Thoughts On The Differences Between A Friend & A Follower

Why I Asked + What You Answered

A FEW WEEKS AGO I asked you to answer two poll questions.  I did this because a friend in real life who is a social media virgin asked me these questions.  She was curious about the terminology bloggers use when talking about blogging and I had no definitive answers for her.

The clear winner to the question “Blogs Are Found In…” was The Blogosphere.  78% preferred that term, with another 10% opting for Blogland which I think is a charming word.

The answers to the question “People Who Read Your Blog Are…” showed an interesting bell curve of preferred terms.  40% preferred the term Readers, while 23% chose Friends and 21% chose Followers.

I often refer to y’all as my gentle readers, so the top answer based on literal thinking makes sense to me, but that’s not where I see the story here.

Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Friend?

WHAT SURPRISED ME WAS THE relatively even distribution between the second and third answers, Friends and Followers.  Both are great terms but to my way of thinking these terms presuppose two different types of relationships that create different expectations about how someone will behave.

And as we all know, when expectations are not met disappointment ensues.

Friends implies connections based on equal power that are made on an even playing field.  I take an interest in you, I support you– and you do the same things for me.  When it comes to blogging this means I read + comment on your blog while you read + comment on my blog.

In a word, reciprocity. [Kindness?]

Followers, on the other hand, is a term that implies there is a leader with more power, who proceeds ahead while the less dominate people come after him or her.  This is not an even playing field from the git-go.

In blogging terms this means that as the leader I may or may not take the time to read + comment on what my followers write in their blogs.  By virtue of the way in which I envision our relationship, I’ll think I have no obligation to comment on other people’s blogs because I’m in charge here.

In a word, purpose. [Control?]

And Here Is Where The Misunderstandings Begin

TO WIT, IF I THINK you’re my Friend who will take an equal interest in me as I have taken in you, but you view me as a Follower who doesn’t necessarily deserve your time and attention, then we have a situation wherein feelings get hurt, confusion begins.

I’m expecting you, my friend, to care about what I write.  You’re baffled about why you would take any interest in me, your follower.  There is ambivalence, there is tension, there is cognitive dissonance.  No one is happy.

I’ve no marvelous insights into why certain bloggers prefer the terms that they do for the people who pay attention to them;  I just see how bloggers do what they do.

In fact, I’m only writing about this today because I found it interesting that I discerned this subtle yet significant divide in attitudes about blogging as a result of your answers to two simple questions I never thought to ask before.

Remarks, regrets, reconsiderations, anyone?  The comment section is yours.

In Which I Listen Attentively Then Say “I Believe You” Because I Do

A pretty rose seen in a city park. Is it orangish yellow OR yellowish orange? You decide. I’ll believe you.

Who am I to stop a friend or acquaintance when they’re on a good rant?  

I MEAN, I may or may not agree with them but there are times when letting people vent is the best conversational gambit I know of.

And let me assure you that people in my life are getting quite rant-y.  Blame it on the hot weather or the current deluge of Trumpian noise or the alignment of the planets, but the peoples have things they want to say.

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FOR EXAMPLE, one woman, a Boomer, spent a good 5 minutes monologuing about how all Millennials are lazy and useless and entitled and __________ [fill-in the blank]. I think she stopped because she’d run out of breath, not complaints.

Considering she has a child who is a Millennial I thought her rant was a bit odd, but maybe it was her passive-aggressive way of dealing with her frustration about her progeny’s choices.  

Beats me.

All I could think to say was “I believe you” because I do believe that from her point of view what she said is truthful to her.

I’m perceptive and empathetic, don’t you know?

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SOON THEREAFTER, one man, a Millennial, started into his monologue about how much debt he and his friends have and how Boomers never had any debt and that his suffering is the worst darned financial suffering that ever has been. Without any doubt.

Considering he lived at home rent-free [with a Boomer parent] while he was in college I thought his rant was a bit odd, but maybe it was his passive-aggressive way of dealing with his frustration about his job now that he wants to leave the nest.  

Beats me.

Again all I could think to say was “I believe you” because I do believe that based on his life experiences what he said is truthful to him.

I’m tuned-in to the people around me, don’t you know?

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SO WITH the foregoing experiences fresh in my mind, and with the summer temps predicted to be in the 90s with humidity to match, I’ll end this post by suggesting that if you have a rant you’d like to express, I’m here to hear it.

I suspect I’ll be inside most of the weekend and from what I can tell my ability to listen is what the world needs right now.

Lay it on me. What’s been grinding your gears lately? What’s your sorry not sorry? I’m listening.

The HOA Is Asking Us To Decide Something Morally Murky

Seeing clearly? Antique lenses used by eye doctor to determine the prescription for your spectacles.

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When I saw the lawyer’s return address on the letter in our mailbox I knew something was up with the Home Owners Association [HOA].

I opened the envelope and began to read the letter + the attachments, written in legalese, describing what the HOA wants us, the homeowners, to decide about changing our by-laws.

I like our HOA.  The people on it do a good job of informing us in a timely manner about break-ins and coyotes and streets under repair and pool closures. Things like that, plus they do a great job of keeping the entrances looking spiffy.

They earn their keep;  however I find this proposed addition to the by-laws to be a dicey issue.

We are being asked as a group to decide if a registered sex offender [in any state] can buy or rent a house in this large subdivision.

I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong answer to this proposed addition to the by-laws because while it may be legal, this is a morally murky area.

I mean, if someone has done their time for their crime do we have the right to not let him or her live here? Or is this a high-handed way to snoop inside the lives of other people?

And further, what about domestic violence perpetrators with a police record? Or drunk drivers with multiple arrests?  Do we refuse to allow them to live here?  They worry me as much as, if not more than, registered sex offenders.

Like I said, no clear answer here– but a great topic of conversation. What say you to this? Comments are open below.

Unexpected Rudeness: She Tried To Yuck On My Yum

A short story from real life. Mine.

Wherein, while at lunch, an aquaintance, who I shall call Grumbly Gertrude, was rude to me for no discernible reason.

I don’t know why what I do makes Grumbly Gertrude unhappy, but it does.  I barely know the woman however I’m guessing I bring out her inner demons.

As they say.

Anyhoo here’s what happened: at lunch with many people sitting around a table Sam the Sincere asked me politely about how my blog was going.  I answered in a few sentences saying, in essence, it was going well.

Sam the Sincere turned to Grumbly Gertrude and asked her politely if she had a blog?

Sam the Sincere, for some reason, was under the impression that because Grumbly Gertrude and I were English majors in college at about the same time, that it’d follow that we both wrote personal blogs.

He was being a kind guy keeping the conversation going, you know?

Welp, Grumbly Gertrude seemed annoyed with Sam the Sincere’s question, choosing to glare at me while she answered the question by saying that she did not have time to have a blog because SHE. HAD. THINGS. TO. DO.

Unequivocalness? She had it. Politeness? Not so much.  A blog? No way.

Of course everyone at the table started looking at me, waiting to see what I’d say back to Grumbly Gertrude and her odd passive-aggressive response to Sam the Sincere’s innocent chit-chat question.

And do you, my gentle readers, know what I did? You’d be so proud of me.

I smiled. Like Mona Lisa.

A smile inscrutable in its meaning, polite, but hiding my real thoughts about what the heck is wrong with Grumbly Gertrude and her snarly answer.

And about how a delightful blog post story had just been handed to me while I did the things I had to do– in addition to writing my blog.  🙄

Thoughts About How I Comment On Personal Blogs Today

GOING THROUGH OLD FILES I found the following that I wrote as my response to something that must have happened, but I don’t know exactly what the catalyst was for this. Nor do I know why I didn’t publish this at the time.

Perhaps I thought sharing the following was too personal? Or too snarky? Or too dull?

I suspect that the issue that prompted this thinking was the infernal eternal blogging conundrum best summarized in a question: what do you do about people who are happy to take your comments, but will not give any, or very few, back to you?

What I wrote back then holds true for me today, so I’ll toss it out here and let you, my gentle readers, make of it what you will.

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Here’s my take on the issue: while in the early days of blogging quid pro quo reciprocity was the way everyone did things, I no longer abide by that standard.

I do, however, hang onto the idea that I have bloggy friends, not merely followers or fans.

Today I follow a variety of bloggy friends who interest me, and short of them turning out to be blatant narcissists or psychopaths, I leave comments willy-nilly around the blogosphere.

