One of my friends doesn't like that I comment on her choices. Let's call her Lavender. She and I met during a group activity several months ago. We've barely begun a friendship, really. Recently, we ate lunch together and she shared that she's decided to stop commenting on the things that she hears said around her at work. I just wrote a post about how I commented on someone's use of the term "towel head" near my cube in my office, so her choice appeared to be in direct conflict to my life choice. I brought up my disagreement with her, and she told me that it makes her feel uncomfortable when I offer unsolicited comments. In my view, I said, "Hey, I don't like this," and she said, "You keep quiet unless I ask you to talk to me about this."
One thing I'm learning with both Lavender and one of my sisters is that we can have great communication skills, and that doesn't necessarily equate to each of us wanting to talk about the same topics. For instance, I prefer to talk through heated disagreements -- flesh them out, get to the deeper meaning behind the discomfort, insult, or offense. Lavender and my sister appear to shy away from uncomfortable. One says, I'm uncomfortable; and the other says, I feel too angry to talk with you. (Gah. My parents embodied this dynamic! Of course, of course. There's that pattern, I recognize it now.) This is how Lavender and my sister need to be at this time for reasons of their own. So, I send both of them love, and I keep breathing deep breaths in, deep breaths out, as the uncertainty of the purpose of our bonds develops in its way.
Uncertain and uncomfortable are two emotions that seem "bad" in this culture. They're feelings, hormone reception and nervous system interaction. They can mean different things in different situations. I read a quote attributed to Gandhi, something like, "I offer my bad side to the Great with as much grace as my good side." I like this as it applies to emotions.
Well hello there.