In the last 24 hours, I’ve found myself supporting two friends on opinions I felt to be incorrect.
It’s been driving me a bit up the wall.
Had you asked me several years ago if I considered myself an opinionated person, I would have blushed and tried to change the topic back to you. Ask me today, and I’d go with being someone who likes to talk, who likes to listen, and be listed to in return. But for these two friends, I ignored how I felt, and backed them up with solid approval.
The situations are less important, or for context it’s simpler to say that one was regarding work, the other about a comment made by a mother in law, you can draw you own (probably correct) conclusions. In both cases, my friends felt strongly that they knew better then the party making the comment, and where outraged at the though of not being in control of their own work/offspring. It was my Job, as friend, to listen, make sympathetic noises, and support their indignation with the kind of advice only a friend could offer: they were clearly right, and time and chocolate would fix just about anything.
I’ve always felt it easy to take other people into consideration – it has, in fact, often gotten in the way of things I want to chase and claim as my own. And if the stakes were higher, if this was my life or career on the line, my answer to these friends might have been different. That judgment call is what makes us friends – that we understand enough about each other to know when to push and when to pull back. It also makes us willingly ignore our own thoughts and feelings in order to make someone else feel better.
And sometimes, it means telling someone I told you so and not having them understand why.