it’s always like this

May 27, 2009

private I

Filed under: maybe it's me, perfect strangers — notsojenny @ 10:39 am

i know i’ve touched on this before but i’m a very private person.  yes, i have a blog where i labor on about personal things, but overall i don’t tell you anything i wouldn’t tell the guy sitting next to me on a plane.

that being said, i’m one of those people who is much more open with complete strangers and bloggy peeps than i am with the people around me.  my closest friends and family know everything but everyone else?  acquaintances, coworkers, friends of friends, etc.?  i keep my mouth shut around them.  my personal life is not a part of my job so i keep the details under wraps.  i know it makes me seem like a cold person but really it’s none of anyone’s business what’s going on in my PERSONAL life.

this recently took an awkward turn then a coworker’s father died.  this wasn’t someone on my team, or someone i interact with daily, it’s someone who works on the same floor as me, someone who i talk to maybe once every quarter.  so i found out via facebook (don’t we all) and i watched all the comments of sympathy pour in to him.  i wasn’t one of them.  all i could think of was how impersonal that is.  a card, a written email, many things seem more appropriate than sending sympathy and well wishes via FB.  i almost sent a card, i almost wrote an email, i almost stopped by his desk, but something stopped me every time.  i don’t know this guy, we’re not friends, we’re barely even coworkers.  something about expressing my sympathies over a personal event such as this didn’t feel right to me.  to me it seems silly to be all hey, i know we never really talk but i heard your dad died and that sucks man.  so when i was the only person in the kitchen with him today i say “Hey” and then just stood there.  one voice in my head told me to express my sympathies, another voice said It’s none of your business!  that’s the voice that was loudest.

what made me really stop to think about this was that a blogger who i read and adore lost her father around the same time.  and i felt the need to comment to her, to express my sympathies.  could it be that i feel like i know a faceless stranger better than someone who works down the hall from me?  that’s the only reason i could figure i had such different reactions to the same situations.

so anyway all this really did was make me reflect on just how private of a person i am.  when i lost my father i received emails and cards from people i barely knew, people who i knew barely even liked me but we happened to work together, etc.  and while i appreciate their taking the time i also found them very odd and it made me a little uncomfortable.  with something that personal i told the news to a handful of people myself, so hearing anything from them was good, i really appreciated those words and they definitely help in times like that.  but those words from people who may be just as sincere but don’t know me as well?  i don’t know, it’s something about them that just makes me feel really uncomfortable.

i feel terrible whenever i see this guy at work now (which still isn’t that often).  i wonder if he thinks that i’m a bitch for not saying anything, or if he’s like me and just appreciates the fact that i’m treating him like a normal person and not a charity case that just suffered a major loss.  i don’t know.  it just doesn’t feel right for me to say anything.  as much as i want to just pour out the emotions – i’m so sorry to hear about it, i know what you’re going through, it gets worse before it gets better, etc. etc. etc.  i just can’t.  it’s not me.  i feel those things, i just don’t always feel the need to express them.

does that make me a total bitch?  in all honesty, are you the type of person who would think negatively of someone who hear about your tragedy second/third hand and never said anything to you about it?  or would you not even think twice about it, you wouldn’t care?

  

 

~ today i learned… the phrase “rule of thumb” is derived from an old English law which stated that you couldn’t beat your wife with anything wider than your thumb ~

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1 Comment »

  1. Ohhh I struggle with this to, with saying things and extending words because life seems to say I should (even when I don’t necessarily feel I should).

    I think a difference between the blogger and this guy is that this guy never really told YOU–he told facebook. And though you’re connected, unless you guys have a real interchange going, which it sounds like you don’t, that pretty much makes you a third party to his tragedy–just someone who overheard. Sure, he may expect you to know–but it’s not like he actually told you. With the blogger, it’s a bit different. Although, as you say, she’s faceless and told the world in the same mass-media fashion as did Mr. FB, it’s more personal, and there’s more of a connection; it’s more like you were let in than that you overheard. From my perspective anyway. And I wouldn’t jump right to him thinking you’re some heartless bitch; on the contrary, he may be glad to have someone who isn’t constantly reminding him of his loss. Someone who’s letting him carry on believing everything is still normal.

    Comment by magda — May 27, 2009 @ 9:40 pm


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