Sit and Stay Awhile...

Claudia Confidentially
By Claudia Luiz/ Local Columnist


Hi Claudia,

I read your column last week about the “big baby” who wanted her friend to buy her a gift. I think this woman was full of crap, and that you just should have told her to grow up.  I mean - what business of hers is it if this woman and her family eats out?  It was one of the most stupid things of this nature I had heard in a long time, and I felt that you indulged her. 
Tell Friend to Grow Up

Dear Grown Up,         

I’m sorry you didn’t like me indulging the woman who was acting like a big baby and judging her friend.

I can actually be fun on one level. I mean, it can feel good to look at how people spend their money and decide that they are not spending it correctly. I see people looking at unruly children and judging their parents all the time. I think it feels good to exercise our “standards and priorities” muscles and to feel on top of things.

When we pass judgment on our friends though, the fun loses some of its luster. Then, have to decide whether to hold the friend we are judging in contempt and either withdraw from them or stage a confrontation. Because how can we continue to be good friends with someone who is doing something we believe is wrong?

CONFRONTATION sounds a little dramatic. But a lot of times, a good fight (especially with a spouse, one of the closest friendships there is) it can lead to greater understanding.  With UNDERSTANDING, our judgments take a back seat. Like if we understand a child, we start to view them as over-stimulated or anxious instead of just unruly or we can pity the parents instead of judge them.

I have my own understanding as to why people spend too much money eating out. I think they need to get out of the house to reduce their tension levels. I personally think it’s an excellent investment to spend money reducing tension levels – therapy comes in all shapes and sizes.
Often, what is correct rationally is in conflict with what is correct emotionally.

Now, UNDERSTANDING a good friend a little better often happens after a confrontation because feelings and ideas get aired and taken into consideration. But, it can also happen before a fight - maybe with the help of outside counsel. People who have open minds do seem to suffer less confrontation. They are less likely to hit over the head by someone trying to open their mind.

What I like about pettiness, and other seemingly insignificant and unattractive feelings, is that they can lead to good things. They can clue us in that something doesn’t feel right, and provide a little inlet, a little road into a better place.

If the judgmental woman told herself “I NEED TO GROW UP! I’M SUCH A BABY!” she might squelch her petty desire for a gift. But wouldn’t the friendship feel squelched? I think it would stagnate or at least, dwindle. Thanks to her pettiness, the judgmental woman has a chance to feel more accepting about her own longings and needs – maybe for a gift, yes, but probably more for a feeling of being loved. We all want to feel loved. And we should be. And we should absolutely leverage all the feelings we can have towards that goal.

So while I agree with you that it’s important not to act unreasonable, I sometimes prefer to indulge seemingly insignificant feelings or to analyze the angry ones. It’s hard, often, to even recognize our knee-jerk, intolerant reactions to petty and other undesirable feelings – most especially within ourselves. That is another reason why, until someone is naturally ready to stop sounding like a judgmental baby, I like to accept them as they are.



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