Barnstorming on an Invisible Segway - I'm not proud. Or tired. Well, kind of tired. [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Marissa Lingen

[ website | My Website ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

I'm not proud. Or tired. Well, kind of tired. [Apr. 29th, 2010|08:50 am]
Previous Entry Share Next Entry
[Tags|]

A couple days ago a friend asked a question that seemed like it might have more broad application than just the social situation he was mentioning, so I thought I would put it and my answer here: what he wanted to know was whether I am okay accepting help from people outside my immediate family in order to be able to do stuff while the stupid vertigo is still around.

And the answer is yes, absolutely. I am not at all proud about accepting help. It may not be that the help you offer is workable for one reason or another, but I will not be at all upset that you offered, and I will not turn whatever offer down out of the sheer desire to avoid accepting help.

What I am not good at is soliciting help from scratch. "You know what would be fun? If you came and got me and then [actual fun thing here]," or, "If you rode the bus down and came over and then [actual fun thing here]," is very hard for me. It sounds to me like, "You know what would be fun? If you baked me a pan of brownies. Wouldn't that be awesome? You could go to the store, and buy the ingredients, and do all the work, and then I would have brownies. Doesn't that sound like fun?" Yes, I know I've baked people brownies before and will likely do it again. And in fact I do like baking brownies. But, "How about I make you a pan of brownies?" is very different from, "How about you make me a pan of brownies?"
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: careswen
2010-04-29 02:25 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Not that you should always have to be the Initiator, but you are always welcome to ask me/mine to come to you. I don't find being invited over as a chore. In fact, I was raised NOT to invite myself to other people's homes, so there's that. I always like it when people appear to want to spend time with me! :)
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-04-29 03:07 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Inviting people over to hang out here is actually somewhat different for me than inviting people to come here in order to take me somewhere else. If I invite people over, I mostly cook or bake or at least make tea. So they're doing something (driving), but I'm doing something too. So that's all right. Whereas if I said, "Why don't you come fetch me and we will go out for coffee?", then the coffee people would be making the tea and doing any baking that was wanted. Not me. So.

I keep thinking we need to set up a time for you guys to come over and have dinner and watch Real Genius. But then, I keep thinking we need to set up a time for you guys to come over and have dinner and play Battlestar, too. I fear we're going to end up deciding to do at least one of these without markgritter, because his travel is The Crazy for awhile.
[User Picture]From: careswen
2010-04-30 12:24 am (UTC)

(Link)

#1: You're allowed. People who have driven across town to take me to Urgent Care get to ask me to drive across town to take them to coffee. Which would be way more fun and less expensive.

#2: I like these ideas. I can be patient if that helps for working with Mark's schedule.

In any case in which it pleases thee, how's about you send me some dates, and we will play Dueling Datebooks?
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-04-30 01:59 pm (UTC)

(Link)

#1: yes, but you needed to go to the Urgent Care. I don't need to go to coffee.

...on any particular day. But I do need to sometimes get one-on-one hangout time with friends. Hmm. Will try to mentally phrase it that way even though it's clearly not the same kind of need.

Dueling Datebooks it is!
[User Picture]From: lotusice
2010-04-29 02:31 pm (UTC)

(Link)

You know, you *know* that if I lived anywhere in the vicinity I'd be over in your face bringing the fun all the time.
[User Picture]From: lotusice
2010-04-29 02:32 pm (UTC)

(Link)

I wouldn't even wait for it to come 'round on the guitar. ;p
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-04-29 03:10 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Wow! Because I can often wait for it to come 'round again on the guitar.
[User Picture]From: p_j_cleary
2010-04-29 02:39 pm (UTC)

(Link)

This is just a really thinly-disguised solicitation for brownies, isn't it?
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-04-29 03:08 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Actually I would rather make brownies than eat brownies. So in that sense that metaphor is about knowing when I'm being ridiculous.
[User Picture]From: moiread
2010-04-29 03:39 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Haha. This! Same here. I love to bake but I only ever want one, maybe two, cookies out of a batch or one half of a regular serving size of brownie from the pan. But you can't make just two cookies! Or half a brownie! And I guess that even if you could (like with those brownies-in-a-mug recipes or whatever), I wouldn't want to. It would feel wrong. The RIGHT WAY is to make the full batch and give the rest to the people around you until they are all round and fat and happy.

Edited at 2010-04-29 03:41 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-04-29 03:45 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Well, and the brownie-in-a-mug type recipe hardly ever gives you the all too crucial stage of batter in any appreciable amount!
From: thoughtdancer
2010-04-29 05:32 pm (UTC)

(Link)

I do this with my fruit bread. I really don't like it much, so I usually take the heal.

