Monday, January 16, 2012

Called on the Carpet

The term 'getting called on the carpet' originated from (at least in my family) very bad house pets who did a no-no on the rug. Our beloved pet would then be called in and told in a very stern voice (with a lot of pointing to the offending mess) that they did a Very. Bad. Thing. Then they were sent off with their tail between their legs, while we grabbed a bucket and scrub brush with a lot of hot water and soap.

But it's a whole lot worse when a friend calls someone on the carpet, and that someone is you. And no, I didn't do a no-no on the rug- but I did do a Very. Bad. Thing. I didn't even realize I was doing it until she said something.

Well, she didn't actually 'say' it- it was a private message I'd received on Facebook. Basically, she told me what she thought I was doing wrong, and that I'd been doing this for three years, and she was tired of me doing it, and though she was going to remain civil, we couldn't really be friends anymore. At first I was defensive about what she said (after all, I never do anything wrong- but don't ask my husband to confirm that), but after reading her message over a few times, I realized that I had indeed been guilty of her accusations, at least in part. The other part was simply misunderstandings, and the lack of information she had for some of my actions.

So I wrote back, filling in the missing blanks without giving excuses, and apologized for what I could. Then I left the ball in her court. And if I had a tail, I would have tucked it between my legs and hid under the kitchen table.

What was the reason for her message? I complained too much. I know it sounds small, but after three years of hearing me go on about the same subject, I just plain got on her nerves- it's as simple as that. And here all I thought I was doing was sharing conversation. At least until I confirmed things with my husband.

One great thing about my husband (that also makes him a pain in the patootie sometimes) is that he isn't afraid to tell me the truth about myself. When I asked him 'Do you think I complain about ________ too much?' I'll get a most honest and poignant 'Yes!' from my spouse. Sometimes I'll get a 'No', but it isn't often.

I admit, I have a bad habit of complaining about things. Most times I can turn it into something funny, but all in all, the basic, bare-bones of the joke is a complaint. So my friend-who-is-no-longer-a-friend actually did me a favor by telling me. I just wish she had said something three years ago- then maybe I could've salvaged this relationship.

There is no pause button, no Twix Bar last-minute saves, no Do-Overs when you screw something up. At least concerning relationships. However, apologies can be made and broken relationships fixed if both parties are willing. And if both parties aren't able to make amends, you need to let go and learn from your mistakes.

I don't know if we'll ever be friends again, but I hope to be. Both of us need a little work though- I need to work on keeping my conversation more positive without complaining, and she needs to work on not waiting so long before saying something to me.
I don't mind people telling me they don't like something I'm doing- to each her own, and everyone will disagree with everyone else at one point or another- just don't wait until you're so frustrated that you want to sever the relationship! Tell me. I'm a big girl- I can handle it. I might not like what you have to say, but I promise I'll walk off and think on it. And if it's something I believe needs changing, then I'll change it.

If not? Well, we either work through it or walk away. It's as simple as that.

Politeness can be a great asset, but it can also be a hindrance. Sometimes you need to step up and call someone on the carpet if they're doing something wrong. Even if that someone is me. I can't change if I have no idea I'm doing something wrong, after all.

Don't be afraid of the truth- it might hurt, it might make you mad, but if what your friend/husband/coworkers are all saying the same thing, then it's probably true. Then do what you can to make yourself better. I'm not saying you should change just for those around you (people pleasing doesn't make anyone happy in the long run), but choose your battles and change the parts of yourself that will make you a better person. Ask questions, get answers, and become a better person.

Before someone calls you on the carpet.


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