How To Deal With A Friend Who's A Debbie Downer
Ever found yourself standing on the cusp of an idea, about to crack open a long held dream, but you're feeling ready to take it on?
And then what do you do? You pick up the phone and call your nearest and dearest Wet Blanket friend. You know her, the person at the ready with all the reasons why you shouldn't go through with it:
"For your own good..."
"Just a thought..."
"You might want to consider..."
You may walk away from that interaction, as I have, feeling disappointed or annoyed, asking yourself why you're even friends with that person.
But the truth is, you made the call, pressed send, set up the lunch date. Even some small part of you knew the likelihood that this wasn't going to be about nurturing your ideas and growth.
So why do we do it?
In even the most audacious of us, there still lies vulnerability. That's part of being alive. Some people thrive on taking risks, exposing themselves to possible hurt, failure, and ego damage.
Others are more cautious. No matter where you stand on the risk-taking spectrum, there is going to be some doubt. And how you choose to address that doubt determines whether you call your Wet Blanket now, later, or never, at least regarding this precious new idea you're hatching.
There are many ways we sabotage our efforts to realize our dreams, and the Wet Blanket friend is only one of the more concrete examples. Another common Wet Blanket we fall back on is more sneaky than a person: it's our language.
I worked for a time with an inspired and wonderfully supportive life coach who asked me what I wanted out of life, and as I proceeded to tell her my hopes for the future, she gently guided me away from the word try.
Try is a Wet Blanket word. It allows us space to reconsider our dreams, a handy excuse for not "leaning in" to the risks that come with being alive, to use author Sheryl Sandberg's wise words. When we say we're going to "try" to accomplish something, we've disqualified ourselves before we've even reached the starting line.
Eliminating the word try from my vocabulary, or at least using it very consciously, has made a huge impact on my life, and those of my clients. The same is true for making an honest assessment of friends, identifying the Wet Blankets, and divulging my personal secrets to them with extreme care.
Paying attention to the ways in which you sabotage your efforts and dreams is taking one more step toward them, deepening your commitment, and your confidence.
And on the days you find yourself hanging up the phone, signing off of email, or walking out of the restaurant wondering why you suddenly feel so lousy, it may not feel like such a mystery any longer.