html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: I'm fine. My girlfriends are on it and the weekend is looking good.

Friday, June 22, 2007

I'm fine. My girlfriends are on it and the weekend is looking good.

When I need consoling or sympathy, I go straight to Chris. It is perhaps his strongest gift. He is absolutely fearless about staying with a sad emotion, asking the hard questions that'll bring the hurt to the top to be soothed. He'll do it for trivial problems that feel big at the time, but he isn't afraid of the entire range. He's sat with dying people and the recently bereaved. He'll listen and cry and hug you when you need it or switch instantly back to joking, if that comes up. I don't know how he does it.

Anyway, the fucker didn't return my phone calls last night, so I'm totally gonna sandbag him next time we're at a party and he's trying to score.

The classic (and way over-discussed) debate about consoling people is the 'emotive listening vs offer constructive suggestion'. Whatever. They both have their place. Chris, in fact, takes the emotive listening too far. I'll wail, "Oh Chris!! Whatever should I do about this tragic thing?!?!" And he'll be all, "Megan, I can hear that you are hurt and uncertain and don't know how to proceed." And I'll be all, "No. I'm asking you. What should I DO?" So I'm pretty well past that debate. Have both skills at hand; be attentive to the sad person; switch back and forth between them.

The part I'm still working on is how frankly to acknowledge the suckiness. I'm such a cowardly avoider; where Chris is fearless, I usually try to murmur things like "it's not so bad, look on the bright side, it'll get better". I'm not sure that's best. One time, I hit it just right. This was horrible, but a brother of a friend was the victim of a home invasion and rape. I sent him a card that said essentially, "one day, this'll just be a really fucked up thing that happened and not your whole world." I might have actually written that. I heard back that he liked that card a lot. But I don't know if I could say that in person; I'm not brave like that. Maybe I should work on it. Sometimes things just suck. The sad person knows they suck; she's well aware of that. Pat reassurances either remind her of the difference between what she knows and the reassurance, or diminish her emotional reaction to the genuine suckiness.

So I'll try to do better. The best choice, of course, is to send in Chris. But if that isn't available to me, I want to live up to what friends need in sad times. Booooo! I hate being brave.

18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh yeah? What are you doing this weekend? The San Mateo wine walk is tonight from 5-9pm.

Justin

2:03 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Going to a free play at Southside park. I'm excited for it.

2:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's your whole weekend plan? I'm betting you can fit more in than just that.

I'm doing this wine walk thing, then going to the beach tomorrow, then camping tomorrow night, then climbing Sunday afternoon.

The goal is to cram as much stuff into your weekends as possible.

Justin

2:09 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Oh, no. That's just this evening.

Play tonight, spring league tourney tomorrow, spring league party tomorrow night. No plans yet for Sunday, 'cept the funnier Megan and I are going to hang out, and I have a ton of cleaning and paperwork to do. And there's that book I'm pretending I'm writing.

2:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought you were spending your weekends in Oakland. Whatever happened to that?

Justin

2:47 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I've been there most weekends. This weekend I have the league tourney here, and I'm not sure it is worth going down for just Sunday. Next weekend I'll be in LA. But the deadline I talked about before, Ali's moving, is July 25th. So it looks like I'll finish the move to Oakland in August. And with that coming up, I've been wanting to spend my last weekends here. And it is so NICE here now.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

And I start all of my sentences with 'and'.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sometimes that's the only way to get your point across.

I'll bet it's not as nice as this:
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/53/144325458_193317773d.jpg

or this:
http://www.jmlewis.org/pictures/2007/06/me_tony_john_matterhorn_peak/target39.html

And those are both a weekend trip away!

I just remember Sacramento being hot in the summer.

Justin

2:57 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I like cities better. I also like the heat. I already 'splained to you why the heat is so great. Last weekend in Oakland I was in long sleeves and a vest and I yearned to be lightly sweating in a tank top.

3:06 PM  
Blogger ScottM said...

I missed the whole relocate to Oakland thing. It sounds like a big sacrifice, given your love of your neighborhood. What convinced you to relocate? [If you already explained, a link's fine.]

3:14 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

The move to Oakland.

3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cities are fine, I guess. But they're full of people in my way, and making way too much noise.

This day seems really long.

Justin

3:24 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Well thank god I've got another post about bureaucracies about ready to go.

Or you guys could keep asking me questions.

3:35 PM  
Anonymous margie said...

Oh, Megan, what are you so sad about? Did your other cat die? Did your last pie not turn out so well? Are you upset that we have to swim the wrong way across the pool? Are those the kinds of questions you want us to ask?

3:55 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

I dunno. Just whatever.

Oh, Megan, what are you so sad about?

I am sad that my friends mock me constantly.

Did your other cat die?

Nope. She's good. She is shedding fistfuls of fur and won't let me brush her.

Did your last pie not turn out so well?

You wish. See you on the 15th, lady.

Are you upset that we have to swim the wrong way across the pool?

That and that we don't have a clothing optional lap swim option.

Are those the kinds of questions you want us to ask?

No. But I was happy to fill Scott in on the Oakland background.

4:15 PM  
Blogger jens said...

Chris is so lucky that he has YOU as a friend.

With a MALE friend, it could have been a TEAbagging rather than a SANDbagging.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Jacqueline Passey said...

Here's a thought: One day you'll actually look back on your single years with at least a small amount of wistful longing (it seems all married/childed people do from time to time). Imagine that!

7:41 PM  
Blogger Dizzy said...

Hope your weekend's going well. Guys are great. But this one is not as cool as he seems. I swear. Someday you're totally going to sort of smile when he tells a story and think, 'Thank GOD I don't have to listen to this guy every day for the rest of my life... "

1:00 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home