Sunday / February 17 / 2013
[Guest Post] When the friendship is worth the fight: Part II
Today’s guest post features Part II of David Covey‘s, “When the friendship is worth the fight.” In the first part here, Dave contemplates key principles to valuing friendship in spite of our imperfect lives.
In Part I, I offered a handful of axioms that have worked in my life, twisted as it has been from time to time. Today, let’s consider applying those rules to friendships that are stressed.
When you find yourself ready to toss a friend to the vultures… STOP! [very difficult sometimes] and ask yourself if you are really being objective.
More questions that work for me:
- Is my true goal to destroy this friendship?
- Am I in Intellectual Control?
- Am I using this as an opportunity to vent my own unrelated anger and/or frustration?
I’ve found that if I answer “YES” to either of the first two questions or “NO” to the last, I’m usually not being honest with myself. Stepping away from the situation for a moment — sometimes hours (or even days) — is almost always a wise thing to do.
Mira Kirshenbaum wrote a national bestseller titled, Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay. Although the book deals primarily with marriages or live-in relationships, those ties-that-bind are pretty much synonymous with any enduring friendship (romantic or otherwise).
Sometimes, it IS best to leave permanently, especially when a relationship is abusive or righteously unbalanced in any number of ways. The key is to dedicate time to figure it out. Discover the path to get to a place where you can informatively and rationally make a decision.
As I continue to SEARCH for ways to keep myself on the upside of this life’s light/dark lines, I do my best to remember that when consumed by anger or hurt, one can best accurately read a situation when giving BOTH the Benefit of the Doubt and All Things Considered.
Question yourself as you question others. Can you accurately do that? There’s nothing wrong with challenging a quality/deep/lasting friendship by suggesting a two-sided, open and revealing discussion. Good friends respond positively to the chance to strengthen their bond, BUT only after they have returned to a mindset not controlled by the fight-or-flight grey matter materials.
First, get to a point where you can fully admit there are ALWAYS two perspectives to every story. When it comes to emotional tussles, ‘defensive’ is almost always on the same wavelength as ‘divisive’, or even ‘delusional’.
Ask yourself if the friend in question would give you a kidney (or an arm or a bone marrow transplant) so that you could survive and/or simply enjoy a higher quality of life. Would that friend pull you out of a burning wreck risking a life to save a life? Would that friend hang with you if she or he totally disagreed with the reason you left your spouse, who is also your friend’s good friend? What if the shoe was on the other foot? If you’re in possession of such a beautiful friendship, you might do well to hang on to such a rare blessing.
Wait for the storm to pass and then rip off your ugly mask (it’s okay, we all wear one from time-to-time). Be a leader at working to make peace with the goal of nurturing love and strengthening bonds.
My hand is raised as one who will continually search for the best approach. That’s my only claim. Care to join me?