Tag Archive: friends


It started out as an apology of sorts…

pull

So, as you may know if you are someone who follows this blog, this last week has been a little rugby-enduced fighty on the Facebook.

i had two people in particular who pointed out to me the problem [me] which seemed to somehow be linked to my having too much opinion on too many things on Facebook:

I’m troubled by the fact that you have an opinion about everyone and everything

Brett, you do seem to have a lot to say on Facebook.

So i was in two minds about what to post here. Part of me wanted to write something about why it’s okay that i have a lot of opinions about lots of things and a response of “You have an unfollow button at your disposal” [what they call a win-win] to those people…

Meanwhile i also had the idea of sending out a call to more people to have opinions on matters of importance [race, reconciliation, poverty…] so i wouldn’t have to have as many…

But then i kind of got distracted by a search for this Far Side cartoon strip which would have been far more appropriate for my train of thinking if it said “Stupid People” rather than “Jerks”

jerks

Because they really do abound on the internetwebs, and i do so often feel like i am also forced to respond in some way, almost as a means of civic duty to the world.

pbs

And then i stumbled upon this one which is ABSOLUTELY true to life for me that if such a society did in fact exist, that would by all means be one of the first questions asked:

stupid

And so i ended up not writing on any of those topics at all, but rather searching the house for a really large cardboard box:

pbs2

Mark Twain might have been on the right track…

smartpeoplecover

And as i looked back on the two comments from the people who decided i was too Facebook opinionated, i was pleasantly surprised to see that one of them [who i have since made peace with] wrote this absolutely amazing thing which i didn’t notice the first time around:

I think you could also be bit less ‘rude’

Which of course only made me think of this, my favourite Friends clip ever… i hope you “like” it.

rebuke

This week has been a little fighty fighty on the Facebook and i’m not sure why.

i strongly suspect it is linked to the Rugby World Cup that has been happening as touching on that ‘holy grail’ in a country so passionate about the sport definitely touches a nerve. As does most conversation about race.

So in the midst of three days of more ‘taking people on’ than i am typically used to, i had someone post on my wall that he was “troubled by the fact that you have an opinion about everyone and everything” and concerned about something i’d called someone and suggesting i was not being consistent in my beliefs and actions.

Which hurt me a little bit?

WHAT? Brett ‘Fish’ Anderson hurt by something someone said? Well… you know… there’s a difference between ‘Not caring what people think’ and ‘Not caring what people think’.

i think everyone likes to be liked by people. And so when there is a moment of that not happening, it bums us out. Or maybe that’s just me, but there is definitely a moment of: ‘Oh no, someone doesn’t like me’.

When a second person jumped on the first person’s comment to back him up on the fact that i do have rather a lot to say on Facebook and i could be less rude, that didn’t help. [Although we did manage to talk it out and come to a bit more of a happy ending i believe].

WHAT TO DO WITH IT

i’m okay though. i didn’t cry myself to sleep. She may have turned me into a newt, but… i got better! [obscure but brilliant Monty Python reference]

There are a couple of things i feel might be worth mentioning around this, especially for people who constantly challenge and question and wrestle and invite others to do the same: There will be pushback. Not all of that pushback is going to be good or accurate or helpful. But not all of it is going to be bad. Some of it might even be a little bit of both.

So what do you do? Well there is this amazing line in one of Paul’s letters to the Thessalonian church where he talks about ‘Testing the spirits. Holding on to the good and avoiding every kind of evil.’ Which is excellent advice.

Was what was said about me true? Was it totally true or was there any truth in there? If so, pay attention to it, learn and move on. [Maybe thank the person for pointing it out!]

If it’s not true at all, then let it go. i was talking to tbV about it in the car a little later and she reminded me about some things some other people had been saying to me recently which were helpful and true. They helped me to put both of these things in perspective.

INVITE ACCOUNTABILITY CAREFULLY

One thing that was interesting was that both comments on this particular thread came from people i don’t think i’ve had any interaction with for years. Which doesn’t mean what they said was not true. But it does suggest that there is a lack of relationship and so i hold it a little more loosely than when my good buddy Bruce Collins challenged me on a stance i was taking on Facebook a few weeks ago and warned me that he thought i had crossed a line.

You see, i have invited Bruce to speak into my life. i have no doubt that he loves me and he has championed me and encouraged me and cheered when i have done well and loved me so much that when he questions something, it still hurts [who likes to be told they are wrong?] but i know it can be trusted. i won’t necessarily always agree with him either [because we’re different people although we definitely agree on more than we disagree on] but i will listen and really dig deeply into what i said and question it because i know it was spoken in love.

truth

i imagine everyone’s process works differently. But the way it typically works for me is that if someone challenges me i will probably give immediate reaction push-back, but i will go and think about it later and it might take a day or two for me to process and realise, ‘Oh wait, actually they were right’ which means having to go back, tail between my legs and apologise to them and thank them for challenging me. But it happens.

