Usual Error Intensive: Week Two

by Megan M. on September 7, 2007 · View Comments (Blog) |

It’s time for the second evening of Usual Error Intensive! My hands are aching a bit this week, so I can’t promise my liveblogging will be as intense as last time, but I’ll do my best to catch pertinent bits. ;}

In fact, those of you already familiar with this material will be able to follow this most effectively. Tonight we’re covering Turning Conflict into Communication (Part One, Part Two), so if you take a look at my post from last time this material was covered, you may be able to follow along more easily.

Check-in was really enjoyable. Many of us got out things we needed to get out, and others of us did it in an incredibly entertaining way. It was really healthy and wonderful!

HALT - Hungry, Angry, Loopy, Tired (9:17 PM)

  • “When you’re lonely, what you need is communication.” (K) Re: Lonely vs. loopy as the “L”.
  • Apparently it’s AA who advocates no communication when “lonely”, which is interesting to me, because I have a lot to say about the way AA does things. Not everything I have to say is positive…
  • Taking a break when you’re really emotionally wonky is good.
  • “These are all ways that we can try to have useful communication instead of un-useful communication!” (P)

Whoa! We’re on the same team! (9:24 PM)

  • “It’s not me versus you; it’s me and you together against the problem.” (P)
  • I forgot to take my allergy meds tonight, so I’m a bit sniffly. Sniffle! Onward…
  • “I’ve used it on my mom.” (K) Hey—I should use it on my mom! I’m on the same team as my mom!
  • “People in conflict usually are on the same team. [...] And don’t realize it!” (S)
  • “I would try asking the other person what they want. What are your goals?” (P) Re: Identifying exactly how you can be on the same team—you’d be surprised at how often we are really all on the same team.
  • “What do you do if you’re really not on the same team?” (M) Answer: “Fight!” (Who said that? Someone said that. I am irrevocably entertained.)
  • Sometimes you can be on the same general team even if you’re not on the same specific team. (K)

Define your Terms! (9:34 PM)

  • We almost decided not to play the game tonight since we’re short on time, and we’re talking about possibly having another session (or two?) to cover the material we skipped over in the name of conserving time.
  • Now we’re going to play a game! We say a word and everyone writes down their definition of the word. Then we read the definitions out loud, and try to guess whose definition is whose! It’s sort of Balderdash (supposedly—I’ve never played Balderdash, as far as I recall!).
  • “A few. Probably 3. More than 2… less than a handful (which is 4 in a Simpsons world…)” (M) Everyone’s definitions are slightly different, and different enough to matter! Most of them hover around three—or are at least based on three. Interesting!
  • “I had no idea that people had so many different definitions for it—how many of ya’ll are surprised??” (P)
  • Now we have a secret term—“Dating!” This time we all write our definitions but Kyeli will read them all and we will try to guess whose each is! My definition: “A nebulous bit of terminology that thwarts everyone and serves none…” Yes. That’s really how I feel. At this particular moment. “Dating.” Ha!
  • “And begin to bring your pencils to a standstill…” Kyeli says in a mild, teacher-like tone…
  • This is a great game! It’s a very short game but I like the illustrativeness … illustrativity … er. Of it.
  • Oh! I have played a game like this… I’m having trouble remembering the game though. I don’t think it was Balderdash… Hrm.
  • “This is the fun part—we’re going to point at each other.” (K)
  • The pointing is really fantastic! None of us know who to point to but we’re having a delightful time accusing one another! We feel like we have very little to go on. I think we are mostly basing our decisions on the humorous quality of the definitions matched with the comedic prowess of the participants. This amuses me!
  • That time EVERYONE pointed at me, and I didn’t even hear the definition… whoops!
  • I am pretty much just pointing at random people, every single time. I am not getting any useful points. (I don’t believe there are any prizes, so I don’t feel too badly about this. I’m still getting a lot out of this exercise!)
  • Conor just said “Face!” Or was it “Faced!”? I’m not sure… I am fascinated by this bit of vernacular debris.
  • The prize—a whopping TWO CORRECT —is a tie between Amanda and Megan! (“ME!? I was just fucking around the whole time!!” (M))
  • “We chose dating because for three months, dating was the hot word in our house. We were having serious problems with the world dating!” (K)
  • It’s really important to define your terms! This is one of the things that most immediately leads to arguments when neglected.

