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.

  1. No cold coffee. Tea.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. I didn’t mention anything about blogging. I don’t know that I will.
  8. 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.

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9 Responses to “Cold Coffee Report”

  1. luna Says:

    I had a similar experience with a support group. 4 and 6 especially. it was odd to see all that rawness in others when I was in a different space. I like that I can follow the stories I want to online. I’m sure there are other benefits to an in person group. truth is when I’ve met bloggers IRL we already know so many personal things about each other and there was more of a connection.

    I have a bloggy friend in the adoption support group I went to, and when the counselor noted that writing is good therapy, we shared a laugh.

    best of luck with the procedure again. I only had a little cramping afterwards, but mine was also a surgical procedure…

  2. WiseGuy Says:

    Blogging also offers the anonymity, that in-your-face conversations do not have.

    Blogging lets you vent out everything on a self-basis without being concerned with interpretative issues. When we are conversing with somebody, a lot interpretation is also made through non-verbal cues. Even messages that the sender did not intend to share or did not consciously share can be made out by a discerning eye.

    Blogging helps to overcome geographic distances.

    All the best for your surgery!


  3. I like your comparison between the typical support group and blogging.

    Thinking of you today. May all go well, and I look forward to hearing from you on the other side of the H.

  4. Danielle Says:

    Thinking of you today!
    Hugs,
    -D

  5. Nity Says:

    This was a similar reaction that I had to my first support group in person experience. I like blogging better too. Maybe it’s also because I ‘know’ everyone better too.
    **HUGS**


  6. Good luck with your hysteroscopy…

  7. Angry IF Says:

    Hi! I am visiting from L&F and I am enjoying reading. You are pretty funny. Hope your surgery goes ok.

  8. Delenn Says:

    Good luck today! Also, I tend to agree with you on the blogging vs real life.

  9. circlesbecomeme Says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about this too… Blogging is so different from face to face support groups, and at least for me, meets my needs better. Thanks for sharing your observations. I found them interesting.


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