Sometimes common sense isn’t common. I was shocked to find my mother was still dealing with little digs her friends would make to put her down. She was getting upset, but not doing much to change the situation. Just venting. I gave her some tips that worked wonders for me. Hope you find them useful.
Tips For Dealing With Friends Who Tell You Little DIGS And How to Shut Them DOWN
Let’s set the scene.
You just bought a new car and are really excited to tell your friend. She can see you’re excited to show her your new car. She says, “It’s so nice, but I prefer leather seats. I love my leather seats! That’s probably too expensive for you right now, though.”
Uhhhhhh!!! That icky feeling, right? She’s not blatantly insulting you, but SHE TOTALLY STILL IS. It would make you look bad to lash out and scream. You don’t want to look emotionally unstable and make her feel superior. Knowing she got to you will make her feel good. But if you say nothing against her, you also make her feel good. She will feel above you and happy to keep you in your place….submissive and below her.
Well, f that. We are going to say something, darling. We are going to say it IMMEDIATELY. Just like training an animal, you have to train people, who cross your boundaries, on how to treat you. You might not feel comfortable about yourself. But you have to do something the second it happens. Waiting to speak about later at a better time will not stop the behavior from happening again. That’s not how training works. It must be instant. She must cross that boundary and right then you reinforce it and call her out. This is how you will get her to back off.
So you reply, “Hey, I just showed you something I’m really excited about. If you’re really my friend you would be excited for me, not bringing up that it doesn’t have leather seats. Seems like you’re implying I cannot afford them. I’m glad you have leather seats, but I’m sharing how I’m excited I got a new car right now. Are we really friends or are you incapable of sharing in my joy?” Then calmly wait. Stare at her until she makes her response.
Now, this is hella uncomfortable to say to someone. There may be people around, you may be a world of uncomfortable. But this has to happen this way. It has to be spelled out and clear. No beating around the bush.
1. Say exactly what they did wrong. 2. Then tell them what it makes them look like to you and everyone.
CALL THEM OUT!
Now as long as you remain totally calm and easy breezy, you’re golden. You cannot get emotional. Hold yourself to a higher standard and stand your ground. No one gets to disrespect you. NO ONE.
Their reaction is important.
If they apologize completely, you forgive them. People make mistakes and that’s OK.
As long as it’s not one of those fake apologies (such as: “I’m sorry you misunderstood me.” “I’m sorry what I said upset you.”). Fake apologies are not worth sticking around for. If someone gives you fake apologies you have two options. You either continue to stand your ground and call them out on the fake apology, or you inform them you do not accept fake apologies and tell them to find you when they are ready to give a real apology.
If they try and change the subject, BRING IT ON BACK. Repeat yourself until they acknowledge what you just said. They can’t dance around and pretend it never happened. Letting them get away with that ensures this will continue to happen.
The rule is this has to either end with a real apology or with you walking away from them. No more business as usual. You need to break the cycle.
If you haven’t been standing up for yourself for a long time and there is a clear pattern of digging at you, you will likely have to go through this multiple times until the behavior stops. Do not get fatigued. Do the whole long messy process each and every time. CALL. THEM. OUT.
The Extinction Burst
An extinction burst means the behavior will come back stronger than ever right before it completely stops. This is why when you change your kid’s rules they completely FREAK OUT and act increasingly terrible until it suddenly stops and they accept their fate. Sticking to the plan is so vital I cannot stress it enough. You cannot let even ONE TIME SLIDE. This will set back training. Give them an inch and they will take a mile. This has to be a 100% of the time response and consequence.
If your friend just went through a terrible breakup and is still upset. It’s not the time to brag about your relationship or how wonderful your bf or husband is to you. That’s just mean. Still, they shouldn’t dig at you. But there is a time and place for you to share any good news.
IS THE FRIENDSHIP WORTH IT?
If this is a consistent issue in a friendship you have to admit to yourself this is ABUSE. You wouldn’t let a friend date someone who puts them down. No one should continue any relationship where someone is putting them down. Should you see it’s too systemic in the friendship, it may not be salvageable. In fact, it can severely hinder your growth as a human. It’s in your nature to grow and change for the better. Someone like this can keep you second guessing yourself instead of bettering yourself.
Any good relationship, be it a friendship or romantic one should offer these important things: You both want each other to be as successful, happy, and as self-realized as possible. Relationships should support our growth and happiness.
Friendships are nice to have, but not necessary. Better to be alone until the right one comes along than waste your life feeling crummy in bad company.
GET TO THE COMMENTS…
Let me know your tips on how you stop others from digging at you. We would love to hear your stories and how you overcame. 🙂