Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Giving Up on People

Today is Tuesday, June 4, 2013.

Sometimes you have to give up on people, not because you don't care, but because they don't.  –Anonymous

I am not fond of using the words "give up" but this quote does have some merit.  I guess I would substitute "let go of" for "give up on" because the idea is that I release my expectations for them, rather than blaming them for something they have or haven't done.  It's a slight difference in attitude, and it avoids the blame game.

I think of friendship as a two-way street.  If I'm always the one to call them, if I'm always the one to make the effort to travel to their turf (especially if we live reasonably close to one another), then I start to wonder whether the friendship is something that I've hung onto for too long.  If they're letting it go, then maybe I should, too.

It's a bit harder when you live far away from people.  I know I can't expect people to drive out to Brandon, SD, which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, just to see me.  I do hope that people will make an effort to arrange their schedules to see me when I visit their area, not that I expect that to happen every time.    I'm lucky to have so many "standing invitations" from friends around the country, and I hope they know they have a standing invitation to visit me, as well.

These days, nobody writes letters.  I did get a letter from a former student teacher today, which is so rare. I rarely get "real" letters from people, except at Christmas, and those are usually just cards with someone's name signed under the greeting, or one of those one-size-fits-all newsletters.  I must say, I am guilty of writing those newsletters, myself, and although I try hard to add some individual message in longhand on each one, it's a convenience not to have to write the same thing over fifty times.  When I get those cards with no message, I always wonder, "Why bother sending this?  You haven't bothered to tell me anything about your life.  Why should I care what your dog looks like?  Or why should I care what your kids have been up to, when you say nothing about yourself?  It's YOU that I was friends with, not your kids.

Online correspondence is another matter.  I used to get a lot more private emails from friends, but these days, email is another thing that is starting to go the way of the dinosaur.  Very few of my friends or relatives even check their email very often, anymore.  You have to get hold of them through Facebook, if they participate in that.  Or leave a phone message, because nobody answers their phone anymore, either.  Now it's text messages, if you want to get hold of them, and even then they don't always bother to respond.  It took me days to track down my sister, who lives across the street from me, because she never responded to my calls or text messages. I only wanted to give her a book I had bought for her.  Now I'm wondering whether I should even have bothered.

I still keep up with a lot of people on Facebook, but that's another medium where people don't always respond to you right away, even after they have seen the message.  (Facebook tells you whether the message has been seen, and when.)  I've had a lot of people "friend" me on Facebook, then never post or respond to my posts.  It occurred to me that maybe I should start paring down a bit.  There's no reason to have so many "friends-who-aren't-really-friends."

As far as friends who don't communicate much goes, I realize that everyone leads busy  lives, and there are a few people with whom I have lost contact, then found, and we were able to more or less start up where we stopped.  I do appreciate those kinds of friends, which is why I never totally cross anyone off my list for good. 

There is one other type of person that we should perhaps consider "giving up on," or at least letting go of, and that is a person who is an energy drain (asking for too much of your time and attention, always wanting to control where you go together or what activities you engage in together, or just generally being negative and doing a lot of complaining).  People who are not functioning at their best and who blame everyone and everything else for their troubles fall to the bottom of my priority list fast, especially when I see that they are just using me for one thing or another (a shoulder to cry on, someone to blame things on, a personal loan service, etc.).  Over the years, it's gotten a lot easier to just tell certain people to bug off.  I try to do it as nicely as possible, but sometimes, you just have to be very obvious, or they don't get it.  

Have you ever "given up" on someone?  Do you wish you could just give up and let go?  If so, you certainly have my permission, for what it's worth.   :-)


Grace Paquette said...

Damn you're good!


p.s. the "not a robot proof" is not very good, had to try 4 times and the vocal is impossible ...or maybe it's just me!

Maureen Olih said...

I concur, Grace. :)