Sometimes We’re the 9 and Sometimes We’re the 1

A nine and a one talking

Recently a fellow blogger, who is a writer, commented that 9 out of 10 friends who say they want to read your writing never do. She wasn’t complaining, just acknowledging that that’s how things are. Mostly she wanted to make the point about how much we should value that 1 who does, and we really should.

Whether we are writers or not, we’ve all experienced that same thing in one scenario or other – those 9 out of 10 people who say they will support something we’re doing, and then don’t. It’s natural to feel let down, but actually, if we flip it around and are completely honest with ourselves, we’ve all been that 9 too. Probably many times. Each of us, within our circle of friends, family, friends of friends, colleagues and neighbours, we all know people who play in a band, or act in plays, or compete in sporting events, or sing in bars, or make and sell crafts, or organise fundraising activities, or make films, or recite poetry, or paint, or yes write. The list is endless. We all know many people who each really need those in their circle to step up and actively support them in their endeavours.

When these people tell us about their thing, it really is so easy to say “Well next time you’re doing X, let me know and I’ll come to watch!” or “Hey, I’d love to look at that and give you my opinion when you’ve finished it.” And we mean it at the time, or hopefully we do anyway, but do we follow through on it every single time? Chances are we don’t. We can’t. In our desire to be supportive and encouraging to people we know in their endeavours, we can over-commit ourselves with these promises. The reality is we all have busy lives and we just don’t have the capacity to actively support everyone in our circle, in all of their endeavours, as much as we would like to. Maybe we should think more carefully about our words if we’re not completely sure that we can commit. Maybe it’s better to just say “That’s great, I really hope it goes well”, rather than “That’s great, I’ll try and come along”. We’re not letting them down with the first one.

Many times of course we are actively supportive, we are the 1, and it feels good doesn’t it. We’re pleased to be able to actively support. But we just can’t do it all the time, and that’s what we need to remember when we’re the ones on the other side wanting active participation and support. So as well as greatly valuing the 1 who supports us, we should remember that we’re really all the same. Sometimes we’re the 9 and sometimes we’re the 1.

Just some random musings on a Friday. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

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64 responses to “Sometimes We’re the 9 and Sometimes We’re the 1

  1. No, we can’t always be the 1, even when we really want to. For me this comes in the form of reading books. There are so many I want to get to, particularly the indies of my social media connections. But I can’t possibly read them all, so I try not to be committal. Never enough time. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, definitely the books for me too. I’m quite a slow reader anyway and never seem to find much time to read so it takes me quite a while to get through books, there are several books by other bloggers that I’ve said I’ll read, and I want to, but it takes me forever to get to them! And then after that I don’t get round to writing the reviews on them for ages!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely spot on as our actions are contrary to what we say.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As Carrie says, there’s never enough time to read. Or watch, listen, comment, talk, find, help… Here on WP, I try to get to those blogs I know that I will enjoy (yours and Carrie’s included). At times, when I only have time to read and let the writer know that I enjoyed by hitting the “like star,” and don’t comment, I feel like I am a 9, not the 1 I’d like to be.

    Anyway, raise a cup of morning coffee to the 1s out there and the 9s who would like to be a 1.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, even keeping up with blogs can be one of these things can’t it, we want to be a 1 all the time, and we can’t! Yes, let’s drink to the 1s (and that does include us some of the time at least!). Thanks for stopping by to comment, I appreciate it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A good point to keep in mind. I think as parents of younger children we tend to be part of the 1 and as they grow older and are more self assured we move into the 9 camp as it relates to their endeavors. With respect to people outside the family circle I think you have to expect more 9 behavior from your friends and toward your friends.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree that out kids take priority for receiving our 1 selves (I’m making up my own grammar here). I wouldn’t necessarily extend that to all family though in preference to friends – I think we probably all have some friends that are more like family than some of our family, and that we might be more prepared to put ourselves out for at times. I can’t seem to write anything succinctly right now, but I’m sure you know what I mean!

