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Brita
04-17-2017, 10:05 AM
I often turn to you guys for advice, partly because we are a diverse crowd, and conversely because we are somewhat kindred spirits. I struggle with this a lot, and I wonder if any of you can relate.

If I Hide Myself Wherever I go, Am I Ever Really There?

This is a lyric from the Barenaked Ladies song "For You". The greatest lyrics can sum up such complex issues into one succinct line.

So, like many people, I am a mixture of both extroverted and introverted tendencies. I enjoy being with people. I enjoy deep discussions or just a night of playing games and having a few drinks. I benefit from social interaction. And when at it's best, I feel energized.

On the other hand, I am very content to just be with myself. I do not need social contact to maintain a healthy state of mind. And if I was to be truly honest, I am happiest when I am left alone.

Now, here's the rub. I thrive off strong opinions. And I love to discuss them and be challenged on them (like most of you here). However, I simultaneously worry obsessively about offending people. And I have offended people. Lately (and for most of my life, really) getting together with friends generally means a pep talk to myself before hand to "Not say anything about anything". I look in the mirror and actually say to myself "Don't say anything about anything." What I mean is not that I don't participate in conversation, but that I keep all my comments benign and fluffy. I try to curb any provocative or challenging thought that might cross my mind in the name of peace and tranquility. And I am left feeling dismal.

I often end an evening with friends wondering what it is all for? Friendship, I mean. The only person in the world I feel comfortable and completely open with is my husband. And this is partly why I often wonder why I need friends at all. I have a confidant in my partner. And if friendship just means playing a role and acting a part, what is the point? And I know what you are thinking. You are thinking "you should just be who you are, be genuine and don't conform for the sake of others". Well, I would certainly cause friction in a lot of our friendships. And I say our friendships because my friends are also my husbands friends. And you are also thinking "If you can't be yourself, then they are not truly friends." I agree. However, while I might be okay with letting certain friendships slide to oblivion, he would not be.

And so I am left at social gatherings, with friends that my husband enjoys very much, biting my tongue and being as socially bland as possible. Or, sometimes I let opinions slip (especially after a few drinks) and end up upsetting someone. Either way, a night with friends most often leaves me feeling profoundly alone. More alone than when I am actually just alone with myself. It is this irony that leaves me wondering if it is really worth it, this friendship thing.

GonzoTheGreat
04-17-2017, 10:20 AM
Friendship error: replace friends and try again.

Which, admittedly, may be phrased just a bit too strongly. However, if those friends are such snowflakes that a few comments from you could drive them away, then they don't have what it takes to be your friend, do they? I suspect at least some of them are tougher than you give them credit for, but I admit that figuring out which can be a bit messy now and then.

Brita
04-17-2017, 10:34 AM
Friendship error: replace friends and try again.

Which, admittedly, may be phrased just a bit too strongly. However, if those friends are such snowflakes that a few comments from you could drive them away, then they don't have what it takes to be your friend, do they? I suspect at least some of them are tougher than you give them credit for, but I admit that figuring out which can be a bit messy now and then.

I know you are right. And I know that some of them are likely less sensitive than I am imagining. But a few bad experiences has made me gun shy. It is so much easier to just not try...especially when it is so easy for me to just stay home and read.

Davian93
04-17-2017, 01:02 PM
Are the snowflakes in general women or men? In my experience, women seem to take stuff like that more seriously and more personally than a guy who will tend to blow it off and not hold a grudge, etc. That's not a hard and fast rule but overall it seems to be the case.

Brita
04-17-2017, 02:15 PM
I hate to confirm the stereotype, but the majority is the women in the group that I worry about. Not exclusively, but the majority for sure.

I feel like I am a bad mix of feeling very passionate about issues and yet very afraid to step on toes. It kind of leaves me socially crippled.

Don't get me wrong, if you ask anyone they will think I am outgoing and funny and would not suspect this underlying angst of never really feeling free to be myself. But the result is I don't actually feel very close to any of my friends.

Gah- I was hoping someone here has felt the same way, but maybe its just me :(

Davian93
04-17-2017, 07:32 PM
I feel pretty much the same way if that helps...especially with my family members.

