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Pointing Fingers

“A wise man once said that every time you point a finger to accuse someone else, your other four fingers are pointing right back at you…”

A friend of mine called me one day out of the blues that she had just lost her pregnancy and I experienced a rainbow mix of unexpected emotions. I was shocked and confused because I had seen her almost every day prior to that and had no clue that she was preggers. I felt sad and heartbroken because she had lost something she had wanted for so long. I felt hurt and betrayed because she hadn’t trusted me enough to confide in me till she needed a shoulder to cry on. For the time being I put my feelings aside and was there for her. I was everything she needed me to be.

It didn’t take too long however, to realise she wasn’t the only one that needed comforting. I called my mom to unburden my chest and she told me it was usual for some friends not to tell each other sensitive stuff like this because of our culture and the ‘you don’t know who is really happy for you’ mentality and that maybe the couple had reasons for keeping it in and I shouldn’t let it affect me. But it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. All my other friends had told me the news as soon as they peed on the stick and this friend had shed tears more than once that some other friend of hers had excluded her from the baby announcement and since some of her inner circle knew about it, I felt I had been deliberately excluded.

So I called up one of my oldest friends to whine about it and as I was going on and on about the seeming betrayal, I let it slip that all that time I had confided in this friend about the procedure I had done, and she had never once felt the need to trade her own secret and voila, the next instance something unexpected happened. My dear friend cut me short and asked when I had the procedure done. I told her and as it dawned on me that I had goofed, I felt the embarrasment creep up my neck. I had kept the details from my friend even though she had initially suggested it and asked me about it once or twice. I hastily replied that I wanted to be sure the procedure had worked and was waiting for the right time to break the ‘good’ news which unfortunately never came. I tried to convince her that I hadn’t excluded her for any negative reason and that it was just more convenient to tell my other friend because she was going through the same issues that I was. Right then it occured to me that I had been feeling hurt and betrayed when I had done exactly the same thing to my other friend!

So many friendships have had bad blood mar them because one friend hid a new man, new job, a pregnancy, an engagement, a wedding announcement, a party, a promotion, a hangout or some other opportunity or good news from the other friend. We have done this to protect their feelings, prevent jealousy or bad blood, protect our good news from frenemies (and village people) or just to keep our matters private but most times we inadvertently hurt someone who has only good intentions towards us. The worst part is that the friend doesn’t know which of the above reasons you had for excluding her and many times emotions make people assume the worst.

So how do you control the dissemination of your private affairs without sacrificing a good friend on the altar of secrecy? Here are 3 points to note. This points don’t apply if you deliberately excluded the person for any reason.

1. Be consistent. Let your friend know exactly what place she occupies in your life. Every person has different circles of friends. If you have 2 best friends, don’t tell one and leave the other out unless it is a known fact that you are closer to one of them. If you tell only your inner circle a secret, a friend in the outer circle won’t feel excluded unless you have given her reason to believe that she was part of your inner circle.

2. Be sensitive. Don’t assume that your friend understands why she wasn’t included. Take out time to explain to her and to gently tackle how she may be feeling. Invest more time, attention and love into the relationship so that you restore the balance that was there before the big reveal and so that she is assured that she wasn’t excluded for a negative reason. This may take time, don’t be in a hurry to move on unless you are sure she has.

3. Be fair. The world is so intertwined that many times we get as good as we give. If you are a private person then don’t get mad if someone else keeps their information private. If you planned to keep the information private but a couple of people already know about it, tell the people who are important to you rather than someone in your inner circle hearing it from a random friend outside or finding out she was one of the few people who didn’t know. Remember gist gets around pretty fast.

Life isn’t static. We will always have our own secrets and not be privy to someone else’s. Even though we may be inadvertently or intentionally excluded from certain circles of trust, we must be careful not to point fingers for with someone else we may have unwittingly crossed the same line. People have different characters and if you choose to be friends with a secretive person, you must own this and not get upset when the person is just being herself. You must also understand that some secrets are kept out of fear of past personal failures (they don’t want to jinx it) and not fear of what you can or can’t do to ruin it.

Finally, if you choose to keep a secret, do it for your own reasons and not because of advice from some random third party who doesn’t understand the depth of your friendship and has made you suspicious of the very people you trust. Your friend knows you and as a result can anticipate your reactions and odd behaviour hurts even more.

Nobody is perfect, may the force of friendship be strong within us and may forgiveness, love and understanding guide the ones we love and the ones who love us!

Have a lovely day Chutzpah fam,

Xoxo

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Posted by on May 23, 2018 in Memoirs

 

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The Argument against Gossip

Gossip is therapeutic. I am a grownass woman and I can attest to this fact!