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  5. I’ve learned not to commit if I can’t follow through. I don’t want to be the 9, and it’s not fair to the other person for me to say “I will be there for you” and then I’m not, so I am very careful with my words so that my actions can back them up – because there is a world of difference between the 1 and the 9! Great post for random musings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve already got it sorted, good work! 🙂 The problem I have is that I always over estimate how much I can fit in, both in terms of things for myself and things for other people, and so I’m always like – yes, I can do that, and that, and this, and that. I need to learn that I can’t and modify what I commit to accordingly!

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  6. When i was younger I did a lot more of the over promising and then being resentful trying to keep the promises.I am definitely not perfect at this but working on more of ‘good for you’ rather than ‘I’d love to help.’ This is a great reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think the stats are a little better than that and my well-intended Friends who follow me on social media have stopped by the Wild Ride at least once, out of curiosity if nothing else.

    In real life, I’ve gotten to a point where I never share unless someone asks. I used to be a huge self-promoter. I don’t have a problem with unfulfilled good intentions. I have a problem with people who don’t support me as a writer at all. Now I don’t set myself up for crickets! It’s weird since I’m a person who loves to hear what others are doing. I must know a lot of narcissists! Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, the stats aren’t necessarily precise, they’re just the numbers I went with because of the initial comment about the 9 out of 10. Everyone’s stats will be different! You’re right, if you don’t shout about what you’re doing too much, then you don’t set yourself up for disappointment! Thanks for stopping by Susie 🙂

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  8. This is right on the mark, Vanessa! I have one book on my Kindle now where I promised the author I would read soon (it’s a second volume in a series), but then the cancer came up and I simply stopped reading, period. And I know someone who really liked one of my books (enough to review it on Limebirds and stage a giveaway) and she has three more of my books and promised to read (and even review them) after she got a Master’s Degree, but (sigh) she got interested in cooking again instead. But that’s OK – I believe (when recreation is involved) in pursuing whatever gives one the most pleasure!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, I did get a good laugh at your comment Lorinda – I can’t imagine who you’re talking about! 😉 But yes indeed, a prime example of what I meant. While I was doing the Master’s I made all sorts of promises about what I would be able to do when it was finished, to other people and to myself, for some reason I imagined that all the time I was spending studying would be spare time afterwards that I could fill with all these things, but of course it never works out like that, not sure why, but it doesn’t! I did actually read the first Labors book before Christmas, as well as two others by other blogging friends, but then I’ve failed to write reviews for either yours or those other two, but it’s not too late, I must do that because I know how important reviews are for self-published authors, well for any authors actually.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh, you read the first Labors book before you read The Termite Queen. It helps to read TQ first so you meet the characters and learn what the termite civilization is all about, so I’ll be interested in how you react to coming cold into the series.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Sigh. Time is the problem. I have a couple outstanding reviews and I really, REALLY want to read everyone’s books but I cannot.
    Thanks for this post, Vanessa. I almost feel a bit better now, knowing I’m not the only one. I try not to commit but sometimes, life gets in the way. ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I live among a small English minority community in French Quebec, so it seems extra important to support that community’s endeavours, but the realities you mention are just the same. The guilt is greater, perhaps.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Nice musings! I agree that when’s it’s you and ‘your’ thing in the limelight, you want all those 9 to get off their duffs and support you, but yes, we’ve all been there and know how it feels to be overwhelmed with good intentions. So thank you for being on my 1 list for my book, I appreciate it a TON…and thanks for the reminder to consider my words before I commit to something I might not have time to follow through on. You’re awesome!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes and of course I’ve said I’ll read your other two haven’t I! I will too, I want to, I really enjoyed the first one, not just because I said I would! I won’t make any promises about when though, but will definitely get to them 🙂

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      • Ha ha. I understand completely. There are so many good books waiting on my kindle to read (and I will someday), but then others push to the front because I have to review them for a blog tour or some other thing…so I get you. I need about 6 more hours in my day.