And you don’t have to have good relationship with me to hold me accountable. i expect and invite everyone to hold me accountable for everything i say and do – i realise i live a bit of a public life and so that is completely necessary. But then there are certain people who i love and trust and have no doubt they love and trust me who i have invited to jump in when they see me out of line and bring rebuke and caution and challenge and so i am more likely to listen to them more easily and quickly than someone who is not.

Which makes a lot of sense. Because as i mentioned before, i am speaking/writing/sharing a lot about Race and Reconciliation and Christianity and Relationships and more and some of these topics get pretty heated. It would not be wise to agree with everything said to me in response to conversations had around those topics. But it is good to have some trustworthy people specifically watching my back on these to help keep me in line.

i am so grateful that my pool of people i trust to speak this kind of Truth in Love into my life is so huge. It is not easy being the person who brings the caution/challenge/rebuke as it is not easy being the person who receives it. But it is so crucially important and necessary to ensure a life that is consistent with beliefs, that will hopefully be used to be a part of significant conversation and action.

What has your experience with accountability been? Giving it or receiving it? Who are the people who you have invited to speak Truth in Love when it counts? 

[For some other thoughts on Friendship, click here]

white

Let’s face it, most of us are going to be late occasionally. But it’s when you make it a consistent habit that it becomes annoying and it is another character trait that can really affect a friendship. Especially if you do it enough that you become known as ‘that guy/that girl’.

[And it might be important to throw in a cultural disclaimer here cos this is definitely a very western time-focused mindset to have and other cultures have different ways of viewing time which are not worse just because they are not mine so that would be an interesting conversation to have – any thoughts on time?]

But going back to those who know and understand the cultural norm and continue to disregard it. STOPPIT! i imagine a lot of people are unaware that they are doing it or just don’t care enough to make a change.

And at the very least you can send a text or a call to let the people know you are running late – especially when it’s a movie or a function and people might be waiting for you to start. It is just a lot of rudeness to know that you are running late and not inform the person organising the event and your lateness affects their plans.

This is something Cape Town people seem to be particularly bad at. We really have to get better. It can be incredibly frustrating.

late

CALL ME MAYBE

A little p.s on this one for all the Facebookers out there. While Facebook Event ‘Yesses’ are definitely far from being a complete science, it would be a lot more helpful if we could become more honest with our responses.

The way i interpret a Facebook event “Yes” is as a maybe and a “Maybe” is definitely a no. It would be helpful if we just say what we mean. No one is going to lose a friendship over you saying ‘No’ to their event – they have invited 100 people and probably won’t even notice. But when you “maybe” it gives hope, and when you “yes” it gives expectation and so rather just stick to your actual anticipated answer to make things that little bit easier for those trying to run an event.

If i accidentally invited you to an event forgetting you are currently in another country, your “yes” really is unhelpful.

This is quite an easy one to change all around – being late is usually solved through a bit of pre-planning or organisation of the day in advance. And being more accurate on Facebook events feels like a no brainer.

What about you? What bad habits do people have that make it hard for you to be friends with them? Share them in the comments.

maybe

[For other bad habits that people have which make them less than stellar friends, click here]

interrupt

Hm, this is a bit of a difficult one as i think i only know one person who does this. And it’s me!

But maybe you know someone else. And i think i’m getting better although it does take a lot of work.

Did you ever know someone who interrupted you when you were speaking purely because they were so excited about what they had to say [as opposed to intentionally wanting to interrupt or anything] and in my case quite possibly also because of the likelihood of me forgetting what it is before i get my chance.

But it’s rude. And i’m guilty. And as i said i’ve been getting better at not interrupting or catching myself halfway through as i do, but there is still work to be done.

i believe the underlying belief with this one is that what i have to say is more important than what you have to say. i have this idea that is so great, that it can’t wait and needs to be expressed now. How terrible is that? Anyone, besides me, coming to mind?

And i don’t think that in the moment you are sitting there thinking, “Man, this thing i thought of to say is better than anything else going on here” but that is kind of the message that gets sent. It probably ties in a little bit with the not properly listening one although in my case i think it is usually triggered by something someone says and so i want to respond straight away instead of waiting my turn.

i can only imagine how frustrating that must be to the one being interrupted and i’m sorry. But this is another one that needs to be worked at and stopped altogether. One solution i’ve found that works is holding a finger up to remind me that i have something to say and it usually reminds me of what it is i want to say as well. But then making sure i let the person finish speaking completely before jumping in. And continue to listen and engage well with what they are saying.

What other habits do you see in your friends worth writing a post about to warn those who may not be aware that they do it? What irritates you the most about bad habits people have that cause you to be wary of befriending them?

[For the next part in this series looking at being Late and ticking ‘Maybe’ to FB events]

Interrupting Quote

This is a tough one for me. i feel like i can probably get over whatever other friend-losing behaviours i share after this one, but this one just feels so incredible rude, that i would struggle.

