Cold Coffee Report
November 14, 2008
Yesterday I informed you of the my first meeting with an IRL support group, which then was upcoming and now has passed. Without going into specifics (for the sake of confidentiality), here’s how it went.
- No cold coffee. Tea.
- Several people have seen the same RE as I have (Dr. Full Steam Ahead), and multiple other professionals’ names were mentioned as common links. One benefit of local IRL support group over blogging, I suppose.
- The blogging format works better for me than the in-person talking format. On a blog, you can always offer a complete story/argument/thought. Even when commenting, you get the space you need to say what you have to say. Sometimes in conversation, it can be hard to get points in before someone else starts talking, or lines of conversation get redirected before you can talk. That’s really saying something, because as you may have guessed by now, I am neither quiet nor shy — nor taciturn!
- Because it’s a safe space, people really expose their vulnerabilities. I suppose that many bloggers do too, but the effect is different when you can actually see people crying, or expressing anger, or looking afraid, or numb. In that regard, blogging is probably easier to manage emotionally — as a reader, if you are overwhelmed by someone’s display of emotion, you can just click away or skim the rest of the post. And if you want to respond to emotion, you can offer appropriate words in a comment whether or not you actually feel them. Mustering genuine empathy is a lot more work in person — and it becomes obvious when you’re forcing it. From the perspective of the writer/speaker, I think it’s more comfortable to blog difficult emotions than speak and feel them to a room of people. At least for me.
- There are bloggers that I would meet up with if the opportunity arose, but I would have to have made a strong personal connection. With the support group, I could see random lunches happening after only a couple of meetings — the bar is set lower.
- As with blogging, people are at all sorts of different stages in the process. As a blog reader, I can and often do choose to focus on people at similar stages to mine. As a support group member, you’re stuck with the newbie and the woman who may be pregnant at the next meeting. On the other hand, as a relative veteran, you are seen as a source of information.
- I didn’t mention anything about blogging. I don’t know that I will.
- There are all sorts of things I’ve blogged about that I don’t think I’d ever say in the group. They may know my name and face and other identifying info, but you get more of me.
If anyone has questions (such as Cara, who is trying to start her own loss support group), I may answer them in the comments or I may hold them for another post. I will probably write another post later about some other process issues, such as things that I expected to get said that didn’t, or things that I was surprised actually came out of someone’s mouth. You know I love a cliffhanger. But first, the hysteroscopy. And then a proper Show and Tell. And maybe a Perfect Moment Monday.
The bottom line? I like blogging better. But I’ll still go back.