friendships

All posts tagged friendships

Ghosting or Honesty? Which Do You Prefer?

Published September 10, 2019 by Maryanne

GhostsPhoto by Maryanne 

Unless you married your high school sweetheart, or were very lucky in love with one great romance after another, you probably had some (or in my case many) ugly break-ups until the right one came along.

While getting dumped hurts, I truly believe it hurts more to dump someone, because even if you’re the one doing the dumping, you still go through a bit of a mourning period before that feeling of relief happens. And you’re doing the dirty work, which is harder.

There are two ways to get dumped (or to dump). The best policy of course is honesty. Then, there is ghosting. Ghosting is the easy way out. Have you ever been ghosted? It’s when you are left hanging, and then finally figure it out, you’re not going to hear from a certain person anymore. The person stops returning your phone calls just like that.

I admit, back when I was dating, I’ve ghosted. Back in the old days (in my case, the 1980s), guys would just show up at your house without calling! Imagine that?! I’d say to my grandmother, “Tell him I’m not home!”

I was only in my teens then, but as I grew older, I grew a conscience.  If I was no longer interested in a guy, I’d tell him directly.

Of course it’s easy to break up with a guy who is a jerk. But what about someone who is a nice guy, but he makes you cringe? When you’re single and not getting butterflies in your stomach when you think of someone, that’s reason enough to break up. Hell, I’ve broken up with a guy just because I didn’t like the way he said “cheddar.” This is acceptable and there’s nothing wrong with it. He wasn’t the one for you. End of story.

But what about friends? Did you ever have a friend that no longer excited you? 

Ghosting happens not only in a romantic sense, but in friendships too. We politely call it “drifting apart.”  Wouldn’t it be more adult if we were all just honest with each other? Easier said than done.

A few years ago I met someone I thought would end up a great friend. At first it seemed we really liked each other. We hung out a few times and it was fun. Then the friendship fizzled…just like that. I started avoiding her because after the initial friendship infatuation wore off, I realized she was…uh…boring. I tried spicing the friendship up by adding other friends to the mix, but she always stood out as the conversation killer. Whenever the conversation got good, she drew attention to herself by making dumb grandpa jokes. Or started talking about tragedies like car accidents or cancer. Or whipped out the phone to show photos. (Remember the old days when no one wanted to be that boring person who whipped out the vacation or wedding photos?!) Her friendship bored me to tears. I was getting nothing out of it. Simple as that.

I replayed the last time I saw her over and over again in my head. She wasn’t a BAD person. She was actually sweet. However, over the course of a year and a half, I began to feel like I was being choked. It was weird and uncomfortable. I just wasn’t happy being around her. I compared the friendship to being in an unfulfilled romance that I wanted to escape. She did nothing wrong, but I didn’t like her.

I felt so guilty for my feelings. How can I not like a nice person?  I felt evil.

Then I read this in Psychology Today online:

“We’re no more in control of our attraction to friends than we are our attraction to lovers. And to reject someone as a friend isn’t to declare them unworthy of friendship any more than to reject them as a lover is to declare them unworthy of love…
We are who we are and shouldn’t criticize ourselves if we find we want to end a friendship. We’re not evil because we no longer like someone, or because we never did. Or never liked them as much as they like us.” — Alex Lickerman, M.D.

 

That nailed exactly how I was feeling! So now what? 

I spoke to two trust worthy people about the situation. They supported my decision and suggested ghosting; or more nicely put, drifting apart, as mentioned above.

Bottom line, I couldn’t ghost her. If I didn’t invite her to events, she’d see photos of me with my other friends on Facebook. Sooner or later she’d call me to talk; or send an email (and she did!). Eventually I’d have to face the music.

Plus, my honesty was eating away at me. I felt I had to let her know that she irked me. Her grandpa jokes were not funny. I prefer talking about fun things while dining, not awful things that can turn my stomach. And at the dinner table, I don’t want to keep digging my glasses out of my bag to look at pictures. Let’s just drink wine, eat, and laugh. Put the phone away, please!

Of course she got defensive and there was some back and forth phone and email banter. Then I got what I set out for; it was all over. At first I was sad because I’m human and I have a heart. I mourned. And now I am relieved.

If a friendship isn’t going anywhere and either party is not getting anything out of it, it’s time to end it — now matter how nice the person is. You do not have to feel guilty or bad about it.

I’m far from a perfect person, but one of the things I am most proud of is my honesty. Friends never have to second guess how I feel about them, because I will let them know.

