Monday, April 15, 2019

Matchy Matchy

The majority of my friends are married with children. The others are currently single (like myself) and mostly not of the desperate variety at all. Nonetheless, most of them would not mind a significant other provided he or she is a nice, funny and good-looking individual. Unfortunately, this species seems not only hard to find, but definitions of what exactly IS nice, funny and good-looking vary. 
What seems so complicated for oneself appears so obvious in the case of others and myself, I am often tempted to match two people I know. So far, no success at all as at least one party did not fancy the other and they were not that keen on being matched in the first place. Recently, some friends of mine and I have become low key obsessed with "trying to match our gay best friends". Needless to say, not very successfully either.
Part of me secretly wants to get somebody delivered on a plate who has been pre-approved by people who know me well, i.e. in particular they have done the background checks on them in the categories "sociophath", "psychopath", "potential ghoster" or "more issues than Vogue" on my behalf. The only time a friend matched me with a seriously handsome guy in her portfolio he definitely fell into the latter category. Then again, the few dates we had made for some anecdotes that have become classics among my friends. Better than nothing, I suppose. *Insert shrugging emoji*

Monday, April 08, 2019

Words, Words, Words

Recently I had a pretty serious fallout with someone very dear to my heart. It happened over chat and escalated quickly. In a nutshell, something I had written rubbed the other person the wrong way and they replied with a snappy retort that I found very hurtful. Cue: me sulking and waiting in vain for an apology. In a group chat, there was eerie silence or rather just a dialogue between myself and the third group member. I actually ended up getting worried that something had happened to the "offender" when the radio silence continued. The next long message I received was what I interpreted as a summary of accusations and what to me boiled down to "and now please leave me alone". I was shocked and after digesting and rereading it a few times, fired back an (in)appropriate reply. 
This all happened while I was in Bologna and even though I was in lovely company and had plenty of distractions, I kept going through these words in my head, feeling very sad and unfairly done by. I really was very upset and emotional, but all the same it was good to take a step back and think about things. No more verbal missiles were shot but we ended up talking on Monday night when misunderstandings were cleared and "business", i.e. our friendship resumed more or less where it had stopped.
It really got me thinking. As much as I love written communication (see also my previous post) and treasure words on paper in particular, it often creates misunderstandings and unintentionally might hurt the recipient because additional context is lacking, as are looks or gestures that make you realise when things are intended ironically. In chat, even the meaning of emojis is not necessarily universal and people spend hours trying to interpret what the sender might not even have put any thought into before hitting "send".
Over the years, I have also worked on letting people know more or less immediately when I feel insulted or need to clarify something. It was definitely a process as I used to be the absolute QUEEN of sulking and the undisputed world champion in expecting people (significant others in particular) to be able to read my mind at all times and to anticipate my every thought and need. Very annoying and useless indeed as I have thankfully come to realise. Unfortunately though, not everyone else has also come to that realisation and I don't deal well at all with being served a summary of "wrongdoings" weeks or even months after having committed them in the first place. It makes me suspect that all my words and actions are being secretly documented in some kind of log file only to be used against me whenever the need arises. 
Also, I think that in most relationships, be they amorous, platonic, or sometimes even familial, there is one person who is more emotionally invested than the other and thus extra sensitive and touchy. That goes so far that I know some girls who are actively looking to find someone who likes them more than they like them as it's obviously good for the ego and you can't be hurt as easily...in theory.
Myself, I have pretty much always sensed from the start which side the "emotional scale" had a bias towards and when I know it's to my likely disadvantage often have a foreboding that it's only a matter of time until I will be disappointed. Well, hello there, self-fulfilling prophecy.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Community Manager

I like to display my Christmas and birthday cards on a vertical metal "string" on one of my living room doors. Since these days I hardly get any snail mail apart from these, I usually leave them hanging for weeks before I take them down and either throw them out, or, depending on whether I love the card and/or the message enough to keep it, put them in a box. I used to keep all cards for the longest time before I realised that my storage space was not endless, so these days I also often just take a photo of some messages as opposed to hanging on to it. Last weekend, I (finally) cleared away my birthday cards and there was one by a friend who is actually among those I have known least in terms of years. She thanked me for being a good friend, adding that I should keep doing what I am (according to her) so good at: "being a community manager both at work and with your friends". I really, really loved being characterised like that as this is something I both love doing and what comes naturally to me. I really like putting like-minded people in touch with each other and get the conversation going. 
Her kind words also made me realise that I should put more efforts in my own messages and wishes because you clearly can make the recipient just as happy (if not more so) with words than with the actual gift. Also, the older I get, the more, I value real friendship as opposed to "fair-weather-friendship" and try to stay away from people who fall into the latter category.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Carping that Diem