Talking about your grievances against someone to a neutral sympathetic ear makes you feel instantly better.

We justify it by saying we are only confiding in a friend who understands; or airing our views to one who wouldn’t blow it out of proportion. We shy away from the word back-biting seeing it as an unkind synonym.

‘I am not a confrontational person’, we say.

‘I am passive aggressive’, we seek to justify.

‘He/She would never accept the fault was theirs’, we argue.

‘It may lead to a big fight and an end to a friendship you still need’, we silently agitate.

So we say nothing. We talk about our grievances to all and sundry except the aggressor; not realizing that we are creating a monster. A person who feels they do no wrong and goes through life unchecked.

We unknowingly groom a self-righteous fiend and then one day it goes too far and you blow the lid off your pent up emotions and say more than you should about every damn issue that has ever bothered you and the other person is taken aback believing his small misdemeanor led to a torrential outpouring of negative emotion. We overreact like a pressure cooker in its prime. Many friendships do not survive that, even well-meaning ones.

So is gossip really therapeutic? Maybe in the short run but facing your issues with the one you call friend is an investment in your future.

You know you deserve better so if there’s someone out there who you call a friend, who has done things to you that make you choke up with unspoken emotion every time you think of them, man up and tell that person exactly how you feel. Cut out the insults and assumptions and say it as you see and feel it. It won’t be pretty but your friendship will come out stronger and if you have to kiss the friendship goodbye then consider it self-preservation. Nobody is indispensable!

Rise above gossip. Don’t say it to them till you have said it to him/her. #hardbutworthatry

Matthew 18:15 KJV;

‘Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.’

I wish for you friends that stick closer than brothers…

Have a great day Chutzpah fam,

Xoxo

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2018 in Inspirational

 

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The Little Bird…

Have you ever been caught in a drama that started with ‘one blasted little bird’ or ‘one yeye horse and his mouth’ or per chance a little fox? If you haven’t caught my drift yet, relax. I’m not finished but before I continue, if you are a lone wolf you better stop reading here because I don’t want you using this to validate your sociopath ways. 😉
We all need people. But sometimes our association with other people can be a bit *scratching head…complicated!

How so?

I’ll be there in a minute but let me give you two illustrations.

First there’s the ever popular game called Chinese whispers (or telephone in the United States) in which one person whispers a message to another, which is passed through a line of people until the last player announces the message to the entire group. Errors typically accumulate in the retellings, so the statement announced by the last player differs significantly, and often amusingly, from the one uttered by the first (not amusing when it’s bad info involved #drama). Reasons for changes include anxiousness or impatience, erroneous corrections, personal misinterpretation and that some players may deliberately alter what is being said in order to guarantee a changed message by the end of it! (WIKIPEDIA)

Catch my drift? Keep reading…

The second illustration-
Bola and Bisi are friends.
Bola and Tolu are friends.
Bisi and Tolu are not friends.
Bisi confides in Bola and Tolu confides in Bola.
Bola in animated conversation unconsciously mentions some things in passing that Tolu told her to Bisi. Tolu hears about it from a random person and gets angry with Bola. Bola is shocked by what she’s hearing because she doesn’t even remember saying such plus it’s been so remixed that it sounds hurtful, cruel and malicious and she would never say such things.

——What a hot mess——–

Now back to the beginning!

For centuries men have enjoyed labelling the average woman as a gossip (research shows men looooooove to gossip too) 😉 However many times the men have been spot on. There’s never equity in information sharing and there’ll always be someone who knows a little more than the others know and wants to be the little bird who heard it from the horse’s mouth who was last seen with the little foxes!

Now before you start feeling self-righteous, I am not talking about keeping secrets. Most people are able to keep information that starts as; ‘This is a secret, please don’t tell anyone’…. unless they have malicious intent but most of the wahala lies with the info which the sender believes is confidential but does not communicate its confidential nature to the receiver thereby giving the receiver a free hand to disseminate it consciously or unconsciously at will.

Nobody likes to hear their name called up in matters of she said, he said, they said neither do they like the drama that ensues because many times it leads to a tell-all phase where even unrelated secrets are exposed as self-defence as well as a lot of hurt and betrayal and at the end of the day who is left to clean up the mess that remains of the friendship?

Whether in the office, at church, in school or in a social gathering, here are 10 tips to keep you drama free and to protect you when it comes to disseminating information.

1) A secret is a secret. If someone tells you a secret and states categorically that it is a secret then keep it a secret. If you have conflicting interests and need to keep your plate clean to prevent compromise, kindly ask the person not to tell you the secret.

