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The Dark Tower: Identification & Limits

By Andrew Burgon / phoenix@projectfellowship.com
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October 28, 2013


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I am currently working from home. During the day I often just use the natural light that comes through the study room window. However, I find that cold, overcast rainy days that linger day after day can cause me to become a lot less productive and affect my mood negatively. So I draw the blinds, turn on the light and make myself a coffee. I might even turn on the heater. It’s not long before I become completely oblivious to the weather outside. If an over abundance of passivity in your circle of friends is continually bothering you deal with the problem constructively and with intelligence.

Shields On

When I objectively look at Project Fellowship I see that I have created a versatile friendship engine that also happens to shield me from too much passivity. I have never looked at it this way before. There are measures restricting the kind of passive people entering my circle, limits placed on certain things and a few protocols.

Passive A & Passive B

I know what I’m about to say may seem a little strange but it was necessary for me to become more discerning friendship-wise. I was thick as a brick socially and had a bad habit of sticking around the same limited group of people. Acknowledging to myself how clueless I was socially I sat down one day and began to separate into levels the kind of passive friends there are. I think I came up with four to five different groups. At the top you have some very nice people exhibiting a number of highly prized qualities minus initiative. Towards the bottom you have the ones who are completely disinterested, chronically passive and apathetic towards you. It was my first step on the way to discerning people and gauging friendships.

I decided that I would only have passive A & B friends on my active friendship list. Passive A friends are in general the more vibrant people of the two. They show interest and enthusiasm in attending my events and are fairly responsive. They will spend their premium free time on the weekend and come and join me. Passive A friends make me feel welcome, accepted and appreciated. They are people you can get along well with.

Passive B friends are less responsive and are often busy so they can’t make it to most of my events. They may still show a little interest and enthusiasm but their ‘presence’ in my life is considerably less. After a while their friendship can seem a little underwhelming and they may come across as chronically passive. Still, they will willingly give up their premium free time when they have some and come and join you IF you invite them. In short, PA friends are like a 100 watt light bulb while PB friends are only 30 watts.

It should be said that sometimes appearances can be deceptive. It may become apparent that one of the PA’s in your group is super enthusiastic about the kind of event you are holding but couldn’t care less about your friendship. He or she is far more interested in the other people attending your events. Partly because you like her and she comes part and parcel with a certain group of friends you keep her on your active list. That’s okay by me. I’m into exceptions.

There are others who are begging to be demoted as well. For example, one of my passive B friends I use to play sports with delighted in shoving my nose into any mistake I made or odd thing I said. Everything considered it wasn’t a friendship worth holding onto. Bingo, PB Minus! I took him off my list.

Positives & Negatives

Now, let’s look at the positive and negative side of passive A/B people. The positive side is that a good number of these passive people will respond well if you take the initiative with them. When you are having a great time with them it hardly seems to matter that they lack initiative. In fact, you may have a better time with some of these people than you do with some of your good friends.

A number of them will enthusiastically come to your events and encourage you to let them know when you are having other events. The best of them are similar to good friends minus the initiative. Obviously, these are decent friendships. I have, admittedly, lost count of the amount of good times I’ve had with these people.

The negative side is that there numbers can be overwhelming at times. They are friends on life support. The moment you stop taking the initiative they are gone. GONE. If you longed for company and were dependent on their initiative for a change they would leave you out in the bitter cold alone, miserable and wretched.

I will not soon forget that their sheer numbers smothered me, almost choked me to death and played a part in my bout of depression. Everything in moderation I guess including passive friends. When the percentage of passive friends in your life becomes alarming high and starts to make you feel uncomfortable it’s time to “deal with the problem constructively and with intelligence.”

One problem that I find particularly disheartening is that while they are passive to you they are pro-active to others in the group and can form a kind of clique. Judging by the warmth they generate together you would swear they were having a campfire. You hear them inviting each other out and talking about what they did together during the week. If you are with this type of group long enough you can start to feel like a second rate member. It’s even worse for me because I’m a sensitive person and I’ve become good at reading people.

I have never regretted parting ways with a passive friend. I have, however, regretted a number of times not parting ways sooner.

Dealing with too many passive people for too long can really take the wind out of your sails and stall your efforts into making your friendship dream a reality. Need I say more?
 
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