Of Writers’ Retreats and Friendship

I have a very dear friend who has an uncle with a house on a small lake a couple hours drive from me and twice a year, he allows her to use it and invite her writer buds over. These retreats are in March and October. I have been blessed to be invited by her to the last three. The ladies there, for the most part are nice and we get a lot done even amongst the laughter and eating. I’ve made what I feel are some lasting friendships with several of them.

Sadly, there is one who seems to be either harder to get to know or just doesn’t care for me. I fully own that I can be overly sensitive but I have a strong sense about people and what they are feeling as well. I have highly tuned empathic skills which means I can tell a lot about how someone is feeling and sometimes take on those feelings myself.

We arrived at the retreat on Thursday and from almost from the time this one woman arrived, she was all about being gruff and unkind to me. I tried to ignore her and put it on the fact that these ladies have been friends for a while and I am the new girl. On Saturday night when she came over and joined in a conversation that she was not part of, I was okay with it. But when I said something in that conversation and she told me to stop talking, I was pretty sure about her feelings for me. Then when she added, and I quote, “In fact, you can just leave.” I knew! You don’t have to hit me over the head, lady. WOW! I was flabbergasted to say the least.

I left the room and went on the porch in tears. Then I came back in and went to get my suitcase as I was heading home right then- never mind it was 9:30 pm and I had a two hour drive.

BUT the women in the group who love me gathered round and said they wouldn’t let me go. They led me out to the porch and talked for a long time until I agreed to stay until morning. I was so glad for their friendship and that they agreed she’d been incredibly rude.

When I came back inside, the woman (and I give her partial credit for this) came over and apologized. What I don’t give her credit for was saying she’d been teasing me with all the things she’d said over the prior three days. It was most assuredly not teasing and I think she knew I knew it- it was almost as if she was seeing how far she could push me and I did take it from Thursday afternoon until Saturday night. It was not the way I envisioned the weekend going.

Not too sure I’ll be going back but I am so torn as I love, love the other people. It would be like punishing myself if I don’t go. But I also don’t want to set myself up for that kind of misery again. It’s a conundrum that I have until October to figure out. What do you think? Am I being too sensitive?

The good news is that I got 8,000 words done in a new story. This one has pirates!!!

Happy March! Jillian

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8 responses to “Of Writers’ Retreats and Friendship

  1. You just had to tempt me with the pirates comment, eh? As for the woman, she is completely overshadowed by the other women. I applaud you for not making a scene and taking the high road. You’re friends recognized that, too. The other woman went home much less happy than you did, I’m sure.

    • yep. I’m all about tempting with pirates. LOL! and yeah, I tried very hard to take the high road in this situation. I was happy also to learn who really cares about me in that group of ladies. ❤

  2. My first thought, apart from the fact that I hate to know you’ve been bullied in such a horrid fashion, is that the woman must be a sad person because only someone who is hurting can be so mean. It’s hard I know, but please don’t allow that woman to stop you doing something you love, and being with people you love, otherwise, she gets her way. Don’t give her that power over your life. You handled the situation well, Jillian. I fear I wouldn’t have been quite so gracious with her.

    • thanks Tricia. That makes a lot of sense and as I think about the entire weekend, I see what you mean about her being a sad person. Makes it a little more palatable to take since I’m grateful not to be living such a miserable life as she must live. AND, you’re right about not giving her power over my life. Good point!! I’m going to take that to heart. ❤

  3. I thought we left bullying behind in our schools days. Apparently not. I agree with Tricia in that she must be miserable in her life. Not someone you want to know but maybe for the sake of the beautiful friendships of the others someone you can tolerate. And, there’s a very real possibility she won’t be invited back in the fall. I’d put it aside until then and see if she is and if she is how you’re feeling.

    And congrats on the word count. That’s an accomplishment to take home.

    • Thanks Lavada. You know, when it’s happening, you don’t think it’s bullying but then when you think it over and tell others what happened, it becomes clear that was exactly what was happening. And yeah, she and I will never be friends for sure. It may be that I can tolerate her and I’m also able to choose not to engage with her. I’m hoping she won’t be invited or she won’t come. I think the fact that everyone in the house except her and one other person gathered around to support me kind of surprised her. She did make the attempt to be kind after that.

      Thanks on word count. I was excited to get that since I haven’t really been writing in 2017. Lost my mojo a bit.

  4. Please, please please don’t let her stop you from doing what you love doing nor take you away from your lovely friends. You handled the situation with grace. My gut feeling is she won’t be returning or, better, won’t be invited back. Well done on the word count though, now to keep up the momentum 🙂

    • Thanks Kit. I am playing by ear for now and hoping she won’t go back but if she does, I may still be brave enough to go anyway. LOL. And the word count was pretty good. I’ve slowed down a bit now because of some other things going on but I’m being slow and steady.
      Hope your goals are going well.

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