May 11, 2004

Sometimes, due to a little spat with someone... you can lose a friend or two. At that instance, you have to ask yourself: if you lost them over a little issue like that, how good a friend are they really? I have experienced this numerous times, and somehow I come out on top.
- Metaphysically Wrinkle-Free

I found this statement rather ... odd. For the sake of argument, let's say that the specifics of the "little spat" are not known to the reader, and that the reader holds absolutely no personal investment (beyond, apparently, curiosity -- or else why read?) as to the nature of their resolution. In most blog cases, this will be absolutely true!

Several different ways of looking at this, then.

1. Who defines what makes a "little spat"?
2. How self-honest is the assessment of the incident?

From the reader's perspective, it can only ever be the blog writer who defines and assesses -- who indeed is the only vehicle through which the reader can perceive -- but for every interaction with others written about, there are at least one and maybe more invisible people behind the entry, each of whom might well see the underlying incident very differently. The action of writing one's own actions and assessments publicly, in and of itself, must necessarily to some extent be self-serving: why place them on display if one does not at some level wish another to read ... and (not infrequently, but not quite always) to provide the implied tacit agreement and support of silence (aka lack of negative feedback)? -- Although sometimes the nature of that self-serving does twist to create a perpetual, unjustified, suffering victimhood: where any perception of conflict is made to manifest as the other's fault, unfairly and without reason. (Interestingly, these also tend to be the ones who most actively avoid conflict -- and in so avoiding, create or magnify it.)

It is an extremely rare person who is able to examine their own actions, even to themself, without spinning so as to make themself look better: I don't know that I have succeeded even yet. Perhaps the writer is being as objective with themself as is possible, perhaps overt subjectivity is preferred, perhaps the writer tries with varying degrees of success for one and not the other, and perhaps their perception thereof comes close to what a non directly-involved observer might see: but, if the event being written about is to be understood and not just read to fill time, it is incumbent upon the reader to equally assess the writer's capacity for self-honesty.

3. How self-honest is the assessment of the friend?
4. How self-honest is the assessment of the consequences?

Is the friend truly "lost" due to the incident, or have they just been written off because clearing the air would be harder and might require either a more honest self-assessment or even actual confrontation? That there was an issue, and that not a minor one to at least one of the parties involved, is clear. The writer defines it as a "little spat" -- and yet perceives the friend to have been lost as a result. Either the writer is not accurately seeing the consequence, or else either the writer or the friend see this as something more than "little". This particular writer chooses a third route: how good a friend could they have been in the first place, if such a "little" thing causes them to be lost? Here, the "goodness" of the friend is defined by their willingness to -- accept, without conflict? The reader cannot know whether the writer's assessment is self-honest. The reader can only recognise what has been written.

5. "I have experienced this numerous times, ..."

And here the writer is direct: this is not the first time a friend was perceived to have been lost, over a "little" spat. Once, is accident. Twice, is coincidence. But more than twice?

6. "and somehow I come out on top."

Indeed. And after all, what else is possible: given who is doing the interpreting?

Smile of the day:

Married life is full of excitement and frustration.

In the first year of marriage, the man speaks and the woman listens.
In the second year, the woman speaks and the man listens.
In the third year, they both speak and the neighbours listen.

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