My Little White Flag

Saturday, July 02, 2016
Have you ever written a letter like this in your journal? In your head? This is a letter I would like to write, but I don't think I'd ever send it. What do you think? How do you mold your relationships? Are you a friend or an enabler?

Dear Friend,

I love that you look up to me so much that instead of googling something you pick up the phone and ask me for the answer. (Did you know, most of the time I have to google it too?)

I enjoy talking to you about what kind of poop is normal or how often your baby should breastfeed. (Do you remember me giving you the website? I was hoping you'd start looking that stuff up for yourself.)

I'm glad you love my bread recipe enough to call me every time you make it. (I posted the recipes on my blog so you can find them and print them or whatever you want to do for yourself, remember me sending you the link TWICE?)

I work from home and answer my phone each time it rings, respond promptly to text messages and emails, and my door is always open. least all of those things WERE true.

If I really am comprised of the 5 people I spend most of my time with, I feel I need to be cautious with my time. You should be cautious with yours too. I need to guard myself and what I need is more light, life, and laughter in my world. I need more people who say "Crystal, how are you today?" instead of "Hey Crystal, I need _______ today". I'm sure you'll agree, I deserve that, and so do you!

I love doing these things. I love being your person. I love YOU! The problem right now, is all this caring for you has left me falling behind and feeling empty. I'm going to set some boundaries in hopes our relationship will become stronger. I've hopefully given you the tools you need to do things on your own - I have confidence in you! 

I can't wait to see where our relationship takes us next and I'm hoping you'll drop by soon with a smile and we can have an uplifting chat!


Please leave your comments below - let us know if you've ever had to take action to help stay focused? Do you have people in your life who you love but feel the need to distance yourself from? How have these relationships impacted your writing career? Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions?

Crystal is a church musician, babywearing mama (aka crunchy mama), business owner, active journaler, writer and blogger, Blog Tour Manager with WOW! Women on Writing, Publicist with Dream of Things Publishing, as well as a dairy farmer. She lives in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin with her husband, four young children (Carmen 9, Andre 7, Breccan 2, and Delphine 1), two dogs, two rabbits, four little piggies, a handful of cats and kittens, and over 230 Holsteins. In the picture on the left, she is visiting with her neighbors who are sheep farmers - you can see 3 of her littles as well as she and her handsome husband. Thanks to her Lillebaby carrier, she is able to have lots of fun!

In addition to playing in the hay and petting bottle lambs, you can find Crystal riding unicorns, taking the ordinary and giving it a little extra (making it extraordinary), blogging and reviewing books, baby carriers, cloth diapers, and all sorts of other stuff at: and


Sioux Roslawski said...

Crystal--As prolific of a writer as you are, apparently there is one word you've not encountered: no.

You are a writer. That's your job. I don't call people for a recipe or for personal reasons at work during their work hours because it's disrespectful. If I called them during their work time just to chitchat, it might threaten their job. Would their boss hear the non-business conversation and get upset? Would my friend get behind in their work because they're wasting their work time talking to me?

YOUR work suffers when you're distracted with nonessential calls. Do you have a landline with caller ID, so you can see who's calling BEFORE you answer it? Can you leave a message on your cell phone that says something like, "I'm working right now. I'm buried under deadlines and am juggling sooo many projects, I cannot get to the phone right now. If it's an emergency, I'll call right back but otherwise, I'll return your call when I'm able to emerge out from under all of the manuscripts and articles I'm working on." Let your close friends and your family know that the message is not meant for them, that you'll call right back if they need confirmation about a lunch date, etc. but that the message is for those calls from some acquaintances who are time-suckers.

So, to remind you of that vocabulary word that was apparently unknown: no. It can be an unspoken "no." No, I won't answer the phone until it's much later in the day, making it necessary for you to find the link to that recipe yourself (which will make that friend a little more self-reliant and more independent--and isn't that a good thing?).

Whoo. What a long-winded comment. It's time for you to say, "Sioux, shut up. Enough already." ;)

iamagemcrystal said...

Thank you! Don't shut up Sioux, I needed to hear all that today. I'm exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally. Thank you for your love and support. Such great ideas!!!!


BECKY said...

Hmmm, is it just me, or are there others who might find this letter to be insensitive, or maybe even rude? I have a few thoughts about all of this.
1) A very easy solution would be to not answer the phone and let it go to voice mail, and call when you have time.
2) Ask your friend either in person or on the phone to not call during the hours of: ___ and ___. (Not in a letter. I think that comes across worse.)
3) Is this person actually a friend or an acquaintance? Either way, she/he deserves your respect and compassion.
4) Ask her/him to please email you with these kinds of questions and you'll get back to her/him as soon as you can.
That's all I got! I hope this might help and that I didn't come across in a critical way, because I didn't intend to. Good luck!

Crystal Otto said...

You're spot on about it being rude...which is why I never send these letters I compose in my head. Thanks for the great ideas and pointers!!!

BECKY said...

Thank YOU, Crystal!

Angela Mackintosh said...

My husband says I'm a crazy-person magnet. Being Japanese, it's very hard for me to be impolite. It's ingrained in our culture to never say, "No." It's something I've had to learn and practice. So that also means some people try to take advantage of me. When they don't get the hint after numerous times of telling them about work deadlines or whatever, I just cut them out of my life. That may seem harsh, but THEY are the ones being rude. I'm talking about the people that never say thank you for things like picking them up from the airport at almost midnight because their ride bailed on them, or not thanking you for going grocery shopping for them and instead complaining about the brand of canned tomatoes you purchased even though you got everything else on the list right. And when you happen to need a favor, they tell you they're unavailable. Yes, those are a few things that happened to me recently! Then you have to have a talk...and it seems weird that you have to remind a grown adult to say thank you. And if I say that I can't talk right now because I'm on a deadline and they don't respect that, then I can't respect them. My work is who I am and I take it seriously.

Crystal, maybe she'll read this post. ;) I know it's hard to confront someone and talk about these things, but if you really value your friendship then you should. It will either make your friendship stronger or you will find out who they really are. If this person is a crazy-rude, energy-sucking vampire, then you don't need them in your life.

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