Thursday, September 11, 2008

In trying to be supportive (or make conversation), I show my foot in mouth disease...

It was bound to happen again. I made (another) comment that (possibly) hurt a friend's feelings.

This has always been something that I've struggled with (Do I have a lot of things I struggle with? Yeah :)).

Anyway - I am trying to recognize when I cross the line. It helps when good friends call me on it - ask me what I was thinking or what I really meant.

I'm trying to change and not comment on things that are really none of my business.

The goal (my goal) is usually trying to show support. To understand the issues that friends are facing. To share my experience and perspective. I'm just not so good at the support thing. I bring up landmines that really don't need to be mentioned. Particularly when whatever we're talking about doesn't directly impact me and is not in my control.

It's a difficult line, because I don't want to pretend there isn't an elephant in the room.

But I do want to pick my battles.

And only bring up stuff that directly impacts me.

So a friend's relationship with their mother in law, and their mother in law's opinion about what they're doing? None of my business. Even though we've discussed the relationship before and the friend has expressed some concern. There are better ways to phrase the questions that give a person room to share but don't put them in an uncomfortable position.

And - not that this is surprising to anyone either, I know exactly who I learned this from (my mom). Which is the reason why I want to work on it.


Freckle Face Girl said...

We all fall into the foot-in-mouth holes at times. There is a chic (35 year old) here that makes me fall into it ALL the time. I don't know why she intimidates me so much. Perhaps that she is OVERLY INTELLIGENT, BEAUTIFUL, & TALENTED in every single way...? Yes, she is perfect. Believe me; I’ve looked for cracks just to make sure she is human. She is also extremely nice, but I always end up saying the wrong things & wanting to kick myself. It is getting to the point where I think I should avoid her. That much perfection just isn't natural.

Aerin said...

Thanks FFG.

We're all human - I'm sure your friend is as well. I'm just realizing that maybe I didn't let people give me this feedback before - when something might have hurt their feelings or been's just a two way street. I'm trying to figure out what's my business and what is really none of my business - while still supporting another person. It's rough. You have my sympathy.