How to deal with unsupportive friends
Tomorrow in America is Thanksgiving Day, also known as the day when we sit around a table with loved ones and offer gratitude over a beautiful meal. (Of course, many families do this every day).
The day after Thanksgiving is known as ‘Black Friday’. It’s the biggest shopping day of the year (because of massive discounts on almost everything in stores).
A few years ago, I decided that–for the first time ever–I wanted to take part in the Black Friday festivities.
For a while, I had been wanting a TV in my bedroom. I already had one installed in my living room but sometimes I didn’t necessarily feel like sitting on my couch to enjoy a show or movie. Sometimes, I preferred to lay in bed instead.
After some detective work, I found a store near me that was offering a crazy good sale on the TV I wanted.
Then, in my excitement, I shared the news with family and friends. Most were supportive, and my parents even agreed to accompany me to the store to navigate the masses and ensure I got my TV.
But then there were some friends who fell just short of outright reprimanding me. When I shared my plans with them, their response was: “don’t you already own a TV?”
I was hurt.
From my perspective, it seemed as if they thought of me as some materialistic, selfish person. (Even though at the time, little did they know I was donating over 33% of my annual income to charity).
Nonetheless, their words made me feel embarrassed and shamed. One even took their diatribe to social media, and the words felt like a knife in my heart. I was mortified.
Was it so awful of me to want to purchase a TV on the one day of the year when I could save hundreds of dollars?
Did it make me a bad person to want to participate in Black Friday (even though I wasn’t and still am not that big of a shopper – though even if I was, should it matter?)
Was it amoral of me to want to add something to my life?
The comments certainly took the excitement out of my plans for a few days.
But then I realized I had a decision to make: I could either cancel my plans to make the naysayers happy and win their approval (I’ve always struggled with the fear of people not liking me, so this was tempting) or I could continue pressing forward toward obtaining something I really wanted.
Fortunately, I chose the latter. And you know what? Looking back on it, I’m glad I did. Not only did I get my TV (which still sits pretty in my bedroom) but it also ended up being the last Black Friday that I ‘celebrated’ with my dad. The following Black Friday, we’d be in a hospital and he’d get his cancer diagnosis. And then the Black Friday after that…well, he wouldn’t be around. Not physically at least.
But here’s what I really want you to take away: there are always going to be people in your life who ridicule your ideas.
Maybe they are ideas of traveling the world, questioning the meaning of life, flirting with the dream of quitting your 9-5 desk job, wanting to move, or simply wanting to make a big purchase.
Their ridicule will hurt no doubt, but:
1) you still get to choose whether or not you continue moving forward even in the midst of unsupportive friends.
2) You have to remember that people often respond out of their own anger, judgments, fears, or insecurities. This is especially true when it comes to money, as many people have deep issues (sometimes stemming all the way back to childhood) about spending. So their words are very rarely about you personally but rather are a defense mechanism they use to make themselves feel safe and comfortable with their own situation and with themselves. All you can do is pray for their peace and bless them.
3) Also, something I’ve learned over the years is that not every piece of news is meant for every friend in your life. I’ve made a habit of only sharing certain news with certain people and other news with other people. That way, I’m guaranteed to get the response I’m looking for, which makes everyone involved a happy camper. So, are there conversations in your life you can re-assign to different friends, ones who will be more supportive and enthusiastic?
4) If you’re running on empty when it comes to supportive friends, then check out websites like meetup.com where you can find new friends based on your interests.
I want your life to be passionate, fulfilling, and exciting. And having certain people around you can make that happen. Friends can support you, encourage you, lift you up, and help you feel thrilled about your dreams. You just have to have the right ones around you.