torsdag 3 augusti 2017

Leaving someone alone.

[the following blog post relates to social interaction and can be very relevant for those of us who do a lot of activism or are very passionate about a subject]

I was asked today what my thought are about when I have a falling out with someone in the social circles of larp and get asked to leave them alone. After how long time would it be ok to send the other person a message? Would it be ok for example to send an email after two years?

I initially misunderstood the question, which we discovered after a while but I find this to be an interesting subject. I have, in the course of my feminist activism on social media have people ask me to leave them alone, or to have minimal contact with them, or to not speak to them at all. This does not mean that they are anti-feminist or anything, usually it has more to do with personalities or methods clashing or me doing things I felt were right and just but which hurt them on a personal level. The more you interact with people, the more likely it is you will also have had negative interactions with them.

Now, unless they are a member of a forum I admin and my job as an admin warrants contact with them I have this approach to respecting the request of no contact:

I will not initiate any contact with them, not in public spaces, not at parties or conferences. I will not send them messages in social media or via mail. I will avoid commenting on their comments in social media. I will not let outsiders mediate between us, unless I am certain the offer to mediate is made on request on the person who requested to have no Contact with me.

If I am invited to a larp Group with the person, I will decline, possibly giving an explanation to the person inviting me of where me and the other person stand at the moment. I would possibly go to the same larp as the other person, depending on how large the larp was and the physical space where it would be held. I would however not leave a larp if the other person signed on later than me. But I would be very aware of respecting the physical space of the other person and not engage in contact.

If the other person was forced to have Contact with me I would try to keep that Contact brief, non dramatic and to the point. I would try to not take advantage of the situation to sort out our differences. If the other person said that they would like to use the contact to also work on our relationship I would try to be empathetic towards them, if I had the emotional and mental energy for them, otherwise tell them I was happy to do so at another time.

If the other person sent me some kind of message online or sent a mutual friend I would try to be in a good headspace when accepting the message and if the content was that they were ready to end the "no contact" I would try to find out if they wanted to talk about what happened or just move on with our lives. If they wanted to talk I would be honest with what I would need for it to be a good talk.

I find to be asked to leave someone alone to be a very reasonable request. There are very few people that we absolutely have to be in contact with. To respect someone's request to not contact them is to give them space and time. You might think that if you just got to talk to them and explain what you really meant or what you really think they might be able to see you differently. But by respecting their request for no contact or minimal contact you are giving them the gift of having a bit of integrity.

When they feel ready, they might contact you.

Now my brain does work in the way that if there has been enough time and the person I'm leaving alone isn't someone I had a lot of contact with it is very possible that I might get an email after two years and be like "" I'm sorry for that but we all age and my memory isn't what it used to be. Which can be a good thing for some people.

Now I know it can be rough to know as a larper and/or a nerd that out there is someone who dislikes you. And it's ok to mourn the relationship if you had a really good friendship going. But the way I see it ignoring their request is about you and not them. And you can handle it. It will all work out in the end.

It has to.

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