Another voice that echo’s through my head is from years ago when another friend told me that she didn’t even like talking to me anymore because I was so negative. While that may have been an appropriate wake-up call at the moment, it has negatively impacted our friendship and affected other friendships since then. Our relationship has been impacted by my desire not to seem too negative to this friend. To that end, I tell her mostly funny stories and everything is always “great!” when she asks how I’m doing. Sometimes it works out for me – the ends again – and I actually feel better after focusing on what is going great, but sometimes I feel distant and fake with my friend, like she no longer knows the real me that has problems.
I also do this with other friends. And then I feel fake with them. And then I wonder if they would like me if I told them that I was still sad about losing my father or that I was annoyed with my coworkers or that I got road rage and honked my horn at some jerk today. This is not a great place to live and not the person that I want to be.
And not only that, but as much as I think I’m being fakely or forcedly positive, the more negative things leak out – you just can’t be human and keep all that stuff tucked away inside.
So, I told that original friend about my recent ‘negotiations,’ and how hurt and frustrated I was during the process. And I apologized for being negative. And she brushed that aside and told me how she wanted to hear these things. And she gave me good advice. And we organically changed the conversation to more positive things at the right time. And I feel like that goes a long way to silencing the echo of those words said so long ago that she probably doesn’t even remember saying.