But my husband and our local friend can kill the rest of the loaf between them, pretty much as soon as it's cool enough to cut.
[User Picture]From: moiread
2010-04-29 02:43 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Yeah. On really dead days or days I just plain can't walk, I always feel like I'm being unfair if I ask someone for a ride to wherever I need to go. And unlike your scenarios, there isn't even anything fun for them in it. Just, you know, they drive me there and then I'm gone. Sometimes I have to ask anyway, whether it makes me feel shitty or not, but still. The fact remains that it makes me feel shitty.

Interestingly enough, however, "Can you pick up X for me if/while you're out already?" does not bother me at all, even if getting X involves making a detour they would not otherwise have made.
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-04-29 03:09 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Does "out" to you feel like a thing very separate from "in"? I will ask timprov or markgritter or my mom to run errands "on our way home" that are not by any definition on our way home, that are, in fact, directly out of our way from home. But--out already. You know? Out different from in and all.
[User Picture]From: dd_b
2010-04-29 03:32 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Yep, different. Even though I'm not particularly strongly an introvert.
[User Picture]From: moiread
2010-04-29 03:33 pm (UTC)

(Link)

It definitely does! Which may be because going out requires a bunch of prep and effort for me a lot of the time, so in my head asking someone else to go out just for me seems like a lot. And I guess it also follows that since I am only out and about on good days (as opposed to the days where I am struggling to get to one single place because I absolutely have to do it that day and could not reschedule it and then after it's done I am going to come home again and die, which are the scenarios where I have to ask for rides), someone else asking me to pick up X for them while I'm out seems totally reasonable to me. I definitely know on a rational level that not everyone (or even most people) operates like me (if only because they are not disabled and do not have to organize things in that way). And there are definitely people in my life for whom the standards are very different from mine. I can adjust my thinking accordingly in some places! But still. That's what governs whether or not it instinctively causes negative feelings on my end, I think.

Edited at 2010-04-29 03:36 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-04-29 03:49 pm (UTC)

(Link)

I think for me it started when we lived in Hayward. That wasn't the same reason as my vertigo or your health issues for going out being a lot of prep and effort, but it still was the case that a trip to the bank, the post office, and the library would take a huge chunk of the afternoon. Whereas here it takes well under an hour for an able-bodied person. Which I am not at the moment. So.
From: diatryma
2010-04-29 10:05 pm (UTC)

(Link)

I think I have 'car' as a place to be.
[User Picture]From: mamapduck
2010-04-29 04:05 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Our logistics suck, but for the record, I think baking you (or anyone) a pan of brownies sounds like a smashingly good time. Baking is my bliss. :) Should the opportunity ever arise, please, please feel encouraged to say, "hey, how about you make me a pan of brownies?"

Careswan also makes a good point. I had a friend get really pissy at me a couple years back because I always invited him to my home and never came to his... and I pointed out that I had never been INVITED to his. I cannot generally invite myself to other people's houses. It's just not how I was brought up. And having lived until my mid-twenties without driving and being married to a man who will never be able to drive, I am more open about the concept of a friend who has to be picked up suggesting a plan. I'd actually get worried that I was a pest if the non-driver *never* suggested going places. It could feel one-sided.

Bottom line: People like Mris. They are probably happier than you think about being invited to come fetch you and take you places. :)
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-04-29 05:15 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Oh, I can't invite myself to other people's houses, either. I know that for some people, the mark of good friends or good neighbors is Just Dropping By, and that is Just Not Me (and even more Not Us). Sometimes I can be vague about where we could do something ("Do you want to get together one of these nights? or a weekend afternoon?"), or sometimes when I was independently mobile I could call and say, "I'm going to be in the neighborhood, do you want to grab a cup of coffee or something?" And then if they said, "Why don't you just come in and hang out a bit," then it was okay.

If I was more independently mobile, this might well be into the phase of a couple of friendships where my difficulties with inviting myself over would be annoying to them. Or it may be that they honestly wouldn't notice the difference in the situations I've described above. Not sure which things are important to which people.
[User Picture]From: asciikitty
2010-04-29 04:26 pm (UTC)

(Link)

But it sounds more like you're asking* "how about you bake *us both* a pan of brownies" - they get to do the fun thing with you too!

*not actually asking, but could be
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-04-29 05:16 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Yes, and I have every expectation that my friends are strong enough personalities to say, "Um, I don't actually like brownies. Or any chocolate at all. How do you feel about lemon bars? Or what if it was oatmeal raisin cookies instead?"

I apparently have difficulty acting on that expectation, but I have it.
[User Picture]From: pnkrokhockeymom
2010-04-29 05:48 pm (UTC)

(Link)

We seem to have many of the same sorts of ideas, from reading the comments, about when this sort of thing is appropriate.

