I read an article somewhere that said, if Emotional intelligence is valued, why do we not hire for it? So I ask, ….
Now that Summer has officially come to an end….. oh what will we do now? Stay tuned to find out!
Taking an excerpt from a previous article where I talked about cultivating a lasting friendship, I started with the following paragraph:
“It is true that everyone you meet in life will serve some type of purpose. People come and go. All are not meant to remain in your life forever. Some serve purpose for a season, a reason and once the time passes; they drift and the memories fade while the impact remains. If we are kind to ourselves, we will recognize each person for who they are and even when they were not serving, we will see purpose in the departure. We will have learned something from that alone.”
I wanted to touch on the different scenarios that apply to this statement and provide examples of how it can vary from situation to situation:
The are those people who may not remain in your life forever:
This might apply to situations where you meet someone during a 6-week summer course or something as such as a convention of a sort. You hang tight for the entire week during the convention. You have lunch together, you attend seminars together and you form a bond during the convention, during the class or over the short period of time; but once it’s over, the two of you depart to living your separate lives again. Time served purpose and now it is over.
Another example of when someone may not remain in your life forever is when a divorce without kids occur; a nasty fight or break-up from a friendship/relationship which is beyond reparation and there’s no need to continue a friendship/relationship of any sort. The two of you are just fine with this separation and are happy about going your separate ways. Beyond working through differences and arguments, there are some factors in place that will not allow for you to have the kind of friendship you want.
Other times, it will pertain to the capacity in which they are there: They are still in your life, but not in the same capacity. The dynamics changed as you grew into adulthood. You are no longer in High School and things are not the same. Some pursued college while others moved across country or went to the military. You accepted different responsibilities. It’s possible that you will meet other people along your journey and you simply grow apart in experiencing different life paths, as you embark on separate journeys.
With regards to dynamics that affect the capacity of which someone is there, or the fact that someone is no longer in your life; there are other factors to consider:
Single Friends: Your once best friend has married and has a family, but you are living the single life. Single friends with singles lifestyle might pose unnecessary AND unwanted drama in the life of their now married friend. The capacity in which they can be there for you will change.
Single friends of the opposite sex: Having a friend of the opposite sex around who’s needy of their friends’ attention can also pose unnecessary and unwanted drama in the life and relationship of the married person. The capacity of which they can be there for you will change if not, diminish all together.
In the case of opposite sex friendships, you may be able to keep this friend when and if everyone is on the same page, including the most important person; the spouse. But your married friend is not obligated to make this happen for your sake. His/Her first obligation is to their spouse and the needs of his/her family.
You may be able to keep this friend when you are also friends with their significant other. What you will not be able to do is to maintain a friendship with them off the record, carrying on as if you are still in High School. If you persist in trying to do this, you will end up with your feelings hurt when your married friend must prioritize his/her significant other and family over you. You must respect boundaries.
Married friends have their reasons why they cannot maintain a friendship with the opposite sex, but they owe you no explanation or dialogue about that; which may have occurred between them and their spouse. When you press for a reason from them or justification, you just make matters worse. When this is the case, where he/she cannot maintain a friendship with you because they are married, it should be understood. And what is understood, need not be explained.
What you can do, is remove yourself from a situation that is not serving you. And that’s likely the best possible solution if you are unhappy about your place in their life and how he/she wants to maintain the friendship with you.
Perhaps they are keeping you private: You can tell him or her that you will not allow them to keep you a private and secret friend. You can tell them that you will not allow them to call you and lay their problems on you when you cannot do the same due to having a different set of rules in respecting the relationship.
You teach people how to treat you and hold them accountable while holding yourself accountable’ and responsible for what you accept. So, in any case where you keep re-entering a situation where it’s not serving, you are essentially saying, “I am ok with it.”
When you consider their marriage and obligations to their spouse and child, you absolutely must realize that your singles lifestyle does not mesh and face the fact that your male/female friendship will never be the same. The nature of your friendship will change.
You may be able to keep this friend, but only when you recognize that things are different and when you are capable of understanding and respecting the difference and growing with the change. A married friend with a family will never be able to be there for you in the ways that they may have been there for you when the two of you were happily single- happily younger, happily fruitless, all before life set in.
Single Parents and Single friends without children: When you have a friend who is a single mom, whereas you are single and do not have kids; the capacity in which they are there for you can also change. They have a responsibility to provide for a child which comes with maintaining a home, keeping a child fed, helping with homework, exploring curriculum and the long list goes on. They are tired and sometimes work double shifts and extra jobs to make ends meet. Their first responsibility is to their child and that means financial stability, their own health and an array of other things, where they are not able to take on things that get them off track. They simply cannot be available for your midnight calls, 7am emergencies and last minute, random ideas to take a trip “Like you used to do.” And Vice Versus, your single friend who do not have kids may be living a different life and will not be at your becking call as a single mother. The dynamics have changed.
