Who’s Zooming Who: When Being Polite Doesn’t Work In Your Favor

What is it with people lately?

You’re with a group of people and one woman, Queen Bee, starts to talk about her moral dilemma “blah blah blah” problem.  She wants everyone in the group to tell her what to do, that’s how distraught she claims to be.

You remain politely reserved saying nothing, thinking to yourself this isn’t a problem you crowdsource for a solution, while everyone else [oh. my. to. the. goodness. gracious.] tells Queen Bee what is wrong with her. And what she should do. And how she should do it.

Eventually all eyes fall on you so you go all Glinda the Good Witch.  You say something like you don’t need any help because you’ve always had the power within you to solve this problem.  Just put on your magic slippers, click your heels together, Dorothy Queen Bee, and you’ll find your way home solution.

Well a short time later you run into Queen Bee who tells you that she has no intention of following any of the advice from the group.  In fact she says that she only talked about her moral dilemma “blah blah blah” problem because she was testing everyone to see who was on her side.

Oh dear.

In a nanosecond you realize that Queen Bee now considers you a supportive friend.  You find yourself wondering how it is that being polite got you into this situation?  And how in the future you’ll be politely distancing yourself from Queen Bee?

Your new deceitful [I. don’t. think. so.] friend.

The Downside To Being Tidy: An Honest Mistake

In the photo above you’ll see what remains of a formerly square clear plastic drawer divider after it has been run through the electric dishwasher on the top rack.

I got it in my head to wash said formerly square clear plastic drawer divider because I was in the process of being tidy.  I was cleaning out the junk drawer in the kitchen and the divider was dirty.

I tossed the drawer divider into the dishwasher without a second thought.  It never dawned on me to find out if it was dishwasher safe.

It is not. Case in point.

Still, when I pulled the formerly square clear plastic drawer divider out of the dishwasher, I didn’t swear or berate myself for my mistake. Nope, no negative self-talk here.

Instead, channeling my late mellow mother, a history teacher with a quiet sense of humor, I said with a hat tip to President Harry Truman, this just goes to prove that:

“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the dishwasher.”

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QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Have you ever melted anything in the dishwasher?

What’s the last thing your good intentions accidentally destroyed?

Do you have a junk drawer?

~ ~ 🔹 ~ ~

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.

• 🔶 •

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?

• 🔶 •

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?

• 🔶 •

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.

• • •

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.

+ • +

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. ❤️🌻☮️

+ • +

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.