Our various definitions of “Dating”:

Making time to spend with a person with whom you share a common romantic or sexual interest. Does not adequately convey the seriousness of a relationship, & should be qualified. (Marty)

A nebulous bit of terminology that thwarts everyone but serves none… (Megan)

Spending time together with a romantic intention, at least twice, with intention of more in the future (even if it doesn’t pan out). (Amanda)

Hitting someone or something with dried-up figs.

Have admitted romantic feelings for one another, probably having sex in some form—or you’ve identified as “dating”.

The process of courtship.

We’ve seen each other more than a few times, probably several, and we like each other & have said so out loud to each other but we haven’t agreed to being boyfriend / girlfriend.

Going on dates with mutual intent of getting to know each other and possible romance.

In a romantic relationship that involves going on dates, and usually not cohabitation.

Going out of your way to spend time together when having a romantic connection. (Going out of your way = planning in advance, sacrificing time normally devoted to other activities.)

If anyone would like to publicly claim his or her definition, feel free to comment me!

Interlude, 10:10 PM: We’re going to try starting at 6:30 instead of 7 from now on to cover more material—we don’t want to nix check-in even though it takes too long. Check-in is really, really awesome. So for now we’re going to try to do a less-rushed wrap. We’re going to see what we can cover before 10:30, and then go (since many of us need to call it an early night).

Continuing Interlude, 10:14 PM: We are now talking about LiveJournal cuts. Hmm. It seems like when we get even close to wrapping up, we all sort of fall off-topic. I think we just really enjoy all talking to one another. It’s so awesome that all of us—many of us who don’t really know each other very well—are connecting inside the group really excellently. I don’t know—that’s just the feeling I have, and I really like it.

What Did You Intend? (10:15 PM)

  • Many times, we don’t intend anything mean or harmful by the things we do and say. But when someone asks us “what did you intend?” we hear that as our last chance to get it right before the fall-out. But clarifying this point can often make all the difference. Back-pedalling and manufacturing a “right” answer isn’t as helpful as being very clear about your feelings.
  • I am actually really sleepy and wish I were home. But I really, really like the Usual Error material and I want to stick this out for a few more minutes. We are going to let go at 10:30, and even if we’re not done by then, Marty and I will get going. And it will totally be okay.
  • “Since my intention wasn’t bad, you shouldn’t feel however you’re feeling.” This is an issue that B mentioned that is… wow. A whole different ballgame! It’s great to not intend to be a jerk, but then it’s necessary to deal with the hurt feelings, too—intent isn’t the whole shebang.
  • “It is very rare that any of us are trying to hurt each other.” (K)
  • “The connotation is just as important, if not more, than the denotation.” (P)
  • Sera is doing awesome Croc Hunter impressions. And they’re pertinent to the discussion! Awesome. Awesome.

Meta-Communication! (10:26 PM)

  • Four more minutes of Usual Error Intensive—meta-communication is fabulous.
  • Just having a set time-frame or pattern, or something, for those kinds of conversations, changes it from an unmanageable stress to a manageable stress. (P) Re: Frequent difficult discussions about money.
  • Infrastructure is helpful. Scheduling, budgeting… support structure.
  • You don’t have to have the same stressful conversation every time—one serious meta-conversation about changing the process will save you many future conversations that cover the same topic over and over and over. (P)

Wrapping up, 10:32 PM: I think it’s really entertaining that I’m getting a private comment while still liveblogging the workshop. I love that. How can I get more of that?!

  • Amanda
    Mine is the third definition of "dating" on the list.
  • Megan M.
    Ha! World = word -- I guess I was tired!
  • Kyeli
    Answer: “Fight!” (Who said that? Someone said that. I am irrevocably entertained.)

    That would be me. (;

    “We chose dating because for three months, dating was the hot word in our house. We were having serious problems with the world dating!” (K)

    Actually, I only had a problem with Pace and Sera dating. The rest of the world can date if they wish; I don't mind. (;

    Megan, I am so thrilled you're doing this. Thank you so much!! (: Thanks for sticking it out even after you were tired and wanted to go home; it means a huge lot to me to have you and Marty here. *hugs*
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