Show Up With the Right Stuff

•October 28, 2010 • 2 Comments

Show Up with the Right Stuff

Playing tennis is one of our favorite things to do together. It’s super fun, super exhilarating, and super competitive…not really, but we both do like to win! Today I (Kathy) arrived on the court without my trusty winning racket. However, I knew Linda would have extra stuff in her tennis bag. She always comes prepared with ample supply. She even had new tennis balls today. Borrowing one of her spare rackets, I purposed to do my best but it was awkward, clumsy, and not my own.

I (Linda) felt bad for Kathy because she wasn’t on her game and it was probably because of the strange racket. It was one of my old ones. Feeling like I had an unfair advantage over her, I offered her my racket. It was newer, lighter, and better. And if I was going to win, I wanted to win fair and square! I wanted us to be on level playing ground so I kept offering not once, or even twice, but three times I begged her to switch rackets with me. No go. She can be more stubborn than I at times. She assured me that she would come back, and that she did.

(Kathy) Linda was doing a good job of beating me and I wanted to break her momentum. I yelled, “Hey I’m going to try one of your other rackets.” My hope was that it would give me back my edge. It didn’t work, so back to the racket I started with. Surprisingly, I won a game. Then another game, then another, and yes, I won the whole deal!

(Linda) Ok, she beat me bad! I couldn’t figure out where I went down hill. The first four games I was hitting every shot and placed it exactly where I wanted it. But crazy enough, I lost my mojo after she switched rackets. Analyzing this we came to realize that I had a wee bit of mercy kick in when I offered to give her my racket! I was concerned about the unfair advantage I had over her and wanted to make it right. Since she didn’t take me up on it, I started playing so differently and totally opposite of the way I started out.

(Kathy) All the time I was playing I was thinking about the significance of having the right stuff not only for the game but for my friendship with Linda. If I don’t “show up” with the right stuff for the friendship, I am not on my game – I’m handicapped. The stuff needed for a friendship is love, kindness, thoughtfulness, acceptance, forgiveness, etc, as found in I Corinthians 13. Without these things in my hand and heart, Linda then tries to compensate for what I lack in the game because I placed her in a precarious predicament. Now she’s not on her full game. She’s challenged to get the ball back with my handicap in mind.

(Linda) When Kathy doesn’t show up for our friendship with the right stuff (like that sweetness that normally oozes out of her, or the understanding that she usually has) I sometimes react in a weird way. I know in my head I need to respond right, but when the ball is in play that can be difficult and I sometimes lose it. It’s not easy to return the love when someone doesn’t show up with the right stuff.

(Kathy) I want to remember my tennis racket for both of us to play at our best and I want to remember the stuff it takes to have a winning friendship. With God’s help we can cultivate these things. It takes work, practice, and maybe a little sweat, but in the end we will have a winning friendship.

Coaching tip: Show up to your friendship with all the right stuff.

 

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Friendship: The Cat and Mouse Chase

•July 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Friendship: The Cat and Mouse Chase

Ever watched a cat chase a mouse? Got the image in your mind? Now imagine two friends playing a cat and mouse game. Here’s why – I chased Kathy like a cat in hot pursuit of a mouse until she decided to be my friend. Really! She would scamper across the room like a little mouse going back into her hole when I would get too close. Then when I would see her little head pop out I’d try to stop her from going back into her hole. Squeaking and trembling, she finally gave in and decided to be my friend.

When Kathy and I first began our friendship I was the “pursuer” and she was the “distancer”. I pursued her for a friendship; I initiated most of the connections and I did everything I knew to secure a friendship with her. She, being the distancer, would run from me, hide at times, and complain I was smothering her because she was afraid of a close friendship.

I was drawn to Kathy for reasons beyond my understanding. I wanted a closely connected friendship with her because I knew she was good stuff and I wanted her as a friend. Little known fact: I go after what I want!! Had she not been so difficult to catch, I wouldn’t have been as persistent. I do love a challenge and that she was!

Kathy: Yes I was difficult! I was not familiar with all that was coming at me. I felt stressed and anxious at times not knowing how to “behave” in a friendship this close. If she hadn’t hung on for the fight, I would have been left hanging without her friendship. However, the very thing that made me afraid was what I really longed for – a closely connected friend. Thank goodness, she didn’t quit.

Linda: Not giving up on Kathy was the very thing she needed even though it appeared she hated it so much. She ran because she didn’t feel safe enough to connect. But she would never feel safe until she allowed herself to be in a relationship where connecting was necessary. She put off all kinds of signals that screamed: “Leave me alone, I’ll be your friend, but not as close as you want me to be.” Yet deep down inside that was the very thing she craved. Little by little she came out of her hole and distanced herself less and less. Eventually she allowed me to become her closest friend.

