Saturday, May 17, 2008

just my opinion: don't be this person

In the last few months, I have had lots of ups and downs. We hear a lot about "fair-weather friends," but I find that some friends actually have no problem being there for me when times are tough, but who don't know how to handle happy news. At times, I have been appalled by the reactions I've gotten when I've tried to share good news with family and friends. In no particular order, when a friend is excited about something, here's what not to do.

Don't...
  • cut her off and tell her why it's a bad idea -- no one will love you for this, even if you're right. Actually, especially if you're right.
  • tell her why it's not going to last.
  • immediately counter with something more impressive of your own without taking a moment to say "congratulations."
  • make a joke that is really a dig or an insult.
  • quiz incessantly for details, especially monetary ones or ones she cannot possibly know.
  • focus on why this good news for her will be good news for you.
  • focus on why this good news for her will be bad news for you.
  • refuse to care because it's not really going to affect you in any way.
I've noticed this in situations ranging from finishing my Ph.D. ("I guess you'll think you're smarter than everyone else now"), new jobs ("how much will it pay?"), new houses ("but I'll never see you anymore"), weight loss ("Everyone gains it back"). Each time, I really was surprised that so few people would hear me out and be happy for me. Especially friends who complain about me not spending more time with them.

I know that I should just be happy for myself, but nothing takes the wind out of my sails like being excited about something and having the person I tell not seem to care. Sometimes it makes me wonder if it's even worth sharing good news. Maybe it would be better to just work the new job, move, etc., without letting people know. They'll figure it out eventually. Is it just me, or does this happen to you too?

11 comments:

  1. i have a friend who is EXACTLY like this. it makes you not want to be around them after a while.

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  2. Oh my stars! I think you and I must be friends with the same people!:)

    Lately, I've been wondering if I'm the kind of person who simply attracts negative people. I wonder if, when you're really unhappy with yourself and your life, if you surround yourself with people who seem to "love misery" too. Which of course begs the question, now that I'm a happier and (somewhat) healthier person, have I outgrown these people?

    I don't know the answers, of course... but I certainly relate to your dilemma and post.

    j

    PS: I wish your blog allowed open source commenting. I read your blog frequently but often don't comment because I am required to sign out of my primary account (which I don't necessarily want public) and into another. Anyway, just thought I'd mention it.

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  3. I had to let go of a negative friend years ago, and it was amazing the dramatic and swift improvement in my life. if there are redeeming features in the friendshp perhaps you can limiit it, or choose not to discuss certain things with them.. you deserve to be uplifted and encouraged, not that other BS. It is her issues that drive her responses, but you still need some better input. Good that you realize these things and that you shared them with us. It makes a good checklist for me to make sure i don't do that kind of stuff. Great post. I believe in surrounding myself with the people that are for my highest good. I have for too long allowed myself to participate in relationships that fed my negative side. It's an effort I have to make and a diligence I have to adopt. but it is worth it. Thanks. You deserve the best!

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  4. My question is, what do you do when it's your family that's dragging you down? At what point do you say, "OK, you people stress me out and make me unhappy, I'm cutting you off" and at what point do you keep plugging along and telling yourself, "I have to deal, they're family!"

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  5. I know EXACTLY what you are talking about!!

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  6. John,

    Sometimes you do have to cut your family off. I know that's an awful thing to say, but in extreme situations that is the only healthy option. Only you can determine what makes an extreme situation.

    YAWW, please pardon me for pimping my blog, but I would like to add a link to a post I did the other day when I was faced with dealing with an extremely negative family member.

    http://www.crankyfitness.com/2008/05/trash-talking-john-stuart-mill.html

    I'm sure there are other people out there who have better solutions to offer; that's the only one I have to suggest. Please know you're not alone.

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  7. It's funny. I seem to attract people like that. No one is ever happy for me, or really even cares. My family and friends are all about themselves. I makes me sad. I'm sorry to hear that you must endure such people, too.

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  8. I would LOVE to see you write a posting about WHAT TO SAY when you are the friend.

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  9. I learned many years ago I had to stay away from people like that because I found myself becoming them. I like to surround myself with positive people. My theory, what do I know though I am a computer geek, is that when people aren't happy in their own lives they really don't want others to be happy either. Case in point, I know someone that would try to tell me all the negative aspects of a relationship when I would start seeing someone. I have since stopped telling her anything.

    As we try to get healthier physically, we also need to tend to the mental fitness. That may include saying goodbye or taking a vacation from those that try to hurt us, whether it be intentional or not.

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  10. I'd add to your list:

    - ignore yo8r friend's good news and incessantly talk about your bad news.

    This was a big part of a recent break I had with a former best friend.

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  11. darn it!!!...same 'ol eh??...I've had a lot of these especially recently. I had put on a lot of weight after I had my baby and I decided (after a lot of painstaking research in between feeding,changings and some more changings) that i'll take up yoga to lose weight. Immediately I meet resistance,mostly from people whom I expect understanding and support. I took it up anyway, I did lose weight and I look good and feel good. I also lost some of the friends on the way (feels lighter :)). But the ones who matter are still my friends and I am grateful for that.

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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07