Through ironically colourful colourblind eyes....

9/09/2005 01:30:00 AM

Taking things for granted

A friend of mine, who I used to work with at LOJ, has confided in me about her marital problems. In a nutshell, she and her husband have a 7 year old son, and due to the problems they are having they are drifting apart, and it is affecting their son. They are still living together but contemplating whether to continue like that, the father claims to want to spend time with his family but due to difficult circumstances is unable to do so. So basically the son hears his father say he wants to be around more, but not seeing him do it. This was explained to me in an email. Now, although it was quite a lengthy email, she said something that really struck a chord with me: "...as I dont want my son growing up taking relationships for granted."

hmm...."taking relationships for granted". Out of everything in that email, this line hit me. I had never thought about it before, but now I realize this is exactly what I have been doing, for basically all my life. As I thought about the why, another line from a past conversation came to mind. In a post breakup conversation, my ex and I were discussing our communication problems (this seems to follow me everywhere I go, the rest of this post will explain why thats not at all surprising) and she made an observation that I never before thought about: "...but I cant really blame you too much because your parents dont talk".

hmm..."your parents dont talk". Thats right, they dont talk. But so what? I never thought about how significant that was until the moment she said it. Of course parents should talk, talk about the day at the office, politics, and whatever else. But my parents didnt talk. At all. About anything. The only time was to say "Good morning" or "good evening", or when one needs something from the other, or when they were having an argument. No discussions, no jokes, no nothing. And up until the point where my ex said that, I had never thought this as strange. As far as I was concerned this was the norm. This was what I grew up seeing. Hence, this was what I did for most of my life.

I was a quiet kid in high school. Very quiet. I never saw the importance in saying anything unless it was something meaningful. "Idle chatter" was a foreign notion to me, and a waste of time. I "compartmentalized" my relationships. My teacher was strictly my teacher, and we corresponded only in a manner a teacher and student should. The fact that my teacher knew me and my parents since I was 2, that myself and their children grew up together, really doesnt matter anymore as that was the past. Right now, in this moment, you are the teacher, I am the student, and we communicate as such. Why do we need to talk about anything outside of this sphere? Talking isnt important. When I get a summer job I am only there for the summer. Once the summer is over, the job is over. Hence there's no other reason to continue "talking" with anyone that worked there. Talking is an integral part in forming and maintaining relationships. If talking isnt important, then forming/maintaining relationships isnt important.

And this was how I saw the world for a long time. This kind of thinking has led me to "take relationships for granted". Relationships with friends, coworkers, fellow students, band members, choir members, prep/high/uwi teachers, potential/actual/ex girlfriends, even family. And of course my introvert nature and love for solitude with my own company didnt help matters much. Eventually there came a time where I wanted to establish and maintain relationships. But for one who for a long time didnt see the point in learning to talk to people it was not easy. I didnt know how to effectively put my thoughts to words, I didnt know what to say in certain situations, it was a difficult time. One must wonder how it is I have relationships any at all.

And yet I do.

I have crossed paths with many individuals that have helped to reshape my thinking on why and how to interact with other people. Some of these people are still in my life, some arent. My friends stuck with me because I guess they could see past the quiet exterior and see other qualities they were drawn to (thanks guys:)). Girlfriends now, for someone who wasnt exactly a "smooth talking brother" who rarely knew the right thing to say at what time and "took relationships for granted" how in the world did I have any? Good thing I cute, thats all I can say. But that can only go so far, which would also explain why none of them lasted very long. Nevertheless, each was a valuabe learning experience and helped me to "learn how to talk to people" and how to open up, amongst other things.

I learnt a lot today. So much of my life in terms of relationships were better explained with that one profound statement.."taking relationships for granted." I am still learning though, and still have a ways to go. My friends still reach out to me in various ways, even though I dont always do it back right away it doesnt mean I dont care. Just because I dont initiate a conversation doesnt mean I dont want to talk to you, i'll talk back to almost anyone, youd have to do me or a friend of mine something really bad for me not to want to talk to you. Its just that initiating and maintaing a convo is a skill im still learning. To all those who I have taken for granted our relationship, Im sorry, I know the law says ignorance is no excuse but Im hoping you'll be lenient with me :) To all my friends who continue to be there for me throughout, I am grateful for you all.

Blogger Rae did sey...

For someone who doesn't talk, you sure had a lot to share about yourself here, a great indication (among other things) that you're well on your way.

It's also because you don't do this often that I find reading your personal lengthy posts very enjoyable.

Fri Sep 09, 09:23:00 AM 2005 

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Blogger bassChocolate did sey...

What's good for you is that you're able to lay it out like this. It's a little rare to have to read a long post from you, but never a bad thing.

What I can say is, I've had a slightly similar problem lately, in that I've looked at my parents and realized just how much they have influenced my character. From my stubborness, to my openness, to my dont-take-crap attitude. Sometimes it takes others to help to show you your shortcomings, even indirectly, as in your case. But it's never a bad thing.

The communication thing is something I always babble about. It is very important. Sometimes we take for granted that people know, or understand how we're feeling. Sometimes we don't even care, and that sorta attitude drives people away all the time. I'm glad that you have been able to do that critical analysis of yourself, and having done it, I know people will cut you some slack. Change takes time, but it can happen.

Fri Sep 09, 12:36:00 PM 2005 

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Blogger laroper18 did sey...

Deep...

I have always had a problem with communication. parents, friends and others i have met along the way can tell you that. Fortunately I have met some friends who have given me no choice but to improve on my communication skills. it still needs work, but that's what time is for.

All the best with your venture. Remember others in the same boat as you...

Fri Sep 09, 01:52:00 PM 2005 

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Anonymous thinkbass did sey...

Yeah, talking and lack of communication can cripple a relationsip. Recently I was told that I don't communicate efficiently - not in the way that the person needed to hear.

So despite the chatter I do at pan - the truth is that if it's important I probably won't say it. Weird.

Talking is underrated but oh so important. Since July 2005 I've just started to learn how to do that. It took someone telling me that my not communicating was the reason that the relationship was in the state it was in (which was not good). And I still refused to believe it.

Us ppl who can be perfectly happy on our own have to remember the ppl who need us - verbally.

Let's talk!

Fri Sep 09, 07:04:00 PM 2005 

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Blogger david did sey...

its good for me to read this, cuz these r thoughts floating around my mind alot recently. ppl have always told me that i take friends and stuff for granted, as a result i dont and have never kept froends, thats y i never had a best friend. wow i feel a blog comming on. i'll have to go to my own blog for this. thanx for the inspiration, i now have somewhere to start from with my thoughts

Fri Sep 09, 07:56:00 PM 2005 

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Blogger Bashmentbasses did sey...

Di whole a oonu chat too much.

Gwaan true D.

Sat Sep 10, 12:29:00 PM 2005 

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Blogger Keiran did sey...

D,
Thanx for that post.

K

Sat Sep 10, 12:53:00 PM 2005 

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Blogger Trying To Focus did sey...

I knew you were a nice person betond that introverted person.

Tue Sep 27, 07:16:00 PM 2005 

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Blogger reluctant intellectual did sey...

D,

It's amazing how much of what you wrote sounds like me, for much the same reasons. To be honest, I always thought you'd be a cool person to make friends with, but you were shy, and I was worse!

But you underestimate youself, and so did I. Today I found a note you wrote me when I was leaving the choir at the end of sixth form. It was lovely gesture of friendship towards someone who must have seemed difficult to talk to.

You're better at communication than you thought.

Mon Oct 10, 12:10:00 AM 2005 

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