Mana Gement (gement) wrote,
Mana Gement
gement

Emotional labor and building support networks

I ended up reading a lot of this thread about unpaid emotional labor (which has a wonderfully moderated comments section, this is a "do read the comments") and it's speaking to something I've been struggling with.

I'm bad at many kinds of emotional labor. (Good at other kinds, but bad at many kinds listed in this thread.) So are most of my friends. So are most of my family members.

We don't get together because almost no one organizes it. I'm having a horrific time managing support for my surgery aftercare because it means dealing with thinking about strategically contacting people, and actually knowing their contact information, and having some semblance of understanding of where our social currency stands so am I being a giant jerk.

Many people I know have trouble with this in phone or person, but do great with online social networking. For years I was one of those, but with the de-relevancing of LJ, I've been slipping from it. I'm just... disconnected.

Also relevant on that thread, my circuits on doing housework and opening mail and other personal unpaid labor tasks seem deeply, deeply broken.

This is an entire sphere of competency in which I feel deeply, deeply broken, and I can't tell how common it is to my friend group and how much it is that everyone I knew who did the good reciprocation thing has drifted away to other friends because I didn't.

ETA: I realized I didn't really give a discussion direction here, which is a piece of emotional work. I'd appreciate people sharing their perceptions of emotional labor in our mutual friend circles or their lives in general, and some kind of reality check on where I stand here.

It's okay if that assessment doesn't reflect too well on me, especially if it gives positive feedback on "here are some friends who are awesome at this," because I'm starting from a place where I'm pretty clueless about what's being done that I'm not aware of. I'm also curious about how this interacts with mental health issues.
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