Bestie Boy likes to label me a hedonist and I guess part of me is indeed pretty hedonistic. This attitude definitely became more dominant with age and experience after having realised that life may be over way sooner and more suddenly than we have planned and it really is not a good idea to wait with anything for retirement. Apart from "dying", which should happen well in your retirement. 
I recently splurged on a lot of things out of a whim and there was a brief moment of "well, that was a bit impulsive, no?" but I felt validated in my (expensive) hedonistic gut decisions by two sudden and unexpected deaths: one of a colleague less than ten years older than me, one of a good friend's mother. Back in 2011, I had a health scare that ended well, but I resolved to not take anything for granted and not to waste time in unpleasant circumstances if I can avoid it. In other words, life is too precious to spend months or even years suffering in a job you hate or a relationship that makes you unhappy.
If there is one thing I know, it's that I will try even more not to bookmark things for later and also to make a conscious effort to show the people I care about just how much I value them.

Monday, March 18, 2019

It's a Fine Balance

On Friday morning, I thought I had a weekend ahead of me that would be of the "me"-variety and allow me to get some household chores and other projects I had procrastinated done since the only thing I had planned was visiting a friend's charity exhibition with two other friends on Saturday morning. By Friday night I already had more plans and eventually it was quite an action-packed weekend...again. Somehow those productive weekends rarely come about and I'm not complaining either as I am not forced at gunpoint to meet friends but voluntarily do so. It is a fine balance though between having nothing planned at all and over-committing to the point that I actually wish I had an extra two days to recover from my busy weekend. This past weekend was just right for me.
I am a social animal at heart and highly spontaneous, but I do need some downtime, too. Now that I have made a conscious effort not to travel as much on weekends I really notice that I appreciate those weekend breaks much more and love alternating them with weekends in Vienna when I can catch up with friends and also just enjoy "living" at home with no plans.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Original vs. Copies

Last weekend I was in Venice. The real one as in Venice, Italy. I have not counted how many times I have been there in total (15 perhaps?) but it is one of my favourite cities and every time I arrive, my breath is taken away despite the gazillion tourists and tacky souvenir stalls. Since Venice is so close to my native Klagenfurt and not that far away from Vienna either, I have never really stopped to appreciate how lucky and privileged I am for being able to visit for very little money. For other people, visiting Venice remains a lifetime dream because they live far away or don't have the time or financial means to travel there. Just how much of a dream city it is, I realised when I encountered two fake Venices, both in the form of a hotel/mall/casino complex owned by the Sands chain, one in Las Vegas (where I actually stayed at the hotel for a conference) and the other in Macau. Unlike in the real Venice, the gondolieres there must be trained opera singers as they belt out "O sole mio" quite impressively. Also, the "canale grandes" there are of a swimming pool turquoise (and smell of chlorine) unlike the murky grey of the actual Canale Grande Even so, no copy (be it Venice, Hallstadt, or another city) can ever live up to the real thing and I am forever grateful for having the original Venice within easy reach. And I won't be condescending to those whom the fakes make happy, either!

Monday, March 04, 2019

#bossgoals

Last week, I met quite a few people from my two previous workplaces. It was lovely to see all of them but a highlight was the unexpected message I received from my former manager (pictured above in Dubai where we were on a business trip together in 2012) who was in Vienna for a day only and asked if I was spontaneously available to meet him before his flight back to Hamburg. Since I already had dinner plans, we only had one hour to catch up, but the mere fact that he thought of getting in touch (to quote him "I thought if she only has 15 minutes to say "hi" and exchange a hug would already be worth it") really made me my day. We share so many happy and funny memories working in the same crazy team that travelled and partied so so much. It really was a period of "work hard, play hard" and since then I am forever spoilt when it comes to hotels as the four years in his team were a blur of design hotels and fancy dinners. It seems like a lifetime ago and even though I have resigned myself to the fact that my work life is not remotely glamorous any more, but the subject matter of my work is way more interesting now, to be fair, I do get quite nostalgic at times. My ex boss has also since left that team and is currently not experiencing the best time at work, so those golden days are a thing of the past for him as well.
It actually was on that trip to Dubai that I realised what a privilege it was to have a boss whom it does not feel an obligation to have dinner with, but whom you can talk to like a friend. Having had a horrible manager before, who was a bully and really poisoned the atmosphere in the team, working in this new team was like a breath of fresh air and I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulder. We were the only German speakers in the (small) team, which created an extra bond and I really took it as a compliment when he repeatedly told me that I was a "great travel companion". Since then, he is my personal benchmark for a great manager who can also be a friend and confidant...and who gets in touch years after you don't report to him any more.
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