right that you do end up with more time to focus on people who care about you.

      I’ve found myself in similar situations over the years, left out while others were still included. At first I was upset. But now I figure it’s all about karma, so I do what’s good for me and if the other person doesn’t want to reciprocate that’s their karma. However, I don’t sense that my friend is quite to the point of thinking this way.

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  10. I think this is a personality thing. All friendships are different. I’ve always had trouble with friendship reciprocity. There are friends I can never repay for helping me, so I can repay it by helping someone else. If someone invites me for dinner, my job is not to invite them back. There should be no duty there. Mind you, I’ll want to text and tell them how much I loved the fun we had or ask for the recipe or something. Because I like them, and I want them to know it.

    I don’t like getting a thank you card from a friend after they’ve come over for dinner. It takes it to a duty-bound level. We have phones and texting. Did we make the dinner arrangements with an invitation by mail? I certainly don’t.

    I think how you click as friends has a lot to do with this. Some friends take an advisor role, and I don’t always want to be advised. Some friends treat their visits/calls like they are checking off a list. That’s what they need to do, and I try to help them accomplish their needs. But I do not have that need.

    I’m a personality that looks for authenticity rather than dutiful response. Those friendships where the reciprocity naturally flows are special and something I don’t continue to expect. I just enjoy it in the moment.

    And, yeah, I have friends that don’t understand me. “I feel like we are so close when we get together, but then we go for weeks without talking.” They mean I go for weeks because I don’t reach out like they do. When we get back together, I pick it up where we left off. In my mind, we are still in the same place, same closeness as before.

    The blog response comment! I think I did that recently. I can’t always think of a response that isn’t canned. Or I write a response and forget to post it. So I think I responded, but I didn’t. Tee hee.

    Anyway, this is a huge comment. You’ve opened up a topic that resonates, obviously. Nice work! And thanks for letting us throw in our thoughts.

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    1. Rilla Z, I agree about how different personalities make for different friendships. The energy is in the mix, and as such not everyone responds the same way to the same stimuli. In this case, a Christmas card. I’ve never felt any need for strict reciprocity, nor a formal thank you note. But you’re right some people have to do those things in order to feel in balance.

      I often go for long stretches without talking or texting with friends. I find that authentic people don’t find that odd at all, while more shallow folks get perturbed. Again whatever floats your boat.

      I’ve been blogging a long time so I’ve experienced all sorts of odd comments and behaviors surrounding comments. I’ve come to adhere to a policy wherein I’ll leave the gift of my attention in the form of a comment, then another one– but if you don’t respond back to either one of my comments then I walk away from your blog. Life is short, and other blogs are just around the corner. 😉

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      1. Sounds like a policy based on experience. I think I can see where you are coming from: you are there for the conversation and there’s not one forthcoming. Thanks for the insight.

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  11. I always answer comments on my blog by email because some people don’t know me as well, so I can’t elaborate on any unbloggable details of what I’ve posted. You are one of the ones who has known me the longest and best, so I probably overshare with you! LOL After Patt died in December 2012, I didn’t send out any Xmas cards which was my thing(I sent them out to lots of people, and many didn’t reciprocate, which was fine). That year, some people still sent cards to me, and the next year when I switched over to New Year cards, I sent to those people only. It may be unfair, but life is too short to waste on those who don’t give us any attention or consideration.

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    1. Margaret, I get what you’re saying. I used to answer blog comments via email, but as my following grew it got too complicated to do that.

      Now when it comes to blog comments, I answer in the comment section here and I make a point to respond to everyone who gives me the gift of a comment.

      But some bloggers will just ignore your comment, as if you don’t exist. I figure life’s too short to fuss about such things, so I’ll give them what they want– and not comment/exist for them anymore. 😉

      You started sending New Years cards? I’ve been thinking I might do that too instead of Christmas cards. I like the idea of getting in touch after all the holiday craziness has died down. I enjoy getting a New Years card or letter when I can enjoy it at my leisure.