2) Try to divulge the motives of the person giving you the information. You must realise that some people tell you things about others because they want to spoil the other person’s name or sow negative seeds in your heart. If the person’s motives are in any way questionable then take the info with a pinch of salt. Sometimes information disseminated are as a result of people’s thoughts and not actual events. For example; Thought: Tolu always has so much money, maybe she gets it from men. Word: Do you know Tolu sleeps around? #error

3) If the gist could only have come from one source or is obviously pointing to one person, telling it to someone else and saying- ‘a little bird told me’ or ‘I heard it from someone’ or ‘I had a dream’ or ‘I’m just advising you for your own good’ or ‘I’m not gonna tell you who it’s about or who told me’- isn’t clever, it is lame because tracing it to the source isn’t hard so if you must recount a story be wise.

4) Where information is concerned- the friend of my enemy is my enemy and the friend of my friend is my friend because that’s what usually happens. Like Bola in the second illustration, when people are in lighthearted conversation with their friends, they hardly guard the words uttered from their mouth so if for example you don’t want your story becoming front page news, don’t share it with someone who has a close friend you do not want knowing your business. Bola may have had no ulterior motives when she spilled the not-so-confidential gist to her ‘other’ friend Bisi but Bisi had no loyalties to Tolu and who knows, may not even have liked Tolu very much so Bola has unintentionally armed Bisi with info she can use against her other friend Tolu and guess who gets caught in the middle?
5) Don’t say things about other people that you would never admit to their faces. Now this clearly crosses the line from gossip to slander. If you say “Hey I heard Tolu stole Bisi’s boyfriend”. Tolu can choose to explain herself or ignore when she hears the story and may even laugh it off depending on the gravity but if you say “Tolu is a ho, keep your boo far from her. The last person who fell victim was Bisi”, then you have tried and sentenced her to a crime she may not be guilty of and when she hears, she’ll be angrier about the name-calling and slander arising from your cruel generalisations than the accompanying case study. If you must retell, keep it simple.

6) Anyone who gives you gossip will gossip about you. Shikena! You think you are immune sitting there enjoying the gossip she keeps bringing to you. Be careful hon, you ain’t that special, she’s probably using your life as a case study in her entertainment of her other friends!

7) Your comments matter. You don’t gossip but when you hear gossip you are quick to comment or even share similar stories you’ve heard. “So disappointed in Amaka, that’s how I heard Seyi did the same thing some weeks ago”. Don’t act all shocked when you hear you’ve been quoted out of context or your name keeps coming up. Remember sometimes these people are only looking for one word from your mouth- ‘Anything you say shall be used against you in the court of law’. Silence is golden.

8) If it means that much to you, don’t share it. The only information you can keep in check is information you haven’t told anybody. Now many times it’s hard to keep it all in but you can find a select few that you can trust with your life and unburden your secrets on them. Feel free to test them with an outrageous-must share-not dangerous to you if shared- secret to see if they can keep it. If they fail to keep it then you know you can definitely not trust them with your life’s dramas.

9) Be wary of people who seem overly concerned about you and want to know all that’s going on with you. If you are not moved to voluntarily share information with these people then don’t. Trust your instincts. Most of these people may camouflage as your most caring friends but really don’t have your best interests at heart and giving them information empowers them to hurt you.

10) Beware of technology! With the advent of tape recorders, phone voice recorders and others, you can be caught in a hot mess if you say something you shouldn’t. You may not be able to deny the voice on the recorder and many times the way it is played back may not be the way you intended to say it or the meaning you intended to convey. #drama

Most people have at least once in their lives been involved in such drama. Sometimes like the little foxes, it ruins promising friendships or really old ones. If you’ve been hurt by a friend who spilt the beans on you, remember that sometimes the person may not have intended to hurt you but by being careless with your information has exposed you to hurt and ridicule. Forgive the person but be more careful about your personal info in future and if you are the one who has inadvertently said, shared or re-broadcasted something you weren’t sure of, humiliating as it may be, own up and apologise. Nothing kills drama faster than a heart-felt apology.

Before you share something about someone, verify the story, ask yourself- Is it hurtful? Would I like someone to spread such stories about me? What if it isn’t true? Even if it’s true do I wanna get caught up in this sorta drama? What are my motives? How would my motives be interpreted if sh*t hits the fan? Think before you speak!

Philipians 4:8 says “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

If your mind is full of these things above, it will reflect in your conversation!

NO MORE DRAMA #NMD

Have a great drama-free weekend chutzpah fam,
Xoxo 😉 🙂 😉

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2013 in Inspirational

 

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