Volume 5, Issue 10, October 2006
A friend of mine, Mike, suggested a subject for this month’s Caravan. He wanted to know how to repair and mend old friendships that may have split apart due to a misunderstanding. He believes that friendships and relationships are the most precious currency we have and that a lot of people claim that they are important to others, yet, when tested; many people throw in the towel too easily.
Well Mike, there are several issues to deal with and all of them have their own unique complications. Keep in mind that relationships are people; people within the relationship and people who are on the periphery of the relationship. People have egos and sometimes the most innocent comment may hit hard. As people, we do not like conflict and in many cases will not call the other person as a way of avoiding that conflict. Let’s deal with these issues and they are not in any particular order of importance.
The cause of many relationship misunderstandings are created by the people who are on the periphery as they put their noses into things that are really none of their business. They interfere and say things that can turn one person against another. When confiding in your friends about other relationships be careful what you say as this may get back to the other person you are talking about. That is why the Mouradian Model for Cooperative Action© states in Tenet #3 that we must communicate respectfully, honestly and directly to the other person. Gossip and the grapevine can cause irreparable damage to good relationships.
If you hear something from a third party about your friend or partner, go to them directly and get the facts straight. This can eliminate any misunderstanding that has occurred. These people who interfere come in two categories, those who truly want to help and the 2%er who just wants to stir the pot. If you fall within either of these categories, my advice is to keep your nose out of other people’s relationships. Read my lips…leave them alone!
Let’s say that the misunderstanding had nothing to do with a third party. In this case it is important to check your ego at the door and get to the bottom of the comment in order to understand the interaction. Sometimes we get ourselves all bent out of sorts and the other person doesn’t know what hit them. We stew over a comment or a series of comments and then build up a false sense of what is happening because we fail to clarify the situation. Generally we just turn off and stop all communications leaving the other person wondering what went wrong.
Avoiding the conflict will not make it go away. It actually gets worse because the misunderstanding then builds into something that may not be able to be solved. Sometimes it just takes a quick comment to clarify and the conflict is over and dealt with.
I am going to throw a little curve into this discussion. Maybe the other person just wants out of the relationship, but does not want to tell the truth as it may be hurtful, so the calls just stop coming. That is a hard one as it may be time to just walk away. The problem is that most of us would like some sort of closure and it would be nice just to know what happened and why the relationship is over.
Now, let’s talk about how to rekindle a stalled relationship. The only person that can make the first step is you. If you really want to move forward, take that first step. It can take the form of a card. There are some great cards out there that will get a response. I remember getting such a card from someone back in 1967 when this other person and I lost touch with each other and I was hesitant to call because it was my fault that the communication stopped, just got busy and then felt embarrassed to pick up where we left off. The card simply said, “You never know how good a thing is until it is gone.” As soon as I read it, I called and we are still friends to this day.
You know sometimes life just gets in the way and the phone may not ring as often as you would like. I know with me, I am really bad at keeping in touch with some friends. It is not that I don’t want to; it is just that I sometimes get so preoccupied with my journey that I forget to connect. That is why I have the Caravan. Many of my friends are on the list and at least once a month they hear from me and can simply email me back and we then connect again.
I also have several friends who simply will not call. If I want the friendship, it will be strictly up to me to keep it going. What I will not do is play a game. People who believe that they called last and it is my turn are going to be waiting for a long time.
Relationships are not games of measuring who did what at what cost. Relationships are give and take. Sometimes one person will be giving 80% of the time for many months and then it will reverse. Anyone who measures and wants 50/50 all the time is going to be constantly disappointed.
So, in summary, let’s keep this simple journey and not complicate it.
1 – Unless you are asked for help or advice, stay out of other people’s relationships.
2 – If you want the relationship make the phone call.
3 – Relationships are not 50/50. It is all give and take, especially over the long haul.
4 – Maybe it is actually time to walk away.
Well Mike I hope that helped and thanks for the suggestion.
Best in life…
By Pierre R. Ouellette Hon.B.A., LL.B.
We have been reviewing the provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code and have already touched upon the prohibition against discriminating on the basis of religious ‘creed’ and ‘sexual orientation’. (These are archived for those interested in reviewing those particular topics.) This month’s Sidebar will touch upon our rights and responsibilities with respect to Age Discrimination.
Ageism is an attitude that makes assumptions about older persons and their abilities. It is also a tendency to view and design society on the basis that everyone is young. Age discrimination is a consequence of ageist attitudes. Like all protected grounds under the Code the safeguard extends to such specific areas as jobs, housing and services.
As an older person you have the right to the same level of services as everyone else. You also have the right to be offered the same opportunities in employment, promotion and training as anyone else. So if you have faced a comment like “You don’t need this training because at your age what would be the benefit?” then you have been illegally discriminated against!
One of the more practical - and often overlooked - consequences of this provision is in the area of housing. You can now expect landlords to make practical modifications to living spaces that respond to your needs as an older person. That could include such things as installing ramps, visual fire alarms, doorbells for the hearing impaired, different sized door handles or lower counters.
If you have any questions on this subject you can contact the Commission directly (www.ohrc.on.ca or 800.387.9080). You can also visit Canada’s Association for the Fifty-Plus’ website at www.50plus.com or call them at 416.363.8748. This little series is based on information provided by the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
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