Immediate downgrade to acquaintance or person-i-walk-away-from-quickly-when-i-see-you-heading-my-way feels fair. Does that seem too harsh? Maybe you’ve never known someone who does it.

i am thinking of one person in particular. Really nice person. Quality. And so a number of years ago we hung out for coffee because i thought she would be someone it would be nice to get to know better.

It happened once and i did an internal double-take, but dismissed it as an accident or a misreading on my part.

But then it happened again. And again. And once more. Crisis! 

i was telling a story and halfway through each sentence, before i got to the point or the punchline or anything significant, she would respond… before the moment of response. Wait? You’re agreeing with me before i’ve given my point of view. You’re “I know!”ing and i haven’t even got to the part you might or might not know?

i imagine that if you’ve never had this happen to you, you may have no idea what i am talking about and great for you. If you do and have, you will be nodding your head vociferously and possibly letting out a long sigh.

If you are someone who does this,  i don’t even imagine you know. Surely you can’t. It has to be just a really bad habit, right.

But it is a game changer for me. Because it shows that you are not listening to me. Which shows that you don’t care about what i’m saying or that you are not interested in what i am talking about.

So the skill you need to work on is listening. Listen better and it will make you a good friend. This is probably something all of us need to practice to different degrees and it can never hurt. And maybe if you are brave enough you will ask three of your friends how good a listener they think you are.

Is it just me? Or has anyone else out there also come into contact with an Early Responder? And how serious was it for you? Is this something you would ever tell someone they do?

[For the next part on planning an answer before they have finished talking, click here]

How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days pic

If you have a good friend you’re trying to get rid of… oh wait, that only happens in the movies, right?

Well how about a friend you want to keep or make? From time to time i hear people complaining that they don’t have any close friends as if the Close Friend Fairy has passed them by [Did you put your old friends under your pillow?]

As cheesesome as it may seem, i believe it’s true that the best way to make a good friend is to be one. And since i don’t think i’ve posted all that much on Friendship on my blog, i thought it was high time to give it some play. But before we get to what makes a good friend, i thought it might be helpful to hear some of the things that are likely to make people [well, me!] head for the hills in a metaphorical kind of lope.

This is a chance for you to self-evaluate and, if you do any of these things, to consider stopping them, both for the sake of any present friends you might have and also for the sake of future friends. We’ll get to the good stuff later.

i don’t know if i’ll quite hit 10, but let’s see and as i go along, if you can think of something to add to the list, please feel free to add it to the comments and i might make a post of it:

Here are Ten Ways to Lose a Friend in an as yet undetermined number of days:

[1] Early Responder – You know that person who responds before the respond moment in a sentence?

[2] Planning ahead – Your friend is still talking but you are already working on your answer.

[3] Just me – Ever have a friend who was a master at turning the conversation to be about themselves all the time?

[4] Rudely Excited – Sadly this one is my rudeness, but i’m getting better – excited interruptions…

[5] Late and Worse – You know that friend who is regularly late and a bonus look at Facebook Event “Maybe”

Continuing sharing some thoughts and extracts from the really great book i just finished, ‘Robert Sobukwe: How Can Man Die Better’ by Benjamin Pogrund and if you missed the first ones, you can catch up over here.

Who better to kick us off on the topic of criticism, than my good friend Jack Handey:

jack

This extract is from Chapter 20 and this is Benjamin, the author, speaking:

We had to delay our first meeting. I could only get away from Johannesburg and the trial over weekends, and he [Robert Sobukwe] was available for only part of the time because of his house arrest restriction. It was a tough period in the trial, I told him, as the prosecution was summing up its case ‘with a flood of abuse flung at Gandar and me and our attorney [Kelsey Stuart, who had four years earlier, cleared my reports on jails for publication in the Mail]. Had it been justified and related to facts one could not and would not mind. But it has all been entirely unrelated either to actual events or to our evidence, so I have found it sick-making… and at an extraordinarily low intellectual level.’

Sobukwe was now following the trial day by day as the Rand Daily Mail reached Kimberley by lunchtime on the day of publication. Once more he stepped in to give comfort, at the same time reflecting his own ability to retain tranquility in the face of the poisonous attacks on him over the years: ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘the prosecution had a field day: a real stryddag [an Afrikaner party political rally]. But what my attitude has always been, Benjie, that what matters is what my friends think of me. It bothers me not a damn what my enemies think of me or say of me. They would not be normal if they showered me with compliments.’ 

i feel like there is some good wisdom there in terms of being comforted and encouraged by those who know you [and like you] – it can be helpful to listen to those who think differently from you for sure, as that is often how we learn – listen and weigh up and hold on to the good and let go of the bad – but not to take everything your detractors say about you on board [yes, i imagine this includes faceless comment trolls!]

[For the next part looking at a brotherly pact, click here]

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