Episode 18: Collaboration, Part 2

SCORING MAGIC
EPISODE 18
WRITTEN BY: KATIE YOUMANS AND WIL WILLIAMS
PRODUCED BY: WIL WILLIAMS

So, create is feels good. Collaboration is feels good! Friends is feels good! But what happens when miscommunications means that isn’t feels good? This week, Katie breaks down what lead to a fight between her and Wil, different styles of anger and conflict, and the steps you can take to talk to your friends about your needs.

About Scoring Magic – Scoring Magic is presented by Hug House Productions. You can support us for behind-the-scenes details and early previews of upcoming projects on Patreon.

TRANSCRIPT

KATIE

I know we’ve talked a lot about the awesome parts of having a team, and some of the stressful parts of having a team, but we haven’t talked much about how we made those stressful parts . . . not so stressful anymore. So let’s do that! 

Intro music

KATIE

Some background on why I’m talking about this topic in particular: Wil and I, for a while, were both feeling like we were giving and giving to the other, and not feeling like there was reciprocation for us. We both felt we were burning ourselves out for the other, and not being cared for in return. And this led to several very tense conversations that kept leaving both of us feeling fragile and unsteady in how to behave around the other. And neither of us wanted that! Both because we’re working together, and more importantly, because we both care very much about the other, and seeing your friend hurting, or hurting because of an interaction with a friend, really sucks! Zero stars!

KATIE

A few months ago, we had an honest-to-goodness fight that, admittedly, was because I was using a resource – our block scripts for live recordings – in a way that Wil had not anticipated, and so had not structured to serve that purpose. Which is legit! I realized later I was doing things in a really roundabout way that made very little sense and caused me to have more work, so Wil would have never have had any reason to plan for the weird way in which I would use the block scripts during take selection. But because of an adjustment made to the recording sessions, an adjustment was made to the scripts, and it threw off something else, which threw off something else, which threw off me. And it was a small, extremely manageable issue by itself, but . . . Wil and I experience anger differently. And neither of us experience it very often, so neither of us knew what to do for the other when it happened.

[field audio]

KATIE

-how, like, yes, this-this week we’re talking about, uh, collaboration now that we’ve done more of it. 

WIL

Yeah.

KATIE

And communicating with your collaborators and how, sometimes, uh, even with the best of intentions, and the most of communication, it . . . do a bad instead.

WIL

Yeah! [laughs] Yeah.

KATIE

Yes. Um, sometimes “use your words” is insufficient advice! It does not get you all the way there! [laughs]

WIL

That is true, that is true. Yeah, you and I have very different, both communication and conflict styles, I would say. 

KATIE

Yes.

WIL

Um. Oh, sorry, that was my dryer.

KATIE

[whispered] Oh nooo, how dare . . .

WIL

Well, it’s off now. So, y’know, the audio’s better.

[laughter]

WIL

Yeah, so we have-we have very different communication and conflict styles, um. I tend to be just, like, very — I have, like, I-I have always had a very, uh, like, very direct line between friend communication and work communication, um, and when I am in business mode, I’m in business mode. So I’m very much like, get things done, let’s be efficient, let’s be straightforward. Um, which I know can come across like . . . in-intense, to say the least!

[laughter]

 WIL

. . . sometimes.

KATIE

Yeah, no, I mean, I think it’s very smart to have those different modes though. Um, and so I’ve had to work on . . . trying to develop those. Because I used to have them all as, uh, no line at all. Just a mishmash.  Which meant that I was, like, letting my feelings get hurt about business things that were not meant to be feelings hurty. And, uh, we’ve gotten a lot better at making sure that the-the group chat that’s just us to be goobers remains that. Like, we’re not-

WIL

Mmhm, mmhm.

KATIE

Because if business is everywhere, it feels like business never stops, and that’s exhausting and miserable.

WIL

Mhmm. Yeah, um, I also try really hard to, like, keep a very different tone of voice? In like, in a group chat  versus most of our-most of our, like, business channels in the server-

KATIE

Yeah.

WIL

Where, like,  saying “yes”, um, for me, like in our group chat, would be “yeah! Hell yeah! Go for it! Pew pew pew!” Like, y’know, dorky. And in, like, the business channels, would be like “yes, thank you.” Y’know? Like, very-

KATIE

Yeah.

WIL

Very distinct differences. Which is not to say that we’re not goofy in there too. But those lines are really important for me, ‘cause like you said, like, otherwise it’s so easy to get those feelings hurt, and to feel, like, unsafe? Bringing things up, and-

KATIE

Mhmm.

