Wednesday, February 13, 2008

How People Treat You

I read a blog post yesterday contending we teach people how to treat us. Obviously, this is not a new idea - and the blogger was completely wrong in saying that sexual harassment victims 'teach' this behavior AND in his use of the term "probability" - but the basic concept has me thinking about managing friendships.

The truth is, I have quite a few friends who treat me in ways I'm not happy with, and I think it's because I've allowed them to. In short, I've taught them they can treat me poorly and I'll still be their friend.

Not to sound like an eighth-grader, but I'm re-evaluating these friendships, and not just for my own sake.

First, some of these people are what I would consider family friends. I don't want my daughter to think it's okay for people to do things like:
  • Snub you for a better plan
  • Never call you back or respond to your invitations
  • Constantly change the plans to something they've decided they'd rather do
  • Treat you as though they're better than you
  • Treat you as though you're not part of their elite club when they're around certain other people
Everybody does this stuff sometimes. But when there's a consistent behavior pattern - well, that's just rude. I don't know what message these people are trying to give me - are they just so busy they can't call back? Do they not like us and don't want to be around us? Are they trying to get me to conform to some standard? Personal problems: "It's me, not you"

But, it doesn't matter anymore, because my message is, "If you can't treat me respectfully and with dignity, forget it."

It's not easy to make friends as an adult, particularly not friends whose kids are the same age as you and who share your sense of humor, your interest, etc.

But it's also not impossible.

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