When a personal relationship is causing you stress, be aware of your feelings and communicate them instead of building a case against the other person. For example, you don’t need to list the seven things the person did that you didn’t like, including the time he yelled at the flight attendant, yawned while you were speaking, or fell asleep while you were driving. If you run off a list of errors you believe someone has made, you will appear judgmental and put him on the defensive. You will also get into a detailed discussion of each individual event rather than addressing your feelings as a whole. It’s more productive to speak to your emotions through statements like “I feel like you aren’t enjoying my company,” rather than the “case” you have built against the object of your frustration. It’s also a way to keep yourself honest.
-Jaime Morrison Curtis, from the book Prudent Advice
Thursday Thoughts: On Not Building a Case
Oh man. Three years ago I went through the most painful friendship breakup of my entire life (she was my maid of honor!! how does that happen??!!!) and sadly, this quote accurately describes what happened during our falling out. She had a full list of errors, I went on the defense, and we haven't spoken since. I sent her a letter last year (prompted by bible study!) telling her that I forgave her, and apologizing for my part in it. Never heard a word back. We were friends for ten years, and it still makes me sad when I think about it or hear her name. That being said, this is a really really good quote, and a good reminder. Thanks for sharing it today.
Such a great reminder! It's so hard sometimes to delete the mental list and focus on the bigger issue, but it truly does lead to more productive discussions.