Jan. 25th, 2010

norsegirl: (Default)
It seems I have a new "phobia". I'm sure that's not the right word for it but I'm at a loss to describe it any other way.

I joined this swapmamas site because the idea seemed intriguing. Based on my experience so far I can't say I'd recommend it. Mostly I wasted a lot of time looking at things people had to offer that I wasn't interested in. One day though I stumbled on a woman looking for bookmarks and she had books to offer. I contacted her, we worked out a trade, I wove up some bookmarks using tablet weaving and mailed them off and waited patiently for my books to arrive. A few days after sending them she sent a message saying "thanks for the bookmarks, I'll send your books tomorrow". A few weeks later, no books. I sent a follow-up message asking if the books had been lost by the post office or if she'd just been too busy with the holidays and all. I tried to sound like I was just giving a gentle reminder. No response. A week later I hit the site again to send a follow-up message and her account had been deleted.

Because I'd mailed the bookmarks I had a real-life point of contact, and it happened to be her office. I'm not sure I'd like someone I'd ripped off on the internet having the contact information for my boss, so I guess that wasn't as well thought-out as she'd planned.

Here's the thing though, I sat and looked at that number on my screen for a good hour before getting up the guts to call her. And when I did call my stomach was all aflutter like I was calling to follow up on a failed job interview or something. The anxiety that comes with wanting to avoid conflict while still trying to figure out how to get what you want out of the interaction and knowing that the other person holds all the cards. I can't make someone tell me why I didn't get the job, and I can't make this woman send me my promised books, even though in both situations it would be the right thing for them to do. At the end of it I was left feeling much the same as with a failed job interview call. Relieved that it was over and that I could at least say I'd done what I could. But at the same time feeling like I'd failed. I never feel like interviewers give me real feedback I can use. Mostly they just come up with the old "the other candidate was more qualified/had seniority" bullshit. And while this woman said she'd "send those right out" I can't help but feel that she "lost" my contact information on purpose and I'm never seeing those books.

I don't think of myself as a coward. And I don't think of myself as someone who avoids conflicts in general. So what is it about these kinds of situations that bother me so much?

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norsegirl

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