Monday, 16 May 2016

Choosing not to "suck it up"

I had a conversation recently, that gave me pause for thought. The person I was talking to had commented that they made friends largely with other parents from the same school, and I decided to interrupt, to put a different slant on this, pointing out that we had indeed been dropped by parents who made friends with other parents from their children's schools.

“Well,” said the other person, “that’s just what happens.”

There was no remorse, no real awareness that that must have been painful for us, but there was no judgement either, just an acknowledgement that this is the way the world works when everyone is just trying to get by.

This is, of course, is true, and for a moment, it made me wonder if I had protested unduly, if I was finding offence where there was none, and where there was none intended?

Or is this why we need to speak up, even if only in individual conversations, one-on-one, to get people thinking that just because this is the way the world works, it doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t mean that others don’t suffer from it.

What many don’t realise though, is that it is not just the childless who are suffering. Parents miss out too – on variety in their lives, on people who could help them and their children (free babysitting, baking, or piano lessons, anyone?), who could provide different perspectives on life, bring different knowledge and skills, resulting in greater understanding and enriching everyone’s lives.

9 comments:

  1. I'm glad that you didn't suck it up in this situation. Maybe your comment gave the person something to think about. I admire your ability to speak out instead of sucking it up. I can learn a lot you in this respect.

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  2. Similar "suck it up" arguments have been made about racism/segregation, women's equality, LGBT recognition/rights and even children welfare. Those who promote "suck it up" are those who come from the point of privilege. They need to check their privilege.

    I'm glad you spoke out, even if it was uncomfortable. Because this stuff needs to be talked about. People's mindsets need to be challenged. They won't like it, but change was never something people embrace without some push.

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  3. dear Mali, I am so glad you wrote about it. Do you know how many times did I hear comments like that - hearing about awesome new friends that people met through their children.

    I was abandoned by many people because of this. But guess what - I came to the conclusion that only the very few friends who remained with me, were and are true friends. I am very grateful for them. And I am grateful for all the new friends I made through our wonderful blogging community. I consider you my friend too, Mali. And I am looking forward how our friendship will develop in the next decades to come.

    kind regards,
    Klara

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  4. I've heard the same thing from a few people (long-distance friendships in this case). One person even openly told me that juggling life/work with online friendship was tough and she was sorry she couldn't give me more time, but spending more time with me = sacrificing time she could spend in real life with XYZ, so there was nothing else that could be done except that I should lower my expectations.

    Another person admitted of feeling guilty for not being able to respond to me as much as she wanted to, but I also knew that things couldn't be the same as before. I actually felt shocked that she said she had felt some guilt, because it was the last thing I wanted any friend to feel. I just wanted to "talk" to them as much as I could.

    But anyway, at the end of the day we all have different priorities. I was hurt and sad for a long time as I was learning to say goodbye to them over and over again. Each time I did it, I let go of my attachment to them bit by bit until my heart distance from them became far enough for me to feel content with the state of our new friendship.

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  5. I'm glad you spoke up. I love what you said about missing out on variety by only friending other parents, and that it's not okay to just be like, "well, that's the way the cookie crumbles" and pretend that it's not hurtful to be dropped. I have friends who have kids and managed to still stay friends with us through all our troubles, and others who surrounded themselves with other parents and sort of let us fade away. It sucks to be dropped. I'm glad you brought some reality of what that feels like to the person who said "that's just what happens." Because it doesn't have to be that way.

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  6. I think you should speak up and challenge the person. They may not change their mind, but they should have to think deeply about what they just said.

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  7. It's a friendship that really out of sheer convenience. People I don't particularly share anything with other than our kids go to the same school. Yet, it's next to impossible to get my single friends to come over to visit.

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  8. I'm glad you said something. There can be many reasons why there is the ebb and flow in relationships. It can be a lot to manage and balance. But, it goes a long way when someone can acknowledge it with compassion and kindness in that I miss you kind of way. I feel like some of my friends who have children and are busy, they make the most of our time to be sure it is quality and leaves you feeling good. But, when a person is neutral, it can feel like they are acting helpless or apathetic to your voiced needs in a reciprocating friendship. I like what you said, "It doesn't make it right, and it doesn't mean others don't suffer from it." It sucks and it hurts.

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  9. "It doesn't make it right." Yes, this. Great post!!

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