Any and all of these things could be reason why people have exited your life, why you might need to exit theirs and why the situation is no longer the same or cannot be the same as before.
The two of you do not have in common, those things that you had when you were in High School, or recent college grads, or when you worked together at your first job. And because of that, those are the non-in-common denominators of why the dynamics of the relationship has shifted and why they are not in your life anymore or in the capacity of which they were before.
When you cannot see these dynamics for what they are, you become the annoying friend who never grew up. Who never was able to separate old days from new age. And because they have real life responsibilities, they are not able to carry the burden of your emotions, as it would impose on their living a healthy life and existing in the world that they live in.
No matter which of the situations above apply to you -It’s when one person tries to hold on because they are incapable of recognizing, and this is where pain and anger will set in and take you down a miserable road.
Advice giving becomes challenging, when the receiver is not ready
You can’t take a lot of people with you, because some people are not ready to go. However, I am always willing to take them. I do this through sharing experiences, being open and honest in offering advice and being available to answer some of life’s most challenging questions when I can personally relate to it.
I do this by opening the book of my life to them, free of charge. I do it without expecting anything in return except for them to take what I give them when they ask for it. Or to respect my time enough to do not return for the same advice on the same situation that they chose to ignore and continue to ignore.
However, it’s important to know that some people can’t take what you give them because they do not have the space for it. They are consumed with what they want to do and what they think will work, void the fact that they have come to you for advice. They have not cleared the space in their mind, to receive your wisdom. This must be why people say that you can not help the man who is not willing to help himself.
The problem I am finding is a lot of people want advice on overcoming a problem, where they can still take the problem with them. In other words, what they are really looking for, is a way to solve a problem that would also allow them to keep the problem. But unless you can turn that problem into a workable or viable solution, it will always be a problem.
When you are seeking advice, there is some work that you will need to put in, on your behalf. You must take the baby steps such as bracing yourself to hear something that you may not want to hear; getting prepared to follow through; being ready to move. This creates the space to receive the advice that YOU are asking for.
This should manifest in actions. Because if you want to get through it, you may have to do something that you don’t want to do. Are you willing? And are you ready?
Example: A woman who is finding it hard to leave a relationship with a man because she loves him. He treats hear badly and is abusive.
What is she ready to receive in her advice seeking?
She seeks advice on how to get out of an abusive relationship. The advice giver shares with her a rock-solid plan, over and over and wonders why she keeps asking how to get out. It’s because she’s only ready to receive advice on how to stay and make him just stop tearing her down. Do you see how this situation would change the advice? The Advice giver is telling her how to get out, but she cannot receive that because she is really looking for a way to keep the problem and just make it better. You can’t give her that advice when the unchanging variable is that he will not stop. She must be the changing variable here, and she must want her outcome of “getting out” before you can offer that advice.
A different example of when advice giving becomes hard:
They ask you what to do and how to do something specific, in which you may have done. But then, they don’t move as fast or with the consistency that they should. I am not speaking of minutes and seconds which could still make all the difference, but I am speaking about when an action needs to be taken in which they’ve had ample time to take, but they haven’t moved in years.
What are they ready to receive?
What they really want is advice on how to keep doing things their way, but to achieve the result that you achieved. You moved quick and swift, but they want you to tell them how to drag their feet and do it.
They continue to do things their way but come back to you over and over wondering why THEIR own plan to achieve YOUR results are not working. Tell them to come back to you after they have tried everything that they want to try. Because while there are several ways to accomplish most things, you cannot keep asking someone over and over, what to do or what they did, if after they have told you over and over, you are not going to follow through.
By allowing them to continue to return to you about their situation, one in which they are in because they will not follow through; you are enabling them to prolong what needs to be done. At the same time, they will want you to live in the idle moments with them, constantly reflecting or remaining immobile in their approach toward moving from their stagnant place. Remove yourself from their cycle of repeat behavior. When they can no longer count on you to help prolong the process, perhaps they will move. Or offer them minimal support but refrain from advice.
I also want to be very clear that this advice pertains to things that someone CAN do something about. When they are the ones standing in their own way, they can move out of their own way and see the results they want. It’s much different from a situation where several factors weigh in on ones’ ability to move now. Real factors, not a false sense of fear or effortless actions to move on their own behalf.
One last thing: When advice-seekers give you the scenario and leave out keen details, they are looking for a response that will fit what they want to do. They are a part of their own problem. Sometimes they are showing you a false scenario and that’s why they can’t find the solution for themselves. When they intentionally leave out details, they too know that this is the real problem but until they are honest with themselves about it, your advice will not help them.
Be honest about your situation when you’re seeking advice. Otherwise, it’s counterproductive. Also, it’s not being considerate of the time of the person you’re asking advice from. Because at some point you’re going to keep resurfacing with the same problem because you’re applying advice in a situation where it doesn’t fit!
When you seek someone’s’ advice about how to handle a Caterpillar, but you’ve omitted the part about it being a Butterfly, the advice is different. If you can’t recognize that a Caterpillar is now a Butterfly, then you will keep treating a butterfly situation like the caterpillar.
