Facebook: More on Befriending Co-workers (part II)

(continuation)

But that`s just an illusion that people never really go away if they`re on your facebook – if you`re not careful, they drift away right in front of your eyes. Without it, they would either disappear completely (rather than keep popping up as a niggling reminder of unkept promises) or stay close (if you both make the effort). Everything in-between is just superficial and usually not worth it in the long term.

I am leaving my job, and although I get on really well with and will miss most people, I am actually grateful that we are not linked on facebook, and I don`t intend to change this when I leave. I don`t want our relationships to be reduced like that. At the moment, we don`t need facebook (and it`s actually nice not to feel pressurised into keeping up with everyone`s personal lives), and starting this now would feel… contrieved?

But how lovely would it be to bump into each other in the supermarket when you truely haven`t seen each other for all that time? (We all live close – it will happen!!)

I very fondly remember the banter I used to have with my old colleagues on facebook, the little insiders that noone else would get. Here, I have none of that. I also remember the banter from which I was excluded, the allusions to things that happened when I wasn`t there and which noone would ever bother to explain. I have none of that, either. And then, I see the banter of others, people who don`t and never worked with me, and I usually find it childish – and I have none of that, eihter.

We do have banter. So much. Just not on Facebook. We probably have even better fun without it. Because where there is facebook, people inevitably get (and therefore seek!) attention for what they do outside work. But where we don`t (over-?)share our personal lives like that, we are more focused on what we do at work. Our personal lives do not matter: no showing off our drunken party photos, no unhealthy competition about where we go on holiday. Whereever people come together, you cannot totally avoid those things, but there`s definitely less where there is no facebook. And if we do share something personal, it feels special. If you get close to one another, it`s out of genuine interest rather than because it`s expected.

In my current work, I`m finding it easy to be friendly with people without being over-familiar, for various reasons. I`m now moving back to a set-up where I`ll be sitting within a team of other women who are all doing the same job, and who I was told are very supportive of one another in relation to work and personal lives. Sounds very pleasant, but part of me feels anxious. I really don`t want facebook any more. If the topic comes up, I may feel I`ll have to add people, but I will probably say right from the start that I`m a very unrewarding friend over there, because I`m never on, and then ensure I`ll stick to that.

After all, I never met anyone who was regarded or included any less within work beause s/he was not connected on facebook. If anything, the opposite.

 

 

 

Facebook: More on Befriending Co-workers (Part I)

Last year, while I was settling into my last job, I wrote this blog about becoming facebook friends with work colleagues.

How did I do between then and (soon) leaving my second job since I resolved not to link in with co-workers any more?

I never added anyone from my last job until I left, when I requested the girl I wrote about in the blog. We still interact there on a superficial basis, and occasionally chat about joint interests, but, as expected, she did not react on my hint re meeting up.

In my current job, I said quite early on I do not add colleagues on facebook. This felt appropriate as facebook has caused, and is still causing, trouble (of several kinds), and our managers actively discouraged my young colleague from linking in with colleagues.

In February, I added one of our agency workers, who I already knew from my last job. One day, she suggested linking me something via Facebook, we friended each other, and that same night, we found ourselves playing old music to each other and laughing so much that she immediately got her reputation with my other half. Most interactions we have there are still PNs, including about private things, which we would never make time to discuss at work. Facebook did bring us closer, but what irritates me is that I now get friends suggestions of other agency workers who, in turn, may see me and my holiday snaps (my Instagram shares are public, but of course, this is my choice which I know how to fix).

In March, I proceeded to add my room mate. We didn`t have the best of starts, but had already improved, and that day, we really bonded and laughed a lot, which felt special enough to share this on facebook with her tagged in. I noticed that she was linked with other colleagues, too, but none too close to me, so no pressure to request them, too. (One requested me, which I did not react to and which she never mentioned offline.) What however irritated me was that she is linked to the girl whom I`m providing maternity cover for, and they sometimes talked via comments about her coming back and how much they were both looking forward to this. As if she had forgotten that I was reading. Sadly, our relationship deteriorated again after my room mate resigned, and I knew for a fact that a particular complaint had been dealt with when I found myself not only deleted, but actually blocked. I was fine with the deletion, but the blocking, I perceived as a, work related, act of aggression. Much to my own surprise, it bothered me, and I felt childish when I spoke out and was reminded of how silly and overrated facebook is. Her leaving do was also being organised on facebook, and by being deleted, I suddenly found myself un-invited to something I was already “coming” to, which I found humiliating in front of other colleagues, who (at least from me) knew nothing about our difficulties. She, overall, wasn`t a good experience at all on facebook either.

