Mistakes, Lessons learned and a new blog!
by Dr Anthony D. Cliffe
Well it’s been a while since I’ve wrote this kind of blog, probably back to my “Don’t be the ship heading for the rocks” one years ago. However while it’s fresh in my mind I thought I better write it. But before I go any further, I want to welcome you to my new blog site! It seems Blog.com my old host has been having a lot of trouble lately and has been down for over a week, I suspect its game over for them sadly! So bare with me until I get my head around this new site!
This week has been interesting to say the least and from it there have been a lot of things that have got me thinking. I’m always one that seeks out constant improvement in everything I do and after realising some of my own mistakes and watching a fair few being made by others this week, I think it’s only right that I discuss them in the hope that you may avoid them in the future!
So this week, I facilitated an argument between two best friends and a friend that lasted pretty much for about 7 hours. To say I felt like the UN Security Council is an understatement and I certainly wasn’t over the Bam Ki-Moon until it was sorted. Turns out everyone in that argument, including me, made some mistakes and personally I realised a mistake on my part for a tiff between me and my wife.
Now everyone makes mistakes and it’s impossible to make them all yourself, so it’s always good to learn from others.
So I thought I’d start with the first one and one that I harp on about all the time when people come to me for relationship advice or friendship advice. I always say communication is the key because it is.
If I had a pound for every time someone argued because they got the wrong end of the stick of something, jumped to conclusions in a heartbeat and got angry at someone because they didn’t know the full facts… well I’d be rich…but then I’m also guilty of that myself so I’d probably have to give it all back.
So all the arguments or tiffs this week could have been dampened in the first place, if everyone communicated. Case in point, this week’s trio argument. People jumping to conclusions to quickly and then failing to talk to said person about it. Instead they discuss it with their friends without bothering to talk to the person(s) to get to the bottom of it (again I have been guilty of that in the past too and was guilty of the conclusion thing this week). If everyone from the start was open and communicated about their feelings, their problems ,then the whole 7 hour argument would have just been a minor heated discussion. When everyone realised they all had the wrong end of a horribly timed coincidence, I’m pretty sure everyone felt a bit foolish of how it was all dealt with. However if we all communicated at the start then we wouldn’t have let it get so big!
Communication is also massive in relationships, both in love and in friendships. I like to think I’m close to 98% open at all times to all my close friends and when I have a girlfriend I like to think I’m usually up to that standard with them to. I’m sure you’ve guessed from my blogs I am a kind of heart on the sleeve guy and I usually put everything out there, until exceptions which I shall come onto.
However what I’m trying to say is, I think a few more people should be like me and be open, especially if you’re in a relationship or in a close friendship. If you’re in a relationship or have a tiff currently with a best friend, I guarantee you’ve ranted and expressed all your feelings to another person but haven’t confronted the actual person over it? Many hours I’ve sat on a phone or at a computer screen listening to friends go on about their boyfriend/girlfriend not doing this or doing something that makes them angry, but they never say to that person what it is. How do you expect to solve an issue if all parties don’t know what is wrong? Plus when everyone talks things through, it will make your relationship stronger because you can both work on your flaws.
Now I know, personalities and personal circumstances play a big part in this and I understand it’s not always black and white. Although I wear my heart on my sleeve most of the time, I hold an incredible amount of information back to myself. I help countless people and offer advice but I rarely seek it. I only open up if I really can’t deal with things on my own and that’s only when something truly bad has happened, usually I deal with everything else on my own. It’s not that I don’t value people’s advice or a lack of trust because it isn’t. The ‘bubble’ of close people around me I trust 100% and value their advice a lot to but, I know what people can handle and what they can’t. I have broad shoulders; I carry around a lot of my own baggage and a hell of a lot of other peoples because I can. I have the mental capacity and the personality that accommodates it. For others you’d probably find it difficult to deal with everyone else’s problems while dealing with your own, but I’m used to it over the years :P. Plus I feel guilty if I off load on someone who is dealing with their own problems (but like I said don’t hesitate to keep coming for advice, I do offer it free of charge… well maybe a coffee 😉 ).
So bringing this back to this week, my beautiful wife lately has been going through a hell of a lot of crap from life. Once again I am in complete awe at how she keeps it all together, even if the seams are held together with selotape. You’re one brave girl ace moose! However, this lack of communication and well my personality trait caused a small tiff a few weeks ago which was only resolved the other day. I love helping people, more than ever when it comes to the people I love. I cannot bare to see the ones I care about upset, so I’ll try my best to help anyway I can and maybe it’s an ego thing, every guy wants to be the noble knight in shining armour. I see problems through to the end so I will keep going at it until that person is happy again. However, sometimes just like a true Taurus, I tackle it in a bullish way. I get annoyed at how some people hold back feelings and thoughts, especially with someone who shares a 100% mutual trust. Because I’m an open person I forget very easily why some people don’t open up and then when they don’t ,I get even more frustrated at myself because I’m sitting on my hands, watching someone I love being upset and I feel like I can’t do anything because the walls are up. When you want to knock down the walls and open up the door to see a smile, it can be quite frustrating. But this constant head on approach can be quite smothering and it’s most certainly one of my flaws.
However…if, like I should have done all those weeks ago been a little less selfish and a little less bullish, I don’t think we would have had our tiff (not an argument, because in 8 years we’ve never argued!). Sometimes it’s good to take a step back and think of why someone has done something in the way they have or recognise earlier that they need some space to sort things out and that when they’re ready they’ll come to you. I was guilty of that recently and she was guilty of taking things out on me when she didn’t mean to and not opening up about what was going on inside her head. So apologies all-round were given : ) . But see another communication lesson learned here, if she said this is what’s up but I need some space to work it out in my head first, then I wouldn’t have tried to be a knight on a charging bull, even if she knows my intentions are always for good 😛
2. Don’t dry your dirty laundry in public
This one is a mistake I learned from years ago, yet some people still make it and this isn’t an attack on said person because I’ve spoken to them about it and we both knew how when you’re angry you don’t exactly think straight! This mistake is when we put our angry thoughts to a Facebook status without either, A. Having the full facts and B. usually not even facing the person you’re angry at in person.
