Sad but true, at some time in your life things will fail to go your way: Family and friends may disappoint you; school, college and work mates may betray you; and people in authority may undermine your confidence.
So how do you cope when the person you thought was your best friend flirts with your crush, your parents or teachers don’t listen to you and inexplicably you become the butt of feeble jokes? (Hopefully NOT by going berserk with a shotgun – a pattern which seems to be increasing these days as disaffected youths use violence in answer to small or imaginary sleights.)
Okay, so the anger may be justified, but can you control what others do or say? Hardly. The only person you can really control is YOU, and hopefully this post will help you to do that.
This is stating the obvious yet it’s vital not to lash out in the heat of rage. If you feel you’re about to lose control, just walk away. Better to leave the scene than do anything you may later regret - prisons are full of people like that! Cool down, breathe deeply, then proceed to the next stage.
Try to view the matter calmly and objectively. Are you being overly sensitive? Could you have contributed to the problem in some way? Were you unwise to burden your friend with a confidence? Did you set yourself up to be ridiculed? Was the other party being cruel intentionally, or just indulging in some witty banter? Even if the answer is ‘No’, would retaliating in kind make things even worse? Could anger make you even nastier than the perpetrator? Or blind you to your own faults:
“Everyone’s unreasonable except me!”
Whenever you’ve been hurt, let down or inconvenienced by someone, remember this undeniable truth: Everyone’s imperfect – including YOU! Can you honestly say you’ve never been thoughtless, betrayed a confidence or put your mouth into gear before your brain!
The tongue can be particularly tricky – like the rudder of a boat, it’s comparatively small compared to the overall vessel, yet, unchecked, it can steer even strong relationships onto the rocks. If you’ve ever blushed at embarrassing things you’ve said in the past, then accept that others can be just as slack-jawed in unguarded moments.
“If only everyone else was perfect!”
Talk it over
If, after careful examination, you’re convinced the other person deliberately set out to hurt you, by all means approach them – but only when you’re feeling calm. Think of what you want to say beforehand, write it down and rehearse it. Avoid emotional phrases such as “Why do you hate me?” “What have I ever done to you?” “How dare you speak to me like that?” Instead, make statements that are reasonable and matter of fact. For example: “I felt your remark/action/attitude was rather hostile. Am I right in thinking you have an issue with me?”
You may find the other person was oblivious to the offence; perhaps it was a misunderstanding, or they could simply have been in a grotty mood with everyone. On the other hand, they may have meant to upset you and have no intention of apologising. At least you’ll have set matters straight.
“Can we sort it out?”
Let it go
If the person is genuinely sorry for any offence, the best thing you could do is to forgive and forget, especially when dealing with a friend. After all, you wouldn’t discard a favourite shirt or pair of trainers, so why throw away a valuable friendship?
By keeping calm and standing back from the pain you feel, you’ll often find the matter was nowhere near as serious as you first imagined. You’ll earn respect for your rational way of dealing with things, hold onto genuine friends (however imperfect!) and perhaps save yourself and others from an awful lot of grief!