I was beat, abused, salted in wound and stabbed-in the front. Verbally. By a friend.
Now mind you it wasn’t the first time. I think we want to claim shock, surprise when these things happen but the truth as we know it is that we know our friends who do this have done it before. The friends that undercut, hit you where it hurts or take a dig at you. They’ve done it before maybe not so blatantly or maybe we excused or away. Perhaps we were “asking” for it or just turning the other cheek. After all they are our friend, right?
As Clare wrote about last week, Growing Out of Friends is an occurrence that happens. I started taking a look at my closet of friends. Who fits? Who’s in season or just a night on the town? On this particular night I decided to put on my Friday night family dinner outfit on. Everything was same old hang time until the evening went on. In an effort of caring my friend started lecturing me about choices I make, men I attract and why it’s all bad. I asked her to stop, I stood up for myself. She continued this time accusing of me being in love with “him”. I didn’t actually know who “him” was. So I asked her. As she said my ex’s name I got angry. First: NO. Second: why would she even say it? This totally came from left field and it stung. As calmly as I could I ended the conversation. Waited a minute and politely left the situation and went home for the evening. I am quite proud of myself. I do not know what she is going through but I have to believe that I know what’s best for me.
The situation got me thinking. This happens to so many of my clients. Friends digging into friends. I do not believe it’s on purpose but what if we caught ourselves? What if we stopped this cycle? Ladies, I love you. I truly do. But, I need a favor…please stop projecting your fears, worries, doubts, insecurities and any other negatives you’re feeling onto your friends. Ok, I realize we all have been guilty of this, even me. However, I am working on. Taking a stand against projecting how I am feeling onto others in my life. Why? It’s really not helpful to anyone!
Let me give you another example: A Lovely Artist in my world had a chat with a girlfriend of her’s the other day. This other friend of hers was probably thinking she was being helpful, suggested Lovely Artist get back with her ex-boyfriend. After all she wasn’t getting any younger and it’s harder to find a good date, she should just go back. Lovely Artist was sent into day of feeling as if she maybe should go back to a guy she didn’t feel good about dating in the first place. Was he nice? Sure but he didn’t rock her world. She didn’t feel good about herself with him. This friend has told her more than once this week she just needs to go back to him. So, so wrong! Lovely Artist should do what makes her feel good about herself. She left him because she didn’t feel good about herself with him. Her friend should be supportive instead of projecting onto her the fears and woes she’s having in the daring world. Bad Advice Friend is probably wanting to get back with an ex, or is having troubles finding a good guy. Guess what? It’s tough out there but don’t try giving advice that 1) wasn’t asked for 2) puts your friend in a place that makes her second guess herself 3) that isn’t leading to a positive feeling towards oneself.
I teach Pilates to both men and women. I hear many stories about lovers, parents, friends and work. One thing I don’t hear a man complain about is his friend telling him to get back with an ex that wasn’t good enough for him. I don’t hear him say “my friend said I should just settle for the job I’m in.” Nope I do not have any male clients come into a session telling me that they are questioning their own judgment because of a friend’s advice. I have had many a female client come in after just hearing from their mom, best friend, female coworker that they “shouldn’t have done…” they “needed to do…” We women should be supporting each other. If your friend leaves her boyfriend: support her. If your friend says she’s thinking of leaving her job: support her! If she’s going back to the gym regularly: support her! Are you seeing the theme?
I understand that we worry for our friends. What if she can’t find another job? What if she ends up single for years? What if she becomes a gym rat? What if—who cares what if! There are what ifs for EVERYTHING! You can “what if” until the cows come home. Why not turn those “what ifs” into positives! What if she finds her dream job? What if she gets healthy feels good about herself, and because her self esteem is skyrocketing, she meets a great guy? What if she starts sailing her own ship? Wouldn’t that just be awesome?
I, honestly, do not think many of us ask the questions that put doubts in our friends minds on purpose. I really hope I’m right that its not a conscious decisions. Instead we should be more present in our conversations. Ask ourselves the question in our minds before stating it out loud how it might affect the person sitting in front of us, that we do care about. I think we would actually
1) learn something about ourselves.
2) have deeper, stronger friendships. We would be lifting up our friends rather than bringing them down.
How can you be sure you’re an uplifter? Think before you speak. Is what you’re about to say supportive of your friends decision? If its not, file it away for now. Ask yourself why you think that question is important. What do you fear?
My Lovely Artist spent a whole day feeling terrible and questioning whether she made the right decision when she left her ex for the possibility of happiness. I will give her friend the benefit of the doubt that she did not mean to put Lovely Artist into a tailspin of self doubt. But, she wasn’t asked or this information, so why offer it?
Lastly, ladies don’t be afraid to tell, your friend: “Stop, hold up. Thank you for your opinion but I feel very good about this decision. I really just want you support.” Then check out Clare’s info one “growing out of friends.” (Read that blog post here: Growing Out of Friends)
I love being a strong woman, I love that my friends come to me for advice. I will be working hard to be their cheerleader not their party crasher. Who’s with me?