You know one of those friends who never mind their business. Before you know it every conversation turns into a career counselling session and if there is any extra time in view, it is likely to morph into an intervention. Yes those types of friends. Those really annoying kinds that sometimes you would rather avoid. Sadly I am one of them.
Trust me, I have asked myself numerous times why I can’t just be content with a bit of idle gossip, mind my merry business and be on my way. I have even wondered whether or not subliminally I use other people as a distraction from my own life but it really isn’t the case. My life may not be perfect but at least I reckon it is working progress as we all are. I suppose the fact that people have always popped into my life to give me some guidance makes me feel obliged to do the same. I know it sounds all self-congratulatory and altruistic. All, that’s left is for us to do is hold hands in a big circle, sway from side to side and sing kumbaya.
Well not until someone tells you that people may feel a certain kind of pressure to be perfect around you due to the level of expectations you place on them. This is when you realise; hold on a minute that was not my intention. But your intentions can become completely futile when your actions are interpreted quite differently.
I recently got into meddling form again with another friend. I thought to myself, you are exceptionally talented but there are just a few things that need tweaking and the world could see you in all your splendid awesomeness. So, on an afternoon of home made cuisine and lots of wine, myself and a few other friends entered intervention mode offering assistance with our different areas of expertise. We thought to ourselves, serendipity could only get you so far so you have to be a bit more proactive about the things you want and if you have the resources around you, then why not take advantage.
But of course being the ‘Ms Forward’ that I am, I did a follow up email with objectives, goals and responsibilities. We were all excited and revved up to go but then a couple of cancelled appointments and unanswered phone calls later, a long BBM chat sufficed, cut the long story short she wasn’t quite ready for the help.
I will admit, at first I was a little rattled but then after a bit of reflecting, I remembered the critique about projecting expectations on others but the most pertinent lesson was learning to meet people where they are in their journey. We all have those people in our lives who in our opinion could do better for themselves and be better people but I’m learning that people have to decide for themselves if they do want more and at what pace they would like to move. I am also realising sometimes whist we are dolling out advice and unsolicited help, we don’t even ask whether or not that is what they genuinely want. We do desire certain expectations for people we love but they might just be quite content with who and where they are.
This isn’t to say that I am one of those soccer mum type friends only known for being aggressive and pushy. Thankfully there have been many more positives that negatives. I suppose the other question that would need answering is, should we be try to change people in the name of bettering them? Shouldn’t friendships just be about loving and taking people as they are? It’s something I’m still at odds with myself. Nevertheless, good intensions easily get lost with the wrong approach. So maybe it’s time to backoff or as the saying goes, ‘Mind the business that pays you’