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Defriending, Befriending, and Goodness of Fit

Defriending, Befriending, and Goodness of Fit

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Published by Jane Gilgun
There’s a lot of talk these days about defriending. People do it on Facebook all the time. One minute someone’s a friend. With a click, someone is defriended. This happens not just on Facebook. Every day, people defriend other people. Everyday, people make new friends. The purpose of this article is to discuss what goes on when we defriend and befriend other people. Defriending doesn’t mean you are an eejit or jerk, although it doesn’t hurt to reflect on what went wrong, Defriending means a lack of fit. Befriending means a goodness of fit. Mary’s case study illustrates these ideas.
There’s a lot of talk these days about defriending. People do it on Facebook all the time. One minute someone’s a friend. With a click, someone is defriended. This happens not just on Facebook. Every day, people defriend other people. Everyday, people make new friends. The purpose of this article is to discuss what goes on when we defriend and befriend other people. Defriending doesn’t mean you are an eejit or jerk, although it doesn’t hurt to reflect on what went wrong, Defriending means a lack of fit. Befriending means a goodness of fit. Mary’s case study illustrates these ideas.

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Published by: Jane Gilgun on Jul 28, 2013
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Defriending,Befriending,andGoodnessofFit
ByJaneGilgun
There’salotoftalkthesedaysaboutdefriending.PeopledoitonFacebookallthetime.Oneminutesomeone’safriend.Withaclick,someoneisdefriended.ThishappensnotjustonFacebook.Everyday,peopledefriendotherpeople.Everyday,peoplemakenewfriends.Thepurposeofthisarticleistodiscusswhatgoesonwhenwedefriendandbefriendotherpeople.Defriendingdoesn’tmeanyouareaneejitorjerk,althoughitdoesn’thurttoreflectonwhatwentwrong,Defriendingmeansalackoffit.Befriendingmeansagoodnessoffit.Mary’scasestudyillustratestheseideas.
MoviesinourHeads
We’reRorschachsforeachother.ByRorschach,Imeanthatweprojectontootherpeoplewhatisinourminds.It’sasifwehavemoviesrunningthroughourheads.Wemeetnewpeople.Somethingaboutthemgetsoneormoreofthemoviesplaying.Wethinkweareseeingtheotherpersonbutwhatwereallyareseeingarethemoviesthatplayinourheads.Sometimesthemoviesarehappystories.Soweliketheperson.Sometimesthemoviesareunhappy.Wedon’tliketheotherperson.Sometimesthemoviesarescary.Weareafraidoftheotherperson.Moviesthatarehappysometimesleadtodeeperfriendships.Thishappensifwegettoknowtheotherperson’suniquequalities.Sometimeswerealizeourfirstimpressionsarewrong.Peoplewelikeatfirstmaynotsuitusaswegettoknowthem.Peoplewestartedoutnotlikingorwereafraidofmayendupfriends.Whenfriendshipsdevelop,theinfluenceofthemoviesweakens,andwegettoknowotherpeopleasindividualswiththeirownquirks,flaws,andendearingqualities.WegettoknowTHEMandnotimagesandideasleftoverfromthepast.That’swhatthemoviesthatplayinourheadsare:imagesandideasthatweformedoftenwhenwewerechildren.Whenwearechildren,wethinklikechildren.These
 
