Want to be happy? Mind your own business

Even The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills lose their serenity-- when someone meddles!The older I get the less I want to know about a lot of things. Oh darlings, don’t get me wrong: I love discovering new places and things. And getting to know new people can be a treat. I happily plow through several books or more a week.

 
What I don’t want or need to know are other people’s nasty little secrets. I refuse to become embroiled in feuds and spats, or listen to nasty gossip or tiring complaints. There is no point to it, and it makes me tired and sad.
 
By nature, most people are self-interested. They like to vent their frustrations. Let them, but never get involved in spats. If you are silly enough to take up the cause of the co-worker who hates her office-mate or supervisor, or if you are reckless or needy enough to be drawn into friend’s rivalries, you will be the loser in the end. Adults need to fight their own battles. If you want to live a happy life, learn to mind your own business.
 
All too often, it is the same people over and over who are always involved in “bitter battles” with someone or other. Friends who constantly demand support and loyalty for their private feuds can be costly to your career, friendships, or sanity. Learn to distance yourself and reserve your fighting spirit and support for causes of your own choosing.
 
Others will constantly besiege you with their turbulent love lives. They choose feckless lovers or pursue unavailable objects of desire. Still others embroil themselves in messy extramarital affairs. The constant factor is their need for attention. Beware; bad relationships can be contagious. When it comes to love, misery truly does love company. Spend time too much time with the hopelessly lovelorn and you may soon find fault in your own perfectly happy partnership.
 
Learn to tell the difference between a good friend going through a rough patch and the chronically discontent.
 
If a friend always sets her sights on unavailable men, married men, or is so needy that she sends out a stronger signal than the emergency broadcast system, you may need to step back to avoid being drowned by her self-made drama and unhappiness.
 
Even more insidious are friends who try to involve you in their “climb” to the top. Almost anyone worth knowing has ambition, but some are more aggressive than others. They push and shove their way to the top, often making enemies. That’s their choice, but it can be problem when they want to drag you along as a camp follower.
 
Good friends support each other. They should be happy to share contacts, attend launches and even on occasion lend a hand to get a project off the ground. But when friends start demanding that you take sides in a public feud, or agree with everything they do, it is time to step back.
 
Successful, driven “alpha” friends can be lot of fun. They are dynamic and make things happen around them, but they can also become a pain when they fail to realize that not all of their friends want to join their pack. Teach them you are follower by taking a step back — and get the friendship back on track.
 
Some people actually like to fight. It took me ages to realize this, as I am essentially peace-loving. They need conflict and drama the same way normal people need air and water.
 
Dramatic over-the-top friends can seem like fun at first, until they begin bringing their drama to every event. No one needs their beautiful dinner party taken over by a friend on a crying jag, or their book launch ruined by a slightly drunken flirt.
 
Learn to control the amount of alcohol you serve a drama queen. Their behavior becomes worse as they drink, and they love to blame booze for their actions.
 
Cut them off at the knees when they begin to act out. Change the subject. Refuse to rise to bait. I have an old high school acquaintance who is part of my circle, so there is no way to avoid her .She has always been a bit nasty. The last time I saw her she began making unpleasant personal remarks. I simply refused to engage her. She had no choice but to stop her nastiness. Fighting back in this type of situation is a no-win. No one else wants to be caught in the middle of a social spat. They will resent being drawn into your conflict, so don’t ask for anyone else for help, even if you are attacked. Walk away darling, like a lady. 
 
Another old friend occasionally likes to be provocative. She may make a remark about my personality or appearance. She will then repeat it several times in an attempt to get a reaction. I have watched her do this with others. I have learned to ignore it. Otherwise she is very nice. She may enjoy a good argument just for fun, but I do not. When she aggravates me, I vent in the car on the way home and avoid a tiff.
 
There are those who like to stir up trouble out of boredom or from a lack of self-esteem. They come out of nowhere and attack.
 
I had a friend who had published a moderately-successful book, but she had not been able to write another and had “issues” with her self-worth as a writer. Whenever we were out with others, she would purposefully disagreed with me or became little nasty in order to assert herself. She wanted to distinguish herself intellectually and she thought that arguing was a good way to do so. She was confident I wouldn’t go after her, as we were friends. Finally I told her to knock it off. Her insecurities and “issues” were neither my problem nor my business.
 
Occasionally people share things you wish you didn’t know about them. I not going to repeat anyone’s dirty little secret’s here, but I can’t abide lairs and cheats. I don’t want hear about any one’s skimming or sneaky business. Needless to say, I give the confessed-shady a wide berth, and suggest you do the same. Unless someone tells me something so damming that I feel compelled to call a cop, I have learned to quietly drop them.
 
There is no point in discussing their shady doings – and the less I know about it the better I sleep.
 
Darlings, we all need a helping hand sometimes. Never hesitate to reach out to someone who needs a boost. A young friend of my mine was trapped in a dead-end job with an abusive boss. She was a new immigrant and needed help to get a better job. I introduced her to a friend who needed a dedicated tech-savvy assistant. They were a match made in heaven.
 
I run into young people all the time who are trying to move up in the world. The smart ones ask for advice and act on it. Others simply complain.
 
Good boundaries make for good friendships. Minding your own business and staying true to yourself while being a good friend is essential to a happy life.
 
 

 

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