I like when I receive attention back but it’s not a make or break thing with me.  I figure how I treat other people is my good karma, and how they treat me back is their good, or bad, karma. ❤️🌻☮️

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AND ON THAT NOTE I’LL end this post by sharing with you one of the underlying premises of this blog.  It’s a premise based on the idea that everyone likes to be noticed, understood, and appreciated.

This is something I believe and you might believe it, too. It is a premise that I keep in mind every time I write a post or comment anywhere.

Maya Angelou said it best when she said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Is this not true?  Please comment below.

Mercury Is In Retrograde & My Subconscious Is On The Blinketh, Me Thinketh

I’VE BEEN KNOWN TO SAY: trust the process.  I don’t know that I do that all the time because my ego gets in the way, but when I chill out and reflect upon situations it seems like a worthy goal– if you’re trying to live your life in a heart-centered way.

Thus I give you the following series of events, hoping that there is something good + insightful to be gleaned from this.  I mean, there’s nothing bad or tragic with the following, it’s just weird– even by my standards of self-awareness.

Which are low during this time when Mercury is in retrograde.

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PERHAPS YOU KNOW ABOUT THE idea of posing a question to yourself as you fall asleep at night, allowing your subconscious to give you the answer, revealed in your first thoughts in the morning?

I learned about doing this from a yoga teacher, a woman who was one of those totally centered, but not unrealistically cheerful, instructors who was all about helping other people find their way IF the other person was sincere.

I liked her classes. Useful.

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HERE’S THE QUESTION I ASKED myself last night was: what could I write about on my blog this week?  And my subconscious tossed a question back at me that is about as random and unexpected as they get.

It’s a question for which I have no answer, nor need to know an answer.  And I realize that no one is alive that would be able to answer it.

Here’s what I woke up thinking about: did my mother, who was three years younger than her older sister, know that when her older sister stepped on the train headed for a holiday in Texas, that her older sister was going off to elope? 

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THIS IS AN ODD QUESTION that has left me baffled about what is going on inside my brain.  I mean, what do you suppose my subconscious is trying to tell me?

Is it saying that I need to go on a vacation? That it’s time for me to tell stories about my ancestors? That it’s broken and needs a professional tune-up?

I dunno, but I will say I’m a little bit freaked out about what the heck is going on inside my mind.  I’ll admit to being older and more addled than I once was, but I’m usually not so far out there with the answers to my questions.

However, be that as it may, let’s blame it on Mercury in retrograde, just like I did many years ago.

The One About Beautiful Wedding Photos & Sneaky Weasel Words

Here’s a story I heard from an acquaintance wherein weasel* words created a situation that is not dire, but truly annoying. See if you don’t agree.
Photo by Pexels via pixabay

Acquaintance’s mother recently married.

Acquaintance’s mother had a lovely, perfect wedding that included hiring a well-known local professional photographer to take photos.

Beautiful photos.  Many of them.

But here’s the thing, what acquaintance’s mother did not read [or understand?] in her contract was that this photographer would not use his expertise to discern which photos were the best ones, instead giving acquaintance’s mother the opportunity to see all the photos he took of the wedding.

In practical terms this means that acquaintance’s mother has a problem.

She is now forced to sort through 3,000 photos and decide which ones she wants to keep and have put in an album.  In many cases there are 20 or 30 photos of the same thing like a bouquet… or of acquaintance zipping up her mother’s dress… or of the cake from a gazillion angles.

As you can imagine this sorting process has become a tedious burden for acquaintance’s mother.  It’s overwhelming and is an unwanted game for acquaintance’s mother as she tries to figure out which photos are the best ones.

Acquaintance’s mother is flummoxed by this situation.

It’s not as if she has the time, or the eye, to fuss around with three thousand wedding photos that she’s has contracted for, assuming the photographer would narrow down her choices.

Acquaintance has offered to help her mother, but she can’t intuit which photos her mother and new stepfather will want, nor can she wrap her head around how this happened.

Can you imagine…?  What would you do with 3,000 photos of your wedding day?  

* Oddly enough this has turned into animal week here at The Spectacled Bean.  First ducks, then squirrel, now weasel.  I didn’t plan it this way but go where the road stories take you, I guess.