Monday, September 17, 2007

(please) Answer me this ... Updated

Say you have a personal issue in which a very good friend makes you feel really shitty about it. Say this very good friend really does have good intentions. But still, it makes you feel shitty so you say "hey, you are making me feel shitty."

Now, in response, friend says something to the matter of "My intentions are good and only you can make yourself feel shitty. It's up to you to allow yourself to feel shitty" And that's that. Maybe more is explained on the good intentions, which personally, I already realize, but no "wow, I didn't mean to make you feel bad". Instead, I am simply told I shouldn't allow myself to feel bad. End of story.

How would this exchange make you feel? Please let me know because it happens more than a few times with one of my friends.


Well, no need to really say how I feel about this, as I answered in the comments. I wanted to thank everyone for answering me on this one! :)


Shayna said...

I think it would hurt my feelings, too.

Sometimes we just need to say "Hey, I had good intentions but I'm really sorry I hurt your feelings. I didn't realize it at the time."

I have a hard time getting over my pride sometimes too, but when it comes to other people's feelings...usually I can admit when I've said something wrong.

Kat said...

Hmm, this is an interesting question and I agree with Shay when I say I think it all comes down to pride. I think as friends its important to be honest with each other, your friend was honest in her/his remarks and your response in saying it made you feel crappy...honesty, a good thing. However, in the realm of friendship it is also important to respect the other, if said honestly truly hurts someones feelings, I think an apology is order. Again, swallow your pride and just do it. The friend isn't apologizing for the actual intention, since it was "good" and that is understood, but they should apologize for hurting another friends feelings REGARDLESS of intention.

For example, let's say Im on crutches and you offer to help me up the stairs with my stuff(good intention). However, while carrying my objects you end up dropping an item and breaking it. In this case everyone would say that an apology is in order for breaking the item even though it was being carried by a good intention. Your situation shouldn't be any different....even with the best of intentions, something was broke/hurt and THAT act should be apologized for.

Besides, saying that "my comment was with good intentions and only you can make yourself feel shitty" is just a play on words to avoid blame. JMO though!

Anonymous said...

It sucks, but the friend is right - you, and only you, are responsible for how you feel . . . shitty or not.

Ultimately you have to ask yourself: Is it worth remaining friends with this person when they make you feel that way or is this a friendship you could do without?

I prefer that things not be sugar-coated and that people be honest and truthful with me. I learned the hard way that catering to others feelings does everyone involved a disservice.

(I recently posted some advice I found floating on the world wide web that kind-of goes along with this.)

nancy said...

DWBO ... YES. I totally agree that it's up to me in how I feel about any given comments. That's what's got me all up in arms about it. Although I ~know~ it is up to me, I can't help it that my natural reaction is to get offended/pisses/upset.

I think my point here is that while I FULLY WANT to my friends to be honest with me, I think there is always tactful ways of doing it. Like laughing and mocking an insecurity is simply not nice, no matter if the intentions were purely golden. And once I start crying from being laughed at, maybe "oh wow, I'm sorry for saying it like that" would be in order. Not "well, you are the only one who can make yourself feel bad". Of course it's up to me, but guess what? I'm not made of fucking iron.

I think Kat really hit it for me in her explanation "However, in the realm of friendship it is also important to respect the other, if said honestly truly hurts someones feelings, I think an apology is order."

Another thing you are completely right about... I ~am~ right in the midst of re-evaluating that friendship. I get hurt, with good intentions, too much - without rarely him batting an eyelash at the fact that it was his good intentions that hurt me.

chicklet said...

The friend is right that only you allow you to feel shitty, but if this friend brings about the shittiness and then you feel the shittiness, is it worth having them around? Particularly when they dont' even acknowledge their part in it? I'm a big believer in the "I'm sorry I made you feel that way, I didn't mean to, but what I meant was..." - to at least acknowledge that even if it wasn't intentional, I do understand that I contributed to their shittiness.

nancy said...

chicklet - yes. yes. yes.

I am never in disagreement with his intentions. (well, sometimes, but rarely). But all I want it exactly that. "... to at least acknowledge that even if it wasn't intentional, I do understand that I contributed to their shittiness."

Jewels said...

What a noble comment from your friend, as Eleanor Roosevelt said “No one can make you feel inferior with out your consent”
So yes your friends comment is true, just because someone says your hair is green, doesn’t make it green. You can either own it, or reject it. It is a choice.
However. I don't know where your friend or where he is coming from, but it sounds like his new found wisdom can work against him.
I think people (so easily) take context like this, and use it as a form of manipulation against others to make them feel better about them selves AND to avoid owning their own shit.
I have a friend who is with a husband who beats her, she chooses to stay, whether or not she see’s it as a choice, it is still a choice.
But the fact that he’s an Asshole still remains.
We all have choices, and choices on who our friends are, It sounds like your friends interest is not in the care and growth of the people he claims to love, it sounds to me like his motives are all about self and how he thinks its going to make him look.
Narcissism is the opposite side of the coin of insecurity and low self esteem, but nonetheless, it is still the same coin.

People don't remember what you say, they don't remember what you do, they only remember how you make them feel.

If you friend “Makes” you feel like shit, and has absolutely no regard in looking into his part, I’d be questioning the nature of the friendship.
Is your friend’s comment right? Maybe, Is your friend happy as a result of being right? Well…. It will be interesting to find out.

Tammy's Thought Pattern said...

I am answering without reading any of the other comments.

I think people use the phrase "only you can make youself feel shitty" as a cover to say whatever they want. You have a right to feel how you feel no matter what their intent. I think it is a poor excuse to cover their lack of tack and/or caring about the subject matter which they commented on.

jk215 said...

Personally- I go through this situation a lot with a certain friend. I occasionally tell myself that I am just being too sensitive- the whole "only I can make myself feel shitty" theory. But I am still constantly struck by the thought that while this may true- there should be enough consideration of a friends feelings to say "while I never intended you to get hurt by my statement & you should not take it that way- I am sorry you felt that way." It's always better to hear honesty from a position of nice, than from a harsh, or cold position.

What does it really cost anyway- if you simply say that you didn't mean to hurt someone? Although you are not recanting the statement that caused it, you are merely making your (good) intentions that much clearer.

With the situation that I am in right now- my friend does not recognize that the things she says & sometimes does are hurtful- for whatever reason. When approached she has a similar "only you can make yourself feel..." response. This has in effect altered the nature of our friendship permanently. I would still call her a friend, perhaps a friendly acquaintance, but I know that I have to keep the level of our friendship to the mundane, conversations about water cooler subjects & the personal connection is gone. We can longer be true friends because I can not trust that she has the concern for my feelings; the concern a friend really should have. I am not sure if this is an answer so much as a story at this point.

Kate said...

I would call that manipulation. Feelings aren't a one-way street that only you can make yourself feel. I don't really buy it.

Chas said...

I think it would make me feel even more "shitty" than I did after the first comment.

Of course, she's right in a way...BUT that doesn't mean people can go around saying whatever the heck they're thinking just b/c it's honest. People need a filter on their mouths sometimes. If it's not a constructive comment, leave it unsaid...that's my opinion. AND, if something does slip out that hurts another's feelings then I think an apology is in order.

Anonymous said...

A recognition of the hurt that was caused, intentional or not, is in order IMO. It's not like you wanted to get hurt/offended by the comment that he made. I am going to be a little harsh and say that if this friend truely knows you then he'd know that a comment like the one he gave would hurt you. I don't buy the defense in this situation.