For real you guys, I give great advice.
I am a great listener, I love helping people as an objective outsider, and I am pretty good at doling out level-headed, practical words of wisdom when needed.
That being said, the advice that I give the most also happens to be the advice I need to hear the most. When I get wrapped up in my own problems, my empathy shuts down and I am all about my own emotions. Instead of spiraling out of control when I am facing an issue with another person, I now remind myself of these three basic pieces of advice and move on from there.
Bear with me, because they all seem painfully obvious. But when you are in a rage about something someone has said or done or not done, the practical, thinking brain seems to fly out the window. For real, dudes, bookmark this page and let it fly here instead.
This one is surprisingly necessary. You would think it is common sense but it turns out that honesty is really hard. Huh!
I have leant an ear to many friends having issues in many kinds of relationships and when I have to ask, Have you explicitly told your partner/parent/friend/boss you feel this way? the answer is usually no. When you haven’t told someone how you feel or what you want, it is not very nice to expect them to cater to those needs. Even if it seems ridiculously obvious to you.
And when you are blinded by your own emotions it is easy to let your imagination run away. Which leads us to¦
I have some amazing friends. Some of whom also happen to have terribly active imaginations. This one is for them.
If someone gives you a mean look or says hello with the wrong inflection, it’s easy to decide that their problem is with you. If you make it that far, then maybe they’re mad that you didn’t invite them to your birthday party or that you bailed on going to the movies because you were sick that time. How could they be mad at you for that! It wasn’t even your fault they are being so unreasonable!
It is a slippery slope and if you’re being honest (see #1), you have no idea what another person is really thinking unless they tell you (for real, see #1). My bad days show up all over my face and if someone sees me glaring, it is usually because of the mile-long to do list that is forming in my head or the fact that my alarm clock failed me that morning.
And since I don’t have a meaningful segway into the next piece of advice, I’m just going to hit you with it. Get ready¦
Accept people for who they are
Be aware of the fact that your issue with someone could very simply be that they deal with things differently than you do. If you aren’t cognizant to the fact that your partner evades conflict with sarcasm you could find yourself extremely frustrated.
Getting to know someone means getting to know their habits and experiences and emotions. Keeping these in mind when you’re in conflict you can work on a practical way to address issues without either of you losing your minds.
Not only will this make your life less frustrating, it will help you to be a better friend. And that is something I like to work on as much as I can.