Thursday, 30 July 2009


I'm tired of being accommodating.

I don't mind having flexible boundaries, not at all. I think there needs to be some give.

But I'm tired of being the one to make things 'all better' in a relationship, the first one to move towards some kind of resolution; the social secretary; the one who bites her tongue making allowances for others' moods; the one whose particular tendencies are first wanted, then excoriated when they no longer suit.

Do I set myself up? Yes. Do I get irritable? Yes. Can I be blunt? Guilty as charged. Do I love problem solving a little too much? Erm...ok, yeah. Can I be a bossyboots? HELL, yes. Do I make mistakes/errors in judgment? All. the. damn. time.

But is my heart in the right place? Pretty much.

People judge me all the time. I judge them; turnabout is fair play. It's not a problem if you don't know me; I don't really give a f*** that C or E from church think I look pissed off when I'm there. I generally am when I'm with OX2 'rah rah' types who kiss up to priests and treat everyone else like crap.

But if you KNOW me and make judgments without taking into account my personality, strengths, weaknesses, what you know is going on - if you don't make the allowances I generally make for you; if you treat me as some generic psychological specimen in a vacuum - problem. And it's even worse if you speak to me as if I were someone you don't know. I only do that when I'm coldly angry to the point of doing something irrevocable. Even then, I usually manage something friendly, unless I feel betrayed.

Taking personality and context into account when applying principles is the only way to make an approximation of someone's motives. Even then, you need to get around to asking them eventually.

But back to accommodation. Why do I do it? Because people are important. Far more important than things will ever be. If I'm measuring things up, people will always come in light-years ahead of things, and people are what I will bend over backwards to save. When I'm stressed, if I drop something, fine. If I drop someone, especially someone in crisis, there's no coming back from that. Bottom line.

I think one of the things that has really gotten to me over the last while or so is feeling like a commodity in various relationships: "I want this from you now, but if you fall into it here, it's an unforgiveable sin - God forbid you should be yourself when I don't want you to be"; "Hi, you're the one person who won't get upset, do you mind if I move *you*" (that has to be a pattern for me to get upset); or even those who think, "Irim can wait. She'll be there."

You'd be surprised. I'll bend over backwards for good reasons. But when it becomes a habit, that's something entirely different.

It has always been my feeling that one can unilaterally make a decision that involves something; that is just you and... a book. Or a cooking pot. Whatever.

But the moment that someone else is involved, you lose that right to make the decision on your own.

Of course, if you can't make something, you can't make it. Fine. But have the grace to be the one who takes the initiative to sort something out, so it's clear that you value the friendship, that spending time with this person matters to you. In fact, if they're the one who always sorts it - initiate every so often anyway, so they KNOW you want to be spending time with them and not dental flossing cats instead.

I'm gobsmacked at the number of people who think they can make unilateral decisions that have an impact on other people's lives, schedules, emotions. To quote a good friend, "Dude, WTF?" How dare anyone make a decision that involves another adult (obviously, children are another matter), especially a friend, present it as a fait accompli - and then expect it to be OK? What kind of chutzpah is it that they then get offended because the other person doesn't react in a way that suits them? It's a weird kind of lack of awareness - almost like the person is an object, without feelings, without a life, without their own ideas about the situation.

Now, that's not saying things can't change - they do and they should. But when you're making a decision that involves someone else - TALK TO THEM. Say, "Hey, this is what's going on with me, and I think it might involve you. This is what I've been thinking - what are your thoughts on this?" THAT shows respect, care and awareness of the other person as an individual, as someone you value.

A unilateral decision shows a lack of awareness at best, but more often, it shows a lack of care. (Obviously, there are times when it is appropriate - abuse, breakups, and so on. But hopefully in many of those cases (except abuse - RUN), one has tried to communicate, has tried those bilateral avenues.)

Clearly, a unilateral decision can only be accepted by the person to whom it is presented. But even the most accommodating person files it away with a sense of having not been considered as part of the decision.

Eventually, even the most flexible of boundaries can snap back like a rubber band. That can sting. But unlike rubber bands, they may never flex again for a particular person. Someone who had been a good friend for 13 years wrote a letter that was so awful that to this day, I will only refer to her by a pragmatic relationship - never as a friend. And I will never initiate contact with her again.

I don't believe in giving someone the other cheek to slap. It's just plain stupid to let yourself be abused again.

So yeah, I'm done accommodating. Except in appropriate circumstances and except with people who accommodate me and let me be who I am, warts and all.

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