Tis the time of the year for New Years posts. For top ten and bottom five lists (of course, it’s always time for a bottom five list), for year-in-review reflections and what-is-hoped for posts and all of that but I just can’t seem to wrap my head around any of those. When I think of writing one I get nothing but that empty wind sound between my ears.
I got nuthin.
So I’m going to avoid them, at least for now. Who knows, maybe one will come to me in the next few days but if nothing does? So be it.
In the meantime I want to discuss something much more uncomfortable – something I call the falling-out-of-favor phenomena.
(If you’re thinking that you’ve never heard of the falling-out-of-favor phenomena that’s because you haven’t. I just made it up, right this minute, to easily encapsulate what I’m about to write about.)
When I say the falling-out-of-favor phenomena (thank you alliteration! and thank you even more, cut-and-paste) what I’m referring is that strange circumstance of liking someone just fine one day and then the next realizing that you don’t anymore. The person has done nothing to offend or upset you – they don’t seem to have changed in anyway you can articulate – and yet you just don’t seem to care for them like you did before. It’s happened to me several times in my life and I’m assuming it’s happened to others as well. Maybe it hasn’t. Maybe this is the post where I write about what I assume is an ubiquitous situation only to find I’m singularly affected by it.
And singularly a terrible, horrible bitch.
I think I first noticed it happening in college, on my dorm floor. People I liked just fine suddenly rubbed me the wrong way. I could never discern a defining moment that caused the shift but it was always swift and definitive, and it almost always a one-way occurrence (as in once I stopped liking them, I never went back).
After college I noticed it with colleagues. Staff that I liked just fine one day were suddenly grating the next; where I had once been amused by their antics I was now only annoyed. Despite the fact that nothing specifically had changed my opinion of them, their behavior was suddenly viewed through a seemingly different lens. It was so odd.
There is one thing all of these kinds of people have in common: I never know them very well, not before or after the “shift.” This has never happened to me with someone I would consider a friend. They are all acquaintances at best.
I wonder if the falling-out-of-favor phenomena is the natural result of just getting to know someone you don’t really know, just a little bit better. I suppose one could argue that you learn more about a person with every encounter, so maybe what happens is my attitude towards people is generally positive and then as I get to know them better my impression of them builds until it solidifies as either actually positive (now with data from past encounters to take the place of the benefit of the doubt I was providing before) or, in the remaining few cases, definitively negative. The only reason I might doubt this hypothesis is because of the seeming surprise with which the negativity hits me. Wouldn’t encounters accumulated over a period of time suggest the final verdict to be negative even before that negative opinion solidifies? Certainly that happens with some people. Why then, with others, does the sudden falling-out-of-favor happen seemingly over night?
The reason I bring this all up here is because lately I’ve noticed this falling-out-of-favor phenomena happening with blogs I read. Women that I’ve genuinely enjoyed following suddenly start to rub me the wrong way. And I’m not talking about women who have experienced huge life changes (like pregnancy, childbirth or loss) and are now approaching life (and their blog) with a new outlook and direction (because not fully embracing how someone manages those kinds of changes I understand) – I’m talking about women that I’ve read, sometimes for years, suddenly grating on me for no reason that I can explain.
I have to admit, it’s really upsetting.
I mean, I like these women. I’ve invested years of my life following their stories. I’ve commented on their blogs. I’ve even corresponded with some of them via email. I’ve enjoyed their “company” through my computer screen for a long time and now, seemingly without reason, I find myself not wanting to follow them anymore. And I can’t figure out why! Seriously, what is wrong with me? Am I changing fundamentally as a person? And if so, is it a good change? How can it be good if it makes me dislike people I used to enjoy? Disliking people is bad, right? So the transitive property would lead me to believe that this change is also bad.
I’m assuming that this abrupt shift is about me and not about the women I’m reading. I mean, they haven’t changed in anyway that I can see, at least what they write hasn’t. I can go back and read past posts looking for some evidence of a shift in tone or subject matter but when I do, I don’t find either. So the change must be in me. And unfortunately, I don’t have the empirical evidence of past thoughts recorded for posterity to understand what inside of me is processing these women’s words differently.
So, in the absence of having any idea why this is happening or when it will strike next, I’m writing a post about it. I don’t know what I hoped to accomplish – maybe in the writing about it I might better understand it, have an epiphany about why it happens. Maybe I hoped you all would have similar experience and be able to explain it to me, or at least assure me that I’m not alone. Maybe I just wanted people to call me a bitch (as I suspect I am because of all this) and leave it at that. I’m really not sure.
Has this ever happened to any of you? Do you have any insight into why it might be happening to me? Do you fancy me the bitchiest of bitches now (it’s cool if you do, I totally understand)? Do you think I should stop reading the blogs I now dislike or keep them in case the shift reverses? Do you wish you hadn’t read this bullshit post all the way to this, its penultimate line?
Are you wondering whose blogs suddenly rub me the wrong way?