GonzoTheGreat
04-18-2017, 01:19 AM
I feel pretty much the same way if that helps...especially with my family members.
Ah, but there you don't have to mince words. After all, a friend can unfriend you, but a sibling can't unbrother you.

Purple Dragon
04-18-2017, 03:12 AM
Ah, but there you don't have to mince words. After all, a friend can unfriend you, but a sibling can't unbrother you.

Trust me... it CAN be done...

GonzoTheGreat
04-18-2017, 04:06 AM
Trust me... it CAN be done...
Now that you mention it, I once heard a story about two brothers called Cain and Abel ...

Davian93
04-18-2017, 07:30 AM
Ah, but there you don't have to mince words. After all, a friend can unfriend you, but a sibling can't unbrother you.

You haven't met my family...

For example, my brother and father didn't speak for the final 8 years of my father's life because of a disagreement.

connabard
04-18-2017, 09:09 AM
I feel similarly, though for the opposite reasons. I am afraid of coming across as dumb if I voice my opinions, etc.

I will say, something I've noticed is that a lot of people aren't used to disagreements, in a sense. I notice everyone here doesn't qualify their language when disagreeing with things like 'well I think' and 'I'm not sure' and I know people that are super intimidated by that level of certainty and then... defense mechanisms.

I'd suggest maybe soft-balling your approach to voicing your opinions? Do things like "well, I'm not sure, but I think X about Y" or even (but make sure to not use a condescending tone) ask them "interesting. what do you think?" etc

My father was a blunt man so I grew up just stating things but I've learned a lot of people take that aggressively, and more inclined to get offended at that rather than at what you're actually saying.

EDIT: As for what friends are for, I'm not entirely sure. I like to think it's good to have a separate life than that of your spouse, and friends are a vehicle for that. But I'm also unwed and young, so I could be entirely off the mark there.

Weiramon
04-18-2017, 01:35 PM
I feel similarly, though for the opposite reasons. I am afraid of coming across as dumb if I voice my opinions, etc.

I will say, something I've noticed is that a lot of people aren't used to disagreements, in a sense. I notice everyone here doesn't qualify their language when disagreeing with things like 'well I think' and 'I'm not sure' and I know people that are super intimidated by that level of certainty and then... defense mechanisms.

I'd suggest maybe soft-balling your approach to voicing your opinions? Do things like "well, I'm not sure, but I think X about Y" or even (but make sure to not use a condescending tone) ask them "interesting. what do you think?" etc

My father was a blunt man so I grew up just stating things but I've learned a lot of people take that aggressively, and more inclined to get offended at that rather than at what you're actually saying.

EDIT: As for what friends are for, I'm not entirely sure. I like to think it's good to have a separate life than that of your spouse, and friends are a vehicle for that. But I'm also unwed and young, so I could be entirely off the mark there.


Bah, that's ridiculous.

Brita
04-18-2017, 01:59 PM
I feel similarly, though for the opposite reasons. I am afraid of coming across as dumb if I voice my opinions, etc.

I will say, something I've noticed is that a lot of people aren't used to disagreements, in a sense. I notice everyone here doesn't qualify their language when disagreeing with things like 'well I think' and 'I'm not sure' and I know people that are super intimidated by that level of certainty and then... defense mechanisms.

I'd suggest maybe soft-balling your approach to voicing your opinions? Do things like "well, I'm not sure, but I think X about Y" or even (but make sure to not use a condescending tone) ask them "interesting. what do you think?" etc

My father was a blunt man so I grew up just stating things but I've learned a lot of people take that aggressively, and more inclined to get offended at that rather than at what you're actually saying.

EDIT: As for what friends are for, I'm not entirely sure. I like to think it's good to have a separate life than that of your spouse, and friends are a vehicle for that. But I'm also unwed and young, so I could be entirely off the mark there.

Great take on it connabard! My dad was also (and still is) very blunt with his opinions. I definitely take after him, and really enjoy a good battle of wits. But I have to realize that not everyone appreciates (or understands) that kind of thing :) My approach is something to work on for sure.

On reflection I realize I can definitely come off strongly, and it doesn't even reflect certainty in my stance- but more my excitement to be engaging in some deeper topics of conversation. I just need to tamper my enthusiasm a little so I can be more circumspect in my approach.

