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The Ramblings of a Damaged Mind
Unintentional offense - and trying not to offend - how do you handle this?
A comment to my earlier post relating to my friends list starting me thinking about something I've mulled over a few times in the past.

There are people who have me listed as their friends that I have not, in turn, listed as my friends. Some of these people *are* friends in real life, I just don't read their LJ for one reason or another. Some never post anything anyway, some are very verbose, etc. And there are people who are Eyrie fans, or that I know casually, and I just don't have an interest in reading their journals for whatever reason. Mostly the volume of what I read is already overwhelming at times.

There are even more people that I have marked as friends who have elected not to mark me as a friend. I generally don't think about that - if someone wants to avoid my LJ, that's cool. There are a couple that I've known for a long time that I was a little surprised by, but not offended or anything...

The main issue is that I know that some people *do* take offense, or are hurt, when they 'befriend' someone and it isn't reciprocated. I don't like to think that I'm upsetting anyone because I decide not to put them in my friends group - there could be any number of reasons why I don't do so. But sometimes I think I should just lump everyone into friends and basically abandon it as a useful grouping - creating other groups to reign in what I read. That way anyone and everyone who befriends me gets reciprocated and no one has to think "Why did X get on his list when I didn't?" Because the odds are very strong that it isn't personal anyway. I might just do that - create a new group and edit all of my old 'friends' posts to be to that group - I don't think there are that many...

Does anyone else worry about shit like this, or any I just oddly obsessing over a minor issue? Most of the time I don't think about the list - as I said earlier, I hadn't really looked at my list in a long while until today. Do other people have tricks for handling their friends lists on LJ? Or do you just do what you want and let people suck it up? I tend to lean towards the latter, but I still don't like the idea that I might be unintentionally upsetting someone, or that someone thinks it is a deliberate snub. I can like someone and still not really want to read their LJ...

A related issue is IM. I've had a few people get upset with me and seemingly take it personally because I didn't reply quickly to an IM. Or we were having a casual conversation - you know, and IM back and forth every few minutes or something - and I left the PC for work, etc. It seems like there is an expectation that if you're logged into IM you're ready and willing to talk at all times. Well, I'm not. I keep it running because it is a way for friends to catch me if they need to reach me in a more timely fashion than email. So at work IM starts when I login, and runs all day. At home I'll often fire it up and leave it running - but that doesn't mean I'm sitting in front of my screen waiting to reply. I very strongly dislike features that watch your activity and let people know how long you've been idle, or not, so I disable those. It is no ones business - especially since it makes it worse, if I'm working on something it shows that I'm not idle so people then expect me to jump on their IM. So I started setting myself as permanently 'busy' or 'away'. (Sometimes I forget with Yahoo since Trillian won't remember 'busy' across sessions for that, but it does for AIM, ICQ, and MSN.) I didn't feel like dealing with people getting pissy about me not being able to chat at the drop of a hat, and I felt like I either had to do this or just never use IM at all. Since I do still find it useful, I went with being permanently 'busy'.

I am: contemplative contemplative
Current Media: Tempest 2000 Sndtrk - Future Tense

blarglefiend From: blarglefiend Date: March 26th, 2003 05:22 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
"Friends" is a bad name for that function. I'd just call it "watchlist", except that it serves the dual purpose of providing the default set of not-your journals to read *and* the list of people who can access not-entirely-public posts.

There's also the limitation of "friend groups" that someone has to be a "friend" before you can add them to a group, so if you want to make it so that a particular person can read particular non-public posts then you're stuck with them in your default "others" reading list too.

At the moment I'm still using the "default 'others' reading list" for reading, but a lot of my posts that I would've made to "friends" use "friend groups" instead -- most such posts go to a group called "general" which has most (all?) of the people in my "friends list" in it, but I use the group instead for future convenience.

At some point I shall probably start using groups for reading, too, and then I'll just automatically reciprocate any "befriending" because it really won't make any practical difference to my own use of LJ.

As to IM, I don't like it much, so I barely use it. The only person I ever chat with is syringavulgaris, and even that's been pretty rare lately thanks to my TZ being in daylight saving at the moment.
z_gryphon From: z_gryphon Date: March 26th, 2003 06:17 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
I don't worry about it, because I recognize that the "friend" function is really the "do I want this person to be reading my not-for-everybody posts?" function and the "do I want to read this person's LJ?" function, which are really two separate functions anyway. (And, with the "default view" user group, they can be managed as separate functions, too - I have several users whose LJs I don't read, but who I'm perfectly content to have reading my less-than-public posts.) My philosophy is that if the other users can't work out that that's what those functions really are, and have nothing at all to do with liking or disliking them, then they have an issue to work out, not me.
mindways From: mindways Date: March 27th, 2003 06:22 am (UTC) (Direct Link)
*nod* Likewise. My primary use of friends is as a screen for who can read my stuff, with custom friend groups providing detail (which I generally don't need, I've found); secondary is for friend-groups I use to read LJs. (My default group has "everyone I want to read frequently", another has "high-volume posters that will flood my friends page if they're not given their own space", etc.)