I wear my heart on my sleeve. People know when I’m happy with them; and when I’ve had it with them. If only others would be as honest.

Which do you prefer, ghosting or honesty? Share your experiences! 

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books :

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your paperback, Kindle or audio copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

 

 

Dream Board Manifest! One Year Later!

Published June 9, 2019 by Maryanne

Dream Board June 2018My Dream Board, June 9, 2018

One year ago today, I created this Dream Board. And it’s astonishing how things manifested.

First, look close, you will see that animals are a priority in my life. Since this dream board, my husband Dennis and I were able to save a feral cat, Bennie, and take care of him for the rest of his months. He was already sick when we took him in with FIV. But we loved him with all our hearts and gave him the best care we could. Five months later, he had to be put down. I collapsed in my husband’s arms. We were both heart-broken. Our vet told us, “He came to you to live out the rest of his life.”

One month later, we took in Sammy. I adopted him from St. Hubert’s Animal Shelter in Madison, New Jersey. Sammy was considered a senior cat, at age 9, but he’s tiny and very kitten-like. He’s a little doll and fits in beautifully with the family. He’s best buddies with our kitty Nicholas, who is now 6 (and came into our lives on this day three years ago!)

At the beginning of 2019, I created a giving journal, keeping track of all the places I give donations to each week. Many of them involve giving to animals, especially cat rescues. Do you see the word “FREE“? I’m always winning things–and I do mean ALWAYS! One of the things I won since creating the dream board was a certificate for a tattoo — I got a cat silhouette on my inner arm.

See “Power of Positive Speaking“? (Upper middle?) THAT is my next biggest goal, to become a motivational speaker. I joined Toastmasters right after my “Best Girlfriend Getaway” (see lower right corner) in October (to “Summit of Greatness” in Columbus, Ohio). Three days of nothing but motivational speakers, including Jay Shetty, Lewis Howes, Amy Purdy, Lindsey Stirling,  and so much more.

And greatness was indeed achieved! Just a few months after joining Toastmasters, I excelled winning “Best Speaker” for a speech on David Bowie. Then I auditioned to do a workshop, “Be Your Own Hero” which was based on my upcoming book, “Be Extra-Ordinary: 10 Ways To Become Your Own Hero.”

Unexpectedly, I’ve also made a few friends at Toastmasters, that I go to lunch with; and some who have come see me speak!

Which brings me to ….

Dreams, Friends, and Love are right at the top … I’m always counting my blessings for the amazing friends that come into my life; especially those that I grow closer to each year. That goes for my husband too. My BEST friend ever — the person I want to spend time with more than anyone else. I’m so blessed to have people in my life I can share my dreams with. People I can cheer on too and watch them grow. My tribe. My high-five tribe!

Which brings me to …

Do you see Bright Ideas? Oh, I have many! Many which didn’t work out — yet. But it’s so fun throwing them out there to friends who believe in you. Going for lunch meetings with minds of greatness. These are my PEERS! I can’t believe it. Sometimes I have to ask myself, “Am I dreaming?”

Do you see the rainbow? Just a few days ago, I saw the first FULL rainbow I ever saw in my life. People hate NJ because of all the rain. But I LOVE it! As a writer, I love spending time inside, writing during a storm. One night after a storm, around dusk, the time I love best. My husband and I were taking a walk — and there it was, a full rainbow! It took my breath away.

The other stuff you see in the dream board is more vague and personal. Some day I may speak about it, but most likely won’t. As honest and open as I am, there’s a side to me that’s insanely mysterious that people will never find out about.

That said, I’m thrilled that I’ve grown so much in my spiritual journey — and have a long way to go; which is why I am pro-aging and you’ll NEVER hear me longing for youth. I’m having such a beautiful love affair with my aging self!

LIFE IS AMAZING. I AM BLESSED! ❤

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for blogging, ghost writing, writing, and motivational speaking engagements. She is the author of the following books:

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Friendships Need Attention Too

Published May 14, 2019 by Maryanne

IMG_8542Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta

I’m one of the happiest people on the planet. I married a man I adore, and who adores me. I love my career. And I have amazing friendships.

The friendships I love best are the ones you don’t have to second guess. My best friendships are the ones that make a plan to get together. No “pencil in” plans — real plans that pan out. From lunch dates to afternoon Broadway play dates to double-dates with our significant others to spa days. It’s all good!

Everyone is so busy, including myself. In my case, it’s career. In the cases of others, it’s most likely family. And in some both.

