Friday, October 26, 2007

Silence Is The New No

I’ve had a lot going on, what with making a feature film and all. I’ve asked a lot of people for a lot of help. Asking for help is something that does not come easy to me. I’m one of those “No, no, I’ll carry it all myself” people. I loathe admitting to need help – like it’s a sign of fatal weakness.

A few years back a dear friend offered me dinner when he knew I was strapped for cash. In my self-sufficiency, though hungry, I turned him down. Another friend pulled me aside and imparted a great wisdom: giving people the opportunity to contribute to us is a gift. After all, we all want to make a difference with people we care about. Nut-shelled: ask for help when you need it – you could actually be making someone’s day. A tough lesson for the loner but one that I’ve been working on learning.

When everything with the movie became a blur of last-minute harried craziness due to our accelerated pre-production schedule, I started asking for help. Everything from “Do you know an actor for this role?” to “Can you help me set up food?” to “Do you have a deer skull I can borrow?” Even fun stuff like “Wanna come be an extra for a scene?”

As it turns out my oldest friend in the world did have a deer skull but that's another blog post. And many friends, new and old, stepped up and helped in capacities great and small. But the thing that amazes me is how many didn’t.

I do not want to appear ungrateful. I know my dream of filmmaking is not everyone’s dream. And I know everyone is busy with their own dreams. The thing that surprises me is not the NOs - those would have been understandable -but the complete lack of response. Is it an LA thing?

Here in Lala Land, I have been guilty of it myself. A friend invites you to something, you don’t feel like going, you don’t feel like coming up with a reason why so you just stay silent until the next day when you thank them anyway. It’s like “If I don’t respond, I don’t have to be accountable.” Granted sometimes you really don’t get the invite until the next day, but seriously. [Sidebar FYI - when you view an Evite the organizer can see you've viewed it ... and that you (rudely?) haven't responded]

Is it that hard to be a grown up and take responsibility for ourselves and just say no? Are we all that afraid of risking a friend’s upset or of seeming like a lame friend? I for one, would have appreciated the honest communications. On this end, the silence feels like much more of an eff you.

And just when I get righteous I realize I forgot to send a condolence card to my cousin who just told me she lost her grandfather. How's that silence feel? Dang it. Once again, I don’t have the answer. But having seen the thing from both sides, I will check myself on my own easy-way-out silences. I wouldn’t want you to think I was just ignoring you because I don’t want to say no.

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Blogger Kid Sis said...

Good for you!

1:01 PM  

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