The most important question to ask yourself

Q: I feel bad about how my friend treats a girl in our school. I often nod my head in agreement to my friend’s comments not because I want to hurt the other girl but because I want my friend to like me. I call her my friend but we aren’t as close as I wish we were. I find myself trying to fit in with her. What should I say next time my friend says a comment to the girl?

A: Thank you for your openness. I believe that the circumstance you are describing is one that we can all relate to. It’s so easy to get caught up with disrespectful behaviour when we are trying to ‘fit in’ and be liked. It’s easy to say that you want to stand up against disrespect, but to actually do it, takes a lot of courage.

When I look back at times I didn’t speak up against disrespect I realize that:

I was worried about what my friends would think of me if I said something.
I wanted to be liked and to fit in.
It seemed easier to go along with it.

Taking an action that may cause us to be left out, to be made fun of or to be embarrassed by is something most of us prefer to avoid. If you look back on your actions and are not happy with the person you chose to be – that can be painful and upsetting.

Here’s a question to ask yourself:

Since you messaged me about your friend’s actions I would say the answer is,

‘No, I am not being true to who I believe I am.’

I can always tell when I’m not being true to myself when I hear a voice inside my head say, ‘Why did you do that? Why didn’t you say something?’ which causes me to feel guilt and regret for my actions.

In order to help you make a choice that will allow you to stay true to who you are, it‘s important to think about what you want your END RESULT to be.

For example:

#1 End Result : to always be liked by everyone at all costs

#2 End Result : to be respectful to myself and others

Picture two people in the same circumstance that you have shared with me:

One person has End Result #1 and the other has End Result #2.

Do you think that they would make the same choice even though they are in the same circumstance? No. Their choices would be very different.

The person with End Result #1 would choose not take a stand by:

• Being so worried about fitting in and being liked that they wouldn’t have the courage to step out on their own and be true to themselves. It would be too scary.

• Encouraging others to join in.

The person with End Result #2 would choose to take a stand by:

• Sharing with their friend that they don’t enjoy talking about someone else, that there are more important things to talk about and they would change the conversation topic.

• Choosing to sit with someone else on the bus instead of that friend.

It’s not always easy to take a stand, especially when you know that you may not have support from others. Deciding what you want your End Result to be will give you the focus and direction you need to take a stand, not only for respect, but also for the type of person you want to be, because Character Matters.

Until next time…