A couple of months ago, I met an old colleague in headoffice – it was her first day with us, and although we never got close in our old work, we had a really nice chat, and I spontaneously said I`ll request you on Facebook. I did, but she never accepted me, which is okay. We really don`t have much in common, and this was the first and only warm conversation we ever had. I`m actually glad she didn`t. I think she posts a lot about her kids, who are both about 20.

The one colleague, who is extremely special, is not on facebook (any more), and, rather than being disappointed, I found that he rose in my esteem, probably because by separating himself from facebook, he also separated himself from everything that annoys me there.  I almost felt silly admitting that I`m still on it. In some way, “no facebook” makes our relationship feel more special – we don`t need it, and an occasional text, just for you or me, feels so much more personal than a broadcast or comment on social media. The importance of “no facebook” really stroke me when he announced he was leaving, and we spoke about what this would mean for our friendship. Never mind how deeply moved we both were when we agreed that we wanted to keep in touch and that this should include actually meeting again, rather than just texting a few more times – with facebook, we probably wouldn`t even have had this conversation. It wouldn`t have felt necessary, because who you have “got” on facebook, will never really go away, or so it feels, at least.

(to be continued…)

 

 

On Looks and Love

Every time I, naturally as curly as my avatar, turn up anywhere with straight hair, there`s lots of comments because I look so different.

They are usually positive, but today, someone said she really prefers me curly. “Me, too,” I replied. “But my husband prefers them straight, and because I never do this at home, whenever I go to the hairdresser, that `s what I ask for.”

The other woman, an elderly colleague, just couldn`t get over how sweet this was. But is it? To every 8 weeks or so wear a hairstyle I don `t really like for a couple of days because it pleases him? It`s not like I permanently dye them blonde or lose weight or get a tattoo or do something else that is… permanent or drastic.

PS: He wore a kilt for our wedding, even though he first said he hasn`t worn one since he was 5 and would feel ridiculous in it now. This was my surprise, and the most lovely one of them all…

What Do You Say After You Say Hello?

“When Mike first meets Pat (in the first 10 seconds or at most 10 minutes after they first set eyes on each other) Mike`s Child senses exactly what Pat`s Child is up to.

Since the Parent is older and presumably wiser in some ways than his offspring, it is his duty and responsibility to control his Parental behaviour. Only if he brings his Parent under control of his Adult can he accomplish this.”

Eric Berne, What do You Say after You Say Hello

on Cognitive Distortions and Hint Giving

A couple of years ago, I had a course of psychotherapy. After lostcountofhowmany let downs, disappointments, losses and betrayals I wasn`t coping at all with life in general and becoming increasingly paranoid, always expecting the worst. Never mind the stigma – I`ll be forever grateful that I chose therapy instead of medication (or alcohol, for that matter).

I learnt loads about cognitive distortions (great link – check it out!!) and how to deal with them, and while I, of course, was able to practice this particularly well under the supervision of my therapist, I continued to apply my new skills after the sessions had finished.

One which is particularly relevant to me is reading too much into (interpersonal) things, then behaving as if my assumptions were true and thus creating a negative outcome that`s caused by my reaction rather than the initial situation. While I`m still tending to try too hard to make sense of other people`s behaviour, I`m now also able to pull myself back sometimes.

There was one particular situation where I had to work extremely hard at behaving not only as if my negative assumptions weren`t true but also as if I did not have them. In the end however, it turned out that what I was thinking had indeed been true on this occasion. Someone was throwing me (albeit weak and non-committal) hints, and I behaved as if I did not understand them, carrying on causing drama because I refused to see the signs.

“So did your therapy not cover that?” asked my husband later. “how to recover from the disappointment of a real problem? How to deal with things when, by applying her techniques, you actually made it worse? For life isn`t always a bed of roses, and you cannot always influence other people!”

No, she never covered that. And I don`t think the problem was so much my own behaviour, but my (former) friend`s evasiveness. To most Brits, giving hints only seems kinder than being upfront (also to oneself, as you save yourself the discussion) about bad news, but you have to be clear that the hints are understood, or at least be clearer when asked.

Could I have influenced the situation? No. I`d have saved myself a lot of embarrassment (and maybe preserved a friendship that obviously wasn`t what I thought it was) if I had acted upon the hints, but I`d also forever have asked myself: And what if the assumption I was acting on was not true after all?

