Everybody's Fool

I've been having quite a few introspective moments lately - I've been focusing so much on ME, ME, ME these days.

I think that I'm a nice person. Or at least, I'd like to think of myself as a nice person. I'm friendly, I'm polite and I have manners. I may be a little bit introverted and I used to be horrifically shy, but I'm a good person underneath all of that. If you fell over, I would help you up. If your leggings were tucked up in your skirt and you were flashing your knickers to the world, I would pull you aside and tell you, even if you were a strangers. When I read stories about people doing awful things, I can't even comprehend it. What can I say - I like being a nice person.

But am I? There are events that have happened in the past that have made me question this part of myself. One falling out with a friend comes to mind, one that happened a few years back while we were travelling together. I thought I was being a nice person and I thought I was being supportive, but in the end it wasn't enough and the relationship ended around the same time as the holiday did. Was that my fault? Was I to blame for the turn of events that changed that friendship? I can absolutely say yes - at least in part. But isn't admitting faults a good thing? And does that mean that I'm not a nice person? If you asked this friend, I'm sure she would agree with that statement. And who decides what nice is, anyway?

I think that I'm a good listener. I've always been a person that others turn to when they need to vent or need advice. I think my quieter nature helped me in this field and it's also why I chose to study first psychology and secondly teaching at university. I volunteered as an online counsellor for teens when I was fifteen, and I still wonder if it's something which I should pursue again when I grow up. I may not have all the answers, but I can certainly give you my attention, if you need it. I think that I'm pretty perceptive when it comes to knowing when someone needs a chance to talk. Or just sit and be silent. Or be distracted with randomness until the time is right. I take things to heart and I over-think events more than I should, but it's mainly because I care about what happens to that person, and I want to do the right thing by them.

But am I? I try hard to be there for people when they need me, but I'll admit that I can be selfish. Sometimes I want to be the one that others listen to. One of my pet hates is when people tune out to what you are saying midway through the conversation - and turn it about themselves. It's one of the reasons why I find it hard to open up to people straight away in person, though it's often easier to offload here. But haven't I been guilty of doing that in conversation? Being overseas and away from my family and friends is bittersweet, because as much as you try, there are things you can't pick up on from a thousand miles away. I feel like I've let people down and have missed out on important life events, simply by being away for so long.

I think that I'm a good companion. I don't have a giant circle of friends; in fact, I could probably list my real friends on one hand. I have my moments where I'm more than a little irritating or less-than-fun to be around, like we all do, but once you're a friend of mine? I'll support you for life. I think a good friend is worth fighting for. I'm the kind of person who would take one good friend over a roomful of faces - because I want people around me that will be in it for the long haul. And that's the kind of friend that I want to be. I want to be a friend who knows everything about you, someone who your other friends & family members like. I try so hard to remember things like birthdays and special occasions, and I like to spoil people with gifts or words or appropriate musical lyrics.

But am I? Is there a reason why I've never been a member of a crowd? All my life, even when I was in high school, this never happened with me - and while it could be looked at as a positive thing, it could also be the opposite. I even notice it here, in the blog world. Over the past few years, my blog has gifted me with several strong online friendships that I treasure, but blogging now? It's different. There are new cliques forming everywhere I look, and it's difficult to break into them, as hard as you try. I tend to put my all into relationships, and because of this, I tend to be the one who becomes more attached. As such, I can sometimes be walked over by others - whether on purpose, or through unintentional means. I have tried so hard not to let others disappoint me, but it happens more than I'd like to admit. I wonder if this is because subconsciously I'm trying to make more friends, but it's just not working for me? Luckily, the boy is the same - he's always been a bit of an individual when it comes to friends, just like me. For the most part, it's a good thing. But sometimes, like when you're putting together a mock wedding guest list, it can be really upsetting to see just how few people have put in the time with YOU, even enough to warrant them an invitation to the most important day of your life. Maybe I'm not as good a companion as I think I am.

If you've made it down here, I salute you - this post rambled on for longer than I expected it to. Sometimes the whole soul searching thing can bring about more questions than it does answers.

13 Comments • Labels: ,  


Nathan Pralle said...

1. You ARE a nice person, that much I know for certain. I know that because the bulk of people who know you count you as a nice person.

Plus, nice people can't always be nice. They're not called PERFECT people, just nice people. We screw up, and sometimes -- sometimes you just have to be an asshole. In fact, sometimes it's required to be nice, because you're cutting off what would otherwise drag out or be further destructive, etc.

Plus, I'm an excellent judge of character.

