There's More to Life Than Knitting!

Join Suna as she stops knitting long enough to ponder her life, share her joys and concerns, and comment on the goings on in the world.
You are very welcome here, so feel free to comment and contribute!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Friends and Flaws

Last week, I had an interesting conversation with an old friend (a young person, just an old friend, LOL). We know each other pretty well and are fairly intimate in our knowledge of each others "bugs and features." Part of the conversation involved how to deal with someone who "rubs you the wrong way," other than fleeing. I thought to myself how the things that bug me most about other people are often things I, myself, still need to work on or have spent years trying to address and feel like I have improved (say, passive aggressive behavior, which I am way down on compared to say, 5 years ago). And I remember how a couple of women who are very good friends of mine today really bugged me when I first met them [edited insert: people I knew in real life, not online friends, OK???]. I am thinking of two people who talked and talked and talked in group situations, to where others never got a chance. This is one of those "things I work on a lot" so I am particularly sensitive to it in others. I really had to force myself to continue to be with them, and as I result, I did get to know their complex life stories, their many wonderful positive features, and so much more--I gave them the chance, and got to know the "whole person." They have both influenced me greatly--so glad I gave them the chance!

During this conversation, my friend had another very useful insight. She said that she tries to embrace the little quirks her friends have, and to simply observe them rather than react: "Oh, look at Suna, she's doing that little thing of hers again. Isn't that endearing?" While that may sound sappy at first glance, it really is significant to me. Heck, we ALL have quirks and idiosyncrasies (ack, no spell check). Knowing that our friends know us, love us, and embrace our flaws as part of what makes us who we are can really be freeing. If you are close enough to a friend or group of friends that you don't have to constantly self-censor yourself, you can, perhaps learn and grow more and reach even deeper degrees of intimacy with others.

The result of this conversation is that we shared the idea with a few others, and then practiced saying, "Oh, look, she's doing that again; how loveable," or whatever. It felt FRIENDLY and loving, not like anyone was being picked on or singled out. It let each of us laugh at our own foibles, knowing no one was holding them against us. And you know, it helped! Rather than being peeved at a few things last week, I was able to say to myself, "That's just how So-and-so is," and grant her the grace to be herself, even if it momentarily bugged me.

I am so grateful to my imperfect friend for sharing this idea with imperfect me!


Jennifer said...
And now I am terribly, terribly worried that y'all are or were talking about me. Isn't it adorable when I'm paranoid like this? ;)

Vicki said...
I sympathize with J... today I found out from another mom at my son's preschool that she used to think I was "really snotty" before she found out I was shy, and that she and another mom had been talking about me after the school "spring tea party" where my husband and I felt so awkward and shy that we didn't speak to any of the other parents. Gee, I wonder what they were saying about me.

Suna said...
Well, I did let J. know it wasn't her--and that by the end of the meeting, I was viewing the person I had difficulty with in a new light, thanks to the conversation with "my other friend." I guess we can't do anything about what others say about us (I recently accidentally spotted an email ALL about something I said in a public forum), but we can do our best not to be so quick to judge--and I think that is a GOOD lesson! Thanks, friends.

Jennifer said...
Vicki -- doesn't it suck SO BAD when people think you're snotty when actually you're just shy? We need to wear big signs that say "SHY" on them. ;)

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