You’re Entitled To My Opinion.
I left off my last blog post noting that when I expressed disagreement with Kal’s opinion, he responded with agitation and with terseness. When I asked him what led to the (recent) break-up with his ex, he responded with that he wasn’t interested in talking about it because I seemed to just question everything he did/say.
The last time I checked, I thought that having diverging opinions and asking probing questions for understanding made for interesting and meaningful conversations.
This is (yet another!) one of my pet peeves: friends who share their opinions with me, but are closed to hearing mine. It’s almost as if they believe their opinions are facts.
As I continued to stroke people’s egos by keeping my opinions to myself, I began to resent and avoid talking to people who were emotionally and mentally draining. I thrive on cerebral conversations. I enter each conversation with openness, ready to learn from it. I’m not in the conversation to be right or wrong.
Over the years, I’ve had a few friendships “coincidentally” fizzle after I’d speak up. Here are a few memorable break-ups.
(1) Jaya and I were friends since kindergarten. I was one of her bridesmaids during her wedding in 2009. Her wedding was so stressful, full of drama, and far from fun. By no means was she a bridezilla, but her true colours shined. She was disrespectful, ungrateful, and, well, just a mean girl towards her bridesmaids. After the wedding, I offered to talk to Jaya on behalf of a few of the ‘maids. We haven’t spoken since. (Heck, I haven’t received a thank you for the wedding gift.)
(2) Sam, Rita and I went on a vacation to Miami in 2012. Sam planned it all, and I was quite okay with it. I did note that the one thing I wanted to do was to rent bikes and ride through South Beach. As the days went by, Sam would avoid any conversations about when we’d ride. So, one day Rita and I just made it happen. We get to the bikes, and Sam’s full of excuses. From a heat rash in her crotch to having sun stroke, she tried her best to sabotage the one thing I asked to do. I’m not completely heartless. I do care about friends’ health, but at this point, she wasn’t a friend. Rita and I were onto her manipulation. Since the bikes were already paid for, Rita and I continued. But before we left, I hailed a cab to take Sam back to the hotel to rest. She was visibly choked. A few hours later, we met her in the hotel room. For someone who has sun stroke, I don’t know why she said she was sitting at the pool earlier, and eating a double scoop ice cream and sipping cappuccinos. We haven’t spoken since.
In both these examples, I bruised egos by refusing to be their doormat. After the breakups, I reflected on how I could have managed things differently since I was the common denominator in all these sagas. I gave myself a complex of being too aggressive. I had to remind myself of the difference between aggressive and assertive.
Too often we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. – John F. Kennedy
(1) Genuine friendships are based on a mutual respect for each other.
(2) There’s no right or wrong opinions.
(3) Don’t sacrifice what’s important to you by pacifying others.