Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It's Not The Message; It's The Delivery


*Takes foot out of mouth* (Pause)

I'd say I pride myself on being a good friend. I guess you could say I'm a friend 'til the end *Chucky voice*. There are only a few things, for me, that there's no coming back from. They're pretty much limited to distrust, disloyalty, and betrayal. I don't think that's too much to ask. Once those things rear their ugly heads, the relationship is pretty much a goner. Deuces! What can I say? I'm not really a fool me twice kind of gal. Actually, one of my pet peeves is when someone gets done dirty, and when the person who did them dirty is a repeat offender, the offendee hits you with the "Can you believe (s)he did that?".  Often times, I'm sitting there thinking, Yeah I can, why can't you? 

But I don't say that now do I? I listen and try to be a good friend. I try to be conscious of the feelings of my loved ones, but I think there's a thin line between being considerate and being a cosigner just for argument's sake. Sometimes our friends need to hear the real, whether they want to or not. Being a real friend isn't about being a "yes" (wo)man, and agreeing with everything your friends say. It's about being able to give them the truth, whether they're ready to hear it or not. But it all goes back to what we all learn as children; it's not what you say, it's how you say it. It's not the message, it's the delivery.

This past weekend I was put on a "timeout" by a great friend. A classic case of when keeping it real goes wrong put me there. My friend came to me with a very personal and delicate situation, that I gave her my true feelings about. We got into a heated discussion, and she told me she had to call me back. 

She never did. 

When people feel comfortable enough to confide in me, I'm honored. But what I struggle with is just being an ear. There are times when we are needed for our opinion. There are times when we are needed just to be an ear. Then there are times when we don't know the difference. Clearly this was one of those times for me. In giving my friend  my honest opinion, I'd evidently come across as cold and unsupportive (She would later tell me I was like a prosecutor in a court room...yikes!). It's not the message; it's the delivery.

A few weeks back I was riding back to Brooklyn from a bbq in Queens, with another friend. She was telling me a story about a girlfriend of hers she didn't really trust, and I questioned how she could still be friends with her. She said,

"I have different friends for different things. I may not trust her with my deepest and darkest but we've been down a long time. Since high school. She's been a good friend to me."

Me: "Well I don't see how you could be friends with someone you don't trust."

Her: "I mean, I don't trust you completely but I'm still friends with you. You're my ride or die."


I should explain she was referring to a time, literally about ten years prior. My boyfriend was having a show and he didn't want me to go. Much like this time here. You know the whole shabang about groupies and such. I should mention that he ran with a popular rapper at the time. He did invite her to the show, because I should also mention that my friend, is his cousin. 

She asked me to accompany her, but said we couldn't tell him because he'd told her he didn't want me there. Pissed that he would even go behind my back and go out of his way to keep me away from the show, I felt the need to say something. Being the indignant youngin' that I was, I approached him about it, and well, ish hit the fan. 

I'd found out he didn't want me there. He found out that she'd told me. She found out that I told him. And that was all she wrote.

After that, she pretty much didn't want to speak to me anymore. Said I was disloyal and had a big mouth. Which clearly, I did. After a tearful and rather dramatic phone conversation, we reconciled. Which is why when she told me that she didn't trust me, it took me by surprise. I realized just then that she still held onto what had happened all these years later. I'd betrayed the trust in our relationship and youngin' or not, I was still being held accountable for my actions. Even though I got it, and was willing to take my charge, her delivery in telling me flat out that she didn't trust me, made me feel some type of way. And if I'm being honest, it also made me feel pretty unremorseful about running my mouth all those years ago. Had she told me in a different way, I may have been more receptive. It's not the message; it's the delivery.

Which takes me back to my timeout this past weekend. I'm happy to say that all is well and me my girl are back on track. We all know good friends are hard to find, and when we do, we have to cherish them. While I was mulling over my infraction, I had some time to reflect. I realized that candor and tact should be mutually exclusive. Keeping it real and getting your point across can be done without hurting the person, your message is intended for. Though we may know it's all love, and have our friends' best interests at heart, we should remember what the great L. Boogie said - "miscommunication causes complications". And we all now when there's a complication with the delivery, the intended message may not get there in time...if ever.


No comments: