Today I’m taking a break from talking about stories and games. Today there’s something on my mind that really bothers me. Since it’s not personal, I won’t be tucking it away in a note or text post elsewhere. It’s going to be here, for all to see. Because not only is this bothering me, I think it’s important.
We all have the right to some personal space. The more we can get, the better, especially in times of trouble. Sometimes, our circumstances dictate that we only get a small measure of it at home. But public parks are always there; go for a walk or drive, find an out of the way park, wander away from the parking area, and just breathe for a few minutes. Get away. Escape, if you must. Reclaim some personal space, even if it’s in the outdoors.
I’m not just talking about physical space, either. As amazing as the human brain is, there’s only so much room within our minds for things on a day to day basis. It can be occupied with tasks at hand, projects to complete, concepts for new endeavors, recollections of the past, and hopes for the future. It can also start to get crowded by other people. The concerns, needs, and imposition of others takes up headspace. It occupies personal space. It crowds out the thoughts we need for ourselves.
We want to be there for our friends. We have moments where we are the ones in need, as well. Neither of these things is bad. It’s part of human nature. But when you start to forcibly occupy someone else’s headspace because you can’t stand to be alone, or you’re overly worried about something, you become selfish. Friends will be there for you, yes, but you can neither expect nor demand that they sacrifice all of their time and resources for you and you alone whenever you want. A legitimate, extant crisis is one thing. The anticipation of something that may turn out better than you expect is quite another. If you want your friends to still be your friends, and you want them to be there for you in the former, do not crowd out their personal space in the latter.
Let me give you a specific example. You have something coming up that worries you. You contact a friend for support. This is fine. You have a conversation with them, maybe two. Sweet! But then they start not answering your calls right away. You follow up with a text, and do not get an immediate response. What do you do?
If you continuously text, get angry when they do not respond, call them selfish for not giving you their attention when you demand it, and get angry when they give their attention to others instead of you, you’re not only taking up their personal space, you’re making a mess in there. You are decorating your so-called friend’s personal emotional space with your bullshit.
Be a friend. Stop that.