The Power of People Who Are “Down”

2010 February 22
by Grace Boyle

I’m down.

I say that all the time and it’s true. I’m down to do (almost) anything. My downness has created jobs, friendships, new opportunities, worldwide traveling, unique experiences and of course, perpetual dimpled smiles.

For a metaphor, I think to Sharalyn’s beautiful post on Elisa’s #AllYouNeed series comparing love to beakers (yes, like from Chemistry class). Sharalyn talks about how her beaker is always full and overflowing – the size of a 500 mL beaker. Men she has dated in the past had 250 mL beakers and although their beaker might be full and overflowing, they simply couldn’t give as much as she always was willing to give. No one’s fault, just a lesson in learning about who you are, what you need and what you can offer.

I resonated with this in my past relationships but also relating to being down and the friendships in my life.

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I’m a doer. I’m active, social and love to travel. I’m on the move. I carve out time for my passions and enjoying life because it’s part of who I am. I must. That being, I’m always down. Maybe this has to do that my interests are broad, but I also think that keeping my mind open like a parachute will not only help me grow, but learn and find new experiences.

My down beeker is overflowing. It’s way bigger than 500 mL and it’s hard for me to find friends who have their down beeker in tow. In turn, I’ve sourly turned this into mistrust, frustration or thinking friends don’t really care. When really (Grace, be rational) that’s not the case. I have to understand their beaker, understand that maybe going to bed early is something they need so they can’t attend the gallery opening or movie I’m going to or maybe they prefer to be social only one day a week and they still love me, but their beaker won’t allow more.

I’m not talking about previous engagements, when you’re sick, working, just don’t feel like attending this time, etc. All those are legitimate excuses. I say no, too. But I digress – you probably know what I’m talking about. You know those people that rarely take you up on your offer when you invite them all the time: e.g. “Hey, getting together a group of people for happy hour” or “Free movie night at our house, we’re baking, just bring your cute self” and they say, “Can’t make it,” or don’t respond, even when they might have nothing going on.

You know why I know this? Because I would bet lots of cash-money, that I’m just as busy or busier than most people. I volunteer with two organizations, I work full-time, I go to the gym and yoga at least four times a week, I maintain this blog and always regularly update it, I meet with people looking to learn about social media or Boulder regularly and average two guests a month that stay with me. Yeah, I’m busy, but I make time for my friends (and my alone time) while still allowing my beaker to be down. Of course, those with smaller beakers can be extremely busy as well, but they likely treat their social or free time differently.

Here’s the kicker: not everyone’s like me and it should be that way. Not everyone can do as much as I do (this isn’t to sound haughty, it’s the truth). We each have our own paths and needs to get by in life. Respecting that is part of the non-linear life we all lead.

Luckily, by knowing myself, I have found friends whose down beaker’s are overflowing too. We suck the risk, goodness and fun out of life and maybe we do “more” than the average person, but it works for us and makes life so damn enjoyable. On the flip side, I’m learning. I’m stubborn, I know, but I truly love my friends even if their down beaker is smaller. I appreciate them for what they offer me, what I can offer them, and who they are.

After all, being down doesn’t constitute a true friend…but it does make for a good time.

How down are you? Have you experienced this in friendships/relationships on either side of the fence (you’re down, or do less than most people)?

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  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Angela, there are definitely times when me (a “down” person) just doesn’t feel up to it. But overall, it’s easy to spot those who just don’t want to push the boundary as much and those who do EVERYTHING. I bet finding a balance, is key. Especially as our lives and responsibilities change.

  • http://thewebsecrets.com/ Web secrets

    Yah! You are right Grace, balance and the capability to  absorb  changes in our life and how we deal on it, is the key.

    You’re such a great writer and adviser as well. So fantastic, you just inspired me. Thanks!

  • Pingback: Excercising “No” | Small Hands, Big Ideas()

  • MelanieW

    Thank you for this.  It´s made me realise something that I find it hard to accept that people are different.  I find it difficult to understand why people ´can´t be bothered´ and now you have explained it!