carriedoverimagesandideasusuallyserveuswell,butsometimestheyjustdon’tfitthenewsituationswe’rein.Aswegettoknowsomepeople,wemayfindwecanjokeandbeplayfulaboutflaws,ourownandtheirs.Withotherpeople,wesimplyputupwithwhatannoysuswithlittleifanycomment.Wemaynotbeasclosetopeoplewhoseflawsareofftopic.Sometimestheannoyanceswefeelaroundothersarelikethorns.Weareuncomfortablewiththem,butweputupwiththem.Thegoodpartsofthefriendshipoutweightheannoyances.Sometimesthethornsaretoomuch.Wecan’thandletherelationship.Wewantout.
ThreeWaystoDefriend
Wecandefriendotherswithacutoff,astandoff,orataperingoff.Cutoffsarequickshortchops.Peoplewhodocutoffshavemadeuptheirminds.Theydon’twantthemessinessofdiscussion.Theywantout.Somewhodocutoffsmayhavetriedtoworkthingsout.Whenthesituationappearshopeless,onepersonmayfeelforcedintoacutoffeveniftheotherpersonwantstohangon.Standoffsresultfromargumentsandaremutual.Wedisagree.Wegetfedup.Wesaysomething.Theotherpersonsayssomethingback.We’reyellingorwanttoyell.Orwe’resilentandtheotherpersonyells.Bothpeoplearebuttingtheirheadsagainststonewalls.There’sastandoff.Thedefriendingismutual.Sometimespeopleinstandoffsstopspeakingtoeachother.Astandoffbecomesacutoffwhenonepersonwantstoendtherelationshipandtheotherpersondoesn’t.
Whenwetaperoff,weignoreorareslowtorespondtoemails,texts,andphonecalls.Whenwedorespond,wearebriefanddistant.Weturndowninvitationsanddon’tofferthem.Wearecourteousandkindwhenweseetheperson.Taperingoffsometimesismutualandsometimesnot.Thereceiverofthetaperingoffcanberelievedorsadthattherelationshiphasended.Wearenolongerclosefriendsbutdistantacquaintances.Wemaystillrespondwithsympathywhenwehearofdifficulttimesorwithhappinessatgoodnews.Therelationshipnolongerhastheenjoymentofafriendship.Peoplewedefriendmaynothaveanymoreflaws,quirks,orgoodqualitiesthanthepeoplewebefriend.Wearefriendswithpeoplewefeelgoodwithandwhohavequalitieswelikeandflawswetolerateorevenfindendearing.Ifunhappymoviesspininourheadswhenwearewithsomebody,wedon’tfeelgoodwiththem.Wehavenoobligationtoworkatcreatingarelationship.Wehavenoobligationtoothersbesidescourtesyandrespect.Wedon’thavetostickaround.
 
WhenWeCan’tDefriend
Sometimeswecan’tdefriend.Childrenaredifficulttodefriend.Soarespouses,otherrelatives,bosses,andco-workers.Self-interestandthewell-beingofpeoplewhodependonusdemandsthatwegetalongwithpeopleinthesecategories.Whenwe’dliketodefriendbutcan’t,wehavetofigureouthowtoaccommodatetopeoplewehavecommitmentsto,whodependuponus,orwhomwedependforourlivelihoods.Themorevulnerablethepersonwhoseflawsannoyus,themoreimportantitisthatwefigureouthowtodealkindlywiththem.Children,forexample,arevulnerablebecauseoftheirdependencyuponparents.Atwork,themoreimportantajobanditsincomearetous,thehigherthestakesaretofigureouthowtogetalongwhenwe’dratherleave.Accommodationtopeoplewhosetraitsannoyuscanbedifficult.Alotofpeoplecan’tdoit.Theygetstuck.Feelingbadaboutourselvesorgettingstuckoverapersonwhoisessentialtoourlivesisnowaytolive.Talkingtosomeonewetrust,readingself-helpbooks,goingtoself-helpgroupslike12-Stepprograms,orparentingprogramsmayhelp.Familyandcouplecounselingcandowondersforfamilylife.Journaling,vigorousexercise,yoga,meditation,boating,hiking,andanythingelsethatcankeepusonanevenkeelareimportanttodo.Ittakeseffortandinterpersonalskillstodealconstructivelywithpeoplewewouldliketodefriendbutcan’t.
DefriendingBullies&Abusers
Somerelationshipsend.Wearebetteroff,andsoiseveryoneelseconcerned.Wemaylovetheperson’sgoodqualitiesandthegoodtimeswehavewiththem.Yet,someoftheirqualitiesandbehaviorsarenotjustbadinourimaginations.Anywaywelookatit,whatthesepeopledoishurtful.Somepeopleactlikejerksandbullies.Sometimestheyareabusive.Somearedangerous.Ifwearemarriedtopeoplelikethis,ifourbossesorco-workersarelikethis,orfamilymembersandchildrenbehavethisway,wehavetodosomethingtoprotectourselvesandanyoneelsewhodependsuponusandwhoisbeinghurt.Findingsomeonetotalktoandtheactivitiesdiscussedpreviouslyarehelpuskeepourheadsclearsothatwecanmakegooddecisions.Sometimesthethemesofmovieskeepusinsituationswe’drathergetoutof.Commonthemesinabusivesituationsarethefollowing.
 
I’matfault.Idothingsthatmakeotherpeopleangry.Ihavetodobetter.
 
IfIwereabetterspouse,parent,orworker,theotherpersonwouldn’tactthiswaytowardme.
 
Ican’tdoanythingaboutthissituation.Ijusthavetoputupwithit.

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