Tuesday, March 27

A Question From A Reader.

I really enjoy all aspects of being interactive with people. I love getting texts at work (the ones 
that are not scathing and full of hate are my favorite.) I also enjoy the occasional email from my blog. I received this one the other day from a friend, I thought it would be a good one to share and get a lot of different opinions on from others. 

It read,


I feel that we are a bit alike. In the past week (one being today) I've been straight forward with a couple of friends saying it how I think and now the one friend will not even talk to me! I know then she wasn't a real friend but got to tell you its a little hard on the self esteem! Have you ever been in that similar situation? If so, how did you handle it?


Okay, based on very little information about specifics I have broken what you wrote down into a few main areas, so Ill do my best with them...hope it helps. 

1) "I've been straight forward with people, saying it how it is and now that person wont talk to me."

This is such a tricky subject that one my dearest friend Natasha and I talk about more often then I think you would believe. Natasha and I have a very healthy relationship, we are brutally honest with each other..now. 
The truth is though it has taken almost 13 years to get here and we actually went a few stretches (of years) when we did not speak with each other  because one of us had offended the other. But now with age and maturity we truly value each others honesty. The thing is, I am not always able to be THAT level of honest with all my friends, because if I was, they would be really hurt. I have learned through trial and error that people with teach you how to treat them, and people will also let you know how honest they want you to be. For example, when Natasha and I were first friends, she always wanted to be told the actual truth about everything, where as I was someone who was comfortable with kind truths..."do I look okay in this Tasha?" What I needed and wanted to hear at the time was, yes it looks nice. Because at the time I had just had a baby, hated my body and dressed horribly. Tahsa, believing total honesty was best and because that was what SHE wanted form others, told me the truth, "no, it really does not look that great on your shape. 
End result, I was offended and thought she was a bitch. 
Now, I feel a strange and unexplained level of comfort and safety knowing I will get the total honesty from her, so she, to me, is a safe person. And she know likewise, she can ask or tell me anything. We are not afraid to tell each other what is on our minds. 
Now, does that mean I am not considerate of her feelings, of course I am. Many times I have began a sentence with ,"Remember I love you and mean this with love..." But I am always honest. 

The thing about what you said next I can completely relate to when you said, "she clearly was not a real friend"
Now remember I am basing this on NO information, so If I am way off track, just ignore this and move to the next paragraph. I am assuming, and only assuming that you told someone how it was and she got offended and now is not talking to you. This, in my humble opinion does not mean she was not a true friend. To me, what this means is your superpower of truth, is not also her super power. 
People are at different levels in everything. What you are really good at someone else might be complete garbage at, and visa versa. 
I have been really working hard this past year to remember that not everyone sees things the way I do, they don't understand things the way I do, and they have not experienced the same things I have so there is no way they could have the same understanding I do about things. Does that mean they are bad friends, no. If they are life suckers, mean or people you just feel awful being around, then that makes them not real friends, but that fact they might be at a different point in their journey then I am..means just that. And like I don't want someone to expect me to run faster then I can, I wont do that to someone else. 

Also, I have come to learn that most people are only comfortable with you being as happy as they are. If you seem in any way more happy, more successful, more driven then they are, there will be resentment. This is how I tell real friends from not. 
So, in your case (K) you have recently worked towards a huge personal goal, and have almost  achieved it, so there will be people who are uncomfortable with themselves because of your success. 

I am really a long winded person, so to answer your actual question, How do you handle it?
I stay true to me. If someone asks for my opinion I give it, I to take into consideration how the person asking might take it, but I am working very hard to always be honest. I feel like I have very little control in my life right now, there are a few things I do have control of, and for me, those things need to stay as true as they can. I want to be able to sleep well at night knowing I   am staying true to me and what I know to be true right now. 
I except that things might change, and I will then change with them. 

And Failing all that, I shop to make myself feel better. 



I am grateful for how I am feeling, physically. My body feels strong again. Last week it was the two year anniversary since my accident and I can't believe how different things are now. I struggled to believe I would ever recover this much. Sigh...Thank you PG. 

I am grateful for the nice weather. 

I am grateful for getting to sleep in. 


Brena Storms said...

Hey, Joelle.

I listen to you on the radio almost religiously but have only recently stumbled across this site. I knew I liked you before, but since discovering your blog, my respect and admiration for you has grown deeply, and I just wanted you to know that I consider you an inspiration. I never really get the chance to tell you when I call in and we chat, mostly because I'm calling to help pick on Rob and he might get jealous over all the Joelle love. (Speaking of which, I'm thinking of bringing him my copy of Safe House so he can watch it and fall in love with Patrick Stewart, too.)

Everyone has rough days, some worse than others. We deal with death and depression and divorce and a plethora of other things life constantly throws our way because it knows we aren't ready for it and we look really funny when it catches us with our pants down. And a lot of the time it gets hard. Like want to curl up in a ball and cry for three days hard. But when there is someone on the radio, or on the internet who you can connect to, who can inspire you, it makes it easier to pick the bunch out of one's big girl panties.

