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A Friend is Someone Who is Good at Not Getting Along With You

The character of a team is revealed not by how much affection its members display during times of agreement, but by how well its members learn to communicate and coexist during moments of dispute.

Getting along when we agree is evidence neither of compatibility nor camaraderie. Getting along when we agree is just a part of what it means to agree.

Even rivals appear to be allies when they advocate the same point of view.

Disagreement, far from being a threat to genuine friendship, is the very thing that makes it possible to distinguish enemies from friends.

Without the capacity for conflict, there can be no basis for chemistry.

Space for intimacy

Space-Universe-395Space is as necessary to a relationship’s health as intimacy.

Roger de Bussy-Rabutin wrote, “Absence is to love what wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small, it inflames the great.”

Perhaps this is because absence, like wind, is a force unto itself.

For those who make themselves available to its presence, space reveals itself to be more than a mere void.

The establishing of outer space facilitates the expansion of inner space.

The distance we set between ourselves and others is capable of opening new places in our awareness and, consequently, new possibilities in our relationships.

Sometimes the best way to get closer is not by collapsing space, but by creating it.

The unexpressed life (is not worth living)

I Can't Speak“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.” -Franz Kafka

None of us want to be abandoned.

None of us want to feel rejected.

No one wakes up in the morning hoping they will hear someone say, “I don’t love you anymore”, “I don’t like the person you’ve become”, or “I’m no longer interested in being friends.

Nevertheless, we all must, at some point, exercise the courage necessary to let the people in our lives experience the truth of who we are.

Sometimes, they will surprise us with their ability to accept us unconditionally.

Sometimes, they will disappoint us with their disapproval.

Either way, when we are honest in the places that we need to be, we will discover what it is like to experience our relationships as accurate reflections of our real self.

Audre Lorde wrote: “I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.” 

What’s worse: 1) having an opinion that gets bruised? or 2) having a life that feels bitter and boring because you’re too afraid to have an opinion?

What sounds more scary: 1) Being misunderstood? or 2) being miserable and mundane because you never take the risk of being misunderstood?

Socrates said, “the unexamined life is not worth living.”

Ditto for the unexpressed life.

“No” can be a very kind word to say

Saying “yes” is not synonymous with love.

Sometimes we use the word “yes” as a tool to end conversations, calm people’s anxieties, give them hope, prove we care, avoid causing hurt feelings, or to sum it all up in a simple phrase, “be nice.”

When we say “yes” for any other reason besides truly wanting or intending to do what we promise, we not only create the very misunderstandings and hurt feelings we sought to avoid, but we also lose trust and respect in the process.

If you really want to show someone you care, then practice saying “no” to them. “No” is a way of saying the following:

“I take you seriously enough to tell you the truth. I see you as someone who is mature enough to handle a relationship that’s based on honesty. I trust you enough to believe that your assessment of my value goes beyond my ability to do everything you ask me to do. Furthermore, because I want you to get what you want, I’m going to dispel any illusions that you can acquire it through me at this time. Rather than waste your time by giving you the run around, I’m going to free you up to immediately act on any other options you may have.”

People may experience a little frustration when you send such a message to them, but they will appreciate that a lot more than you leading them down a winding dead-end path for days, weeks, or months.

Besides, whenever you do get around to saying “yes”, they will know you mean it and will value your word.

The next time you’re asked to do something that’s not right or possible for you, do the nice thing and just say “no.”


T.K. Coleman

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