We talk about our problems a lot. In fact, it’s all we ever talk about. We don’t go about telling our friends how good our life is, coz it’ll sound so much like you’re rubbing it in their face. When they say “good for you”, it really means “whatever, I don’t care.” People don’t wanna know how you can get it altogether unless you’re willing to share with them what works without having them ask you like some sort of pathetic losers. But most of the time, I bet you and your friends will have different priorities and that whatever works for you won’t work so well with them. And sometimes, when you overshare the tips, it sounds like you’re trying to tell them how to live which will almost always get a boomerang. People feel most connected when you have dealt with or are dealing the same shit as them, that you are in their shoes, that you understand exactly what is going on, exactly how messy whatever it is. And that’s perhaps the best time to learn some advice from one another, you know instead of hosting and joining the pity party, you two just encourage each other and build each other up again (because trust is there).
My friends come to me for all kinds of advice. They know that I enjoy analyzing situations, comparing the pros and cons, deciding the urgency and importance, and the like. But these days, I find myself more on the listening end, letting the other person come to the conclusion which they had it in them. I even practiced stopping to “help” my friends to phrase their problems properly because I learned to really listen to the special way or version they used to tell their story. And lately, it seems like most of my friends frame their world in the most negative way possible. They use words like dying, messed up, crazy, losing, jealous, angry, and cursed.
I am definitely not an honest person. I love this saying that goes something like this: Everything you need to say can be said with kindness. When my friends bitch about their problems, if I have nothing nice to say, I’d mostly keep my mouth shut because silence is gold. Besides, girls just wanna have someone there to listen and guys, guys ask specific questions that put you right where you can say anything but won’t hurt anybody. At least my male friends are like that.
Sometimes I just wanna say to those people who complain about the same old problems including me.
I know your job/relationship is no picnic. But you chose to stay. Yes, you made the choice to stay. No one forced you. Don’t tell me that I don’t understand your difficult complicated situation. I don’t but I don’t have to understand to know that every person has the power of choice. In March, I posted this on Facebook: Paulo Coelho once wrote, “the greatest gift God gave us is the power to make decisions.” I can’t help but wonder if that holds true for those living in some nations like the North Korea and Afghanistan. Now, I think even those who live at the mercy of some Taliban hold the power of making a choice, that is the choice of accepting or making a change.
Making a change is risky. It’s going to jeopardize a lot of things or persons you hold dear of. So if you were not going to take that risk (consciously), then please shut up and accept whatever shitty situation you got there. Life isn’t fair, it’s not the latest news. But you don’t get to complain about a problem you don’t want to solve. The weather is hot, can you solve it? Yes. Making yourself cool by standing under the fan or drinking iced tea. Simple analogy. Don’t complain about the problem that you are not willing to solve. The traffic is slow. By all means, complain. Can you solve it? Maybe. Drive with alert, don’t get into an accident. Can you prevent it? Maybe. Don’t drive at the wrong hour. A problem worth complaining is a problem worth solving. The time you spend complaining is the time you live in denial that you aren’t some sort of coward who’s too afraid of making changes.
But there’s no way I’ll tell you that, at least I’m not going to say it so harshly. It’ll hurt the friendship for sure. I’m not trying to be fake or pretentious, I just don’t want you to hear it from me. I mean, if you wanna talk some sense into me, I’d rather hear it from my mom or my favorite author. What I wrote isn’t some profound wisdom. If you haven’t known them, you’ll get there someday, on your own pace, no hurry, I’m here for you, there there.