EP 12: Relationship Rules

August 24, 2022

Episode description

If you have a bunch of rules about how I’m supposed to talk to you… this may not be your episode. Today’s episode starts out as a not-so-rant and turns into a rant about the rules we have for our friends. If you ever find yourself saying things like “a good friend would know…” or “if she was really my friend, she would never…”, then you might want to listen. I’m not talking about personal boundaries here, I’m talking about these unspoken… or sometimes spoken in a loud, angry voice… these rules about how friends are always supposed to behave, regardless of what they’re dealing with and what’s going on in their life. I know that  in the past, I was so “pain avoidant”, I cut friends out of my life because they weren’t patient enough with me, didn’t listen to me enough, or sounded critical of my life choices. Now, I’m not saying we should tolerate people regardless of how they treat us. What I’m saying is take a look at what rules you have in place for how friends are “supposed to behave”. Are you losing friends because of how rigid your rules are? Are your rules helpful? Are they truly your rules or did someone else tell you that’s how it’s supposed to be? If you’re laying down the law with your friends… family… partner… make sure you like your laws. 

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Hey everybody. Welcome! Today I’m going to, well, I wanted to get on here and say, I’m gonna rant, but I’m not really in a ranting mood. But there’s still something that I wanna bring to your attention. Let’s put it that way. I want to illuminate, highlight, bring into your awareness something that you may not notice. 

And I know it’s something that I was doing in my relationships. Oh, that was my phone. Not silenced. Uh, I was doing this in my relationships and didn’t even realize that I was, and that is judging my friends as not being good enough friends. And by that, I, I don’t mean that they’re not good people or good enough value wise, but I mean, they’re, they’re not behaving like a good and proper friend is supposed to be behave. Okay?  

And what that means is I had a lot of rules about my friends about partners, about people that I claimed to love and care about. And I had all of these dos and don’ts. Things they are supposed to do not supposed to do.  

For instance, when I was a new life coach and I started talking to my friends and they would give me advice. I’d get so pissed. And I would think, Really? You think I need your advice. You’re supposed to be a good friend and listen to me. You’re supposed to hear what I have to say, and you’re supposed to either acknowledge it, or you’re supposed to commiserate with me. You’re not supposed to give me advice. You’re supposed to hear me, give me space. All of those things, you know like a life coach would do.

And that’s really unfair because a lot of my friends are not life coaches. They are lawyers, they are teachers, they are financial people. They don’t have that kind of training that somebody has to have a non-biased, non-judgmental, hold the perfect space way with me and not give advice. 

And I’m not saying that none of my friends did that, but I had this expectation that they were supposed to hold this certain professional level with me when we were just hanging out, being friends and they just trying to help me out and give me advice.  

That’s what we do, right. That that’s, that really is what friends do. Like, we hear each other like, oh, Hey, have you tried this? Well, what about this? But I had these thoughts about it that you’re not really listening to me. You’re just answering me immediately and giving me advice. Like it was some kind of bad thing. Because honestly, I’ve had some really freaking amazing advice given to me by friends over the years. 

So it’s strange that I would even consider that bad, wrong. But here’s the thing, we, we may not even be aware of these rules that we pick up, but all the time we are creating rules around our relationships. How people are supposed to behave with us, how they’re supposed to show up for us. Things they can and can’t say.  

I had a rule about my husband, those of you that know him know he is a very patient and loving man. And anytime he got upset with me, I would use that as a reason to be mad at him. Like, I had this unwritten rule that he was not supposed to get mad at me. And that if he was mad at me, that there was a problem with him. Despite the fact that I regularly got mad at him.  

Oh my gosh, he’s done this thing wrong. Or he forgot to take the trash or he’s not listening and giving me advice. And yet I didn’t hold the same standard for myself as I was holding with him.  

I had someone call me recently and they were just furious at their friend because they’d had a disagreement and their friend had the gall to call them and tell them how wrong they were. 

So what they did was they called their friend back to tell them how wrong they were for calling and telling them how wrong they were. And she wanted some coaching around this. And so I gave her a little bit of coaching, but I don’t think that she ever realized that she was doing exactly what she was complaining that the other friend was doing. 

