Thursday, April 03, 2014

Elephants in the Friendship

Have you ever felt like you can't be friends with some people because there are too many 'elephants in the room'?

I have many friends who I disagree with on certain issues, and I love it when our friendship can continue despite our differences and our personal soapboxes.  I especially love it when we can still raise those issues without getting into a fight about it.  For example, I'm pretty open with most people that Rory goes to daycare one day a week so I can edit my book and have a break, but I know some of my friends would never send their kids to daycare.  They may not necessarily be anti-daycare, but they prefer not to use them at all.  That's fine.  When they ask me about my week, I know I can happily mention the D-word without them going off at me about daycare being the mother of all evils.

Unfortunately though it isn't like that with everyone.  Although they know I send Rory to daycare, they either never discuss it with me, or they use any opportunity they get to tell me that he shouldn't be going...ever.  This makes any conversations very uncomfortable because I then go out of my way NOT to mention the D-word when they ask me what I've been up to lately.  The result: daycare becomes a massive elephant in the room.

Other topics I avoid with some people because they are so passionate about their views that it just creates trouble between us include Christian issues such as the Sabbath, end times, Bible translations, meat-eating vs. vegetarianism, alcohol, and the Trinity.  I tend to avoid political issues such as climate change, carbon tax, and other things I don't really understand and just don't want a lecture about.  I've learnt the hard way recently with Rory's allergies - while some people have been fantastically helpful and non-judgemental, others have used it as an excuse to get on their soapbox.  I can't speak about health issues with some people otherwise they just want to tell me exactly how much they loathe doctors/chiropractors/naturopaths, how I should be using traditional medicine or alternative therapies....arrrgh!

I certainly have my own soapboxes, too.  Heck, you only have to click on the label Get On Your Soapbox to see what some of them are haha.

Sometimes a difference of opinion will not injure a great friendship.  That's soooo great when that happens.

Other times there are just too many elephants in the room for the friendship to work.  When I'm watching every word, agonising over whether the conversation is heading towards dangerous territory that will set them off on a rant, it's not good.


Wendy said...

Yeah, too many elephants makes it too hard to have an open relationship. But I think a good friend should be able to hold back on those things that they know are a difficulty, not require the other person to tiptoe around them.

I have many friends who've made different big choices to me. As a missionary, that is pretty obvious! One big one is of course schooling. On the mission field I have friends from a variety of spectrums of theology. Though some people are challenging, I find that for many it isn't such a big deal.

Sarah said...

The hard thing is when it's family. Both my parents and in-laws are opinionated on all sorts of issues. Sometimes it feels like we never do anything right. This makes the relationship awkward because we can't be open with them. When it's family it's not like you can just cut them off, either.

Iris Flavia said...

I have to say... I got to daycare at age three - I was old enough to be fearful and cried a lot in the beginning.
My Niece got to daycare at about 5 months - she just grew into it and had a time more easy than me!

And I reckon a Mum who can have a few hours to herself gains power in that time. But, ohhh, not that I know what I talk about in this second part!