Friday, June 18, 2010
It’s true that life is complicated and that our daily lives are often filled with unexpected surprises that cause us to deviate from the social plans that we have made. Yet too often I hear from clients that they have a relationship or two in which they have a friend who blows them off with little thought, and this kind of social behavior among friends is simply unacceptable. Simply put, we’re too busy in our adult lives to put up with unnecessary annoyances.
Think for a moment: Do you have a friend who is unreliable, one who blows you off or breaks social plans more than you are comfortable with? If so, you need to stop making excuses for your friend and deal with the problem head-on.
It’s important to note that you don’t have to broach this issue out of the blue – in other words, with no recent or immediate offending event. It’s understandable if you want to wait until the next time that your friend blows you off to address it, but take some time now to reflect on how you will confront the situation when it next arises.
Some quick suggestions:
When you first hear that your friend has canceled – whether it’s during a conversation or by voicemail, text, or e-mail – respond IMMEDIATELY. Deal with it in the moment before the moment escapes. Explain briefly that you 1) feel frustrated because this has happened before, 2) want to set up a time in the next few days (if you can’t reach your friend immediately) to discuss the issue, and 3) need for this pattern to stop for the sake of your future friendship.
When you finally have your talk with your friend, focus on how the behavior is affecting you. Use “I” statements (“I feel like…”) so that your friend doesn’t feel attacked and subsequently shut down. Explain to your friend that you care about your friendship and want it to continue, but state that you feel that his or her behavior is hurting your friendship.
Whether you are dealing with this issue or any other, you are going to find that dealing with it head-on is the only way to truly solve a problem.