We all want to be good friends and listen when someone we care about has a problem. However, you don’t always have time to listen for hours. There’s also the problem of friends who want to complain and never do anything differently. Listening to their never-ending problems can be really draining.
I have found that these two responses help save time and make sure that the person you’re talking to is as invested in their situation as you are.
“Can you remind me of this in a week?”
I get lots of friends asking me for feedback on their work. In more than one case, I read the work, spent hours writing a critic and then when I got back to them their response was “Oh, actually I’ve changed my mind and I’m working on something else. Would you mind looking at that instead?”
Man oh live!
Now when someone sends me something, I write “‘I’d love to look this over, but I’m busy right now, so can you remind me in a week?” If it’s not important enough for them to remember to remind me, than it’s not important enough for me to spend time on it.
“How are you going to handle that?”
I learned this gem from The Living Course. People love to complain. They can do it for hours. Sometimes they don’t realize they’re doing it. Asking this simple question stops the complainer in their tracks. It makes them concentrate on how they’re responsible for making the changes that will make them happier. Nothing I can say will make a difference. They are the ones who have to take action. If they start going into excuses about how they can’t handle it because it’s not in their hands, ask “how will you handle the fact that it’s out of your control?”
I hope these help you save time and energy. Let me know if you have any other responses that help you.
Since this is my 50th post, and it’s Thanksgiving, I’m going to list 50 things I’m thankful for. You don’t have to read them all, but you might be T
one of them! In no particular order:
- My parents (as a unit) for supporting and encouraging a late bloomer. And for showing me a great example of long lasting love.
- My mom (individually) for her passion.
- My dad (individually) for his loving advice.
- Mike for your perfect balance of goofiness and seriousness. And sexiness hehe!
- Heidi and Rye for always being there and loving me no matter what.
- Reilly and Marla (my cats) for warming my heart.
- Sojo, Stacey, and Kelley (my writer’s group) for keeping the dream alive.
- Hannah and Matthias for all the great entertainment.
- Walter for being awesome and making us feel so welcome.
- Ren and Mandi for reminding me that good friends never change.
- Word Press for offering a great free service and making this blog possible.
- Virgin Mobile for having awesome phone service for just $25 a month.
- Molly for consistently going after her dream.
- My health.
- Tim Tams (I’ve just discovered these amazing cookies from Australia).
- NYC Business Solutions for offering free business classes and counseling.
- Wikipedia for being an endless source of free info. And on that note, the library as well.
- All the people who have visited my blog and left comments.
- Tara, Tracy, and Tiffany for your motivating and often funny posts (wow I just realized all of your names start with Ts!).
- The farmer’s market. I don’t go often enough, but it’s nice to know that exists.
- Mike’s family for inviting me into the circle and for all the great Polish food.
- The internet for having an answer to all my questions.
- John Irving, Bill Bryson, and Barbara Kingsolver for making think, laugh, and turn the page.
- Lisa for your positive spirit and being an artist in every aspect.
- Little kids who wear polka dots or stripes – it always makes me smile.
- Hot coffee on a cold morning. (Although this makes me wish I had a porch)
- HSBC for canceling 2 overdraft fees back when I was still trying to get the hang of a checking account.
- Craig Fishel for getting rid of my back pain.
- Laser hair removal for never having to shave my legs again!
- Modern Family and Happy Endings for making me laugh.
- Adele, Tori Amos, Liz Phair, and Regina Spector for giving me something to rock out to in the shower.
- Andrea for being my best friend when I really needed one.
- Carter for expanding my awareness of the world.
- Spell Check for obvious reasons.
- Maria for taking the reigns and continuing the Nicaragua project.
- The Met, The MoMa, The Guggenheim, The Whitney, PS1, The Tenement Museum, The American Museum of Natural History, and Museum of Moving Image (in my neighborhood!).
- Cat Stevens. You were my first great love.
- Amy for making the Challenge Day happen.
- Mrs. Meyer’s Geranium scented dish soap. You make me like cleaning the dishes.
- Ben, Alia, Sarah, Noor, and Coralie for making college special.
- Birth control for making it possible to focus on my own life before I start a new life.
- Spring and Fall. I always forget how beautiful you are.
- Priscilla for your carefree spirit and for making Mozambique even more of a unique experience. Iliana for being my best friend on the Mountain.
- Marika and Robin for making my siblings happy.
- Cheese. And most other dairy products.
- Theodore Roosevelt for creating the National Parks.
- UNESCO for preserving incredibly beautiful and historic sites all around the world.
- Other people’s family photos – they always make me laugh.
- TLC for helping me create the life I want.
- And of course, the holidays for bringing everyone together and reminding us to be grateful for what we have.
For the next few days I’ll probably think of 50 more things I should have put on the list. If you’re not on the list it’s because I’m so grateful for you that I couldn’t even put it into words.
So take some time and think of what you’re grateful for. And if you have some extra time, leave a comment about it 🙂
It’s now been a whole week of not watching daytime t.v. Here are some things I noticed:
- I’m sleeping much better! Watching 3-4 hours of mindless television was like taking a really long, boring nap without the rejuvenating or beautifying benefits. Of course I wouldn’t be tired by bedtime if I just took a nap with Conan.
- I’m getting outside more. I’ve actually bumped into three people I haven’t seen in a while. I used to complain that I never bump into people I know, but now I understand people are outside – not in my living room.
- On a continuation of #2, the reason I’m going outdoors more is because there’s no safe place in my apartment. I can’t hang out in my bedroom (the sleep clinic doctor told me to avoid the bedroom during the daytime), I can’t hang out on the couch (it’s too tempting), and I can’t hang out in the kitchen (I’ll just eat peanuts all day). My desk is a safe zone, but my sister warned me that mindless internet surfing can fill the void of t.v. if I’m not careful.
- I’m getting a whole lot more done. Yesterday, after 4 hours of business school (more to come on this!) I wanted nothing more than to plop down and watch some good old t.v. Instead I decided to apply the second coat of paint in the hallway. And then I went to the gym and ran two miles. All in the time it would have taken to watch 2 reruns of Friends – and maybe a little bit of Seinfeld.
The hardest challenge I’ve found is breakfast and lunch. Since I’m all by my lonesome during these mealtimes it gets…well…lonely. It was comforting to hear familiar voices in the background while eating my cereal. But now I just sit at the table facing the window – in silence. I’m trying to appreciate the quietude, and treat each meal like a mini meditation, but just between you and me, that’s when I feel the most like cheating. But I shan’t.