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      1. I like the way you comment back on your blog. I tend to post a bit more personal stuff, and my following is small, thus easier to respond back with email. I really like sending NY cards. I also get good photos of the girls and me to use on the cards and can give a better retrospective of the year. 🙂

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        1. Margaret, that’s exactly why I like getting the few New Years cards that we do. They always have a holiday photo, taken days before– so I feel up-to-date with the sender.

          If I wrote a more personal blog I’d go back to emailing my comments. But this one is personal, but in a more generic way. [That makes sense?]

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  12. I’ve read all the comments here but didn’t find one (hope I didn’t miss it) who suggested that perhaps this friend’s card got “lost in the mail?” It happens you know, even if a bunch of cards get sent at the same time. Perhaps that card fell between the seats of the car on the way to the post office? Perhaps it was delivered to the wrong address and the unintended receiver was not a nice person and just threw it away? At any rate, one missed Christmas card would not get me in a tizzy. Let’s see what happens next year. As far as blog comments, I just found one from a few days ago that had accidentally gone into my “to be approved” folder. I rarely get comments so I don’t check as often as I should. I did respond but it was late. Perhaps the card will make it to her in July? 🙂

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    1. Janet, that is a brilliant observation! I never thought of that! I’m not sure why this un-Christmas card upset my friend, but I was the one who accidentally brought the lapse to her attention. I hope that you’re right and next year a card arrives so that friend doesn’t feel so hurt about all of this. [Which in no way would get me in a tizzy, either.]

      As for lost blog comments I’ve had my experiences with them, too. Comments fall through the cracks, but if a comment appears on my blog I answer it. I don’t leave anyone hanging out there, as if they don’t exist. If you have a public blog that’s just weird behavior, imho.

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      1. As for my own personal Christmas cards, sometimes I send them, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I send to everyone I can think of, sometimes just the people who send to us. I make my cards mostly so it really depends on how much time I have in any given year or if we have taken a really nice family photo that I want to share. I am sorry you were the one to have brought the lapse to her attention, but hey, another blog topic, right? Maybe you can send her two next year 🙂

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        1. Janet, I’m like you about who gets a Christmas card each year. I send to who I’m in the mood to send to. Made me giggle with the idea of me sending her 2 next year. 🙂

          I fell into this conversation, tried to be supportive throughout it, then got thinking on the bigger picture– texts, blog comments, whatever. When life gives you weirdness, write blog posts, eh?

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  13. Yeah, this is a tough one, mostly because what she’s really dealing with is hurt feelings. She cared enough to send a card and the gift of her attention – what a wonderful way of putting that, btw – and they didn’t feel the same towards her. In fact, what they’re doing is essentially “ghosting” her. Ghosting sucks all the time, but worst when it comes from someone we thought of as a friend. I send Christmas cards and have noticed in recent years hardly anyone does anymore, but I haven’t let myself get upset about the lack of response. I know who my friends are, card or no card.

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    1. bnzoot, you’re right, of course. This comes down to hurt feelings. Good point about how this is a form of ghosting. I hadn’t thought of that, but that’s exactly what’s happening.

      Honestly this whole conversation caught me off-guard. I was the one who mentioned receiving a Christmas card from a mutual friend, and then she volunteered that she hadn’t. Things went wonky from there.

      I like your last line: I know who my friends are, card or no card. Me too.

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  14. This makes me think of something my son said the other day – it’s an African proverb I gather – when you give the goat to someone, let go of the rope. I get your friend’s hurt; but that word ‘expectations’? If ever there was a word in the English language that sets us up for disappointment, expectations has got to be it. Great post Ally Bean thanks ..

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    1. Susan, I love that proverb. It’s exactly what was going on here with this friend. I understand what she expected and why she expected it, but reality doesn’t always work that way. And I felt like I’d started the whole downward spiral because I was the one who casually mentioned that I’d received a Christmas card from our mutual friend. Oh well, sometimes no matter what you say it isn’t the thing to say!

