When Friends React

I mentioned in previous posts… I’m rebelling a little. Not my norm, by any means. And I’m actually enjoying myself in this little rebellion. What I didn’t anticipate, is the effect it would have on my friendships (even though my rebelliousness has no direct impact on them).

One of my choices, as of late, has really emphasized my imperfections… and I did it consciously. Just because. I specifically and purposefully chose who I would talk to about this (and if you are a friend of mine who doesn’t know… don’t take it personally, it’s not something I really want to broadcast).

When you tell someone, a friend, about something in your life that doesn’t quite follow the norm, the rules, or who they’ve always known you to be… what sort of response do you expect from them? For me and my friendships, I kind of already knew the responses certain individuals would have. True to form, I was right on all but one- and she surprised me with being very supportive.

So when I told a handful of gals about my current experience… it made me self-reflective. I started thinking about who I am as friend…

If someone told me a secret in confidence (not wanting advice) that I didn’t necessarily agree with personally, and felt it was not the best fit for them… would I meddle? Would I try to ‘protect’ the friend? Would I offer ‘what if’ scenarios and find the ‘root cause’ as to why the friend is making this choice? Would I offer up unsolicited advice? Or would my friend approach me simply because she wanted to tell me about the thing that is going on in her life and nothing more? Maybe I would be there to just listen and get updated on her life?

Am I doing this when a friend confides in me?

Do you do this when a friend confides in you? Do I?

It really made me think about how I respond to friends who entrust me with information about their lives. I’m finding that while the friends who believe they are ‘protecting’ me; i.e.,  giving advice or judgment based on their ‘own experiences’ (there were a few of those)… weren’t really listening. It was like they were applying their own scenarios to mine. They weren’t trusting in me to make my own choices. I think they thought they were the voice of reason… that I was missing the rational, and they were somehow providing it to me. That was the most frustrating of this experience.

The friends who raised an eyebrow (or didn’t) but said, “hey, I’m the last person to provide judgement or advice on that, you know yourself, your head and your life best…,” were what I realized, exactly what I needed. To know that if the consequences of decisions were going to be negative, that it was ok for me to experience it, and they would be there for me if that were the case. And if the consequences were positive… they would be there to hear all about it too.

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It honestly made me re-think 1) how I respond to friends, and 2) who and what things I tell which friends of mine. Should I reconsider my communications with specific people just to save myself the hassle and eliminate those that offer unsolicited advice? If I wanted advice, I would have reached out to them and asked for it. In this case, I’d already determined what I was doing/had done.

It makes me question, those friends who have always been there for me while I was so perfect and doing everything right… would that support waver when I they found out I was imperfect?

I think in this case, my friends will still be my friends. But to the point of those who were critical… is it better to have the friend who points out all the negative or the friends who only support the positive? I think either is too extreme for me… I have a good head on my shoulders and know when enough is enough… I think most of them who disagreed all know that. My favorite responses have been from those who say, “go for it, keep your wits about you- but I know you will.” Those are the friends who truly know me best. Thank you, you know who you are. 🙂

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