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  12. I remember speaking to a theatre friend of mine about this very subject recently. She was deeply wounded that everyone she knew didn’t come out to see her show. I could relate; I had been similarly been burned by no shows when I wrote for the stage — but I had since wrapped my brain around the fact that these things happen. “No one will ever care about your stuff as much as you will,” I told her. “Because your stuff is yours, not theirs.”

    Liked by 2 people

  13. That was a kind assessment of the 9, and I agree that we are all in that majority a lot of the time. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Terrific perspective. I’ve totally been disappointed to know that close friends aren’t reading my blog. What?! How can they not, right? But, yeah, am I participating in all their stuff? Nope. Good point. I’ll cut them some slack.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. So very true Vanessa! Sadly, I’m a 9 trying to be a 1 and really working at it. Time as everyone else is saying is the enemy here. With life, writing for myself and everything else, there just isn’t enough of the time thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I agree. I wish I could do more for others. It comes from the one guiding principle that I live by: treat others as you want to be treated.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. It was all much easier when I was younger. The years I was living in Manhattan I had friends that were musicians, stand-up comedians, actors, poets, etc. Someone was always performing somewhere and I was happy to go. But now? Life got too complicated. Can I be a 6? I’m a 6.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It gets harder when you have a family doesn’t it, your time to do things for others outside gets severely reduced! You can’t really be a six because it’s a not a score, it’s number of people, but…well….ok, seeing is as it’s you!

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  18. Ah yes I’ve definitely been seeing this first hand lately, as I’ve been helping a friend sale at craft fairs. One time out of three shows so far 1 friend actually showed up for him out of the tons that said they would.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, it’s the way it goes! But that’s why I wanted to show it from both sides, so that we feel less bad when it happens to us, by realising how we can all have a tendency to do the same thing to others! Good intentions mean nothing really without the substance to back them up!

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  19. You, and your writer friend, are sooo right. I think that statistical estimate is a big part of the reason we blog writers come to cherish our online community, because they actually do read us. My real-time friends say they do, but I often suspect that they don’t actually click on the blog to read it, they just barely acknowledge it. The important thing for me to realize if my feelings are occasionally hurt, is that in many other instances, I am VERY guilty of being a 9. That being said, I vow to be a 1 for your works, VJC!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that’s funny when you get real life people who say they read your blog (like people who say they go to the gym just because they have a membership), and then in another conversation they’ll ask you a question or express surprise about something you say, and that’s when you know they haven’t been reading your blog!

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  20. Wow, you hit a button here for many of us. First, I want to be a ‘1,’ and I get very stressed if I disappoint and am a ‘9’ instead. So I’m learning to not overcommit, so I don’t make a promise I can’t keep. And on the other side, as one of your followers said, I’m so surprised that some of my closest friends don’t (won’t?) read my blog or books. Can’t quite figure it out, because they like my writing and are supportive of me in other ways, but I think because I write so openly, it freaks them out. And that’s when I have to realize, they’re a ‘9’ for a reason. Just accept it and move on.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, maybe it all works out, like maybe we get as many 9s back as the 9s we give out, and the same with the 1s. I’m hoping now that I’ve releflected on this issue by writing this post, that I can be more careful about not verbally committing myself, and also more accepting of the 9s in my life 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Absolutely agree, Vanessa.