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  15. I will admit that I am like your friend. I take EVERYTHING personally. I wish I didn’t, but I do.

    Having said that, it’s not the one-off *slights* that matter to me … those can usually be discounted as lost/forgotten/too busy/bad day etc … but a repeated pattern of *disregard* will make me start to question a relationship.

    For me it boils down to – if a friend’s repeated behaviour indicates disinterest in the relationship, I will fade away quietly.

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    1. Joanne, I used to be more like my friend, taking things personally. But I’ve changed my perspective over the years. I agree completely with you about a friend’s pattern of behavior. One time is nothing, but many times is something.

      I’m like you in that if I see that I’m unwanted I’ll fade away. I’ll remember, but I won’t cause any trouble. Life’s too short for that kind of drama.

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    1. ParentingIsFunny, good question. I follow a few blogs where I leave comments and the blogger never responds, but these bloggers consistently don’t respond to anyone so I don’t feel singled out. Now as for your so-called blog… 😉

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  16. We used to send out mounds of Christmas cards: for business, for friends, for family. All the pressure. Somewhere back people all started throttling back due to finances – relatives got old with limited budgets ( and hard to get cards/stamps in nursing homes) people lost jobs, companies went out of business. People got depressed. People moved.
    The whole thing changed for us with email. Lots of people started sending those free Blue Mountain e-cards – such a novelty!. So easy, free, and easy to respond or chat with updates – even in assisted living centers.
    We send cards to family and a few friends. A few still send the expensive stuffy – you’d better send one back – cards and probably snark if we neglect them a year, but a Christmas card is a greeting not an obligation.
    I really like the New Years card idea – and sending that woman 2 cards next year (I did send elderly uncles multiple cards with short notes inside the last few times as they so enjoyed mail and got so little of it.
    I love reading all these comments. Comments are wonderful because it usually means the person actually read the post. So a response really is needed to show their words meant something to you…and to be polite…Grandmother always said to be polite.
    Politeness is disappearing, but I try in this small way HA HA

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    1. philmouse, I enjoy sending traditional Christmas cards, but I realize it’s a thing of the past. When my elderly relatives were alive I sent them greeting cards for all sorts of holidays. Just ‘cuz. But now, like you said, electronic cards seem to be the thing. Or those postcard Christmas photo dealios, which feature the family who sent it– not anyone or thing specific to the holiday itself.

      I enjoy receiving New Years cards, which seems to be a new development, and may send some of those to my contemporaries, while sending Christmas cards to the older, more traditional, people who I know. Why not do both, huh?

      I like comments, too. You make an excellent point that I’d not thought of: “Comments are wonderful because it usually means the person actually read the post.” I figure that commenting on blog posts is a great way to connect with people who you might otherwise never get to know. Of course, if the blogger never acknowledges that you’ve commented, then I suspect they’re not there for a sense of community. They’re there for their egos?

      Which is fine, but not my cup of tea… or post of blog! 😉

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  17. I think Nancy earlier in your comment thread is probably right about how we should respond when we give a lot of attention to someone and get nothing back. The truth is, though, I find it a little uncomfortable to be in the situation in blogging (and in life). My posts tend to be a little long and I know everyone on WordPress is busy, so I don’t realistically expect all commenters to be glued to my every word. On the other hand, if I very often write comments on someone’s blog and never even get a brief “Hello!” once in a while in return, I begin to wonder what’s wrong with me.

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    1. Bun, I agree that if someone never acknowledges that I’ve given him or her the gift of my attention with a blog comment, then I do, for a minute, wonder if I’ve done/said something wrong. It’s so easy to accidentally “misspeak” in the blogosphere when all we have is words, without the visual cues the go to further explain what we mean with our words. But I’ve come to realize that not everyone who keeps a blog is in it for connection via the comments, so I no longer take any brush-off personally. I just move on, but my friend with her Christmas card issue hasn’t quite gotten to that point yet.

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  18. In a perfect world, the gift of giving would be its own reward, and those who don’t give (or worse, re-gift), are just depriving themselves.

