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When Your Sister Listens To Her Mister More Than You

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A few months ago, while on the coattails of summer’s craziness, I lived through a strange experience of friendship that left me to the tendency of some friends to take, take, take… and take. Call them what you may, I like to think of these types of relationships as “convenience friendships.” This particular story involves a man – a player – that came between a sister and me.

It all began when a series of events led me to introduce two single friends, each from a separate corner of the lonely-hearts club. She, a dynamic sister with a bright future glazing in her horizon, sociable, a people-pleaser, ever-so insecure, met him, an attractive, slightly pretentious man, whose confidence, self-righteousness and charm could blow anyone’s pants off.

I went along with the venture, trying my best to facilitate what was an unlikely combination. She had returned from abroad at the beginning of the year and was detached from the life she left behind. But I, like others in our friendship group, was excited to hear about her stories, supposing that her brilliant mind was ticking over with exciting plans and was full of stories about new people and far-away lands.

On the other side of the equation, he and I had begun seeing each other quite often on the weekends, having a crazy time between us and with other frivolous friends. He spoke about his desire to calm down a little, to find someone with the prospect of longevity. So, when circumstances led them to meet, there was clear and open interest on both sides.

As the weeks went by I stood on the sidelines answering the questions of one about the other and tried my best to bridge some of the obvious differences between them. But it appeared that nothing was going to work between them. He had told me that he had been sleeping around, and even took another sister home on an evening in which she had called me to chase information about where he was. This came in his relationship disclaimer, that so as long as there was no future between them, and the attempts to make something work had reached an expiry date, he was free to do as he wished and with whomever he pleased.

She on the other hand was reappearing in my life quite sporadically to gain information about what he was doing, where he was and what I knew about him. It was strange because, aside from staying at my place when she first returned from abroad, I would only hear from her when she wanted something. It reached the point where I gathered that even she was aware of this, telling me one day “Let’s catch up soon, girl. I feel like I haven’t seen you at all.” I was not too concerned at this point; I was busy.

But, it was all to boil over after one wild evening when he and I shared a kiss at a club. Having been told that nothing was going on between them, I fell to his charms and was one of two women to be swooned that evening with his kiss. I realized that what I had done was foul when I turned to see him with that another sister. Indignant, I left the club. The next day I spoke with him to clear the air, only to discover that he and my friend, she, were seeing each other that evening for round two.

At this point my anger about having been used as a go-between-girl between two unmatched people had reached its climax. After months of being there for both of them, I was eventually pushed to redundancy, the friendships began to end and my interactions with both faded. I also can’t overlook the notion that I was slightly jealous. Two friends, who I had known for 2 years on separate grounds, had run off together and were leaving me behind.

So one evening, I directed a comment to him, amongst friends, that questioned the worth of his friendship. Given how proactive he was in broadcasting to the world a sense of moral superiority and excellence in friendship, he took my criticism poorly and defensively. I considered him a dirty rat, so I didn’t care about how he reacted.

But then, the following day, I received a phone call from her questioning me about the evening in which he and I had kissed. He had obviously told her to spite me and I imagined this was accompanied with the usual dialogue of “she must love me,” which he regularly uses to justify burnt bridges with women (those he burns with men are because they are jealous of his style and charm.) Cornered, I asked to meet with her the next day during my lunch break. She accepted but brought along a mutual friend so to avoid any conversation about what had happened. This was a clear indication she was not interested in hearing what I knew. I told her anyway.

A week later, having boiled over in self-reflection, I sent her an SMS with a stern warning her to watch her mouth with other people. She had fragrantly spread the word amongst mutual friends that I was the saboteur between them as they went about sewing the seeds of their rock-sold connection. I doubted, at this point, that she believed me when I told her about him sleeping around. This sickened me in my self-righteousness because I knew they were having unprotected sex, for which he would take no responsibility. A typical player – selfish and irresponsible.

The entire scenario left me feeling foolish and ashamed. Aside from considering him a friend of mine – an arrogant man with little no consideration of other people’s dignity – I had also fallen victim to subtle ways of a sister’s convenience friendship.

In all of this, I did things I was not at all proud of. I was very wrong to have kissed him without appreciating fully that she still may have had feelings for him by virtue of not knowing he was sleeping around and meeting new women. Her interaction with me was so sporadic, and always so focused on her needs with him, that I was never given the opportunity to know that she was still pursuing him at that point. But, as they began seeing each other again, with talk of them moving in together, a common enemy for them both has been the best method to cover up their obvious differences. Ultimately, my former sister got what she wanted – to fill a void in her life with a charming man. My services to her have dried up and so too has the friendship.

I scratch my head occasionally and wonder whether or not I should still care about her. But then I realize that it was a lesson learned for me and that so too will it be a lesson for her when she finally gets burned.

