Monday, September 19, 2011


Sometimes I think that all relationships should come equipped with dark glasses. Or some kind of filter that blurs your vision. After all, everyone has eccentricities and habits that could easily be annoying, especially if you noticed every little thing. And--ouch--the same goes for you; there are things about you that could annoy people too.

You could choose to "confront" annoying quirks and habits every time you encountered them but I doubt that would leave you much time for anything else. And I also doubt you would keep most of your friends. Or, you could focus on the irritants without saying anything and silently build up a storehouse of bad feeling which would likely create substantial distance between you and the other.

Neither of these options seems like a good idea to me. Instead, next time someone you care about does something you find annoying, try this: SQUINT.

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Aileen said...

Just got this in my Inbox because I subscribed yesterday -- really nice that the e-mail opened right onto the new post.

I love this idea, and you sum it in a great way Liz. I used to confront pretty regularly, thinking open communication was all. My 20s and early 30s were pretty exhausting that way. I had plenty of family and cultural examples of burying it all and there was no way I was going there.

But I lost a few really good friendships and almost a few family members too. I've been trying the squint for a few years now. My friendships are lasting longer and a few old ones have been resurrected. When I get worn out from squinting, I've learned to aim for some time alone with only my own eccentricities. Or I go to sleep!

Liz said...

first, thanks for the feedback about signing up---we love having followers and are happy to hear that the process works.

i do think, as you say, that there is a great premium on "open" communication but it certainly can be exhausting and damaging if we are not also judicious.

oh, and going to sleep seems like a great option sometimes.

e said...

I practice this technique literally, by spending a lot of time without my glasses on. Everyone has a kind of "airbrushed" appearance, and my house looks a LOT cleaner. Which helps me relax and not obsess over things that don't matter. So the literal becomes more figurative. I'll be paying attention to whether I practice this in my relationships with people and with myself.

Liz said...

e---i LOVE ro think about airbrushing everyone. thank you for that image. and i did think about how that works on the house, too. great idea.

Anonymous said...

I squint, realizing nobody's perfect. I know I'm not. For example, my husband is REALLY messy and for years it was something I constantly hassled him about (which of course, didn't change anything)
Now, I look at the whole of my relationship and say to both of us,"Small price to pay." And I mean that. Constructive squinting. :-)

Liz said...

constructive squinting indeed!