It’s been a slow week for questions, so I’m going to just share something random with you all. I’m waving the white flag. As I told Paki-Masala, Dr. Kaitlyn and Black Mamba earlier this week – I’m packing my bags and headed to the nearest convent. The white flag has long been a sign of surrender, a sign of truce or ceasefire, a request for negotiations. In my case, I’m waving the white flag to signify my surrender, wish for truce, and request for negotiations with the opposite sex.
This was a rough week! In the past few days, I’ve been confronted with the fact that the things that I say and do are not as clear to others as they are to me, in my own head. I used to think that I was so clear. Now, I’m convinced that I am perfectly clear…to myself. And maybe to other women. But definitely not to men. This happens is personal and professional situations. I used to be think of myself as a great communicator, but this week I’ve been privy to quite a few eye-opening experiences. The following is the least embarrassing and mildy funny (again, to me, in my mind) example.
I love books. I have many books. I like to date people who are also avid readers and who own many books. I often loan my books to friends and borrow books from them. Last fall, I borrowed a book from someone I used to date. I’ll refer to him as LFL. We stopped dating, but remained cordial and friendly with each other. We just weren’t really in contact anymore. I finished the book earlier this month.
One of my best friends had child #3 recently and wanted to borrow some books so she’d have some reading material while recovering from childbirth. I packed up 2 books that I chose from my collection for her and got them ready to be mailed.
I then looked at the book I’d borrowed from LFL and remembered that I’d noticed a shipping/delivery slip in the book that had his address info on it. I thought that, since I was going to mail her books (to Texas) that I’d just mail him his book too (locally). And so I did. I wrote him a note, thanking him for letting me borrow it and put it in the book and mailed it.
It did not cross my mind to call or text or email him to let him know it was on it’s way; I just sent it to him because I was already mailing books to someone else, so why not return his as well? Now you know what was going on in my mind, the model of clarity. (HA!)
He received the book and let me know he’d gotten it, and we ended up meeting up the following week for a game of pool. I’ve talked to LFL a few times since then, and everything’s cool (no one is mad or anything, that I know of.)
But after a few misunderstandings this week based (most likely) on my lack of clarity in communications, I decided to ask a married person for her take on this situation. I sometimes ask a married woman because after many days and nights of being around men, they seem to have a little more insight into how men think.
I recounted the whole background and the “mailing of the book” story to her. She had a few questions for me.
“Did LFL have many books?” Yes, he does.
“Ok, so he reads a lot. Would you loan a book to someone if you didn’t think you’d get it back?” No! I hate it when people don’t return my books or lose them. That’s rude.
“Mmhmm. Well don’t you think he would have known that you’d return his book? And maybe, just maybe, he’d have wanted you to return it in person?”
Umm. No. I hadn’t thought of that. My thought process was very basic, very linear. (Maybe too basic, too linear?) I have your book. I’m mailing books at the post office. I have your address. I’m mailing you your book.
I try extremely hard not to read into anything someone does or read more into what is said, because what I hate most in life is to be disappointed. The feeling of disappointment is the absolute worst to me. It ranks right up there with confusion, which in this case, seem to go hand-in-hand.
I had to test her theory. At what I figured to be an appropriate time in a conversation, I revisited the book-returning and asked LFL: “So, what did you think when you received the book?”
LFL is quite up-front and, apparently, far more clear than I am. After warning me that he was going to give it to me straight and not sugar coat it, he said,”I looked at the package and opened and thought…what the hell?” We talked and laughed about it later, and now things are cool. He said that he then saw the note but was a bit little baffled as to why I’d mailed him the book instead of returning it or calling or anything. He didn’t think anything was wrong, that we’d been cool – so why would I just mail him the book out of the blue?
Why did I do it? Honestly, I don’t know. I was just mailing books and wanted to return his book to him as well. I didn’t give it any more thought than that.
This is not to say that my married friend’s theory has been proven correct. It’s just that I didn’t consider what she was saying when I mailed the book.
I’ve long known that some of the things that I do and say have been misinterpreted and misunderstood by males, but it just seems to be getting worse! So much so, that I’m waving the white flag. I’m signifying that I want a truce, a request for negotiations. If I (or someone else you know and love) does or says something that seems inconsistent or confusing, please – just point it out. As you all can see, I’m quite clueless and it might be safe to assume that other men and women are too.
Do your part to help a sista (or brotha) out. The first step is realizing you have a problem! I’m slowly realizing that my communications are not as clear to others as they are in my mind’s eye. So, I’m trying to work on that. Wish me luck! hahahh!
Have a great weekend!