Striving to be at peace with all men is quite different from trying to please all men.
The one who properly makes this distinction early enough in associations with people will find dealing with (and maintaining) them a more delightful endeavor than it would normally have been.
As far as I know, being at peace largely involves letting people be. Trying to please people on the other hand is more hands-on; sometimes, it makes you become a slave to them or a slave to yourself. At any rate, the latter is less passive than the former. Hence, it requires more work.
One of my greatest weaknesses down the years has been struggling to maintain more than a few alliances when clearly our values and ideologies clashed in places and principles difficult to reconcile/patch.
And so I have often found myself having to tackle issues people in romantic relationships face without being in one. Quite mystifying I must say. Thankfully, of late, I have learnt to brutally cut my losses;
Trusting myself enough to walk away from that which no longer serves nor grows me.
My friend Ess knows that the above is practically an anthem to me. 😐
I reckon that one of the easy ways to becoming that person that speaks ill of John Doe to Jane Smith is to put up with too much nonsense from John Doe.
You stomach so much that you look for a garbage bin to dump the nonsense (that is John’s attitude/character/annoying behaviour) in.
The irony could be that you have been too passive about letting John know you think his behavior is unacceptable, and so John has come to believe he has been putting forward an attitude beyond reproach, so that when finally one day his nonsense gets to your neck and you speak out, to John, it’d look like you’ve either changed or that you are the one wrong in the fracture that has split you guys apart. You would not have served John any favors with this, neither would you have yourself.
The bottom line is this; communicate quickly what you stand for. I cannot stress this enough.
People get to know what to expect from you. They get to know how to behave properly (well, this is based on the assumption that you are any better yourself), and you also get to know those you can really keep in your close circle to avoid a life of drama. Furthermore, you get to avoid having a red face too frequently as regard John’s “despicableness” and ultimately resorting to making Jane Smith your accomplice in slander.
There really is no point in trying to appear (on the outside) to be someone that can “relate easily” with almost anyone when clearly your spirit is constantly at war with their idiosyncrasies.
No greys. This is the life I want to be known for.
Picking your battles, and your friends (not acquaintances) wisely is one of the most important things you will do as an human being.
Everything leading up to here is all good and nice; being a person that is straightforward, having friends you don’t have to be irritated with every time, being unapologetic about not trying to please everyone and so on.
However, I consider this of much more importance:
having friends that challenge you to do better and be better. Friends that call you out on your bullshit when you are bullshitting. Friends that supply you feedback on things you could do better at.
I mean, what is the point of having a friend that isn’t irritable but isn’t much useful either? What be the point of said friendship if ALL we do is pat each other on the back at all times? We cannot get all things right all times, so I imagine there’ll be times you need to be force-fed hard truths by people who you mean anything to.
If I cannot every now and then point out things to you when I am certain you have erred, then I am unworthy to be called your friend.
On a final note, I know (I do not merely think) that one of the main characteristics of growth is the ability to be able to entertain thoughts gracefully and then to decide what to be sifted or absorbed. I would do well to take my own advice and welcome people that provide me a dose or two of this without reservations.
I would rather keep you at arm’s length than walk on eggshells around you. I hope you do the same with me.