Trust Me?

A few months ago my daughter started a gymnastics class, and I have quickly become friends with a number of the other moms. At first we just chatted during class, but recently we’ve begun seeing each other outside of gymnastics. It started with having coffee every few weeks or so and most recently, we have joined an exercise class while the girls are in school. I like these women very much, and we seem to have a lot in common. Here’s the issue: In my 20’s, I got burned really bad by a group of friends, and I’m afraid to let myself get close to another group of women. It’s been 10 years, but it still hurts. Should I let my guard down?

Hi honey, I completely understand that kind of hurt and have experienced it myself more times than I care to remember. I can’t tell you whether or not to let your guard down, but I’d encourage you to trust your gut. Always.

Many years ago, I had a group of very close friends. We vacationed and spent weekends and holidays together for several years.

I started to get a weird vibe from one woman … that she didn’t like me. I confronted her about it, but she assured me it was all in my head. Shortly after our tight-knit group fell apart, one by one our other friends confessed to me that she’d told them things in an effort to skew their view of me. Although, the outcome would have remained the same, trusting my gut and removing myself from the situation sooner, could have spared me a lot of hurt.

Here’s the thing, sweetheart. You are 10 years older and probably a million years wiser than you were in the past. You can let people into your life without giving them the tools and permission to break your heart. Perhaps your old friendship didn’t have the right –or any– kind of boundaries? Many women aren’t bad/catty/gossipy/fake/jealous/malicious or whatever adjective applies to your former friends. And if you are putting  good vibes out into the world, you’re probably attracting kind, good, positive people into your own world.

So let your guard down? Mmmmmm, maybe a little. Trust yourself and your own instincts. Also, I’d love to hear more about that exercise class 😉

For encouragement, commiseration, or just to see what mischief my puppy’s getting into, visit me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. I look forward to connecting!

You Win.

Not sure how to write this without sounding childish, but here goes. I have this friend who is ultra-competitive, passive-aggressive, and for lack of a better way to say it copies everything I do and and then tries to pass things off as her original ideas.

For instance, I get a new car–she gets a better new car. I start a “cleanse,” and she posts 90 pics of her new paleo meals–cause she’s paleo now. My kid gets an award at school, and hers enrolls in astronaut camp or some shit.

I know it should not bother me, but it is so ANNOYING!! I can’t really cut her out of my life, and she’s not a bad person … but this behavior drives me crazy.

Hi Honey,

My gut reaction: You must be super-fabulous if someone is trying that hard to be like you. Do you wanna be friends, lol? I promise I won’t copy you 😉 Seriously though, if your life wasn’t so awesome, your friend wouldn’t be trying so hard to emulate your behavior–even while trying to pass your ideas off as her own, which is incredibly annoying.

When I was in 8th grade I told a friend about a pair of shoes I really really wanted. The next day she showed up with the exact shoes I was coveting. I was so pissed, and my mom told me, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” But when I finally saved enough money to buy the shoes, it would look like I was copying her. Ugh. Never got the shoes. Lived to tell the story.

Side note: That full quote is “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” Well well well, that’s a bit harsher. Oscar Wilde does not play.

But through elementary and middle and high school, I’ve used the same sentiment 5000 times or so with my own girls. And it’s actually started to ring true to me. Even though I still get really fucking pissed about it sometimes. Especially when someone tries to pass off my words or ideas as their own. Work in progress, folks.

During my brief stint as an avid churchgoer, I shared one such annoyance with my pastor about a person who–while actively disliking me–followed my blog and periodically plagiarized my writing in her own posts. His response stuck with me: There’s no such thing as an original idea. Think about it…what you wrote? You probably got the idea from someone else. Most likely someone you admire or who at least inspired you in the moment. So try re-framing it in your mind. No, that person is never going to give you credit, but you can give yourself credit, knowing that you’ve inspired someone else. Even someone who doesn’t like you. That’s something.

Circling back to my original sentiment, I think you must be pretty freaking amazing if your friend wants so badly to be like you. Yes, I agree with you 100 percent, her behavior is super-annoying. But here’s the thing: She’s not fooling anybody. And so what if she is. You are living the fabulous life she is trying so hard to create. You already won.

I really mean it about being friends, and as all my friends know, I’m not even currently interviewing new friends. But I’d make an exception for you 😉

 

K I N D N E S S

My 14-year-old is getting mean-girled. Some friends recently decided they don’t want to hang out with her anymore and so have been leaving her out of activities and basically shunning her. Additionally, she’s subjected to the constant barrage of social media exclusion–We’re all hanging out and having so much fun without you. She didn’t do anything to provoke this behavior–that we know of. I feel so bad and want to help her. Any suggestions?

Hi honey, I’m so sorry. Mean girl shit is the absolute worst. I feel like I write more about this than any other subject. And I wish all of my thinking and reading and writing and ruminating had elicited some illuminating insight, but the fact is: It sucks. We can’t fix it for our kids. We can learn to accept things and people at face value and seek to bring positive energy to each interaction, but being mean-girl’ed hurts.

I see this meme all the time, and I agree wholeheartedly, but I think it’s even more important to be kind and raise kind people. I encourage my kids–and myself–to remember that others’ actions are never about us. Our perception is that it’s personal, but it never is. When someone’s behavior seems to be meanness directed at us, it’s coming from a different place. A place that has nothing to do with us.

Try empathy. Imagine that you’ve been in a position where you didn’t act as the best version of yourself. I’m certain most of us would admit having been in situations where we could have been kinder.  

I try to remind my girls to remove the personal aspect of things in dealing with mean girl bullshit. People might leave you out. “Friends” might gossip about you. That hurts, and it sucks, and it’s awful, but it’s temporary. Your actions define YOU, and other people’s actions define them. Don’t leave others out. When people do and say mean things, it’s because they’re suffering with something internally that we may not know or understand. Shake it off and move on. It’s not yours to carry.

I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this. I’m sorry your daughter is dealing with this. It’s shitty. I encourage you, sweet friend, to hold your precious girl close and remind her that this won’t last. We have all been there. She is NOT alone. Don’t take these unkind actions personally no matter how personal it seems.

Be kind. To yourself. To others. You’ll never regret that.

 
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