Monday, March 11, 2013

Spit or swallow?

Apart from public speaking , what do you think are one of the main fears many women have?      The big C: confrontation.     We are by nature peace keepers, nurturers and have that need for approval and to be liked.   I know this is a generalisation but I see it around me often enough to state it as such.
When we are upset or annoyed or angry or offended, we often have the debate of to say something or to just keep quiet.  Do you spit it out and deal with the consequences or do you swallow?    Let’s start with spitting.   It’s often healthy and honest to say how you feel and certainly makes it easier for the other party to understand why your behaviour or attitude is out of sync.   Of course this has to be sensitively handled and can be badly received by the other person.    If it’s over something that you have swallowed for years your reaction can seem extreme and instead of a spit it becomes a vomit of years of resentment or pain or annoyance.  In a healthy and honest friendship it’s ideally dealt with quickly by both sides expressing how they feel, a brief period of awkwardness and then a reflowing of that friendship that is hopefully stronger and more solid and honest.   If the other person is a swallower and afraid of confrontation, they might just ignore you though or write you off and you’ve lost that friendship which is one of the main reasons why we avoid that confrontation in the 1st place. 

So swallowing… the advantages are keeping the peace, the friendship and avoiding the anxiety that accompanies the whole big C.    Many times with small things it’s worth the swallow and we make allowances for that person’s oddities and quirks that make them who they are and often make us crazy.    The disadvantages are the build up of resentment though and the patterns that some friendships take without one or both parties realizing it.    The one who makes jokes at the expense of the other, the one who is flirty with another’s husband, the emotional bully, the always late one, unreliable one, tactless one.   Now don’t get paranoid anyone, these are just examples and things that we as friends DO to others, ignore and allow from others and swallow.   So when does it become too much?   When is it time to weigh up the pros and cons and realize that keeping it all in is just not healthy and its time to get real and honest?  And how do you do this without losing the relationship?    Are you brave and strong enough to deal with the fall out?    And the mutual friendships that potentially become affected?     

I am fortunate to have had a few confrontations in the past that made me sweat with anxiety but after the silence, the chat, the brief weirdness, we have fallen back into the sweet rhythms of a real precious friendship  made stronger by the honesty.  I have many girl friends and feel incredibly blessed.  I have only ever lost one and it was a relationship that was just not healthy where I always felt terrible about myself.    It’s somewhere on my old blog and really was a poisonous unhealthy friendship.  We did eventually meet and speak it out and agreed to get to a point of being able to greet at the supermarket but to part ways.  The release and peace, so worth it! 

So what’s your style?     Keep it all in, take what comes, moan to your poor husband about x,y and z or do you take a deep breath and have it out?  Me, it depends on the person and their own style of dealing with confrontation.  How vulnerable I am feeling and how many others are affected.     A good thing to keep in mind is we as friends love each other and most of the time we don’t even know we are doing something to upset the other.     The intention is very seldom to hurt even if the action does.

PS:   For those of you who have been dying to have it out with me over something, I need 2 weeks off!   I started my new meds last night and I am feeling really afraid of the side effects plus I PMS’íng plus worrying about the stress my beloved is going through as they launch the business.

1 comment:

  1. This post is so well thought out and worded and hits the nail on the head. Here's my little story: my DH and I were friends with a couple (his friends originally)- let's call them Janet and John - after many years of us being friends and also doing business with John we decided that we could no longer keep up the business aspect of the relationship. So my DH had a face-to-face discussion with John and explained that we needed to move on (business-wise) - well John got really uptight about it and severed the friendship as well. This included any friendship with his wife and child too. It really took us by surprise. However, what was really upsetting was he (and his wife)then went on to blacken our name with other mutual friends. His reaction was really OTT and even when we tried to make amends and apologise for any misunderstandings, he bluntly refused to communicate with us. Although through experiencing this reaction we then believed our actions were justified, we still miss the "fun" part of the friendship we had with this couple. Albeit that we wonder how true a friendship it was in the first place if this is the type of "punishment" that is metered out to "friends" who don't comply with his "rules of friendship".