Your Right to Grow

I wouldn’t consider someone a friend who tried to shut me up… would I?

It’s considered part of the “friend” job description to protect them from opening their mouths in the wrong place, at the wrong time or to the wrong person and that may be ok.  That’s probably sensible.  But the point we’re looking at here is that there are times when you should speak to your friend about something that’s tough to face head on.

What do you do, for example, when you find out your friend is ok with Hamilton, the musical, but doesn’t like that all the players are people of colour?  Maybe it’s a flatmate that you thought you knew well but this startles you because, wtf?!?  Or whatever words you would use to say you are not ok with this.  Maybe you need the rent money and decide that even if this is a bit “off colour” you’ll let it pass and say nothing.  I’d say to you that if you do this, this person isn’t very close to you and that you have now decided this person won’t be close to you.  However, I expect – and I may be wrong – that if this person is important to you – a family member, a life partner, your best friend – finding out that they have this opinion about things will be disappointing.

At this point you can challenge the person, lovingly.  You might start playfully “dude, wtf?!?” and then go on from there.  If you’re super skilled at challenging and know yourself, you’ll dial back a little on the emotion that there might be around this for you and check in on their understanding of Hamilton, what it’s about for them and maybe you’ll talk about what it’s about for you.  Together you’ll tentatively make inroads to understanding each other.  In this way you may be able to save your relationship.

This could also be a great opportunity to enhance your relationship.

You may decide that it’s ok to have different views on this and on the world and that that’s ok.  To me, the important thing would be to have the conversation and you can both decide.  What’s important is that once you’ve had the discussion you’ve both had the chance to grow; to change your mind or allow the other to change their mind.  Or you can accept them just where they are and go on, maybe feeling differently about them and that being ok.