    But it’s not a perfect world, and sometimes, I don’t want to let go of the rope (I friggin love goats!)

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    1. Gabe, you said it! This isn’t a perfect world, and some of us stumble over that fact earlier than others. I love me some goats, too– so that saying is now on my list of favorite sayings ever. But you’re right, sometimes hanging onto the rope is so appealing.

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  19. Relationships are reciprocal, whether they be the sharing of Christmas cards or the viewing of blog posts. But I think much of the time, it comes down to people not having the time to do everything they’d like to. This is especially true of social media. There are only so many blog stops, Twitter lists, Facebook pages we can visit. So I try not to take it personally when it happens to me. (Though that’s easier said than done!)

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    1. Carrie, good point about the reciprocity issue within any relationship. I agree wholeheartedly with you that many good people are busy, and you must not take their lack of reciprocity personally. It’s difficult to do [thank you ego]– but necessary if we all are going to get along with each other. However, if I come to believe that someone is intentionally snubbing me, I walk away from the relationship entirely. They no longer get the gift of my attention, ‘cuz life is too short for such nonsense.

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  20. I doubt there’s anything I can add to this conversation with the 63rd comment, but I just wanted to make sure I said something so that it can be plainly seen by all that I do read your blog and interact with it, while only expecting your complete and total reciprocation of like readership and comments on my blog in return. And is that really too much to ask of anyone? Or will I have to find a casual acquaintance to vent to about how everyone seems to ignore me? Hello? Hello!?!?!?

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    1. evil, you win a gold star with this comment! I hereby acknowledge that you paid attention to what I wrote on this blog post and submitted an appropriately lengthy, heartfelt comment about my thoughts– and subsequent commenters’ thoughts about what I wrote here. To wit, I am not ignoring you and you need not find a casual acquaintance to share you displeasure about this blog– or not receiving a Christmas card. Oy vey.

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  21. I loved this post and read all the comments. I’m a sensitive soul and take lots of things too much to heart, like your friend I think. It depends what else is going on in life too. If it’s just one card from one friend, who cares, nothing to get upset about. If it’s lots of these experiences in different forms, then it’s hard. Someone said about reciprocity – yes! That’s how I go along. I hate being ignored, not meaning I have to be the centre of attention, far from it, but if I give attention, don’t always need it back there and then, but will need attention further down the line and I’m afraid if I think we’re friends, then I expect reciprocity. I had a friend who was a user, I just stopped arranging / calling / propping her up the second time she ignored me when I was in great life changing need (to be ignored once could be considered unfortunate, twice looks like carelessness – to paraphrase). Sorry, this is a bit rambling. It’s a conversation for a bar and a few bottles of wine 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Polly, you’re right about the bar and the wine. This is a subject so nuanced that I’m sure a conversation could go on all night!

      I agree with you that if the slight is a one time thing, then no big deal– it’s unfortunate. I have no idea if my friend had been slighted previously, so to find out about the Christmas card was too much for her? All I know is she was anticipating reciprocity, believing as she does that she is modeling the behavior she wants to see in the world, and when that didn’t happen she was upset.

      I understand how people can disappoint you, and I used to get much more upset about it than I do now. I think that reciprocity within any relationship is idiosyncratic to each relationship, so what works in one place doesn’t apply elsewhere. Plus I don’t have a need to teach people how to live through my example, so, unlike my friend, when someone throws away my gift of attention, I rarely take it personally.

      But I do notice and remember.

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  22. It seems that you’ve hit a nerve with your post! I have a friend who is wound pretty tight. She is very “proper” and expects the same from others. Obviously, she is often disappointed. I try to explain the not everyone views the world the way she does, but it does little good. I think, by being that way, she sets herself up for hurt feelings.