Adults can do some crazy things because they didn’t get all of their emotional needs met as a child. In order to get their needs met they may do the exact opposite of what they really want. Check out the following example of the “pursuer” and the “distancer”:

Pursuer: “If I don’t grab you as you go by, I will be lost.”

Their conscious wish: “Don’t leave.”

Their unconscious wish: The ability to enjoy space.

Distancer: “If I explore intimacy with you I will be absorbed.”

Their conscious wish is: “Give me space!”

Their unconscious wish is: To connect consistently.

If these dynamics sound familiar to you and your friend, hang on. Let the cat and mouse chase continue. Eventually the chase will work to your advantage if you let it and both of you will have your unconscious needs met. Today, we are much healthier. Kathy no longer needs to distance herself from me because she has received what she really wanted all along – to connect consistently. And I no longer have to pursue her like I did because she is not going anywhere. I know she will always be my friend. This cat got the mouse!

Friend Coaching Tip: Stay in the chase and let it grow you.

Hey, I Didn’t Know the Rules Changed!

•June 19, 2010 • 1 Comment

Have you ever played a game with someone only to find they have changed the rules without telling you?  You cry foul and begin to whine, “Hey, wait a minute…that’s not the way we learned to play the game!”  Who changed the rules?  They did – and forgot to tell you.  But in the back of their minds they’re thinking, “Yes, this is how we play now.  Get with it!”

Many moons ago when Kathy and I first became friends, the rules of the game went like this…

Kathy: When I have family in town, I don’t have time to hang out with you, I don’t have time to talk to you. I’ll get back to you after the family has left.

Linda: Wow, that took the wind out of my sails!  What I came to understand is that she didn’t know how to spend time with her family and still connect with me.  I wasn’t really expecting her to hang out with me during visits with her family.  It just would have been nice to touch base still be a part of her world.

Kathy:  I remember those difficult years and the inner conflict it would cause me.  Looking back, I see how inept I was at trying to balance time with my family and time for my friend.  I would almost completely disconnect from her during those times.  I’m sure that left her frustrated, hurt, and fearful.  After years of learning new and healthy patterns of relating I desired to connect rather than exclude my friend even when my family was in town.

Linda: Great! But I didn’t know the rules had changed.  So even recently, when Kathy’s sister was in town, I was still playing by the old rules.  I didn’t call her, I didn’t text her, I just gave her what I had in the past…LOTS of space. The problem with that was, she no longer wanted or needed lots of space BUT I was not clued in.

This brings up an important piece of information for any of you in a friendship.  You must, must, must, as we have learned – REVISIT the rules and do so quite frequently.  Here’s why.  People change.  People grow.  For that reason, the rules of the game change.  And if you’re still playing by the old rules…everyone loses.  She didn’t get what she needed, connection with me, her best friend. And I didn’t get what I needed, connection with her, my best friend.  I was trying to give her what I thought she needed.  Lesson learned.  We shall often, from here on out, revisit the rules of the game; to see if either of us has changed them.

Friend Coaching Tip: Revisit the rules and do so quite frequently.

Let Your Friend Feel

•May 26, 2010 • Leave a Comment
Let Your Friend Feel

When your friend is sad your first reaction might be to cheer them up, right? BAD idea. Wanna know how you can really help? Watch the clip.

Who do you spill to?

•May 13, 2010 • 1 Comment

Who do you spill to?

Who do YOU talk to when you have a rough day at work? For that matter, who really cares that you’ve had a rough day at work?! Do you have someone who gives a rip? Have you a pal who will celebrate your promotion like it was their own?

Experts say it is good for the soul to spill your guts to someone – but it’s the wise who are careful about who they spill to. Spilling isn’t just about tough stuff; it could also be about sharing the good stuff. It would be pretty foolish to unload on someone who doesn’t know what to do with your stuff.

If your’re gonna tell somebody what’s going on, make sure it’s someone who’s trustworthy enough to handle with care the details of your life. Information – good or bad, is dear and precious. So give it to someone who will handle it like a delicate package.

Look for these characteristics in someone you would spill your guts to. They need to:
1. Know how to listen.
2. Not repeat what they hear.
3. Handle tough news without having a meltdown.
4. Accept what you’re sharing without judgment.

Kathy:
I was just thinking how sad it would be if something super wonderful happened to me and I had no one to talk to about it or share in the excitement. I am grateful that I have someone in my life to share all my dear and precious info with. This is another valuable benefit of having a lifetime friend. Linda knows me, understands me, and considers my needs of the moment. There have been times when my heart has been heavy and she kept it lifted and beating just by listening. I trust her to safely hold what I’ve shared. On the other end of the spectrum she’s happy for me when cool stuff is coming my way. How fun is that!