I do not have infinite time, so I don't friend anyone who friends me. The way I have it set up, I could do so and still neither read their journal nor let them read my entries...but it'd feel like I was lying. I'd rather be truthful + trust them to be mature about it.
lizzielizzie From: lizzielizzie Date: March 26th, 2003 07:52 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
There are even more people that I have marked as friends who have elected not to mark me as a friend.

The only way I know if people have friended me is to look at my own "User Info" page. I do this maybe once every few weeks. So it will take me a while to "friend" someone who has done the same for me.

If there's another way to check this info, I'd love to hear about it.

zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: March 26th, 2003 07:58 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
If you use an LJ client (I prefer Semagic for Windows) it may have a way to view and/or edit friends. Semagic has a nice UI for seeing friends, add/removing them, creating groups, etc - and, of course, posting and editing. :-)
etherial From: etherial Date: March 26th, 2003 08:45 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)


You could do what Truss did and separate the two functions with another user.

Thus there is good Truss, who adds everyone to his friends list that he wants reading his not-so-public-posts.
And there is also Evil Truss, who never posts and only exists to read those journals that he specifically wants to read, regardless of his emotional attachments to people on and off that list.

I don't really make a big issue out of people adding me (or removing me for that matter), and I really don't think most people do. The Eyrie fans who have added you have got to know that there is virtually no reason for you to add them.
bouncingleaf From: bouncingleaf Date: March 26th, 2003 10:42 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
Does anyone else worry about shit like this, or any I just oddly obsessing over a minor issue?

Yeah, I obsessed about this for a while.

Almost none of my posts are "friends only" - they are either public or custom. I have a group for people whose journals I read, a group for non-people (communities, syndicated feeds), and a handful of custom groups. I have one custom group that is essentially everyone on my friends list. I don't have a reason for this, but it seemed like it might come in handy some day.

If people "friend" me, and I know them in real life, chances are good I will respond in kind, if I notice. They may or may not be included in the list of journals I read. They may or may not be included in one or more of my custom groups.

So in my case, whether or not someone is on my friends list is almost entirely insignificant, as it alone neither leads me to read the person's journal, nor grants the person any privileges in my journal. :) Given that, I stopped worrying about it.

I've had a few people get upset with me and seemingly take it personally because I didn't reply quickly to an IM.

I know one time I sort of poked you when you didn't respond at all to a private message... I just didn't know if you'd seen my message or not. Some people have clients that pop up IM windows behind other windows, and it's easy to miss a message. If I message someone and have some reason to believe they aren't afk, that's when I start to angst over it. Did they see it and find it unworthy of response? Did they not see my message at all? Did they see it, but haven't had the spare cycles yet to reply? Did I piss them off? If I poke them, will I come across as rushing or nagging or whining? If I don't, will the person just miss my message entirely? Will they say "why didn't you say something earlier?" or "geez, give me a minute, okay?" or "glad you said something, I didn't even see this," or "yeah, uh, I *noticed* that you were messaging me, I was *ignoring you*"?

Does anyone else worry about shit like this, or any I just oddly obsessing over a minor issue?
(Deleted comment)
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: March 27th, 2003 02:30 pm (UTC) (Direct Link)
One of them has taken to messaging, and if I don't respond within 30-60s, just quitting off, sometimes with a "Well, fine, I'll talk to you some other time" sort of message, which is highly annoying.
Yeah, I've experienced that a few times and it is very annoying. Especially because I'd had people *completely* blow it out of proportion. I have *3* machines at my desk, I don't run IM on my primary (Linux) desktop, I run it on my secondary (WinXP) desktop along with Outlook, GoldMine, and the other Windows stuff I need to have for my job. The 3rd machine is another Linux box that hosts CVS and some test code. If I'm heads down in perl on my primary desktop, my WinXP box has often hibernated from disuse - and I focus deeply, plus often have music on, so I don't hear Trillian bleep. Or maybe I do but I'm not going to break out of my groove to check it *right now*.

So I'll check periodically and I'll have some peevish message chain like "Hi", "What's up?", "Are you ignoring me?", "Hey, why won't you respond?", "Well fine, if you don't want to talk to me then I'll just get out of your life!" Which just kind of leaves me blinking and wondering "WTF?!" Especially when it is someone I care about and now I have to smooth things over because they feel like *I* was being a dick.

(And I'll scream if anyone reading this goes "Oh, I know he's talking about me.")

I'm sure sometimes it is just someone having a bad day, I've had days when I think the universe is out to get me and I'm just generally pissed and looking for a target to unleash upon.