Thinking about the used car, the relationship metaphors of High Maintenance and Preventative Maintenance came to mind. My thoughts were already dominated by some short-term friendship issues and lingering romantic interest. In reality, no matter what, I consider a relatioship a labor of love... which, gasp, requires labor.
I have owned several airooled VW engines, such as those used in the Volkswagen Beetle 1938-1979. Owning one and driving a car as old as me...in Seattle, I learned all about high maintenance. The heater that works off exhaust heat, the Seattle moisture condensation from old rubber seals. On the engine front, only in the final years were hydraulic valves introduced. A poorly tuned hot-running aircooled engine has a way of turning high quality motor oil into black muck in a rather short number of miles.
In personal relationships, I'm probably on the high-maintenance side. My valves can need manual adjustment. A nice greeting and "glad to see you" or "glad to be your friend" will go a long way.
This blog and much of my discussions when I become closer with people is to focus on preventative maintenance. For example, discussing certain somewhat predictable tripping problems and how to avoid them. Further, I focus on trying to accept that conflict is part of life - and can we just make the best of it?
I find that treating people all the same invites them to put on their social mask. I want to know the person, not the mask. Each person I meet in life is unique. Unexpected, Unanticipated. Differing in experience and viewpoint. Even that same person seems subject to change from Monday to Friday, or in some circumstances - hour to hour.
I'm in for the long-term. The total experience. I try to share mine, but realize that mistakes aren't always timely or desired. Preventative maintenance will perhaps help us deal with my rather high maintenance requirements. Some tips and suggestions:
- I think about people in my life; but I don't always know how and when to communicate it. Each person is different, and I'm probably more expressive than most men. Writing this blog for all to see is somewhat an admittance to this characteristic of myself. Can you help me? Can you understand my inner need to say I'm thinking of you without always making me have to go first?
- Have an emergency plan for conflict. I encourage gentle repeating that 'we are in this together'. 'Even if today doesn't go the way we planned, let's make sure we end this conflict on a good note'. In a conflict, you can't get the time back - but I believe you can restore the peace. Reach out, together.
- Bring concerns up that are on your mind... but establish and remind that the main purpose is to share and express. You may need to remind me that you aren't looking to treat all issues as a "problem to solve"... as it can sometimes be my nature to want to help and fix - even if all I should be doing is learning and listening.
Most of all, I'm not suggesting any conflict or lack of effort is your fault. That's too simplistic of a view. It takes two, it's more than just me or you. There is no absolute one-sided cause and effect. We are always learning. Hopefully, with effort, always growing together.
Not my best writing today, that's part of me too.