Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Unwanted opinions

I've been victim to the dreaded unwanted opinion; only in reverse. I've been the unwanted opinion giver...not receiver. Isn't it the worst when you discover that its YOU sharing your "thoughts" and "suggestions" when no one ever asked? But you feel you need to give it?

Since coming into the light of recognition, I've made such an effort to A) notice when I'm doing it. and B) stop myself before doing it. A is easy, B takes some effort.

A few months ago, my friend and I were texting and out of the blue I offered her some "constructive criticism" regarding something she had done. She didn't ask, but I felt I could "help" her by offering up my critique. Needless to say, she didn't respond and days had gone by in silence. Each day that passed I would read and re-read my text, and started to feel that maybe my advice wasn't going over well. By day three, I texted an apology, which opened the door to discuss the situation. Come to find out, I had done the exact same thing to her months earlier, and well, she was tired of it.

Understandably so.

Bad thing was, I had no idea I had done it to her before! Shows how much I give my opinion so freely!

Since then I've worked really hard to zip my lips, and not share unless asked (still a work in progress, let me tell ya). But then another thing was brought to my attention by another friend. I'm a "finisher". When someone's talking, I jump in (jump sounds better than "cut off") and finish their sentence because I already know what they're going to say (I'm just smart like that)... but then I don't, and they'll respond with "no...I was going to say this, this, and that".  Drats! Why are these people still friends with me!? I know I can be a pill.

Needless to say, since learning that I not only give unsolicited advice, but also cut people off and finish what they're going to say, I've made enormous efforts to sit and listen. Sit there, mouth closed with no intent to speak-eyes on them-listen. You know what? I've actually been able to tell a difference. They might not, but its made me become more present to that person in that moment, where I'm not thinking of my response or interjection, but just listening and taking in what they're saying. Again, this is still a {huge} work in progress, but its progress!

And I have to say, I'm so thankful I have friends who are willing to come forward to share these failings of mine. Point them out in the gentle way they do. Its friends like these I want to keep around because they hold me accountable, as I need it..and I need it!

Major life lessons being learned over here, my friends.

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Haleigh Stothers said...

I am also a sentence finisher. Usually I'm "right" but that doesn't change the fact that I shouldn't. Right there with you on the zipping the lips, sitting still and being ok with silence before I respond.
It takes a hard swallow of humility to realize that you need to make some changes. Keep up the good work! said...

I am of the rare mindset that if someone shares things with us then they should be open to suggestion/comments as well. That doesn't mean they have to listen, i would never expect that. I just don't think someone should tell me they did something shitty and i not be able to say i don't like it etc.

Life is not rainbows and puppies and i would praise my friends to the end of the earth and back for all the good things they do so i expect i should be able to be real with them in all ways. I give up friends if i am expected to be fake or positive all the time.

If that makes me a crappy person, well then that is too bad. One of my friends whom i have had issues with in the past told me once that she knows exactly what she gets with me and where she stands and she loves that. No pretenses, no games. I have one of the biggest hearts out of all my friends and would do anything i could for them.

Ross said...

I've found on a few occasions I've opened my mouth to finish something when I shouldn't have. Like you I've had to make an effort to just keep my mouth closed and learn to listen.


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