Since I was in elementary school, I have often been called “Nancy Nice.” I usually like that nickname. It makes me feel like a good person who has value. After all, kindness is in high demand. Right? Sometimes I wonder. Then, I turn off the television and stop reading the tabloids. Yet this issue haunts me.
My clients have doubts about my abilities to protect their interests if I’m too nice. They don’t think nice and aggressive can exist in the same person. They must not look in the mirror much. We all have a little kindness and aggressiveness at varying times. The key seems to be to know how to create and use them effectively. I’m still working on that. For example, I have a few colleagues who I adore. They are beautiful, smart and talented women who get results in the courtroom, but they have difficulty succeeding outside of work. I spend time with them on rare occasions when I have some spare time, usually after a substantial period has passed and I start to feel guilty for not making time with them a priority. Admittedly, I have some relationships like this with my family members, too. So, this weekend, I took a look at why there appears to be a conflict between who I say is my friend and who I treat as a friend. What I saw from applying the Third Ear Conflict Resolution process is outlined below.
THE CONFLICT: I have different values from some of the people I spend time with.
THE INTERESTS: I enjoy friends who have authentic, connected conversations with me. I want to save money, be healthy and be fit. I spend time with people who eat a lot of food that has little nutritional value, drink alcohol regularly to get drunk, spend a lot of money to look like they have a lot of money, and who seem to want more meaningful connections with people but don’t take action to change their circumstances. I get frustrated and end up doing things with them that make me sick, deeper in debt and drained emotionally. This is not what I want from my friendships.
THE POSSIBILITIES: If I could have this conflict resolve in any way possible, I would have authentic friendships based on trust, mutuality, understanding, respect, partnership, and unconditional love. We would share conversations and activities that empower both of us without depleting either of us. I would take a greater stand for my interests and truly commit to the life I want, inspiring and empowering my friends to do the same. We would all win!
THE FUTURE: I will 1) set time and financial boundaries for my visits with people with whom I am still developing friendships, 2) share the impact of my overeating, drinking and overspending and 3) share with them my vision for our friendships in a way that lets them truly choose whether we want the same things. If not, we can remain acquaintances and still be loving to each other.
Oh, and I will also stay on PARR: planning, acting, revising, and repeating. I never know when an acquaintance will become a friend, and I welcome more of both. 🙂 xo