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Nine times out of ten, when I drop someone from my friends list, it's not for reasons of personal quarrel. (In actual practice, it's more like 99 times out of 100.) It's usually because I'm not reading them, or don't want to keep reading them, and reasons for that generally include just not saying things that I relate to, or often saying things that I don't relate well to. One face-to-face friend from school was dropped because of his truly abysmal spelling. Grammar bitch aside, he's still a great kid -- I just can't bear to watch him mangle the language without some warning. Or perhaps a journal is, to me, The Big Yawn. Does that make it bad? No. Absolutely not. Does that make it something I want or need to read? No. Not interested, not applicable, I wish them well in their endeavors and hope they wish me the same, not going to waste both our times.

That 99.99th time, however, there may well be something going on. And sometimes people will hear all about it. (Sometimes only my friends, or a subset of same, will get to hear me blow off steam, so that I can not rip heads off in public or near-public forums. Example: the ethics != ethanol incident.) And sometimes people won't. And sometimes people will hear the general situation, but not the juicy details (like who exactly it was who pissed me off so badly that I had to rant in <h1> for a few paragraphs on the generalized sin that they committed). I prefer to take something good from situations of personalized arrrgh by pulling out some of the principles of interpersonal interaction and waving them around, especially those that just got violated.

I learned, offline, my lesson about getting involved with a brigade of dramatics of the sort where everybody hates one person, even those who don't even know them. Tried that, got my feathers scorched, not trying it again.

This doesn't make me some kind of angel/saint/hero. This doesn't make those who aren't as circumspect some kind of demon/villain/stinkyhead (necessarily; extenuating circumstances may apply). This does make things a lot calmer for me than they are for some other people, and I really enjoy that. I really, really enjoy that.

I'd be tempted to say, "But can't we all just get along?" but I know that in the real world, this doesn't work so well. But I'm happy to get along with people who aren't pissing me off, at least to the extent of being polite with them. I'm happy to get along with people who aren't getting along with each other, with each of the quarreling parties in separate corners. (Picking bitchfights with my friends in my company for no discernable reason is an easy way to annoy me. My friends picking bitchfights back over really petty shit is another easy way.) I'm willing to sympathize with someone who's venting, and smooth ruffled feathers and notice if there's some major communication that's just not happening (as witness the dictionary proto-flamewar). garnetdagger says: "If it doesn't affect us, I don't want to get involved."

So... yeah. Feel free to vent if you must, since I'm clergy and all that, but if you want me to join in the chorus of telling so-and-so that he's a bitch, you probably won't get me to join in unless he's just freshly and personally pissed me off too.
Gone away, gone ahead,
Echoes roll unanswered.
Empty, open, dusty, dead.
Why have all the Weyrfolk fled?

Where have dragons gone together
Leaving weyrs to wind and weather,
Setting herdbeasts free of tether;
Gone, our safeguards, gone, but whither?

Have they flown to some new weyr
Where cruel Threads some others fear?
Are they worlds away from here?
Why, oh why the empty weyr?

-- "The Question Song", Anne McCaffrey
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