Have you ever tried to put yourself in somebody else’s shoes? Really tried to understand what motivates people to do what they do or say what they say? This is something that my wise and amazing best friend is really good at, and in the last few weeks since we had a discussion about it, I’ve been trying to do the same thing. I’ve come to realize that, though there is motivation behind everything we do, it is not always evident what that motivation is, even to the person who’s being motivated. By at least trying to understand where the other person is coming from, there is potential for speedy conflict resolution, which keeps away the dreaded Drama Llama.
I know I’ve said things and immediately thought, why did I say that? Sometimes it’s a matter of ineffectively getting your point across, sometimes it’s just a verbalization of a random outburst from your subconscious. It can be something completely harmless, which is usually the crap that ends up on my Twitter feed and being retweeted ad nauseum, and other times it cuts somebody so deep, even if it’s not the initial intention, that you didn’t even see it coming. Either way, there’s motivation behind it.
I was lied to recently. What it was about isn’t really important at all, but I found my reaction to being lied to in this instance very interesting. Yes, anger hit first, but that transitioned to frustration and bafflement pretty quickly. Soon I was wondering why the lie was even told in the first place, why this person felt they needed to lie to me, and then the disappointment surfaced because their motivation for lying put my relationship with this person into question. I confronted the situation calmly and rationally and we hammered it out, I explained my how being lied to made me feel, and I told them to not fucking do it again. I’m hopeful that it won’t, but there will always be that nagging thought in the back of my mind that, despite the insignificance of the lie and how quickly it was dealt with, it would be so easy to do it again. The only thing I can do is trust that, by showing I can try to put myself in their shoes and understand their motivation rather than focus on the lie itself, it will make this friend think twice about doing it again.
On a vague, personal note, the disappointment remains, but it will pass with time. I really thought we had gotten past this stuff, but it seems that there is a lot more work to do. If there’s anybody who’s willing to do the hard work to keep this friendship going it’s me, but the question is, though, whether it will be worth it in the end, because right now it almost seems hopeless. At what point will it be too much? Or, better yet, too little? As somebody who’s been on both sides of it, I have to keep reminding myself that friendship is a two way street, but sometimes there comes a point when you have to throw on the signal and take the next exit.
I really hope not, though, because the view on this particular street is pretty great.