MegaZone (zonereyrie) wrote,

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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'.

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