And that is how one friendship of convenience reached its inevitable end.

When Your Sister Listens To Her Mister More Than You

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How to Stop the Pain

By Kayla Albert

“Judgments prevent us from seeing
the good that lies beyond appearances.”
Wayne Dyer

I’ve spent the last week brooding over unexpected events that have transpired in my work and personal life, holing myself up in a darkened room contemplating all of the dire consequences these events will have on my present and future.

The same thoughts have been turning somersaults in my mind for hours on end, disrupting my sleep and pushing me to lash out when it’s entirely unnecessary and, sometimes, inappropriate.

In truth, I took situations that were completely neutral and transformed them in my mind to represent all kinds of gloom and doom. I’m beginning to see this as something I’m ridiculously good at–something I know that I need to change.

I can say in hindsight that I’ve spent a lot of my life waiting for the other shoe to drop–equating times of happiness and fulfillment to being at the top of a roller coaster where it’s only a matter of time before everything goes careening downhill.

I’m not entirely sure what the psychology is behind this mindset, but I know that I have an underlying belief that life tends to equal things out–good is followed by bad, accomplishment is followed by struggle, etc.

I have so much faith that “bad” situations, experiences and people will continue to show up in my life, I mistakenly place these labels where they aren’t deserved. Labels allow the unknown to be categorized before the true nature of the situation or the person is shown.

This creates a false sense of “knowing” in which the projected outcome is usually far worse than the reality. And of course, the amount of energy spent by entertaining false outcomes and the direness of future situations is utterly exhausting.

From the age of 12 to 16 I attended a local art school in which a great deal of my day was spent recreating still life scenes on paper, spending hours shading to reflect the light and trying again and again to get the proportions of each object just right.

While I struggled at times to grasp the technical side of creating “good” art, the biggest hurdle I faced was rather simple: learning how to draw exactly what I saw and not allowing my mind to add in extras that weren’t actually there.

It was my mind that would trick me into changing the placement of an object or making the features of someone’s face larger than they actually were. I needed to train myself to simply be the vessel in which reality was transferred to paper.

It took great discipline to constantly look up from what I was drawing to refer back to the scene sitting in front of me — just like it takes discipline to continue checking in with reality instead of drawing my own hasty conclusions based on nothing more than a label or a feeling.

With this little bit of self-awareness, I can say that there have been countless situations and events in my life in which I have responded to by jumping into conclusions, assuming the worst when reality might have indicated otherwise.

I’ve fought with a friend and assumed the friendship was over; been passed over for a job and assumed it was because I wasn’t talented enough; encountered financial hardship and assumed I was doomed to living from paycheck to paycheck for the rest of my life.

Every time I’ve resorted to this thought process I’ve seen other areas of my life begin to suffer–I lash out in my personal relationships, losemotivation to work for the things I want; the list goes on and on.

In recovering from this past week of dwelling in a negative alternate reality, here are the three reminders I now have tacked up on my refrigerator:

Reminder #1: Go to the Source

The majority of the anger and upset I was experiencing this week stemmed from a decision made by someone else that affected me greatly. It was from this decision that I began making assumption after assumption about what is said about me and what I had been doing wrong.

Luckily they approached me about the situation and all of the hurt and confusion I had been experiencing was cleared up in a two-minute conversation. That’s all it took.

If I would have just asked for the facts, I wouldn’t have had as much room to create my own version of the story.

Reminder #2: Seek to Understand

A few months ago my sister went to an astrologer who told her that her sibling (me) would be very surprised by an upcoming situation. When asked if the surprise was good or bad, the astrologer simply said, “Neither.”

I didn’t fully understand what that meant until now. The situation–or the “surprise” as she referred to it–was neither positive or negative. It was my interpretation of it that could make it one or the other.

Often times we label a situation negative until later on when we can see the positive aspects of it. We may not have all the knowledge we need to see the full picture when we’re in the midst of something, but simply recognizing the labels when we use them is a step in the right direction.

Reminder #3: Move Slowly & Deliberately

If I were to make decisions while I was driving the same way I respond to life situations–quickly and without much thought–I would probably be in a horrible accident.

I allow my mind to be ten steps ahead of what is actually occurring, and that, as I’ve learned, is detrimental to my wellbeing.

It’s time to stop, think about the situation with given facts, and respond slowly and deliberately to what is actually going on. If I choose to pass judgment one way or another, I need to routinely check in to see what that judgment is based upon.

The amount of energy I’ve spent mulling over scenarios that have never actually happened is absurd. I choose now to redirect that energy elsewhere.

Question for you: What conclusions have you jumped to only to find out in the end that you were wrong? 

How to Stop the Pain

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