As the Life Coach, I am noticing a pattern…the consensus from our Drink Guy team is that, after watching Episode 7 of TDG TV, an expanded version of my thoughts for Amber would be appreciated. A friendship relationship question is something we have all dealt with at some point, and it deserves some attention. It is difficult, between the length of the episode and sharing the stage with the Bartender, to really give a thorough answer…and you are probably figuring out that I like to be thorough!
The question posed to us was simple…in a long term friendship relationship, when the dynamics of your interaction changes in a way you are not comfortable with, how do you handle it? As a life coach, I have done extensive study on this topic. I am confident that I could write a novel on this one, however, I will do my best to answer concisely!
Many people will tell you that the best relationships are based on “The Golden Rule”, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. My experience as a life coach is that this is not exactly true. Rather, the Platinum Rule seems to bring more success…which is “Do unto others as THEY would have you do unto them” ! This makes perfect sense, not everyone likes to be treated the same way. However, it is infinitely more difficult, because it requires us to “put ourselves into another persons shoes” so to speak. Knowing how we would like to be treated is easy, figuring out how someone else wants to be treated, not so much!
This is where communication comes in. It is vital, in any relationship, for both parties to take responsibility in communicating with respect and love, their needs. Nobody is a mind reader, and conflict stems from one party not understanding that the other is not getting from the relationship what they need or desire. Is this easy? Obviously not. Are the rewards worth it? I believe they are. Focusing on the Platinum Rule as opposed to the Golden Rule can help though!
So, in answer to the specific question at hand, how do you deal with a long term friendship that seems to have changed in a negative way. I believe that friendships are a blessing, and that doing whatever possible to work through it is the answer I would personally always gravitate towards. This could require “courageous” conversations, where both parties communicated what they were feeling. It may require a third party “mediator” to help if emotions run high. It may take some time to resolve the issues at hand. Ultimately it will require the courage of both parties to be willing to open themselves up, and the willingness to work through it. I know for me personally, I would never give up on a friendship, that I had invested my time and emotions into, willingly or without a fight. Unfortunately that is not always within our control.
My bottom line to Amber is this…avoiding conflict by avoiding the friend is not making Amber happy with the situation. I believe that creating a comfortable, neutral situation where the two of them can sit, and explain how they are each feeling, and share with respect and love how they can work together to repair the damage to the friendship, is the only mature answer.
I hope this helps! I think I will go hug a friend now. :-))
Cheers…Life Coach Lynn