Pick Your Peeps

It’s always wise to be aware of the attitudes and mind frames of the peeps you hang around with and to choose your social circle consciously. Our friends influence how we operate in life, so there certainly is value in considering who we lean on for a listening ear. An especially good time to be cognizant of who you’re chatting with or venting at is when you know:

• you’re on an emotional elephant ride;

• you’re moving in and out of taking the reins of the emotional elephant ride, and refusing to take the reins of the emotional elephant ride; or

• you’ve gotten on an emotional elephant ride about situations like this in the past.

Talk to a friend who’s not keen on sending you on a wild, emotional elephant ride or going on a wild, emotional elephant ride with you. Share with a friend who will listen, be empathetic, and be reasonable—not a friend who’ll fuel your emotions. Some people get a kick out of talking about how awful other people are, how unfair life is, and/or how dramatic situations are. Look to a friend who will help you get logical about the situation—someone who’ll challenge your thinking and assumptions, hypothesize about what the other person’s intentions may have been, separate the facts from the story you’ve created, and/or see the gift of learning that will come from the experience.

Reach out to a friend who will hold your hand and go for a slow walk beside you on your elephant ride, rather than give you a boost onto that elephant and send you on a ridiculous ride. You may need to remind your friend that you don’t want to go on a ridiculous ride. Encourage your friend to be gracious and to help you to look for the benefit of the doubt in the situation. Ask your friend to help you look deeper into your thoughts and feelings in order to identify why you’re emotionally triggered. Ask your friend to support you in letting go of your emotional reaction and figuring out some logical next steps (which may be to not act at all!). 

If you’re keen on staying on an even keel emotionally, one of the strongest possible supports that you can put in place is to surround yourself with friends who share the same commitment (and who actually live their life that way). For the next while, spend lots of time listening to your friends. Listen to what they talk about and how they talk about it. This will give you insight into what their orientation is regarding emotions and drama. You can then start to choose who you spend time with, and what you talk about with your peeps.


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