What a great aha! moment :)

Great Lord of the Dark
04-19-2017, 05:23 PM
I endure similar scenarios Brita, because I like rocking boats, and others worry worry worry.

I have found you can get away with saying all manner of ridiculous opinions if you say them in a way that allows that you're making fun of yourself too.

My other tactic is to state my opinions in a way that offers something that may be of value to a discussion, and hope to receive something that may be of interest to me.

But most of the world didn't improve their debate/engagement skills via Theoryland.

I also figure if my spouse can check her facebook feed no matter who is around, then I am justified in pulling out my phone when the conversation doesn't allow for full Tyler to be expressed.

I also have a group of friends who get together once a month where we are all comfortable in full out arguments, and we are not fit company for lesser mortals. But it is a good outlet.

Brita
04-20-2017, 09:16 AM
I also have a group of friends who get together once a month where we are all comfortable in full out arguments, and we are not fit company for lesser mortals. But it is a good outlet.

Sounds like a group I would enjoy :)

This has been so excellent, great suggestions everyone. Thanks. I feel much better about it now that I am armed with disarming ways.

GonzoTheGreat
04-20-2017, 09:34 AM
Sounds like a group I would enjoy :)
Doesn't everyone fit in with the Friends of the Dark?

Sei'taer
04-21-2017, 07:58 PM
I'm the same way, Brita. I can count my really good friends on three fingers of one hand, and that's if one of them is my wife.

I think we can agree that I have strong opinions and I express them when I feel like I need to do so. Most of the time it's not even worth it to me. That's a terrible thing to say but it's better than being called names and told that I'm stupid. Especially after this election it's been really bad. I have lots of "friends" that don't talk to me anymore. Truly, I just don't care, I feel like they'll either come back around or they were a seasonal friend anyway and not worth pursuing a deeper friendship with.

That being said, I had several wonderful discussions with GLotD at Jordancon last year. He's a deep opinionated guy and so am I. We had an unspoken agreement that we would talk it out and not fight it. If you ever meet him, you'll understand what I mean. The funny thing is, after a few discussions I figured out that we really weren't terribly far apart anyway.

Mort
04-23-2017, 07:57 AM
What kind of opinions are we talking about exactly? Politics? It's usually politics :)

A few of my friends friends doesn't share my views, I just never bring that stuff up when being with them. We share other interests that we can focus on when hanging out.

If it's opinions you care deeply about, voice them.

If you have to tip-toe around a mine field of possible disruptive arguments, I would definitely think long and hard if it's really worth it.

GonzoTheGreat
04-23-2017, 08:38 AM
What kind of opinions are we talking about exactly? Politics? It's usually politics :)
It could be the Kardassians instead. Or whatever substitute for those is en vogue in Canada, of course. Maybe Brita had Bieber problems.

Brita
04-23-2017, 03:42 PM
It could be the Kardassians instead. Or whatever substitute for those is en vogue in Canada, of course. Maybe Brita had Bieber problems.

Yep, I definitely have Bieber issues that cannot be discussed. Ever.

It's actually significant differences in general outlooks on life, and this affects many many topics. And it is a bit of a mine field. It affects things like parenting, work and leisure. It touches almost everything about General life. It is an extreme type "A" couple (teachers ;) ), and a much more type "B" couple (us). And then their clash with our VERY type "B" friends whose children they teach. And that leaves very few topics we can discuss openly without offending them.

My husband really enjoys his friendship with the husband- and I ley my relationship with them slide at this pint without being obvious. so I just need to keep my mouth shut and enjoy what conversation I can.

Davian93
04-23-2017, 06:45 PM
It honestly sounds like you don't really have anything in common with them and aren't or at least shouldn't be real friends with them.

Brita
04-23-2017, 07:04 PM
It honestly sounds like you don't really have anything in common with them and aren't or at least shouldn't be real friends with them.

Ya- :(

Great Lord of the Dark
04-23-2017, 07:43 PM
Sei'Taer was great:
"I'm a Libertarian."
"I write government regulations."
"Try some of Pops' moonshine."

Sei'taer
04-23-2017, 09:18 PM
Sei'Taer was great:
"I'm a Libertarian."
"I write government regulations."
"Try some of Pops' moonshine."

