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February 18th, 2016

A friend thing

It's about whether or not it's likely to happen again.

Time to strike a balance between "vague enough to make a general point" and "specific enough to get an issue off my chest": Someone I'm friends with did something last night that, metaphorically, put my teeth on edge. Not a bad thing, but a frustrating thing. I've thought, first before I went to sleep then this morning, if I wanted to talk to my friend about this: You put me in an awkward situation and I had no polite way to end it, and that's not fair.

Again, this is someone I'm fond of, going back several years, and I likely could have brought up my issue in a way that wouldn't cause any of us to get defensive...but in the moment and for a while afterward I was still worried bringing up the issue would go badly, and we'd both just be frustrated with each other.

I decided to let it pass; I'd only need to bring it up if my friend does this again: OK, this thing you're doing? It's becoming a habit, and it shouldn't. And my friend is smart enough to see if it starts to become a habit.

There. Navigating the shoals of being social. Sometimes there are shoals. Um, again, metaphorically speaking.

A friend thing: Addendum

I'll be more specific here about what I just brought up somewhat non-specifically here:

Last night I went to David Walker's signing at the Portland Things From Another World: yesterday was the debut of his latest comic, Power Man and Iron Fist for Marvel Comics, and Walker's been busy enough lately that he's gotten all sorts of other good comics out, including his damn good revival of Shaft. (He's worked enormously hard to get to this point, and lately, finally, it's been paying off in more attention and praise.) He got a good turnout, and happily visited with a bunch of cool people as he signed their comics and trade collections.

One friend of mine who I haven't seen for a while showed up, not for the signing but because it was New Comic Day and they had books waiting to be bought. My friend and I saw each other, said hi, and started visiting in line while I waited to visit with Walker and have him sign a book of his. David, my friend, and I visited for a few minutes, then my friend and I...kept visiting. Or more to the point, my friend kept talking.

I felt button-holed. Not much chance to add my own thoughts and updates to what became a fairly one-sided conversation. Not much of the give-and-take you hope to have in a good talk. And I was more and more aware that friends and acquaintances I also wanted to say "hi" to were passing through the event, and I was missing them. And my friend wasn't wrapping things up. I tried sending some signals that I wanted to end the talk; I didn't want to bluntly say "Well, it's been good to see you, and now I'm going to say hi to some other people." Because I worried I'd sound like I don't want to visit you, because I meant I want to visit you and others.

Eventually my friend finished so that they could head to a late dinner, and apologized for how long and one-sided our chat had been. So, at some level, my friend knows that I'd felt button-holed; I didn't need to bring it up again. Unless, as I said in the other entry, it happens again.

Venting accomplished.