It’s not what you say but it’s how you say it, HOWEVER, it IS what I’m saying and if you don’t hear me the first time I’m going to say it in a way that will make you pay attention. More than a few times this week my close people have told me that I’m mean or I can be abrasive and I allowed their feedback to sink in, but it’s not something that shocks me at all. I used to be extremely offended by that observation of my communication style, but you know what? Now I absolutely embrace this version of myself and I’m not going to censor nor ease up on the way I communicate because it’s been proving to help me honor my boundaries, keep other people’s emotions from spilling over on to me and there’s no guessing about how I’m feeling because of passive aggressive communication. I’ve elected to unsubscribe from chitchat, small talk and participating in conversations and activities that may infiltrate my personal peace. I can’t show up for anyone if I don’t show up for myself first.
Friendships are a two-way street, and the healthiest friendships are ones where communication and needs are met with reciprocity but never neglecting the fact that it’s not a free for all in terms of time and energy. When we are kids we go where our friends go because that’s the easiest thing to do and even though it may not always feel the best, generally that’s what keeps us happy as children. However there were times as a kid where I wasn’t feeling what my friends were doing, or I didn’t like what they were saying but I still went along with some things. I found myself on the outs many times and while it didn’t always feel good, there was always a sigh of relief because I got to do what I wanted, uninterrupted and I relished in those moments and found sanctity in myself. Did I need my friends? I definitely did and I was happy to be a part of a group but I also know I’m extremely content being with my own company.
How do I keep my meanness and abrasiveness at bay? Tell me the truth. I get overwhelmed if we spend too much time together. Do you ever find yourself being irritated by someone but you can’t place why? It’s really just a frustration you have going on within yourself and you haven’t communicated it or you may not have identified the struggle within, so you lash out and then there’s a whole mess and hurt feelings. I’ve been there and it feels wack. The remedy though is to explain yourself with love for yourself and your friend, breakdown those thoughts, and share candidly but with as much compassion as you can muster. Teach people how to love you, be with you and communicate with you, while listening to their truth and their requests if they have any. When we can be our most authentic self in the presence of friends we have found a piece of peace.
I’ll pass on the pleasantries, passive aggressiveness and people pleasing because none of that is constructive for my life. I won’t ever dishonor anyone but especially good friends by faking the funk just so we can breathe a sigh of relief in person only to feel incomplete on the inside and left wondering once we are out of each other’s company. Make succinct, honest and candid requests to prevent frequent breakdowns and miscommunication. Speak straight, as logically but as lovingly as possible and create those boundaries and deal breakers because at the end of the day you are the one who will be left with the fallout of the things you neglected to say. I’ll speak up and I expect my friends to challenge me, push back and call me out when they don’t agree. We don’t always have to agree, and I don’t always have to like what’s being said but I do have to listen and take their words into consideration. Friendships are about building bridges and we both have the tools to make the sturdiest bridge possible.