Family First Friday #22–Play nice
So a dear friend of mine got called as the Relief Society President in her ward. She is an amazing woman and she will do an amazing job!! I have worked with her before in a lot of girls’ camp areas. And she is amazing! As we were discussing her new calling, she said, “I don’t know Carin, being the RS President is like girls’ camp on steroids!” I burst out laughing right in the middle of seminary graduation. Luckily, it was before the meeting had begun and I stifled it quickly.
Her comment caught me so off guard, but is so very true! It is funny that as we get older we think that we mature (and to some degree, we do), but the older I get, the more I realize that adulthood is just Junior High all over again. (I mean, minus the children and the bills and the grown-up problems.) But sometimes, we are just big people with the same feelings and emotions, and unfortunately some of the same drama!
Whenever you are tempted to get sucked into the drama, remind yourself of the things you learned in junior high:
- Play nice.
- Be kind.
- Don’t share private things.
- People will talk about you, especially behind your back.
- Don’t say anything, to anyone, about anyone that you are not OK having repeated to the person, because it will be eventually.
- When people don’t understand your behavior, they will assign reasons that make sense to them, tell others those reasons, and probably never ask you if they are accurate because they are sure that they are.
- If someone saw you do something stupid, it will be shared all over Facebook.
- If you don’t want your mistakes to be shared wide and far, do your best to always treat people with care, concern, and kindness.
That counsel is pretty much true from junior high on (sadly, sometimes in elementary school too).
As a grown-up, I have gotten a little better at calling people on their behavior. If I hear something about someone else, before I tell anyone else, I usually call the person and just ask them if the information is true. I tend to say, “Hey, I heard that…..” They usually then want to know what the source is. Sometimes I just try to let them know that I wanted to make sure they were aware that perception was out there, or ask them if they need any help (with certain situations), or I wanted to make sure I could return to the source and quash the rumor about them or their family.
I know most of us mean well when we are discussing the situations of others, but we really have to be careful that (1) the information we received is true, (2) our passing of the information will be to help out someone else [i.e. Sister so and so had an automobile accident and is need of some extra service and TLC, we need to help her], (3) the information is public and the person/people don’t mind you sharing their business.
These are all lessons that have been difficult for me to learn. I am a very open person and I don’t mind people knowing how I feel about something or what my plans are. I don’t mind being transparent because, truth be told, I really do not have very many negative feelings about others. I do not hide my relationships or my true feelings about someone. I let them know. Sometimes that has backfired on me, but not very often. Most people appreciate knowing where they stand with me. The point is, my boundaries are very loose in the information department. But other people do not feel that way at all.
I am very careful about what information I share about others, even though I am not as tight about my personal information. I try to put myself into their situation and ask if I am putting them in a good light, or if they overheard me say this, how would they feel? I think about those things. My morality professor in college was notorious for teaching us how to decide if something was moral or not: Moral behaviors help people, immoral behaviors hurt them. Still today that is how I decided what my behavior should look like. Does my behavior, or do my words/thoughts help people? Or hurt them?
There have been times when I thought my behavior would help someone, but in reality it hurt them. Here is an example. I was over at a woman’s home and waiting for her to do something. The kitchen was a disaster and things were all over the place. I started washing the dishes because I wanted to help relieve her burden. When she returned, she was angry. She interpreted my dish washing as saying, “Well, you obviously aren’t doing what you need to do.” When in reality, what I was saying was, “I have had times when my kitchen looked like this too and I wished someone would have helped me by washing the dishes.”
I had another friend who really helped me to see that others were very private about their families and their plans. One time someone asked me what the friend’s plans were. I knew they were going to visit their families over the summer and I said so, no details, no specifics, just, “I think they have plans to see their family this summer”. Well, for that particular friend, sharing that much information was too much sharing. She was not happy and told me so and it was hard on our friendship.
My point is, most of us really do not know another well enough to always determine what behaviors the other will find helpful and what behaviors one will find hurtful. We have to be careful. Our behaviors, words, and attitudes can and will be misinterpreted. When they are, we need to act with charity, humility, and to try to behave with understanding, like the Savior would. He understands what someone thinks, how they feel, and why they came to that conclusion. We do not. Many, many miscommunications happen because of those things.
I probably have more to say on the subject, but my kiddos are telling me they need my attention and assistance. So I had better go and see what I can do to help them 🙂
On a sadder note, my little (big) Spanky broke off his engagement on Tuesday. It is sad, but it is the right decision. It would have been fun and will be when the time is right! But as of today, no marriages on the horizon, just lots of missionary stuff.