Free for All Fridays #4 – Waving the White Flag

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 is me, raising the white flag.

this is me, raising the white flag.

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.

when in doubt, ask a married person.

when in doubt, ask a married person.

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!



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11 responses to “Free for All Fridays #4 – Waving the White Flag

  1. sameeoneverything

    cornbread, hooold up. you said that there’s really no difference btwn men & women in regards to emotional responses, but then u said that there’s traditional guy and traditional female mentalities. ?? i’m confused about that but i agree w/the comment about it being a case by case situation. what’s best is going to be however two people communicate that works or them.

  2. i think we all are sometimes misunderstood. most of the time, dealing with the opposite sex, we have to read between the lines. that’s the fun part of a relationship(smile). trying to figure your significant other out. the problem is you will never figure them out.

  3. Number 4

    I suppose from his pov it would look like you went out of your way to get his book back to him without making any contact at all. It gives the impression that you really don’t wanna hear or see this dude, like some sort of lingering discontent. I think from his perspective it’s easy to think that if yall were cool you could’ve at least text, called, or just caught up for a game of pool and then give him the book there. And as I, personally, don’t really make time to go to the Post Office much, it would give me the impression that you did go out of your way to avoid contact. After all, he doesn’t know that you were mailing all sorts of books that day. Rational thinking can sometimes not take into account cultural and gender-perceptional norms.

  4. Aaliyah

    Well Sam, I’m not surprised you mailed the book. But, I do see where he’s coming from. Being that it wasn’t a surprise gift or something to lift someone’s spirit, a head’s up would have been nice. I mean did he mail the book to you when you borrowed it? Personally, the way the economy is, I would have called or texted just to make sure he still lived in his existing residence. People have been moving like a son of a gun. You know I have always told you that you live in your own little quirky world. love ya

  5. oh yeah..married people dont know more than anybody else..clearly they’re delusional…they’re married…HAHA!

  6. That was a rationale course of action..he’s just still trying to holla…every guy would not have responded like that…I sure wouldn’t have..I would’ve just said “bet, got my book back…” and kept it moving.

    In reality there is no diffeence between women and men in regards to emotional responses and carrying on about random things…you have more of a traditional “guy mentality” on some things, adn there are many other females in your same boat while your boy had a traditionaly “female” response to the whole thing… so just know that it’s all a case-by-case situation…if he wanted to see you, he should’ve just said it, and stopped the round-about BS about some raggedy book..ha…

    Oh, and for any ladies reading this that want a normal guy that won’t give you drama, and will open your doors for you..YELL at me!..oh, and I can cook and play spades too…

  7. sameeoneverything

    see… i guess b/c we actually are cool, i didn’t even consider what I did could be taken that way!

  8. Hollypop

    This is the best line in this post: ‘I have your book. I’m mailing books at the post office. I have your address. I’m mailing you your book.’ HAHAHA!!!

    Oh your linear thinking cracks me up. As does the lovely photo of the white flag (that is you?). Again, HAHAHAHHA!!

    But it is true, men can be just as baffling as we women are to them. I suppose it’s the Venus and Mars syndrome, but I have to also suspect the advent and evolution of women’s rights prolly have our male counterparts a wee bit confused. I mean, after thousands of years of them knocking us on the head and dragging us to their caves, literally owning us, making us wear all kinds of uncomfortable clothing, and killing us because we are not male (in some cultures), men may be a bit confused as to their current role in our society in relation to women.

    We want our independence, our free thinking and jobs, but was also want to know that we are being taken care of (as do our parents). To some men, these might be diametrically opposing phenomenon.

    Well, boys, you’ll just have to figure it out. And we, girls, will have to do our part at guiding them (as if children and pets aren’t enough…sigh….a woman’s work is never done).

  9. PharmT

    I think that if I were the LFL I would’ve thought the same thing. It seems a bit impersonal to just send it without forewarning. It reminds me a bit of an ex purging another’s belongings and mailing them as a sign that “we’re through.” So, since the two of you are cool, a text or phone call may have been nice beforehand. Although I do understand the impulse to just do it and kill two birds with one stone (who wants to go to the post office multiple times and you did have the book for quite an extended period of time), I probably would have sent a text to let him know it was on the way.

  10. sameeoneverything

    paki-masala, i think he was just confused about why i didn’t call him when we were cool. but the way you’re looking at it just goes to show that everyone takes things differently. my main idea was that we all just need to make sure we’re communicating effectively. 🙂

  11. pakimasala

    Well all I have to say is that at least you were kind enough to mail that book back. I let the last guy I dated borrow a book and I am for certain I will never see that book again…

    No Girl! That was nice of you to return the book with a note. I would have appreciated it if I was LFL. If the guy I last dated was courteous to return my book by mail, I would have been happy with that even if we never spoke, cause frankly I loved that book. Nope he decided to keep it selfishly. I will never see that book again.

    And what was LFL confused about? He could have called you and said thank you for returning by book that was very kind of you.

    See the moral is that if it was a man he would have kept that book, but you were nice enough to return it. I ask all the men out there would you care enough to return that book or would you keep it? Maybe they would keep it as a memory of you. (Sarcasm) Who knows!

    I give up too! My white flag is up. I surrender.

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