2. All I hear you saying here is, "I love to be a good listener, but sometimes I really need people to hear ME." Nothing wrong nor selfish with that; even the best of listeners need their release and acknowledgment, too. If you don't get it, you'll feel emotionally wanting. I, too, hate it when people turn something about YOU around into something about THEM. You want to scream, "I care, I really do, but for once, I NEED you to hear about me!"

3. I can't see why you wouldn't be a good companion, but I can completely see how you'd find yourself floating between various groups of people and never necesarily being in the centre. This might be kinda like I was in school -- always the go-between between groups of friends, many of them vastly different from each other, but never in the centre of any of the groups because I was unwilling to shut out the other. I think people like you and I tend to be Great Compromisers insomuch as we get along with almost anyone but we do so by not taking extreme positions.

That's my take; take it as you see useful, I guess.

Jess said...

I think you are all three of these things. I think what's happening is that you aren't perfect and you've noticed it. That doesn't mean you aren't still a good person, a nice person, a good listener, a good friend. It just means that you aren't perfect 100% of the time at doing those things, and neither is anyone else, so it's fine, really.

Ashley said...

I really appreciate this post. I've had a lot of these same thoughts myself, because I've always thought of myself as being kind and thoughtful, but especially as I get older, I realize that while I am nice to people, I'm not particularly generous. I don't go above and beyond. I'm really quite selfish.

I think that if you're self aware enough to question these things, then you're probably ahead of a lot of people. I heard someone say something like this once, but I work at a library and the people who come up to me and say, "this is probably a stupid question," are never the ones who ask stupid questions. It's always the oblivious people. I have no idea if that makes any sense outside of my head!

Britt said...

I've never met you in real life, but if I ever do, I'm sure I'd like you very much. From what I know of you, I think you are all of those things. No one is perfect. Sometimes it's hard to say that it's ok to be not perfect all of the time. Get Jase to give you a big hug and remind you that you are a great person!

I have to agree with the comment about cliquey groups in blog land. When I first started blogging, I was so hesitant to comment because I didn't feel like I fit in with the group who knew each other so well. I'm not sure that the bloggers meant to be exclusive or not, but I sure have felt that way many times.

-R- said...

I think you can be a nice person and a good companion and still not get along with everyone. I think you can be a good listener and still take over conversations sometimes.

I'm a good person and a good listener, but not all the time and not to everyone. I try, but no one is perfect.

AshleyD said...

I agree with everything that has been said in the previous comments. The fact that you even wrote this post proves to me that you are a nice person. You care about others and how you are being perceived and that's so much more than can be said for most people.

LaLa said...

Yes, you are a nice person, sometimes people just stop being friends because your friendship had a time limit on it, you just never knew. Sometimes it ends quite dramatically but mostly they just whimper out and that person is no longer in your life anymore.

And sometimes, you need to cut the dead wood out of your life and it's healthier for both of you to not be friends anymore.

You are a good person, you are a good listener and I think you're just lovely.


Kirsten said...

Everything you wrote in this post sounds so much like ME. I'm an introvert, I listen far more than I contribute to a conversation, but when I do speak, I need to be heard. I don't stick with one crowd - never have - and I kind of like not being pigeon-holed that way. And I know I'm a nice person, if other people don't think so, then I guess it's not meant to be.

My husband says that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Part of life's lessons is trying to figure out who's with us for the short term and letting them go when it's time, and who's around for life and making sure they stick around.

Katie said...

I don't know you in person but from reading your blog and talking with you via comments, you've always appeared to be a nice person AND a great listener. It's good to stop and have a deeper think about these things though - it's easy to slip not realise you're turning into something you don't want to be!

Fuzzy Cert said...

1. You ARE nice. We both know what happened on that holiday. And it had very little to do with you, and more with her attitude, not yours.

2. You are a good listener. You've listened to me whinge many a time, and you've always been nothing but supportive.


~Mum~ said...

Baby girl - listen to Nathan - his response is perfect.

I go through the same stuff myself .. as you know I've had my ups and down with friendships over the past couple of years (FUBS !!) and it has really led me to question myself - but you have to believe that you do the best you know how at the time ...

love you
can't wait till you come home

Emily Jane said...

I loved this post and I can totally relate, especially to the last part. I was never popular in high school and I'm finding the same thing in blogging too - I find that cliques form everywhere and I feel like a loser trying to "break in" so I've just given up and learned to be okay with the fact that I may never be a super popular blogger, but at the end of the day I have a handful of really genuine people who read and comment, who email or text, and I don't have to sacrifice what I want to write about for the sake of what's easier and more relatable to the masses.

I'm so glad I found YOUR blog! :)

Anonymous said...

I wonder if I'm a good companion all the time, since I too don't have a large group of friends and find it hard to break into all the cliques popping up all over the place. I think maybe I just haven't found my group yet.

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