WIL

And sharing, and that’s not what I want. That’s not what I want.

KATIE

So, I don’t lose my temper much, um, and when I do, it’s very quick. It’s-it’s-uh, it is and it isn’t. It’s like, small quiet things that I kind of shove down, because I think, “oh, this by itself is not important enough to bring up.”

Um, if it’s bothering you, you should bring it up! [laughter]

WIL

You should bring it up. Yeah.

KATIE

But I would be like, oh, this isn’t a big deal.

WIL

Yeah, you bottle things up and then kaboom.

KATIE

Yes. Um. But the weird thing about my anger is that, like, it is sort of a-a quiet simmer that — it’s like when-when you’re, um, when you’ve got milk on the stove. And it does nothing forever, and then-

WIL

Forever!

KATIE

And then you’ll see little wisps of steam, and then all of a sudden, it’s boiling over and scorching on your stovetop, and the second you turn the heat off, it’s fine again.

WIL

Yeah.

KATIE

Which is bewildering and awful for people around me, on the rare occasions when it happens. 

WIL

And mine is very, very different. So I don’t-I don’t, like, experience anger often? 

KATIE

Mhmm

WIL

Um, to the point where, like, if I do experience anger, I am usually, like, terrified about it. I like, don’t — every time I get actually angry about something, I am, like, at a loss for how to respond, ‘cause I don’t know what to do with it.

Instead, um, when it comes to conflict, I just kind of, like, my emotions just kind of shut down? 

KATIE

Mmm

WIL

And I, like, look at things — I take it a lot as, like, if I were, like, a lawyer in the situation. Or writing an analytical essay. Like, it’s just data to me at that point. Which is not to say that it’s always correct data! But that’s-that’s the sort of feel that my brain is going to. So I bring things up, uh, right as they happen. And I like having them dealt with. 

KATIE

Yeah

WIL

Like, right then and there. And finding a strategy and a solution and then being like, ok. Um, but that means that, because of that, like — it’s-it’s a very efficient way of dealing with conflict, right? Like, ‘cause it just gets fixed. But it is really cold, and it doesn’t take . . . like, actual human emotions into stock, because I don’t have them at the time.

KATIE

[laughter]

WIL

Like, I’m just processing information. Which, y’know. Is also not great. So we-we are like, uh,  pretty much the opposite, I would say. 

KATIE

Mhmm.

WIL

Uh, and mine is like — it doesn’t come very fast and bubble over or anything, um, it’s just, like, there.

KATIE

Mhmm.

WIL

I don’t know how to explain that. Like, it’s just there? And then I just get more, like, annoyed? Like, I-I am more likely to lose respect for someone and feel like my time is being wasted by them than to be really angry at them.

[narration]

KATIE

And that one small, extremely manageable issue just happened to come up at a point when I had already told myself not to say anything several times – a choice I do not recommend! People do things differently and your friends are almost certainly not being malicious when they do or say something that you wish they were doing or saying another way! 

And I had shoved down some things regarding work, and personal relationships outside of Hug House, and I was absolutely that pot of milk on the stove, boiling over and scorching. 

That behavior pattern is one that I am working on every day. And I have gotten a lot better over the years. But Wil had no way of knowing any of that, and it never occurred to me to tell them in advance about the way in which I get angry, or the way in which I want help and support when I am hurting.

KATIE

We had a long conversation after that blowup about how we get angry, the jumps our brains make during conflict, how we want to be cared for, all things that would have been great to have discussed much, much earlier on, when we weren’t already frazzled and hurting. I hadn’t realized I was allowed to ask for a specific type of care. The thought literally never occurred to me. And . . . I’m in therapy! I’m, uh, betting it hadn’t occurred to a lot of you either. But these are important conversations to have with friends and collaborators. It’s not you being greedy or pushy or demanding if you let friends know what does and doesn’t make you feel better when you’re hurting. It’s you being smart, and helping each other feel more trusted and better looked after.

KATIE

And I know that all of this sounds like it was heavy emotional work that’ll be ongoing . . . kind of forever, that you don’t just get to check off of your list and be done with. But that’s because it is. People keep growing. Their needs are going to keep changing. Friendships that matter are going to need the people in them to keep doing the work. But rather than feeling daunted or worn out from all of that, I’m just. I’m overwhelmed that I have teammates and friends who are invested enough to want to do that work. And I’m glad that I get to do it for them too.

[Outro music]

KATIE

Scoring Magic is a Hug House production. You can find more information about Scoring Magic on scoringmagicpod dot com, and you can support Hug House at Patreon dot com slash hughousepods.

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