Relationships can be so difficult to maintain.
What one friend finds amusing, another misunderstands and gets offended when no offence was meant.
While one buddy joins in the banter and appreciates that I’m having a laugh at myself, another thinks I’m getting at them.
A close pal even once said that when I’m so honest about my silly mistakes and I poke fun at myself, she thinks that I’m really just surreptitiously trying to catch her out.
What? Seriously? Can someone not show their vulnerable side and be humble enough to admit their mistakes and weaknesses without others assuming it’s just a sneaky way to find gossip about them?
There is never any ulterior motive behind my light humour. How ironic that being open, instead of putting someone at ease, can actually make them suspicious and nervous?
Friends who have known me for years, where we have spent hours musing, giggling, encouraging and supporting each other, can suddenly explode in a moment and BANG! the relationship has a whopping, great big hole.
Text messaging, WhatsApping and emailing are the most common causes of misunderstanding.
A tone of voice cannot be heard, a facial expression cannot be seen and people read words and sentences according to their own interpretation.
Thus the message received is not anything like the heart behind the message sent.
Surprisingly, smiley faces don’t help. I don’t use ‘lol’ and if I did, I guess people would think I was laughing out loud at them.
For example, yesterday I was chatting to someone who I thought knew me very well. I was lamenting over the disgusting-looking fairy ring of mushrooms that comes up on our garden lawn each year.
She mentioned she would be having a prayer group over for tea later, so I took the liberty to be humourous by asking her to make sure they took time to pray my mushrooms away – curse them and make them vanish.
I then said ” Wouldn’t it be funny if after they prayed, the mushrooms were all gone by tomorrow?”
I ended the message with: “What do you mean you’ve got better things to do than pray about my fungi?” (smiley face inserted here to indicate the light-heartedness of the comment)
Friends send me messages like this all the time. And I correctly understand it to be a joke, referring to the fact that they are laughing at themselves, making unreasonable demands in the name of fun. Pretending to be so overwhelmed by a situation that all that matters is their needs.
But alas, my words were not well received to say the least. I even tried to explain I was joking.
That’s obviously what I need to do. Be silent with some and serious with the rest – o jokes, no humour, no joviality. Sensible and silent.
It’s very sad when I come to the realisation that certain people are always going to take me the wrong way and therefore we will never be as close as I hoped. Treading on eggshells in fear of offending.
So I’m going to be quiet an minimal with my words. I’m going to pack away my jocular disposition. When I see the funny side of things, I’m going to bite my tongue. It’s not me, but the ‘me’ many see is not appreciated, so I have no choice.