Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I moved out in 2008. I understood that my mother sheltered me a bit and that I did not know a lot about people. I never had the sort of friends who spend all their free time together and never dealt with the sort of fights which arise from that kind of friendship. So I knew that having roommates would be a challenge for me and that I needed to be respectful of them and take care to know their boundaries and realize that hurt feelings do not equate to lasting hatred. I trusted that my roommates, all of whom had been on their own before, would be a reliable source of information on how to act in the world. We all want to be good people and do the right thing, right?

No. We don't. We want to do the easiest thing. We don't want to do something that is seriously wrong. No murder. No cruelty. But what about the grey areas? Rent money is an issue that is slightly grey. How to treat people when they have treated you is an area that is grey. What to do when you break someone's possessions accidentally is an area that is grey. What? Those aren't grey areas. But what if the person is a jerk? What if they had it coming?

I am now very careful who I trust to make judgments. Those are not grey areas. I knew they weren't. But I had never lived on my own before and thought that I just did not understand how these things worked. It is a bit of a nasty lesson, learning not to trust people's judgment. But it is a good one.

My sister phoned me the other day. Her friend was on academic probation. His life was a mess and he was depressed. She had asked all her friends if she should stop being friends with him, because it was creating a lot of stress for her and she did not feel like she could help him much anyhow. Everyone had told her yes. Then she asked a mutual friend of ours. He is a on call teacher and as she put it, 'an authority figure.' He said to wait it out. When she called me I told her to discourage him from discussing his problems with her but to continue being her friend. We were the only people who said she shouldn't drop him. This upset her, because it felt wrong.

It is rather sad. Idealizing people is wrong. People are people, not embodiments of a priori thought stuff. I am happy to say that the issues I had to take up in first year no longer exist. My roommates and I care about each other and want to do right, but this is from natural sympathy. How do you avoid the world becoming grey? Getting into a muddle. It worries me that what seems so clear now could fade in the wrong situation with the wrong people.

1 comment:

Elisabeth said...

Things move along too, Liosois. They are usually various shades of grey.

Equally it helps to talk things over with others but in the end it's important to make your own judgements, trust your own instincts, otherwise you give over responsibility to others and do not learn or grow.