    On the flip-side, I too have expectations from my blogging interactions, so maybe I’m wound a bit tight also. When I make a comment, I expect a response within a day or two. If I don’t get one (unless it’s one of those blogs with a zillion followers) I consider stopping commenting. I don’t except a follow for a follow, but I’m thrilled if a blogger I like follows me too (and, better yet, is a frequent commenter). I love the conversation of posting, commenting, responding, etc. If someone just routinely “likes” my posts – or the comment I make on someone else’s post, without adding to the conversation themselves, I view them similarly to a friend who never makes an effort to move our friendship along.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Retirementallychallenged.com, I’m amazed by how much this subject resonated with readers. Never would have thought that.

      I like your use of the word “proper” when describing your friend. The friend who started me thinking about this whole issue is definitely sweet & “proper.” Therein, I believe, is part of the problem for her– she’s being all Emily Post in a Lady Gaga world!

      I understand your blogging expectations. I think that we all have some. I agree about the need for a timely response to a comment. If a blogger ignores my comments more than two times, I move on. I figure that everyone blogs for a combination of reasons, and if we don’t click on the need to respond to comments, then so be it. I might enjoy what you have to say, but if you don’t want to connect with me then I’m toast.

      At first this sort of let down hurt my feelings, but over the years I’ve gained perspective on blogging– or just grown too old to care anymore! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  23. This was a great comment thread, Ally. I’m a “I’ll send you a Xmas card just ’cause I want to person.” No obligation implied. On blog comments I tend to go with the dictionary definition-“a verbal or written remark expressing an opinion or reaction.” Therefore all comments do not need a reply, so, if someone doesn’t reply to a comment I’ve left on their blog I really do not feel slighted. I also know how life can get in the way of blogging (How dare it!) and I take that into consideration. Also, some posts I read (yours included) are so well stated that I don’t feel the need to add anything to it, so again, no comment.

    Other thoughts.

    I agree with nrhach, “Once we let go of the desire to control others by insisting that they meet our expectations, our lives become far more peaceful.”

    I wonder how many other cards your friend received. Are cards her way of assessing her worth? If so that’s a bit sad and I feel sorry for her but if her other friends received cards and she didn’t it sounds like the card got lost in the mail.

    “The gift of my attention” is one passive-aggressive phrase but I really like the word “snitified.” If it is not a Victorian word it should be, “The Duchess of Marlborough became snitified when word of the marriage of her son, the Viscount of Mayfield, to THAT WOMAN reached her.”

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  24. la p, I send Christmas cards because I want to. I understood my friend’s dismay but if it happened to me [when it happens to me] I just shrug it off. But she considers herself to be an example to others soooo until she lets up on that idea, I suspect finding out that she’s been ignored will continue to bug her.

    I don’t always comment on blog posts, either. Especially if I come upon the post days after it was written and everyone else has said all there is to say. However if I do make the effort to comment I expect to see some form of acknowledgement– nothing big or lengthy, but something. I figure that we’re having a conversation and that means a back and forth communication exchange.

    I agree about “snitify.” How the Victorians overlooked that word is beyond me!

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  25. I really like the way that you’ve addressed this issue – the gift of attention. I am several years behind in Christmas cards and months behind in comments on the blogs I read. I really appreciate those of my friends who have hung in there with me as they know what has been going on in my life, but I feel guilty that I have not given them my attention in return. I’m hoping that this will improve as things finally settle down a bit and I plan to surprise some folks with either Easter cards or maybe just really late Christmas cards. On the blog, I hate to feel that I am just out there talking to myself, but I’ve written so sporadically and commented so infrequently of late that I feel like I can’t really expect someone else’s attention. This, too, I hope will be improving.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Zazzy, I’ve wondered where you’ve been, but I knew that you had LOTS GOING ON IN YOUR LIFE. I imagine that your friends know that when you get the opportunity to connect again, they’ll be included. Sending Easter cards instead of Christmas ones makes me smile at the thought.

      I went to your blog a few weeks back, but the system said it was gone. I thought maybe you were moving it as you moved house. Your feelings about just talking to yourself when you post to your blog make sense to me. Without some comments, blogging isn’t blogging– it is just updating a website, imho.

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