And I think we all do this in our friendships. We have this idea that friends should not argue with us, not disagree, not confront us, not tell us we’re wrong. They should just always behave appropriately. They should be fun at the right times. They should be somber at the right times. They should always show up the way we want them to show up. And if they’re not, they’re not being good friends.  

And yet we don’t always show up in the way that we believe good friends should show up. Sometimes we’re short with our friends. Sometimes, we disagree with them. Sometimes, we wish that they would just stop bothering us. Sometimes, we wish that they would call us when we’re really lonely. And we haven’t heard from them in a while, and yet we don’t reach out to them and we have kind of a double standard. 

And, and that’s a lot of where these rules come, come from is that we want friends to bolster us when we’re, they’re supposed to give us space when they’re supposed to, give us advice when they’re supposed to, uh, be on our side when they’re supposed to, call us out when they’re supposed to. You know, with love, of course. Man, it’s fricking hard to be a friend.  

It is really hard to be a friend, but let me tell you the best friends that I have ever had are friends that love me, regardless of how I show up. Maybe I haven’t talked to them in a while. Maybe the last time we talked, I was angry and short with them. Maybe I walked out of a party without saying goodbye to. Maybe I haven’t given them a birthday card in 20 years, but they still talk to me and treat me like I’m dear to them.  

Those friends that have unconditional love for me, they are priceless. And you know what else, not everyone can do that. I know I can’t, at least not in this space. It’s something that I’m striving towards. Being that person that loves people, regardless of what they say and do, regardless of what they say and do to me. People who get angry and call me names, I can still love those people.  

Does it mean that I call them up every day and say, Hey, what have you got from me today? What kind of abuse and punishment do you have for me today? No. I can manage my time and my energy and my space and my boundaries and do all of that and still love people. 

But what hurts us is when we cut people out because they are not behaving the way that we think that they should. They always give me advice. They don’t appreciate me. They don’t give me support. I just can’t talk to them anymore. I just don’t have time for that kind of negativity in my life. 

The… I’m not a Bible person, but I was raised in church. So that phrase, he who cast the first stone. What is it? He who is without sin, cast the first stone.  

Don’t you want to have people in your life that love you unconditionally? It doesn’t mean they don’t say, Hey, that thing that you said hurt my feelings. It doesn’t mean that they don’t say I’d appreciate it if you would call me sometimes. Like, I’m totally cool with friends making requests of me. Hey, let’s go to lunch sometime. Let’s get together, but they don’t hate me because I don’t. 

I think the whole point of having a friend is having someone that cares about you when you show up imperfectly. When we go around with this list of rules of things our friends are supposed to do, it gets in the way of that. It gets in the way of having peace in your relationships and love in your life. 

And it breaks my heart. It breaks my heart. Every time I hear somebody say, oh, I cut that toxic bitch outta my life. Because maybe that toxic bitch is dealing with something and needs a friend. 

I’ve been that toxic bitch. I’ve been that person that was hurting so bad I did not show up as a good friend and people still loved me. 

And that’s powerful. And being someone that can be that for someone else, love them when they are in a show, this says more about you than it does about them. 

When you get angry at them for not being a great friend, not showing up, like they’re supposed to, call too late at night, they have too much drama in their life, they don’t think positive enough. 

Yeah. That just shows me that you have some work to do around being able to be with other humans and their imperfect humanness. 

I know that that is the work of my life. Every goddamn day. 

It’ll probably be my work until I die. Being less judgemental . More compassionate, more loving, more com what’s the word more, more curious. 

That’s what this world needs. Friends that give a fuck about each other beyond these little, oh, you’re not doing the right thing. You’re not fitting in my mold of what a good friend is. 

There’s so much more that I could say about this, but then this podcast would be two hours long. So that’s what I have to say today.  

Take a look at your rules about how friends are supposed to be. Because friends come in all shape, sizes, colors, temperaments, opinions, all of it. And we can love them all. 

All right, y’all have a fabulous week. I love you. Bye.

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