I’m by no means a “needy” person, but like romantic relationships, friendships need attention too. There are my “top” friends I see several times a year — usually to celebrate our birthdays. Those same friends I can call if I need a shoulder to cry on. Then there are other friends I see from time to time. Or call on the phone to chat because we don’t see each other as much. Then there are the friends who I don’t see much, or even talk on the phone too, but they all support me on Facebook (there are quite a few I can count on to press the “like” button if I’m promoting an event or a book). Those friends are the ones who actually take the time to read my blogs and my books! (That’s quite extraordinary in this day and age when no one seems to read). They’ll never realize how happy they make my mornings when I log on to Facebook.

But then there are those who seem to be neglectful. You can’t really call them friends because they don’t act like friends. They don’t answer emails. They don’t return phone calls. They just don’t go out of their way for you in general.

They may give you a random “like” on Facebook, but only after you’ve “liked” something on their page. You support their events, but they never show up at yours. You send them cards for holidays, yet never get one back.

It may feel like you are chasing a person. You may wonder what you’ve  done wrong. Why is everything else so important in their lives than answering a quick email?

If someone doesn’t tend to their friendship, it’s a way of saying, “I don’t care.” People prioritize their jobs, their families, and their children, and put friendships on the low priority list. Or maybe just YOUR friendship because they seem to get along wonderfully with other people.

How many times do you continue to reach out or overlook? Do you bring it to their attention? I wouldn’t. Here’s why …

In the past I did. I’ve noticed a trend that people who are neglectful in friendships have another major flaw … they don’t like hearing that they are neglectful. They get defensive, or worse, downright nasty. Perhaps they were looking for a fight by ignoring you in the first place? That’s not friendship. That’s being manipulating. By making you feel wrong for questioning the friendship and making you feel like you’re needy and expect too much … that’s called gas lighting.

This taught me to take “neglect” as a red flag. If someone isn’t paying attention to you, it’s because they don’t care about you. Friendships are a lot like dating. Read the old classic, “Maybe He Just Isn’t Into You.”

So, do what you have to. Whether it’s friends or even relatives, if friendships are not nurtured, you can’t call them friendships. It’s a team effort and no fun to play by yourself.

Cut ties with those who don’t care. And don’t feel bad about it. Because they sure don’t. (Until you bring it to their attention. Then all hell will break loose).

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for motivational speaking engagements and is the author of the following books: 

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Anti-Bullying Book Club!

Published April 7, 2019 by Maryanne

IMG_20190406_172624_591 (1)Say “yes” to acai bowls and “no” to bullying! (Photo by Sara Liptack)

I was so honored to be a part of an anti-bulling club this weekend!

Sara Liptack of the Little Free Library, Westfield, New Jersey, invited me to her home to discuss my book, “I Don’t Want to Be Like You” with young readers in the Westfield neighborhood.

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is about my experiences growing up in the 1970s and dealing with bullying throughout grade school and high school. The girls had a few weeks to read the book, but they all said they finished it in one or two sittings.

It was refreshing to be in the company of such inspirational young ladies who are all anti-bullying advocates and have dreams for a bright future.

What I’ve learned, unfortunately, is that when it comes to peer pressure and bullying, not much has changed in the last 40 years; especially now with the internet.

The good news is, the four girls I’ve spoken with were confident to be themselves and truly have it together when it comes to standing apart from the crowd, going after their dreams, and not worrying what others think of them.

One commented, “I can’t wait to go to college. I’m going to learn so much!”

I asked the girls what part of the book they liked best. Most agreed they liked the whole book, in general, and that it was a quick read. One young lady said her favorite part was when I started fighting back.

In a comfortable, private setting, everyone, including the adults Sara and myself, shared their experiences with bullying and how they handled it. It was an awesome event and a great learning experience.

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta can be reached at: maryannechristiano@gmail.com.

She is available for motivational speaking engagements and is the author of the following books: 

“Be (Extra)Ordinary: Ten Ways to Become Your Own Hero” will be available October 2019. To pre-order, go here: https://kicamprojects.com/shop/be-extraordinary/

“I Don’t Want to Be Like You” is available on Amazon. To get your copy, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Dont-Want-Be-Like-You/dp/1726273261

Decadent Therapy!

Published October 15, 2017 by Maryanne

Cake PhotoThat couch! It’s a beautiful thing!

