Monday, February 06, 2023


In parts of the internet, if you've been in a space long enough, you have seen the flounce. Someone decides a group is no longer serving them, but before leaving announces it, often dramatically. They often linger after said announcement, replying to all the replies, leaving the impression they maybe want to be talked into staying.
Groups - online and in person all serve different purposes. And the goodbyes of it all, are sometimes opaque. Should you announce your goodbye? Do people need to know not to look for you tomorrow or next week? 
I was once seated next to a friend at a large event and as we all headed towards the exit I lost sight of her. I ended up DMing her that I'd see her later and she of course said oh yeah, we live in different directions. We do. We could have walked to metro together perhaps, but with that many people milling about, it was likely easier for us to focus on getting homeward. I wasn't hurt that she had gone on. Just worried that maybe she was trying to find me and if I hopped on a train that clearly wouldn't happen. 
So sometimes you announce your exit so people know you meant to leave. 
I think the flounce version, where you leave but seem to want to be asked to stay, is noted because it's trying to do two contradictory things. If a group is not serving you and you wish it was, you can ask for it to change. But that requires commitment to the group, and also buy in from the rest of the group. If you joined a group about bunnies but have discovered no one in the group has a bunny, they just all play s bunny game and call themselves bunnies because they are fans of the game*, you can say oh oops and leave. You can say, is there interest in also having discussion about real life bunny care? You can try playing the game. But if you hate the game and no one cares about real life bunnies, you may be in the wrong group. Saying you will leave because no one cares about you or your bunny may get you some temporary feedback, but it won't change the group as a whole. And if they add a real bunny talk thread for you, but it peters out, because none of these folks were bunny enthusiasts, you just pronounced the inevitable mismatch.
Now of course there could be bunny enthusiasts, and new ones who were similarly confused by the group name could join. But that works best if you have committed to the group, and the group has agreed to the shift. 
In romance I think this is why we focus on the grovel. In real life apologies are not only rare, they are often small events. So the fictional ones are held to a high standard. Now of course, sometimes this is because the partner who needs to grovel has done a lot. The groveler has kidnapped, stolen, harmed, betrayed, and otherwise hurt the feelings of the grovel recipient. So the amends have to match, and let's face it sometimes exceed the harm done. 
Non-romance books don't always have a grovel per se, but often, there is some resolution to the relationships between the characters. And that resolution is a look at how they will be going forward, even if that means they agree never to speak again. Because sometimes the resolution to a relationship is to end it. 

*I made this example up. Though it would not surprise me to learn this has happened.