Linda:

I usually have a chance to fill Kathy in on what’s going on in my world every day.  But recently I hadn’t seen my buddy for a few days. Not normal for us to be out of touch that long, but I was deep in the forest with no phone connection camping and “jeeping” with my family and some friends. We had some really cool adventures out there and I couldn’t wait to come home and share them with her. The first chance we had to reconnect we were talking non stop about details of my trip and I wanted details about her whole weekend. “Give me the long version, not just a summary. Don’t just fill me in on what you did yesterday, tell me about the day before AND the day before that!” Silly you say? No, cause I want to be a part of her world and she wants to be part of mine. Quite cool to have someone to share the stories of our lives with, but too, remember this…
Friend Coaching Tip: If you are going to spill your stuff to a friend, make sure it’s someone who will handle it like a delicate package. Spill it – yes! But…be careful who you spill it to.

Applying "Bondo" to the Friendship

•December 7, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Linda: I have a thought from time to time that goes like this – “What if someday something catastrophic happens to me and my whole world is blown apart? Who will be around to help me pick up the pieces?” Oh, I’ve got family, but what if they are affected by the blow too? Having a “Bondo Friend” assures me that I will always have someone to help me through the tough stuff of life.

Want to know what a Bondo Friend is? A Bondo Friend is one who sticks by you and won’t come unstuck. The kind of friend who will be there when the seasons change, the reasons fade, and best friends move on. A Bondo Friend won’t leave you – you’re stuck together by a bond. You might try to wiggle your way out at times, but in the end you won’t really want to. It’s for life. It’s for keeps.

Kathy: I have this pair of really cool Ann Klein shoes that I love to wear. One day the bottom of the right shoe came unglued. There it was, lost and forlorn by itself in the parking lot. I took it to my office and tried to salvage it with Elmer’s glue. Walking out to the car I lost it again. It didn’t hold. It was the wrong kind of glue. The good news was that The Friendship Doctors now had a fabulous reason to go to the mall – the shoe repair shop is right down from MACY’S. Yeah! The shoe repair guy used the right kind of glue to fix the shoe. Wallah!

Wearing my shoes once again, I noticed this time that the left shoe was coming unglued and the bottom was hanging by a thread. It too, needed the right kind of glue. However, I’ve chosen to put off the repair to remind me of the significance of Bondo. Like the shoe, a friendship can become unglued unless it has the right kind of staying power. The wear and tear of life has a way of messing with relationships. All kinds of things can blow friends apart. What can make a friendship stick? BONDO.

Linda: Wow, what an awesome concept – A friend who sticks by your side forever. Forever…what does that mean? Forever if it works? Forever if circumstances permit? Forever if I feel like it? No, you make it work. You don’t let circumstances unglue you, and when your feelings start to falter, you stick. Those who dare to slap Bondo onto their friendships will find it to be the most incredible, precious, and life changing opportunity of a lifetime.

Friend Coaching Tip: Apply Bondo to your friendship to make it stick for a lifetime.

My Friend Decorates My Life

•November 2, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Linda: I had a cool thing happen to me this morning. I was sitting in my office and looked up at two new pictures hanging on my wall. Those two pictures weren’t there an hour ago. Earlier this morning, I called my friend and asked her to bop over to my office and help me figure out where to hang the new pictures she helped me pick out. One of the benefits of our friendship is that Kathy’s my interior decorator. She has helped me decorate my last office and the current one. What a blast we have had picking paint colors, shopping at the flea market for framed mirrors, hanging pictures, and even picking out pillows for my couch. Kathy watches lots of design shows so she’s “in the know!” And she absolutely loves rearranging furniture. Every time I go to her house I find that something has been moved…maybe a picture, a piece of furniture, even down to the toilet paper holder in the bathroom.

My friend has not only helped me decorate my office but in a lot of ways she’s helped me decorate my life. Kathy makes my life more beautiful. She has helped me rearrange things in me by moving things out and moving things in. “This goes here but doesn’t look good there.” Yep, we’re talking unsightly blemishes, character flaws, ugly attitudes…need I say more? There’s a great little verse in the Bible that goes like this, ” As iron sharpens iron, so people can improve each other” (Prov 27:17 NCV) Because I have developed trust and confidence in her, I have invited her to make me aware of my blind spots. She see’s things I don’t, and she definitely has a different perspective than I do most of the time. This works both ways. I do the same for her. Don’t get the wrong impression, she doesn’t try to change me, nor I her. It just happens by being around each other. Her good ways influence mine and mine influence hers. I love how my friend decorates my life!

Friend coaching tip: Invite a trusted friend to decorate your life…in more ways than one!