When I was but a wee Von, I remember having a thought along these lines:
Bring a grownup is going to be so easy! Nobody’s in charge of you, you get to do what you want all the time and the only people you have to worry about are your friends! And they’re awesome!
And then I spent some time thinking about marrying He-man
and how I could convince my parents to buy me a guinea pig.
But here’s the thing:
There are plenty of things to worry about in Grownupland (obviously) and one of those are the relationships you have. Relationships of any sort are tricky. Professional relationships, romantic relationships, friendships – they can all be tough.
And eventually, you’re probably bound to meet a few bad apples. Colleagues won’t finish their part of a project. Friends will share that thing you swore them to secrecy on. Romantic interests might cheat or share those saucy photos or say mean things about you after you break up with them.
How do you deal when someone disappoints you or generally acts like a Grade-A Jerk?
When someone has behaved in an eye-rolling or tear-inducing way I say to myself:
“You’ve shown me the type of person you are and I will adjust my expectations and behavior accordingly.”
(my internal monologue is much more calm and articulate than my external dialogues.)
What does this mean?
If you cheat on your girlfriend I don’t hate you, but I’m not going to date you.
If you’re consistently late and unreliable I don’t hate you, but I’m not going to refer my clients to you.
If you’re negative and emotionally volatile I don’t hate you, but I’m not going to call you for emotional support.
If you’re unstable when you drink I don’t hate you, but I’m not going to be around you when there’s alcohol involved.
We’re all flawed human beings. I gossip too much. I can be judgmental. I will totally use your shampoo and conditioner when I stay at your house. And we’d all be friendless if we reserved the slots in our social calendar for perfect people.
When someone behaves poorly, you don’t need to hate them with a fiery passion for the rest of your life. You also don’t have to pretend it never happened.
You can protect yourself.
You can opt out of those aspects of that person that are crazy-making.
You get to choose the people you surround yourself with and how you interact with them.
It’s totally, 100% up to you.
How do you deal when someone disappoints you – repeatedly?