(Me at Cake, NYC in the 1990s, the decade of Prozac Nation)

It always cracks me up when someone tries to win an argument by suggesting that the person they are arguing with needs therapy. Therapy-shaming is ignorant. Therapy is something everyone can benefit from, and only a narcissist would think they don’t need therapy.

Every successful, truly happy person I’ve ever met has been clearly vocal about their therapist. This leads me to believe that people who ain’t too proud to admit they could use a little help are the ones that learn to move mountains in life.

“Asking for help is always a sign of strength” – Michelle Obama.

“It’s really a wonderful thing to be able to talk to someone who doesn’t judge you.” -Katy Perry.

Since the 1960s, therapy has been in vogue. For part of the ’60s I wasn’t even born, but I became aware of the power of therapy in the 1990s. I was in my early 30s — and we were in the musical age of grunge. Back then, it seemed like everyone was depressed. Books like “Prozac Nation” were top sellers. Kurt Cobain killed himself and it was documented that some fans followed suit and killed themselves too. People started to become aware that depression and bipolar and stress were real things — for real people. And all the cool people started going to therapy.

Jumping on the band wagon, I tested the waters with a few therapists back then. The problem is, like anything else good in life, it takes some time to find a good one. But the effort is well worth it. Over the years I found a couple good ones — and from time to time, their wisdom still seeps into my brain and it’s very helpful.

Earlier this week one of my favorite friends took me to a Katy Perry concert. I wasn’t familiar with her music; then during the show, I fell in love with it. Every song was amazing — and empowering. And her stage show was epic.

I Googled Katy Perry and was incredibly impressed by all she did. She wrote all her songs; songs that had hooks, songs that were clever and fun, and told me Katy Perry could be an old soul. It made perfect sense to learn that such a super high achiever goes (or went) to therapy.

And here I am relating, because I’m at a time in my life where my career took an incredible turn for the better, which goes hand in hand with stress. Then when it comes time to “down time” you have to spend it more wisely, being more choosy about the people you want to connect with.

Once things started getting super good, career-wise, I took the advice of a few friends and started letting go of things that no longer served me. Life was always precious to me, but now even more so. Each waking moment has to count. I needed to manage my personal life like I manage my career.

So, by the advice of a psychic, I cleaned out my Facebook page, getting rid of people I’m not relating to and probably would never see again in my life. (And in their favor, they probably wouldn’t care if they never saw me again; so if they want to be snarky about it, they can post those unoriginal memes that say, “The trash took itself out.”).

I also let go of writing for two freelance publications I felt were holding me back; whether it was the stress of not liking a particular editor, or always chasing after checks that were notoriously late. It was just something that was no longer necessary to my being. TW = time wasting.

It’s a huge relief knowing that I’ll never get an email from either publication again. And I take even more comfort knowing that there are people I really can’t stand and I’ll never have to see them in my Facebook feed again!

If only every problem everyone had could disappear with a “delete” button or just saying “I quit.” But, no, that’s not going to happen.

I look so good on paper. I have the most amazing, adoring husband; the most creative, loving girlfriends; and I get to make a living as an editor, writer, and public speaker. How cool is that?

The bottom line is — I’m human. I get nervous. I get scared. I have bursts of unhappiness. I terribly miss loved ones who passed and are waiting on the other side. I worry about things that may never happen. I am too sensitive for this world.

So what do I do about it? Call a therapist. Unfortunately the one that helped me the most 10 years ago has long retired.

I found another I really like. She wasn’t in my benefits network and offered to help me find others that were. When she sent an email with names and numbers, after researching them, I wasn’t feeling it. I shook my head. I wrote back to her, “But I want YOU!”

It made no difference to me that I’d be paying out of pocket. From my short phone call with this woman, she deserves my top dollar! And, I’m worth it. My first appointment is in two weeks.

I can’t wait to get on that couch, put my cute feet up, and have some girl talk with an intelligent age-appropriate woman who wowed me over the telephone in a short consult session.

God bless that good ‘ole glamorous indulgence called therapy. If it’s good enough for Katy Perry, it’s good enough for me! ❤

I feel better already!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is a three-time author. Her second book, the fictitious “Love Cats” deals with the issues of selfish people. It’s available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback versions: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Cats-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1681020513)  

 

 

 

 

 

 

True Friends Fight Nice

Published March 12, 2017 by Maryanne

Friends 2

Fighting sucks.

It gets your riled up, sad, and maybe even depressed. But it’s inevitable that even the best of friends may argue from time to time. And why wouldn’t they? It’s impossible that people will agree on everything. Or that we’re perfect and will always say the right thing at the right time. Sometimes things come out wrong. Sometimes we simply misunderstand. Sometimes we let things go. Sometimes we can’t.

