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How to have a difficult conversation with your mate

Friendships, Most Popular Posts, Relationships & Sex

On Sunday I had an accidentally awkward conversation with a friend that ended really weirdly as she dropped me home.

I love this friend, but over the last couple of years,

certain things about our friendship have niggled and niggled at me.

I felt certain that she also had niggles about me, but neither of us had addressed them.

I’ve learnt by now that if you don’t address niggles, even minor ones, they fester and destroy things over time. Yet I still hadn’t brought anything up.

We were both at the point of letting the friendship slowly slide into *meh*, no longer able to relate and connect as easily as we used to. We’d both put it down to us just being too different.

When dinner with a group of mates brought us together again, it was clear that something was still off between us.

So, one negroni and one wine deep,

having pondered our awkward parting conversation for a few somewhat tipsy minutes, I decided to send her a follow up text.

“I felt like we left things on a really weird note. Do you ever feel like we sometimes get ourselves into an odd place in our conversations?”

I sent the message, then immediately regretted it. Easier to just let our friendship continue to fade. I facepalmed my negroni-texting self.

I twiddled my fingers nervously and accidentally tried to start a fight with Bloody Good Bloke while I waited for her reply.

“Yeah” she replied after a harrowing four minutes, “I think I was mostly a bit confused at the end haha. Um yeah I guess things can get a bit strained.”

“Yea!” I sent back. “I’m not sure what it is exactly, because I think you’re great, but something about our dynamic seems strained at times for sure, which feels annoying cause I don’t want it to be! We’ve had some fun times together and I’d like it to feel easier between us when we do catch up as a group. Do you reckon it’s worth having a chat to see if we can resolve whatever is between us?”

She was all on board. We set a time to meet up.

Which I then immediately proceeded to dread for four days, as did she.

The day came for the hard conversation and we (I) hobbled and puffed up the hill to the pub (on crutches having just fractured my ankle at soccer the night before.)

Once I’d recovered from the 100m walk and removed my 50 layers of clothing, we both looked at each other and laughed… “Well shit… how do we do this?!”

“I have a plan.” I announced.

“Yes!” She cried enthusiastically, slapping the table.

“A strategy! Love it.”

I paused and looked at her. Fuck this is a great human, I thought. How have we let our friendship get so weird?

“There’s something I learnt from Kim Anami that I think we should try out”. I continued. “I realise it’s odd for me to be suggesting something I learnt from a sex coach, but bear with me! It’s obviously meant for couples, but I reckon it’s relevant for all relationships. I tried it out with [mutual friend] recently, and it was hard, but it was so good for our friendship!”

“Yes!” she cried enthusiastically again. “This is how friendships should be! Checking in and working on the friendship, like couples do. There should be friendship therapy, not just couples therapy!”

“Yes!” I cried, and we paused the hard conversation for some enthusiastic exclamation.

For privacy and brevity’s sake,

I won’t write out our entire conversation. It was a hard yet great one. But I wanted to share with you the relationship-revolutionising Glass Clearing Technique that I’ve been using for the past 6+ years.

I learnt this technique from a sex & relationship coach, Kim Anami, who I’ve done a lot of life changing online and in-person programs with.

(If you’re interested to learn more about Kim’s work, you can get access to any of her free short video programs by clicking these links: Well Fucked Woman, Sexual Mastery for Men, Vaginal Kung Fu, Coming Together for Couples, Sexy Mama.

Kim’s programs have been absolute game changers for my love life, sex life, and friendships, which is why I’m an affiliate for Kim’s programs, and will receive a commission if you sign up for one of Kim’s programs through my links. I don’t stand for everything Kim stands for, but I cannot recommend her programs more highly).

The idea behind the glass clearing technique is that

between any two people in a relationship/friendship, there is a metaphorical pane of glass.

When we first meet, the glass is completely clear, and we think “Damn, this new friend/ partner is AWESOME”. We may find ourselves liking them more than our other friends/partners, who we have more baggage with.

But eventually, our new friend does something to niggle us. They say something with a slightly self righteous tone. They don’t text us back one time. They hurt us in a minor way, like a little paper cut to the psyche.

With each niggle, it’s like a splat of mud appears on our side of the pane of glass.

Then something niggles them about us. We forget to pay them back for something. We have a clash in opinions that doesn’t sit well with them.

And a splat of mud appears on their side of the glass.

At first, these mud splats are not a huge problem – we can still see the other person pretty well.

But over time, mud builds up and up. And up. Until one day, we can barely see or hear the other person at all. We’re seeing them through a filter of minor slights, hurts, and judgements.

(Or as Kim puts it, after a 20 year marriage worth of uncleared mud on the glass… there are mountains of earth between a couple – and they probably don’t want to sex each other anymore!)

The mud disconnects us.

We can’t see each other clearly nor understand one another anymore. Sometimes it makes us withdraw and give up on each other, and the friendship fades. Sometimes it can feel as though we never really liked each other that much anyway. We forget all the good bits.

What a pickled cucumber of a situation.

Instead, Kim suggests that we need to practice glass clearing regularly.

Ideally in the moments that the niggles first arise (if you can do it consciously, without going into shouty trigger mode).

But if not, soonish after, once you’ve calmed down and maybe done a bit of journaling to figure out what triggered you.

Because as I wrote in last week’s blog post — How to deal with a judgy mcjudgerson who’s judging you unfairly, probably — your triggers are more likely to be 90% about you and your baggage, and 10% about what your mate is up to.

In the following hour and a half, my friend and I did some serious glass clearing. We took turns bringing our challenging things to the table — including judgments and hurts.

It took a lot of courage and honesty for both of us –

I’m pretty sure we both wanted to run away at times.

But by the end of the conversation I felt I had a whole new understanding of my friend and her actions – and she tells me she felt similarly.

We didn’t agree on everything – that’s often not possible. But the goal isn’t to agree. The goal is to feel heard and acknowledged in our hurts and frustrations and to come to understand each other’s perspectives and intentions more clearly.

That way we can stop taking everything so bloody personally and making it mean things that it doesn’t mean.

By the end of our conversation we were laughing and congratulating ourselves with a cheers of empty glasses. We both felt we’d successfully navigated a challenging conversation with openness, honesty and kindness.

We both felt lighter. The glass felt clearer.

And suddenly I could see my friend again.

Disclaimer: this friend has read and given me permission to post this blog. If you’re a friend of mine – G’day – I love you – thank you for reading my blogs. I will never write anything personal about you without your permission, and I’ll never badmouth you. No need to panic and de-friend me ok. 😁

Pstt - enjoyed this blog post? Splendid news! If you fancy getting these snippets of self-deprecating radical honesty delivered freshly to your inbox moments(ish) after I take them out of the gluten free oven (every week or three-ish), subscribe over here.

I have an online workshop coming up (details TBC) called How to be Less of a Dick to Yourself (AKA Self Compassion for Sceptics)! I would love you to join us — It’s going to be bloody splendid! Click here to register your interest.

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