It's nice to see that there are still individuals out there who still see the wonderful things in life, even through all the crap; people who work hard for what they have and what they want to have and share it with those all around them; people who try to change the world through peace, love and understanding, if only one person at a time.

You've helped reinforce my belief that life can get better if we focus on the little things, the ones we love, and are open to take an unexpected risk from time to time. To know that you were just once a loyal listener like myself who was able to achieve one of her dreams, especially during a difficult time in her life gives me hope that if I try hard enough and believe hard enough, good things will come my way - even if it happens in ways I might not expect.

Life changes every day, and we change with it. You just have to do it as graciously and with as much love as you can. Thanks for helping me remember that on a daily basis.(Sorry this turned into a mushfest. Wound up being way longer than I expected. But I guess thats what you get for being so awesome.)


Natasha said...

Nice letter there from Bree. :-)

Just some clarifications I'd like to make that you communicated but I don't think it will be explicit enough for some people. I don't believe in complete honesty. If people don't ask, I try to keep my mouth shut. I'm not always good at it but I never am mean. This isn't always true but I think it is a lot of the time: when people ask, they are open to the truth or they would not have asked. Even when they think they don't want the truth, they ARE open to it. Just think of all the questions we don't ask people because there's a chance we might get an answer we don't like! When we know we can't risk a devastating answer, we don't ask a devastating question.

And you left out the part we've discussed about WHY we're safe people to each other: Because of honesty, we know that we can believe the good stuff. Think of all the compliments, all the validating that ends up being for naught when people hear it from friends who never tell them any negative truths. They end up worrying that their friends are just trying to make them feel better.

There can also be this kind of resentment that builds up when we can't be honest with our friends, and when our relationships are false and shallow. When we have to always only say kind things, and build up our friends even when we don't believe what we're saying, when we're forced to lie, we end up resenting the lack of true intimacy and we resent that we have to be false, so we want to take the person down a notch by being passive-aggressive. We let our negative opinions out in a way for which we can't easily be scorned because we can just fawn and lie, "Oh, that's not what I meant at ALL!" when it totally was.

Being honest doesn't have to mean being cruel. We don't say, "Yeah, those pants make you look ugly." What's the goal—for your friend to feel ugly or for her to just not embarrass herself by buying those pants? If it's the latter, you simply say, "They're not the best on you, no. But I'm sure that something here will look fabulous." Or whatever. If your goal is to make your friend feel ugly, then you need to get some therapy.

Being authentic in relationships is not about feeling free to say whatever is on our minds. It's about being able to trust that you're loved enough that you can say when you're hurt, that you can be honest when you're asked your opinion, and that your friend or partner respects you enough to give you truth instead of lies when what you're essentially asking is, "Who am I?" That's a big question and it's sacred ground. As you would say, Joelle, "Don't f*ck with my intuition."

People eventually learn that you'll be honest if asked and they will just not ask you things they don't want to know. I'm honest in all my relationships and it's not often a problem.

Sorry that was so long.

Natasha said...

Oh, I just thought of something else. The reason why there's resentment when we can't be honest with our friends is because when we can only douse them with compliments and positivity we feel like they get to feel amazing about themselves because of us while we feel like crap because most of us feel like crap at some point. WE need those compliments and that validation but now we can't even trust it because we know that WE aren't being honest when giving that to someone else so we can't trust it when it comes back to us. But we think our friend does believe our validation and so we resent that because we're so "nice", they get to feel great while we feel like crap.

I never thought about that until just now.

Leah M said...

What an awesome conversation! Thanks ladies and Joelle!!

Anonymous said...

I think that this is a problem that all women encounter some time in their lives. I loved your response Joelle. I especially loved when you said "people will teach you how to treat them and let you know how honest they want you to be." I have definitely learned that in order to get along with people, you really need to pick up on the cues that they are giving you. Where some people prefer honesty, others prefer a lie to something truthful that could hurt them.

I would also suggest to K, to give your friend some time. She probably needs space to process what you have told her and time to see the truth in it. If you are friends who can still help each other on life's journey you will come to some level of understanding. Sometimes it is really hard to work things out right after the hurt has taken place.

I agree with Joelle when she said that just because your friend is hurt, and won't talk to you, doesn't mean that she wasn't a true friend. Friends are a blessing in our lives. Even if it becomes apparent that things can't be worked out between the two of you, she still touched your life in some way or you never would have been friends. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is allow change to happen when it needs to without holding on to feelings of hurt or guilt.

I believe firmly that these kinds of things either make a friendship stronger, or are a catalyst for a change in the relationship. A lot of times change is not always a bad thing. Change allows for growth.

I hope things work out for you K. Joelle, thanks for allowing all of us to learn from you, and from those who trust you with their problems.


Anonymous said...

When you meet the people that prefer the lie, I agree with Natasha. It is hard to develop a real relationship with them. You learn to keep your mouth shut and then over time you build up resentment and then sometimes you just let it all out. The person doesn't even know what hit them or where all of that came from and then you get mad at yourself for keeping it in so long!


Anonymous said...

What an awesome conversation is right, thank you to Joelle and all the others for the advice!!