You may have guessed from recent posts that there has been ‘Drama’ in my life, not of the good kind.  A couple of friends broke up with me (if that’s the right expression) and did so in a very angry and hurtful way.  I don’t particularly want to go into that now, not least so that I don’t say something I regret later, as I’m feeling a lot of anger, hurt and confusion.  But I wanted to ask my blog readers, particularly those who also blog mental health stuff, a couple of questions, primarily to make sure that I’m not missing some key social cue or behaviour.

  1. Is it considered acceptable to write on your blog in a non-identifiable, non-critical way, about people in your life, e.g. “I saw a friend for lunch today”?
  2. Is it insulting to say that after seeing said friend you were tired, in the context of a blog that makes clear that you have ongoing problems with tiredness for health reasons?
  3. How much should one talk about one’s own problems on one’s blog?

In terms of the third question, I know I have (as my friends put it) a “whiny, self-obsessed blog”.  I write for myself, to help me process my thoughts and emotions, which I find difficult because of depression and autism.   I put my writing in the public sphere not because I think I’m super important, but because I can’t write a private diary, for whatever reason (I’ve tried).  I need to feel like I’m talking to someone else.  Given that most of my posts get a few likes, I’m assuming there are a small number of people here who get something out of my thoughts about struggling with autism and mental illness; a few people have told me as much – that it provides insight into their own struggles or some other benefit.  I don’t try to get people to read my blog; most of my real-life friends don’t even know about its existence.

I feel I’m slipping into paranoia, second-guessing my actions and trying to work out if I’m behaving in an acceptable fashion or if I’ve brought all this down on my own head.  Wondering whether any of my other friends are going to suddenly turn around, accuse me of selfishness and say they can’t cope with my issues any more.  Sadly, a number of friends in the past have not been able to cope with my issues and I begin to wonder how I will keep the friends I still have.

8 thoughts on “Friends and Blogging: Questions

  1. Let me preface this by saying that while some people “in real life” know that I have a blog, they don’t know its name/URL, so I haven’t had to deal with these things personally.
    1) I don’t think that should be a problematic thing to say on your blog.
    2) This could get a bit dicey if the friend in question reads the blog and later finds out something related to your encounter (e.g. you feeling tired afterwards) by reading the blog. In that case the friend could potentially perceive it as you airing something in a public forum rather than talking to them directly. I think for someone to respond that way there would need to have been some issues already bubbling up on their end beforehand.
    3) I see blogging as a personal activity that you can approach however you see fit. That being said, you can’t control what kind of reactions people reading it may have.

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  2. Thanks for this. I can see your point about 2). It can be hard to draw the line though. Obviously some things I thought were innocuous turned out not to be so. You may be right about background issues; from the things they said, I think my friends must have been angry/frustrated with me for some time without my having a clue there was a problem.

    I guess the thing that worries me now is how other friends might react. Then there’s dating. I try not to say too much about dates, but if I’m ever in a long-term relationship (however unlikely that seems) I would have to think more carefully about that.

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  3. 1. Absolutely. You’re anonymous here. You’re writing about people we can’t identify. I think it’s absolutely okay, but I’m not sure I would share it with people I already know.
    2. A sensitive friend who’s a little paranoid himself about his likability might feel like you were saying just being with them tired you out. If the person got upset after reading that on your blog, I feel they overreacted.
    3. As much as you want to. A blog is what you want it to be. Just know, of course, certain types of blogs aren’t going to appeal to some people. For some, a mental health blog is way too heavy. Maybe they can’t relate or it reminds them of their own issues. Still, it is YOUR blog. You can do anything with it you want to, and it sounds like this is very beneficial to you. I would reconsider friendships with those who would call my writings on mental healthy a whiny, self-obsessed blog. Not very supportive or friendly.

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    1. Thanks for responding. This is basically what I felt up until now. The problem here was that these were people who read my blog and then made contact with me outside it while continuing to read it. So, the reverse of sharing it with people I know away from the internet.

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  4. Hi — thought I’d come out of the woodwork just to say I’ve been reading your blog for a few months and really enjoying it. You write well and interestingly. What you say is helpful –many of us out here are struggling with similar issues. I think you are brave to blog about your life — but I’d say it is a generous act, not a self-indulgent one. And as everything is anonymous I don’t think you need to worry about breaking any confidences.

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  5. 1. Yes absolutely. I mean, in this life, there is always someone who will object to almost anything but “I went out to lunch with a friend” is entirely standard and within the norms of blogging.

    2. I would say this is acceptable, particularly given the context. However it is the kind of thing that someone who was sensitive or insecure about their own interactions might take more personally than intended. If I were going to post something like that somewhere the relevant person might see it, I would try to give thought to how they would feel – but this kind of thing is difficult even if you do not have autism. I think you just have to hope that hurt feelings, if they occur, can be resolved with a compassionate discussion. It is legitimate for someone to be distressed that their having lunch with you tired you out, even if it is no one’s fault that that occurred and that given the choice between being tired and missing lunch with a friend you would opt to be tired.

    3. I think one can and should talk about them as much or as little as you want. A huge advantage of a blog over, say, Facebook, is it is much easier for friends and readers to opt-in and opt-out. On Facebook I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the volume of posts some friends make about their problems while feeling that the level of friendship dictates I can not really mute or block them, but in the case of this blog I see the first few sentences in my feed aggregator and then can decide whether or not I feel up to engaging with that particular post on that particular day – so by discussing your problems in this venue you hand me the power to engage or not as I feel I can manage. Obviously, a closer friend might feel a stronger obligation to read everything and maybe there would be a value in having a discussion about expectations, I don’t know.

    In your response to Ashleyleia you mention concerns about blogging about dates. I don’t know if you read John Scalzi’s blog, but he’s very clear there that he never posts anything about either his wife or daughter without them having seen and approved it first. I don’t personally go that far, but I do try to make sure that any information about my close family that is more personal than their reaction to an episode of Doctor Who goes under a friends’ lock and so isn’t totally public. I think, at the least, it is an area it is worth thinking about before anything happens and deciding how you want to manage it, and having a justification you are happy with about what you have decided. This also lets you have a clear discussion about it with, for instance, a date before you make the first post about them.

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    1. Thanks, this is really helpful! I am going to have to think carefully about the second point, and about dating. I think these friends turned out to be far more sensitive than I had realised (I’m assuming their feelings had been building up for some time without their telling me).

      I’ve struggled with working out what to say about dates in the past, because on the one hand, writing is the main way I process emotions, which is important with dating, but on the other hand, someone I’m dating might legitimately not want me to write about our dates at all. I think in the past I’ve tended to say I’ve been on a date, but not reveal much about what happened, but even this might be too much, in retrospect. It might be better to process the date by emailing a good friend about what happened, rather than putting it in a public place, even anonymised.

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