Like I said I was massively guilty of this in 6th form. After all I set up this blog in year 12 to vent my anger at numerous people in my form and the truly idiotic clickyness and damn right injustice thrown my way from people in that place. Even today I hold a strong distaste too many of them, I doubt they’ve ever changed, in fact I know that! Insert smug face here.
Getting your angry message out in the open can work for you sometimes and others it can slap you in the face. When I started those blogs in year 12 I was backed into a corner and I was under attack day after day in a vicious environment of rumours, back stabbing and not being able to trust anyone but myself. When you try and stand up for yourself in an environment like that it’s very hard to do it and survive. I knew if I got my message out there, got people on my side, I knew the tables would turn in my favour. People love to read gossip and hardship. With each new blog, the number of readers grew, the hatred from those people increased (which fuelled more blogs) but the support and comments after every blog for me grew and grew. People began to see what I was facing, supported me and ultimately won. I big part of me still thinks I was elected as head boy on the back of those blogs, there was no bigger advertisement of “I fight for what is right and stand up for what I believe in” than those blogs. But before you go looking, I’m pretty sure those old blogs are long since gone into cybernet landfill. That’s because although they were hilariously sarcastic and damn right truthful, let’s face it it’s not very clever hiding behind a keyboard but when you’re in a corner you do what you can.
So, sometimes it works, other times you just feel like a grade A tosser. Case in point a few months ago I was still raw over my break up, I see my ex all cosy with some guy on Facebook, she gets frapped and the status could be seen as something more than it was , I put two and two together (Okay I’m not 100% at fault here, I’m sure many would have at least thought the same as I did). I was angry and disappointed and took to Facebook to rant about it. At the time like the person did the other day when you’re angry you just want to shout it all over Facebook, look like the down trodden poor person who should be in the right. When the anger wears off you realise you just looked like a massive bell-end and someone who jumped to the wrong conclusions, you end up looking like a crazy person and you show absolutely no respect for that person and everything you went through. So when my ex handled it like an adult, something which I failed to do, when she came and had a quiet word with me in private, explained the situation (full respect to her, I mean most wouldn’t have done that. So thank you) and allowed me to apologise at how unbelievably stupid I had been over absolutely nothing. I went home after uni that day with my tail between my legs, licking my wounds of how I was a complete and utter floppy Phallus.
Back to this week, this person ranted and raved on Facebook, accusing people, left right and centre before confronting the people involved. It’s not big, it’s not clever and when no one responds, you just look like a crazy person ranting on Facebook about something nobody knows nothing about. But like I said I’m not having a go at this person because hell I’ve done it before and no matter how good our intentions or reasons are at the start for the rant, when the dust settles we just realise that a social media warfare, no-one wins and usually, if the people are anything like my ex, will win hands down with a dignified adult like response in private and you’ll just be left feeling like a tit. Plus a person who rants about you on Facebook also runs the risk of being publicly humiliated if you come up with a brilliant counter argument. So it’s not worth it! 😛
Final notes – We give a lot of leeway to those we love but how much is too much?
So all this week, especially facilitating that three way argument and realising my patience with the tiff with Sarah I realised that those that we love, we really let them get away with more than just a normal person would have. That’s part and parcel of love tho I guess, you do compremise, well you should! You are more inclined to give an extra inch and benefit of the doubt here and there, and when you have a close relationship built upon 8 years of marriage, trust and love, you’re always going to give more rope than someone you’ve just met. It’s good to be patient and to give where you can because it helps and especially when the two sides apologise, realise both are special to each other, you thank yourself for not walking away and for sticking it out. We are anyway. It’s what best friends do: P
But with this argument thing, I won’t go into too much detail because their love life has nothing to do with you guys but It certainly tests the ideas of how much leeway and time does one person get and to what point do you realise it’s time to walk away. Sometimes the hardest but the most right of things to do is to walk away from someone you love. Saying you give up sometimes is not a weakness, it can be one of the strongest and bravest things you can ever do. My ex broke up with ages ago because she wanted to concentrate on dissertation and some other things in the future and as we did love each other, I could see the hurt in her teary eyes as she told me. Not for one second do I think it was easy for her to break up with me and I hold a big respect for that. To let go of someone you love I bet wasn’t easy at all. Was it the right decision? Well I can’t answer that, I have my opinion, I’m sure now we’ve finished uni and got our dissertation marks she’ll have hers and I’m sure you have one too 😛
For these people in this argument, especially one of them has given so much time to wait for the other person. The other person is torn over feelings to so it was never going to be a day and night decision but it’s come to the point now where if they got together it could work and could be brilliant and as I’m a hopeless romantic I hope that happens! But it’s also come to the point where one of them could say enough is enough, we’re going round in circles, it’s time to love myself and find myself again.
I don’t know what the outcome will be. In the long run whatever happens it will be beneficial to both in whatever they decide! Good luck you two!
So I hope you’ve taken on-board some of the things I’ve said tonight, I learned a few lessons and I hope you have too tonight. I hope you’ve learned that communication is a key point and that if we were all more open to each other about our problems with people we’re angry with then there would be a lot less arguments and much more stronger relationships. Tonight I hope you’ve also learned that when you go to war on a status the only winner is the one you’re insulting and finally I hope you’ve learned that sometimes giving up is brave and sticking it out can be courageous and rewarding!
Until next time folks,