    One of our social entrepreneurship professors is fond of saying the individual does more good when supporting one cause 100% than supporting 100 causes 1%. 🙂 We can’t – we shouldn’t – be the 1 for everything and everyone, but it’s good to recognize in ourselves why and when we’re of the 9. And, that’s okay. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that’s very true what your professor says, and worth remembering, I think our more natural instinct is to try and spread ourselves around as much as possible, and so of course we end up spreading ourselves too thinly. If we take it to an extreme, say if we picked just one of our writer friends to support, and gave them all our support time – reading and commenting on every draft they produce, being the supportive encourager when they’re doubting themselves, being the first to put up reviews when they publish, sharing and promoting their books for them on a weekly basis etc, then surely we’d really make a difference to them (also, they might start getting a bit creeped out by our obssessive support, but that’s another matter!). There’s a balance isn’t there. Something that falls in between doing 100% for one or 1% for a 100.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Yes, I try and fail at reading everyone’s blog whenever they post. I can only read so many books and go to so many performances and attend so many book launches and like so many FB posts and have coffee or dinner or a drink with so many friends. I am not a social butterfly, but I’d like to be. I wish I could do more, but I’m also an introvert who loses energy whenever I do anything social. I am a failure at doing everything for everyone. I think I’ll just go to bed now. Thank you for giving me permission to give up without guilt. Well, without as much guilt…. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t think of it as failure Jilanne, it’s just a recognition that nobody can do everything for everyone. It is important to spend time doing things for ourselves too, otherwise we’ll end up being pretty useless to everyone else anyway! But yes, it’s hard to completely lose the guilt!

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  23. Guilt is a dreadful thing isn’t it. Why do we do this to ourselves? I’m a 9 who can’t even be bothered to do my own stuff …

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  24. I hear ya. Especially with reading books, reading blogs and doing all the ancillary social media that seem to be required now. Some of my more prolific blogging friends are doing it all, 24/7, and I don’t know how they do it. I WANT to be supportive, but I can’t keep up.

    I work full time, have a husband, a home, volunteer work, extended family, a blog, write a quarterly column and now a monthly one. Everyone is busy, lots more than me I know, so it’s not a good excuse, but it’s the only one I have. I’m almost at the point of giving up on all of it so I don’t disappoint anyone.

    I want quality, sitting-my-big-butt-in-the-easychair-watching-midless-TV-without-feeling-guilty, me time!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s crazy how much we all try and fit in isn’t it! Like you say, there are some other bloggers who are so prolific with it all, they’re everywhere all the time! But then something else must give, they don’t get more than 24 hours in their day, the same as us. There’s a certain amount of stuff we HAVE to do (job, housework etc) after that there’s a certain amount of choice, and we have to choose to spend some of that choice time doing what we want to do rather than what we think we should do, otherwise, well, what’s the point of any of it? (Oh dear, I didn’t mean for that to end on such a downer!) I’ll make it better by smiling, 🙂 there.

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  25. This post makes me feel guilty. I feel like I’m a nine for sure. It all comes down to time. Since I’ve been homeschooling, I’ve got no time alone, Vanessa. It’s been rough. I do my best to keep up here, but always feel deficient. And now I have five loads of laundry to fold. No exaggeration. Yes, cheers to the 1s! I don’t know how they do it.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I am all for being supportive, but overpromising and underdelivering are really hard to deal with. I know everyone says things they don’t mean or won’t follow through on, but it would be so much better to say “that’s awesome, maybe sometime I can read a few pages” than to say wow, I have to read you manuscript, please send it to me and then never read it. I think people have to be careful about making promises they won’t honor.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Natalie on the rocks

    So true! I’m actually pretty surprised at all the “ones” who read my blog that I come across in person. It’s often from people I would least expect it, which makes their support so much more valuable.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I wholeheartedly agree. More than once, family members have said they want to read my short story that is published in an online magazine. I’ve given them the link, but I never heard from them. Did they read it? Dunno. If so, what did they think of it? Dunno. And you hate to ask, because then it makes you feel like you’re begging for that attention and you don’t want to bug them because you know they’re busy.

    I know all the “1s” who did read it, because they told me, and I can count them on one hand. But, that’s okay, I really appreciate their effort.

    Good post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Kate. Yes, we all experience it in different ways. That one is awkward when someone says they want to see something, you send it to them and then never hear any more! Often it’s people who are perfectly supportive in other areas of your life. But then I always go back to remembering that I can be on that side too!

      Liked by 1 person

  29. I agree with you, particularly on books. There are so many indie writers I’d like to read/support but there are too many other “musts” in life. I’ve finally learnt not to commit, if in doubt on follow through.

    Liked by 1 person

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