Valentine`s Day

Every year on this day, I inevitably think of a poem I found on Gumtree (…) a few years ago. It wasn`t until some 2 months later that I found it, but it was written on Valentine`s Day my first day in my new job 14 February. It wasn`t particulary well written, which added to its charme, but it was the content that struck a cord:

It was from a guy who had a secret crush at work, and he was tormented by the fact that he didn`t manage to tell her (Oh yes, he did. On my leaving night. Drunk.). She didn`t seem to notice him at all, and if she at all did, he was worried that she would think of him as a guy who didn`t care, for that`s how he acted. Now, she had just left for another job, without ever getting to know.

Life is funny sometimes and the move only internal. Fast forward – the same guy (don`t ask… there were a couple of very… identifying bits in it), was working side by side with me again. Nothing was ever said, and then it was him who was about to leave. He was still there, when our temp, totally out of the blue, asked me if I liked him.

I think the world of him, I said.

And have you ever told him?

No.

Why not?

Why should I? It`s not something you generally say at work, and he should know by my actions, anyway.

Maybe, she said. But sometimes, it`s good to hear, too.

And so I went and told him. I said I think the world of you, and I`ll miss you very much.

It felt good.

 

Lifestyle Month: the Facebook spring clean

Albeit with trembling fingers (always – as fully aware there`ll be no way bback!), I had a look through my friends list again this morning and deleted a few people.

While I`m not one to un-friend people after a disagreement, etc, I periodically do a “spring clean”, which somehow feels less personal – I delete people I no longer interact with. (Most of us seem to agree those days that “friend” is not a good term for a facebook contact, and I suppose it does raise our inhibitions to delete, as how can it not be personal to “un-friend” someone?)

There are several (predominantly younger) people I`m connected to who have close to 1000 facebook “friends”, but we share very personal stuff there (not just what we post, but also whom we know, etc!) so I feel a facebook list should be dynamic. If I had 1000 friends, I would find it impossible to keep track of them, and I then may as well post everything publicly. This is how people end up coming back from their holiday finding their flat was burgled. Or get sacked for complaining about their boss, even though they`re not friends with anyone from work. Some people use lists and Restricted Profiles, but I never liked the idea.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, someone recently suggested this phenomenon of large and outdated friends lists as one of the core reasons for bragging (which is, btw, the most cited reason for un-friending). If we don`t have any more offline contact, this can be seductive, particularly if the ex or high school bully are reading.

Because I don`t want to offend (or seem offended), I chose my disconnection moment wisely – another reason why a general “spring clean” works best for me. Do I send a farewell message? Never. .It never seems appropriate. I wonder when they`ll even notice. I really only ever delete people who are, online and offline, already far, far away from me already.

Bye. Part of me is still sad when I click that button, as it is, sometimes at last, a honest, final and now also clearly communicated recognition that those relationships are really over and will not be resumed. They all used to be nice, otherwise, they wouldn`t have been there in the first place.

Valentine’s Day Ideas and Thoughts on Commercialism

Really interesting bits about the marketing – just what I always thought, but it is powerful, because even if the guy himself does not believe in it, he may be scared that his lady does, and spending $ 59.99 on a bouquet of roses will be easier than the aggros he may be getting if he doesn`t… A post like this, in my eyes, does not help. I`m sure this was not the intention, but I actually find it damaging, to both boys and girls…

Source: Valentine’s Day Ideas and Thoughts on Commercialism

Listening

I met one of my friends for lunch the other day, and all over sudden, I had this situation again where I could hear her speaking to me, but I couldn`t understand a word she said. It was as if she was speaking a foreign language, and this happens to me regularly if someone speaks to me but hasn`t got my full attention. If my mind is elsewhere, or if people speak about something I don`t know anything about or am just not interested in (God, that sounds awful, but it`s the truth!) I switch off and just cannot switch back on again if it`s one of those lengthy monologues.

I can`t even tell you what it was about this time. I think it had something to do with Pakistan. Probably politics or television, as she`s really into those but I am not. Groups are fine as someone will always say something, and then there`ll be a discussion, but on my own, I have nothing to contribute, so it inevitably becomes a monologue – and I switch off. Someone else has a habit of speaking in excruciating detail about someone else`s children. For my husband, it`s his speedway – technical issues, rider injuries, league tables. Eventually, I`ll be asked a question, and then I`ll have to admit that I haven`t been paying attention.

Am I on my own in that I really cannot listen and process information if others are talking about things that are so irrelevant to me? It seems so abstract that it really seems like a foreign language. I`m yet to find a better description.