Whatever the situation, we can’t help it, we will argue.

The thing is, true friends will fight nice.

There’s a big difference between fighting nice and fighting nasty. Fighting nasty is name-calling, being irrational, or possibly looking for an excuse to end the friendship. That is NOT cool. And that’s the kind of “friend” you are better off without.

A real classy gal knows how to fight “nice.” This means, stay focused on the issue at hand. Don’t ever insult your friend. Don’t question, “What’s wrong with you?” (Ew, that is such a gross thing to say to someone!) Don’t question your friends mental stability just because he or she disagrees with you. (That’s even more gross!) And don’t forget, to belittle is to BE LITTLE. Only jerks name call. Whenever someone pulls that crap with me, I write that person off … forever. If someone does it to you once, they will do it to you again. Arguing and fighting will happen, but it doesn’t have to stoop to a schoolyard bully level. Instead, do it with style!

I am so blessed to have quite a few wonderful friends that can handle shit in an honest, intelligent manner. At the time, it doesn’t feel good, but we get through it. I LOVE that my friends stand up for themselves and can disagree with me; and vice versa, as they allow me speak my mind too; because a good friendship is based on honesty.

Some of my friends and I will actually tell each other we love each other WHILE WE ARE ARGUING! How cool is that?! It’s like, “I love you, and we can work this out! I WANT to work it out!” And we always do work it out!

All of these smart, gorgeous, creative ladies that I’ve bonded with over the years; those I met in high school, those I met at concerts, those I met through my husband, those I met via my career, I love, love, love, love them so much!

When a friendship is worth GOLD, a real friend doesn’t run away or end it. They stay strong with you; as you do with them. They know deep in their hearts that putting each other down is not the way to go; as that’s stupid and the friendship will be ruined for life.

To always be kind, even when you are mad, is a great blessing. Talking things out like adults is the way to go.

I LOVE all my friends and get excited just thinking about them! Thank you for knowing how to be a true friend; through thick and thin! And for loving me as I love you … forever

True Friends Don’t Have to Tell Each Other Everything

Published January 11, 2017 by Maryanne

sam_1238

The other day a beloved friend asked me a question I didn’t feel comfortable answering. But instead of saying so, I gave the best answer I could while on the spot. After much thought, I shared in an email how I felt, that it was a very personal question.

My friend was hurt and felt that she should be able to speak freely. While I was sympathetic towards her feelings, I needed to be protective of my own as well. I felt it was time in our friendship to set up guidelines about what is and isn’t appropriate to speak about. And I was entitled to that.

Certain things are personal and sacred, and should only be discussed with lifetime partners. If friends really love and support each other, they should also love and support each other’s comfort zones. In other words — know your audience.

Some friends may be very comfortable talking about money, estates, assets, gossip, politics, and/or their sexual exploits. Others may prefer talking about health, hobbies, music, animals/pets, philosophy, spirituality, work, and art. Put me in the category of the latter. While others may feel differently, the topics I favor are so much more fun, intellectual, and enlightening!

It may seem like I’m a “tell all” kinda gal because I’m a writer and am always expressing myself in front of my readership. As another friend once said, that I “put it all out there.” But she is wrong. I don’t. The more I tell, the more I keep secret. Lives are so grand and complicated that you can probably write 10,000 honest words about yourself per day without really revealing a damn thing. The brain goes a mile a minute. No one really knows what goes on inside another’s mind. Like a recent t-shirt I saw that said something like, “I may look like I’m listening to you, but in my head I’m listening to The Monkees.” Same thing goes with thoughts. I may be discussing the latest health craze, but in my head I’m thinking of my beautiful cat who died almost a year ago. So, get over it; you never truly know another person.

In my research for this particular piece, I found so many articles supporting true friends telling each other everything. And not one article about friends being entitled to some privacy. So I think it’s time to start a new trend. A trend that says friendships shouldn’t be considered any “less” if someone wants to keep a secret or not talk about certain things. A trend that says true friends should be comfortable to set boundaries without getting offended. A trend that says honesty is the ability to know each other well enough to “not go there.” Or at least make the effort to try.

How about it, eh?

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is the author of “Love Cats” available on Amazon in Kindle and Paperback versions: https://www.amazon.com/Love-Cats-Maryanne-Christiano-Mistretta/dp/1681020513