Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Controlling Your Communication

Photo by Laila.
I've been writing this blog for a while now, and every once in a while I get asked questions in e-mails by people who are looking for life rather than fashion advice. I usually answer those questions privately, but (with the sender's permission) I decided to answer this one here*.

I had a falling-out with a girl last year (over a guy). I've apologized to her, and while I know that she and I will never be friends, I'm doing my best to just move on with my life. Part of that means I don't read her blog or follow her on Twitter, because I know that she's still not over it and she talks about me on there sometimes. Which, you know, I don't have a problem with, because if that's how she's dealing with it then fine.

The problem comes up when other people start getting involved. She and I have a lot of mutual friends who do read her blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc., and they always seem to want to tell me when she says something that could be even remotely taken to be about me.

I know that she's just being malicious because she's still hurting, and I know that she's not going to stop saying things about me, but I want to make sure that I stop hearing about it!

Every time it happens, I talk to the person who passed the information along and tell them that I don't want to know what she's saying about me, but every time it happens it's another person!

I don't know what to do anymore. I feel like every time I hear something she's saying about me it prevents me from moving forward and I just get angry at her all over again!

This must be very frustrating for you! It probably seems like you are doing everything you can to avoid being brought down by someone else's bad feelings about you. It's good that you recognize that she's still not over it. I certainly hope you know that any criticisms she is sending your way at this point are actually not directed at you! People tend to criticise that which they don't like about themselves.

The bigger problem is how to deal with the communication coming from other people, letting you know what she's saying about you. I think you're taking good, strong steps in the right direction by being very clear about the fact that you don't want to know what she's saying about you to the people who pass the nasty bits of information on, but you know that you need to do more.

Luckily I have a few ideas! (Mostly because I have been in this position myself rather recently…)

First of all, you need to make sure that you are treating people the way you want to be treated - this means that if you are a bit of a gossip yourself, or are saying to people, “Guess what so-and-so said about you on their Twitter?”, you need to stop right now. You can't expect people to treat you any differently than what you put out there yourself.

Gossiping is a very hard habit to break! You might want to try something like what I did when I was trying to stop saying negative things: I wore a rubber bracelet around one wrist, and every time I said something negative I had to change it to the other wrist. My goal was to keep the bracelet on the same wrist for a week. It was hard work, but after a few days it actually got easier!

Secondly, since it seems like you are pretty social media-savvy, you might want to consider issuing a “blanket statement” on your blog, Twitter or Facebook, something along the lines of, “Please don't tell me when I'm being talked about”. It's a bold move, but it may make your life easier if everyone you know sees that. And if they then try to pass along some nasty bit of news, you can just direct them to where you said that!

Finally, if someone comes to you and says, “Guess what she said about you today?”, you can always say that you don't want to know. You need to be firm! Stand your ground.

The most important thing to remember about communication is that the person sending the communications out isn't the one that is in charge of how you receive it. You can always choose to not listen to negative things directed at you! It's just like changing the channel.

I wish you all the best in this!

*If you want to ask me a question, please feel free to e-mail me at jes.lacasse@gmail.com. Also, please don't forget to enter my fashion week tickets giveaway! The contest closes Wednesday, March 16th at midnight!

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