Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Season's Greetings

I just wanted to take an opportunity to wish everyone well over the festive period. I’m sure we will all celebrate differently. I don’t have anything overly exciting planned… Xmas eve in the pub with my parents (some quality parent time and drunkenness), a lie in for me on Xmas day while my parents go out to drop off presents, then to my twin sister’s house to join her family for Xmas dinner, followed by too much wine. Boxing day the usual (dreaded) big gathering at my parent’s house for meat and mash, oh and maybe more wine (I’ll need it). Don’t get me wrong I love my family, just not all of them at once. There are a lot of us, I have a twin, a brother, a half brother, a half sister and two step sisters, most of them have children. This year my aim is to be patient and cheerful as I was ill the last two years (not with a hangover).

I’m not expecting any big presents, or anything too extravagant, money is tight for everyone this year, and I do believe it is the thought that counts. A few of my female relatives and friends all agreed to not buy for each other this year, instead we have booked an afternoon in the hammam at the local spa at the end of January.

I don’t feel overly festive, but I am excited it will be a fun few days and I’m seeing friends for drinks in the days that follow, which will be great. So, to try to feel more in the mood for the season I am going to list a few things I do like about the festive season, feel free to join in in the comments…

- Giving presents! The best bit in my opinion. Seeing people’s faces when you get it right is the best (I’m usually quite good at it too).

- Food! Mm pate, cheese with cranberries in, all of Xmas dinner, chocolates, nuts this list could be very very long.

- Fine wine and my newly acquired taste for port.

- Cheesy films. I don’t often admit it but I love some of them, although I wouldn’t buy many of them I will watch them on TV.

- Friends – Of course I have them all year round, but we all have busy lives, many of them have children. This time of year I like that we make extra effort to spend some time together. It is always lovely to catch up.

- Xmas Eve – I love my tradition of spending it with my parents. We go to the pub we drink, we chat and we usually get the giggles. It is my quality time with my parents without the rest of my huge family (they all spend it frantically still wrapping presents for their children or drunk with friends). I like that at around midnight (maybe 1am) we get all sentimental, it is my mushy moment of the year.

None of the above are overly exciting, but they give me a warm fuzzy feeling. I’m am now full of festive spirit. Let me know if you have any more favourite Xmas things (perhaps more interesting than mine).

What ever you are doing, have a lovely time. x

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Hidden Agenda

I am really not sure where I am going with this one yet, but it has played on my mind lately, so I thought I’d have a written ramble and see what happens. I think I have been somewhat naive over the last few months, assuming that many of the people I have met have a similar agenda to my own. It can often not be the case. I’m not saying it is a bad thing, it isn’t always, they have a right to have their own expectations when meeting new people. But in thinking about it I realise that in my opinion we all have hidden agendas a lot of the time.

Not many people in many situations do things for totally altruistic reasons. Most of the time we all want something in return. This is often our agenda, it is not always hidden, it can be explicit. We can all be nice to our boss, not only because we try to be a nice person, but because we know it may help our careers to do so.

I am as guilty as the next person of having an agenda when I meet people, obviously it depends on the person. I often want to feel “part of the crowd” to belong to a group of people, this has often happened when meeting people from twitter or other forums, and I think it is fine to do so. Thankfully, my agenda quickly changes when I get to know someone to either want to be friends or remain online acquaintances. You can’t get on with or close to everyone.

Do we ever meet people with friendship as our one and only agenda? Is it to not be alone at a gig, or to not feel left out, or even just to say hello to someone with a common interest? I’m not sure I have high enough expectations to consider that I would become good friends with all of the people I have met. I have and will continue to meet people, but I want to consider why I am meeting people and be honest about it. Sometimes it is just plain intrigue, I want to know if they are the same in real life as they are online?

I have learned lessons in meeting so many people, not everyone really wants to meet, they may say they do online, but shyness or even that they were being polite online may mean they have a different agenda in real life. A quick hello and then move on can occur if this is the case. The one thing that does annoy me is if people only want to meet or say hello on numerous occasions to just not be alone, or to gain something… surely repeated meetings should lead to friendship unless the agenda is explicit? For example, I don’t mind meeting fellow psychiatric nurses repeatedly as we all know we are meeting to share information and ask questions to improve our work; thankfully over the last few years I have become friends with some of them too, an added bonus to necessary meetings. It can be difficult to tell is if your agenda is to be friends and theirs is to have company, it can lead to disappointment or dissatisfaction at such meetings when such a difference is realised or you don’t get what you want from the chat.

I think I have found that I can tell who is properly friendly, when conversation flows (after some shyness) and it is not only about the common interest that brought us together, but it is also on a more personal nature. To not only chat about gigs and speakers, but how we are and what is happening in our lives, there is a line that has to be crossed if you are to become friends. I don’t mind if it is not always crossed, it certainly shouldn’t always be crossed. I just seem to have become more aware of it now.

I’m happy to have a large group of people I see at gigs and talks that I can say hello to and have some company, and we can have a lovely chat about what we have seen or are about to see. And that is that. But the best benefit to meeting so many people in the last couple of years, is meeting those people that are friends, that I care about on some level (we may not be best buddies) but those people who I know not only want to see a gig/talk and have some company but that are equally as happy to see me as I am to see them. To have a chat and a catch up.

I must admit it has disappointed me more and more when I haven’t had much time for this. For example at TAM (The Amazing Meeting) I met some lovely people, but unfortunately didn’t get much time to chat. It was not just about the meeting and the speakers, but about getting to know people I had looked forward to meeting.

Of course the exception to this “rule” is meeting comedians or speakers, I am not naive enough to expect to become friends with them. That is an unrealistic expectation, of course it may happen very rarely but imagine if an act was aiming to be friends with everyone they met? Ludicrous isn’t it? I am grateful and do enjoy saying hello to a performer, but it is just to say hello and that I admire their work or get something signed. They already have friends, they don’t necessarily want more from an audience. I try to aim to not be stalkery, say hello and then let them relax with people they actually know. I have seen acts constantly harassed following a gig, I know it can be part of the job, but we could all remember that once the hellos are done, it is their time, not ours to continually interrupt, they entertained us on stage, their job is done. *steps off soap box* I know there are exceptions to this, as there are to all situations.

I have been to some great gigs lately and they are always made much better in my opinion when there is chatting time before and after. I enjoy the time I spend with people as much as I do the shows. Except of course if I am only meeting someone to have some company, then the gig and a quick post gig chat is all is needed, that is fine. Should we be honest about our agendas? Should we assume they are implied by how chatty we are or are not? Do people think about their agendas when meeting others?

Thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks for reading.