See...moonshine!

Davian93
04-23-2017, 09:23 PM
Everyone loves moonshine.

Brita
04-24-2017, 08:04 AM
Sei'Taer was great:
"I'm a Libertarian."
"I write government regulations."
"Try some of Pops' moonshine."

LOL!

Sei'taer
04-24-2017, 03:38 PM
Did I mention it was unregulated?

Anaiya Sedai
04-24-2017, 04:05 PM
About 5.5 years ago I stopped hanging out with all the people I thought were my friends but made me unhappy.
Then I had lots of therapy.
Then I stopped trying to be friends with other people just because we had children of similar ages.
Now I have 1 amazing friend who is a librarian, and a lover of many things I love. We don't agree on everything but that just makes the friendship better.
I don't miss the circle of 10+ people that made me unhappy, but I've never much liked hanging out in groups.

Davian93
04-24-2017, 08:04 PM
Did I mention it was unregulated?

You had me at moonshine...

yks 6nnetu hing
07-25-2017, 06:56 AM
I have similar issues with work. I have strong opinions on how certain things should be organized and/or done but I have 0 interest in conflict. Ideally, I'd just like to make all the rules, tell people what they should do and then they do that and never talk to me again. Unfortunately the world doesn't really work like that so last year I had (another) burnout. Super fun while you're also pregnant, btw (and no, it wasn't the pregnancy hormones, the burnout "broke" a month before I got knocked up). Because I couldn't deal with idiots being idiots and that being good enough because apparently using an excel sheet is too hard.

So now I changed functions and work alone, not as part of a team. it's awesome.

GonzoTheGreat
07-25-2017, 07:07 AM
Idiots being idiots is, obviously, proof that the world is the product of Intelligent Design. What it says about the Designer I'll leave as an exercise for the readers.

Davian93
07-25-2017, 09:38 AM
I have similar issues with work. I have strong opinions on how certain things should be organized and/or done but I have 0 interest in conflict. Ideally, I'd just like to make all the rules, tell people what they should do and then they do that and never talk to me again. Unfortunately the world doesn't really work like that so last year I had (another) burnout. Super fun while you're also pregnant, btw (and no, it wasn't the pregnancy hormones, the burnout "broke" a month before I got knocked up). Because I couldn't deal with idiots being idiots and that being good enough because apparently using an excel sheet is too hard.

So now I changed functions and work alone, not as part of a team. it's awesome.

As a manager, I basically am used to always dealing with idiots being idiots. It's part of my daily "fun". I would go insane if I dwelled on the average stupidity I deal with on a daily basis.

My branch also provides customer support services for security and IT issues...the barrage of idiocy that they see and I see when things get elevated are just surreal.

I hate people.

connabard
07-25-2017, 12:29 PM
The thing that really sucks about customer service areas and their dealings with idiots is that they are always rude

I am pretty okay (read: I can stand them when I have to deal with them) with idiots as long as they are nice and kind of aware they're asking dumb questions, etc.

But customer service is relentless stupidity mixed with some of maybe the most rude humans that could possibly exist.

Davian93
07-25-2017, 12:44 PM
The thing that really sucks about customer service areas and their dealings with idiots is that they are always rude

I am pretty okay (read: I can stand them when I have to deal with them) with idiots as long as they are nice and kind of aware they're asking dumb questions, etc.

But customer service is relentless stupidity mixed with some of maybe the most rude humans that could possibly exist.

Its amazing that that sort of issue extends even to internal support within an organization. People be stupid.

ShadowbaneX
07-25-2017, 01:47 PM
Its amazing that that sort of issue extends even to internal support within an organization. People be stupid.
There's a reason we can't have nice things...and that reason is people. Doesn't matter where they are or what you do or what they do, you are surrounded by assholes.

And may God have mercy on anyone that works in a call centre. Where it's your job having to fix anonymous people's problems, people who, by definition have just had something go wrong, and cannot even loo you in the eye, are likely entitled assholes that feel that you've fucked up once already for not having their thing working to begin with. Any problems that appear from there just add to the things you've fucked up...and let's not forget they're likely out-sources contract workers, so they're an additional expense against the profit margins and want that to be made smaller and smaller.

yks 6nnetu hing
07-27-2017, 03:26 AM
As a manager, I basically am used to always dealing with idiots being idiots. It's part of my daily "fun". I would go insane if I dwelled on the average stupidity I deal with on a daily basis.