Being dishonest and not forthcoming about major details that could alter the advice in your advice seeking is a sign that you are not ready to move from the situation.
Another Reference: Demanding someone’s time and attention to your urgent matter of getting across a bridge with an 18-Wheeler but you don’t want to share that detail with the person you’re asking, so you lead them to believe it’s a compact car. Here’s what happens: An 18-wheeler comes with a different set of instructions, which would alter the advice of the wheeler versus the car. But you take that advice based on a using a car and you attempt to cross on that bridge. What happens? You fall into a deeper more dangerous situation, thus creating an even bigger problem, dragging your advice giver with you.
The only solutions I can offer to the person in the position to give advice, is to stop or to study your subject more carefully and to gauge their readiness to receive the advice; so that you can preserve your time.
It is necessary to add that this bold approach to stop giving advice is with consideration given to the fact that you have already been compassionate with them. You’ve treated them delicately, careful not to upset them, hurt them or kick them while they are down. You’ve been patient with them. You’ve tolerated all you can in watching them not help themselves and not be willing to take the advice. And when I say that people are not ready, I also speak of people who are not ready to hear the truth because to them, anything other than what they want to hear will come across as rude and unsettling.
I think that the only people who are equipped in handling some of these situations are licensed professionals and specialist who are trained to the nature of people in these areas, who can recognize the deeper, underlying issues, causes and concerns and remain unbiased in addressing them.
It is true that everyone you meet in life will serve some type of purpose. People come and go. All are not meant to remain in your life forever. Some serve purpose for a season, a reason and once the time passes; they drift and the memories fade while the impact remains. If we are kind to ourselves, we will recognize each person for who they are and even when they were not serving, we will see purpose in the departure. We will have learned something from that alone.
A lucky few will find a diamond in the rough that we call friends. When we are so fortunate, we must adhere to the rules of cultivating a lasting friendship.
Sharon and I are living proof that friendship isn’t about who you’ve known the longest. It’s about who walked into your life, said I am here for you and have proved it.
We were two people in the same place at the right time when our paths crossed. I was doing my regular, which was sitting outside Crave Cupcakes; indulging in a half a dozen cupcakes by myself, as I basked in the sun. She, striding down the sidewalk in full, savvy business attire with a briefcase in one hand and cell phone in the other; the epitome of a Business Woman.
Strangers to one another, we exchanged hellos and compliments upon greeting each other. She then took a seat at my cupcake table and subsequently, in my life. We chatted for about two hours that afternoon and the rest was history. That day, she became Malibu Barbie and I, Jewel-Time Barbie.
In our recent girl chat, we were conversing about how we met. We laughed about some of the things we have been through and about how our friendship has grown over the years. It dawned on us that many people do not know what it takes to make friendship with another woman, work. So, we wanted to share what exists in our friendship and what we think it takes to cultivate a lasting friendship.
I think in our case, we both possessed a level of confidence in ourselves which allowed us to SEE each other, the day we met. Had we not, we would not have been able to pass on the compliments and have the exchange. Some people are not willing or are not able to interact with someone who seems to have it all. We saw one another as an equal. She had it all, I had it all-whatever that was!
Here are some things to consider:
You can’t feel threatened by your friend: You can’t take score or count years and how much time it takes them over you, to excel or to reach a goal or to achieve things in life. While you can take inventory of your own life, you shouldn’t measure it by your friend success in such a way that you feel that you need to compete with them or keep up with them and always one up them to satisfy yourself.
Because when you do this, it’s not a motivation factor anymore. It becomes a rigorous competition. You will not be able to commend your friend at this point. Because you’re too busy pointing out to them what you did.
We congratulate and clap when the other person wins! We want to see each other win, succeed and be happy and healthy and we don’t just say it; we show it by being positive, motivating factors for each other
We’ve never been jealous of one another. We don’t compete
We feed off each other’s energy. We make friendship deposits in equal exchange
We uplift, inspire and encourage each other
We respect opinions and agree to disagree where compromise in understanding is not reached
We respect differences
We are eager to learn from one another: We KNOW that we can learn something from the other and we are open to learning without being intimidated
We trust one another: We can confide in one another without fear of our deepest secrets being repeated; which allows us to be open, transparent and vulnerable. We can vent without it being thrown in our face later.
We do not do things to intentionally upset the other and because of that, we never have to “get even”
We give each other the time and space that may be needed sometimes
We don’t just hear one another, we listen to one another
We offer solutions in our advice-giving versus opinions full of self-serving emotions
We show up for one another and are make ourselves available; We make ourselves available for emergencies – we also respect the other individuals time, where when it’s not an emergency we don’t require their immediate attention
I think all the above are the ingredients that make up our friendship and have allowed us to continue with the friendship that we have. Life can throw curve balls every now and again. It is my hope that you too, are able to endure those times with someone that you can call a friend. It makes it so much easier.