It took me dating Montreal for like EIGHT MONTHS before I would let him run to the store for me, and then it was only because that was when Rockgod's mom got sick and I had a houseful of people. Even now I will only very rarely let him *go* to the store, but I will call and ask him to pick something up on his way home...
[User Picture]From: pnkrokhockeymom
2010-04-29 05:48 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Oh, I should add, "appropriate" is only for ME. I never think it's inappropriate when someone else asks me to do things. How weird is THAT.
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-04-29 05:55 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Not weird at all!

I had to learn to stop reflexively apologizing for the mess when people came over, because it made them feel like their houses must seem like pits of squalor to me. It's not that I'm thinking, "Oh, well, I need to be a good housekeeper, but other people are just not as good as me," or, "I need to be a considerate friend, but I can't expect that others will." It's that the bits I'm in charge of and the bits I'm not in charge of are separated fairly firmly for me (if not always accurately), and so what bothers me is when I'm registering that I am making someone else deal with what I "ought to" deal with. And I don't have nearly so firm a concept of what other people "ought to" deal with.

Edited at 2010-04-29 05:56 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: redbird
2010-04-30 12:35 am (UTC)

(Link)

*nod* That one is tricky; it goes with reminding myself that just because someone keeps a cleaner house than I do doesn't mean they're judging me. Some days I believe that.
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-04-30 02:00 pm (UTC)

(Link)

I think this one is made harder by the fact that you can't say, "Nobody would be judgmental about that," because clearly some people would. But "My friends wouldn't," is a different thing.
[User Picture]From: reveritas
2010-04-30 12:07 am (UTC)

(Link)

Oh yeah. We're way the same in this.
[User Picture]From: wordswoman
2010-04-30 01:25 am (UTC)

(Link)

This comment hereby represents One Sincere Offer To Do Something Fun Or Useful For/With You, redeemable anytime our scheduling planets align.

If it also involves careswen and mmerriam, and/or our dogs, all the better.

:)
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-04-30 02:01 pm (UTC)

(Link)

Remind me how big your dog is? Ista has played with dogs many, many times her size, but I tend to want to be careful about first meetings with the really big dogs, because there have been a couple of really sweet big dogs that just flat-out terrified her. (And on the other hand some really sweet big dogs that didn't. So.)
[User Picture]From: wordswoman
2010-04-30 03:09 pm (UTC)

(Link)

She's a big girl! About 80 lbs. We don't know exactly what she is, but our best guess is a lab-rottie mix. Very mellow in general, somewhat timid/fearful in new situations. In the two months we've had her, she has never been more aggressive than a warning growl if another dog is getting too rambunctious for her, e.g. barking in her face or lunging at her. But I can't say that I know how she behaves with other dogs in all situations yet, so I would proceed carefully too.
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-05-04 01:46 pm (UTC)

(Link)

I have not forgotten you, I just wanted to say! We're in the middle of some scheduling bits. I will poke you when I know what is going on with that.
[User Picture]From: papersky
2010-04-30 12:04 pm (UTC)

(Link)

I was once in an online discussion about asking people to give up a seat on buses. I can't do this. I mean in Montreal it's pretty much not a problem -- I get on a bus, somebody gives me a seat about 95% of the time. People are lovely. But if they don't, I stand there and hurt. I'm not very good at standing up on buses, but I'm better at it than I am at asking a stranger to give me their seat. But lots of people in the discussion said that they'd always give up their seat if asked, and never otherwise.

Anyway, sometime after this discussion I was on a bus and somebody was sitting in the "please give this seat to somebody who needs it more than you" seat and they didn't give it and they really didn't look like they needed it more than me, and nobody else gave me a seat either and it was quite a long ride and my leg was hurting more and more and I found myself fantasizing that I would take out my pen-knife and stab this person and then throw them out of the bus door and sit down quickly and nobody would notice, and then I caught myself and I said to myself "Is it actually easier to imagine killing somebody for their seat than asking them for it?" And this isn't what you might call a good thing.
[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-04-30 02:03 pm (UTC)

(Link)

It isn't, but I don't really see what there is you can do about it. I mean, aside from not killing the person, which I continue to favor, as I expect visiting you in your current accommodations is much more pleasant.

(Although if you come up with a mental trick for making yourself more able to ask for the seat, please tell me what it is so I can see if it works on me too.)

Edited at 2010-04-30 02:05 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]From: cissa
2010-05-02 01:12 am (UTC)

(Link)

I know, and I share the feeling but- on the giving side, sometimes it's REALLY helpful to know what someone would welcome.