Ever have a friend put you down and you don’t know why???
I had a great discussion yesterday with a high-achieving guy who has a friend that is completely lacking in ambition (let’s call him Mr X).
Mr X will always use snide comments and insults to put high-achievers down. These are hidden inside humour, like he’s trying to come across as guys being guys.
“C’mon mate, we’re just taking the piss, don’t be a pussy”.
Except for my mate it’s not so funny. He’s a guy who can give and take a good banter with the best of them, but he recognises that with Mr X it doesn’t feel like friendly banter. In fact, it just pisses him off.
We all have friends like this occasionally.
So what’s the difference between friendly teasing and passive-aggressive attacks?
The difference is how it makes YOU feel.
If you have a friend who is always mocking you, and it makes you angry or sad instead of making you laugh, then odds are they are not trying to be funny.
Their “banter” is actually an attack.
What they are doing is projecting their fears onto you. They see your success, or at least the actions you’re taking towards success, and they PANIC.
Because your behaviour highlights THEIR lack of action. Your success creates a huge amount of discomfort for them.
Mr X is not being witty or just having a laugh. He is in fact crying out in pain. Inside his mind, his FEAR is battling furiously against his motivation to LIVE… and the fear is winning.
His fear is like an irrational, crazy animal rampaging inside him. He doesn’t even want to face it so he doesn’t actually understand what’s going on. All he knows is that it HURTS.
He just lashes out at everyone who makes him feel like he’s doing nothing with his life, to distract himself from acknowledging this painful fact.
As you start achieving goals and making something of your life, people like this will start to speak up.
What’s the solution?
Start seeing them for what they really are: lost and scared.
They don’t want to hurt others really, they just want to avoid the pain of acknowledging that they are wasting their life.
Pity these people, because whatever harm they are causing you they are feeling 10x this themselves. These seemingly cocky and “too cool” people lie awake at night wondering why life sucks so much.
I know this for a fact, I worked with literally hundreds of people like this when I was a Probation Officer (you can imagine how this kind of thinking leads to offending).
They try to convince themselves that you are WRONG to want a better life, so that they forgive themselves for being mediocre. They just want to reduce their awful feelings of guilt.
You have two choices:
1) You can try to help them. Research “cognitive dissonance” and learn how to create it in an unmotivated person. Start making them face their lack of action in a safe and non-judgmental way. Or if this is beyond you, refer them to someone like me.
2) Drift away. If they are not on board for your journey, then you leave without them. This is the single most challenging thing I had to deal with during the phase of my self-development when I was addressing my confidence issues. A couple of people tried to hold me back… so I just had to let them go.
They may come with you, or they may not. They may even change themselves and then come back to you. Either way, it can hurt to lose a friend, but in the end there are over 7 billion people on the planet…
You can always make new friends.
Email me email@example.com to become more confident and make better friends!