The f Language Barrier (big L, big B, always) is particularly barrierous today. Maybe it is more than language… the politics of relationships with a big scoop of sensitivity on my part.
At what point does adapting the way you interact with someone (because you know that they would prefer you to express something in a different way) become unacceptable compromise?
Ok I’ll stop talking in riddles. I was raised with the typical British horror of intrusion. I am very sensitive to over-staying a welcome, for example. (Michelle Shocked’s “The secret to a long life is knowing when it is time to go” could be my anthem). If I am going to stay with someone, I want to know that I really am welcome. Yes, even if it is my girlfriend I am going to stay with. I need her to indicate this in the way she responds to my request to come over. “No problem” doesn’t do it for me. I press her. “Hayi Gail,” she says, “if I didn’t want you to come over, I’d say so”. Hmmm… now what? Ok, she doesn’t object to my coming over, but does she really WANT me to? I press more. She gets irritated. I say, if you actively want me to come over, say “yes, that would be great”. She’s indignant – I’m now scripting her responses! But I can’t help it. I was socialised this way. Is it such a big ask? Must I just get over myself and accept that I am very welcome unless there is an indication to the contrary? Or should she be prepared to pander to my sensitivities and learn how to accommodate them?
About to leave to head on over to her place. Actually I know that I will feel very welcome once I am there and I am just full of crap. Feeling a whole lot less bleak!