My branch also provides customer support services for security and IT issues...the barrage of idiocy that they see and I see when things get elevated are just surreal.

I hate people.

in my case, half the time it's that they don't know better. That's fine. I'll just tell them what to do, several times if need be and it'll all work out. Kumbaya.

But the other half, they are either "special" or know better or can't be bothered to do stuff the correct way. and that is truly infuriating.

Daekyras
08-12-2017, 06:23 PM
That sounds terrible Brita.

I've been quite the "people pleaser" in my life. And it gets both tiresome and boring.

I don't know what will work for you, but for me I just walked from some of my regular circles and never looked back.

And you'll be surprised how many of these groups WON'T ask after you. Won't call inviting you to events. And these are the ones I still never Grace the door of, if you follow me

tworiverswoman
08-14-2017, 03:59 AM
I'm the kind of person who hates confrontations and arguments. So my neighbor and I have a very strict "No Trump talk" since the beginning of the year. Pretty much the only thing we can discuss freely now is computer games - and since we don't play the same ones, conversation has rather dried up. Thank goodness for crossword puzzles. It gives us something to say when we go out for Sunday Lunch together.

Part of the reason I hate confrontations is because, while I like to think I'm reasonably intelligent, I have awful debating skills. When he says something stupid like, "I think Trump is a reasonable man who wants to improve our country!" I get so dumbfounded I can't think of any way to respond. I mean - what on earth can you say in the face of such ... profound ... UGH! So I bite my tongue and say nothing. Very loudly.

Brita, I'd love to add to the good advice you've gotten, but it looks like all the good answers have been given. As long as your husband is friends with him/them, then if you are willing to suffer "polite conversation" for his sake, do so. If it makes you genuinely miserable, then ask him if he can visit them without you. It should be at least as important to him to make you happy as the reverse.

Or, get very drunk (on Pop's moonshine?) and let 'er rip! :D

Brita
08-17-2017, 02:22 PM
Or, get very drunk (on Pop's moonshine?) and let 'er rip! :D

Ya, this happened a couple of weeks ago. Except it was a mix of local beer and delicious spicy caesar's that loosened the tongue.

This is what happened: They went on for 10 minutes about a known touchy subject between us while I tried to keep my mouth shut. Finally, I said one sentence to the contrary (I'm not even exaggerating)- and she stormed off in anger saying "We are never going to agree about this!"

I was too frustrated and furious to hide my feelings any more. I basically laid it all on the line, and the conversation ended with an understanding that one party can't talk as much as they want about a controversial subject unless they are ready to hear the opposing side. And if they are not ready to hear an opposing side, don't bring it up. However, it was not a pleasant conversation and I am not sure fences were mended. I was quite angry and she was quite upset.

So yes, strained polite conversation from now on.

Also, I haven't seen them since, so still not sure how it will go.

Brita
08-17-2017, 02:28 PM
And you'll be surprised how many of these groups WON'T ask after you. Won't call inviting you to events. And these are the ones I still never Grace the door of, if you follow me

Funny (in a completely not funny way) story: my husband and I also stopped Gracing the door of a particular Group. And we were very involved with this Group. The only time someone came around after we left, was when my husband was having very serious medical issues and the...Leader of this group popped by to inquire about the state of my husband's soul and basically if we were scared enough to come back. Never before, and never since.

I have never been so glad to leave a Group in my whole life.

Davian93
08-18-2017, 11:42 PM
Funny (in a completely not funny way) story: my husband and I also stopped Gracing the door of a particular Group. And we were very involved with this Group. The only time someone came around after we left, was when my husband was having very serious medical issues and the...Leader of this group popped by to inquire about the state of my husband's soul and basically if we were scared enough to come back. Never before, and never since.

I have never been so glad to leave a Group in my whole life.

That reaction and response by them pretty much shows you were 100% right to leave and never look back. Hypocritical self righteous assholes. I really hate people sometimes.