The Nasty News Carriers
Three questions on the same subject and a story…
Dear Aunt Bossy,
What is your opinion about people who can hardly wait to tell you awful things that others have supposedly said about you?
Are they trying to help or hurt?
Nothing confusing about it. If someone comes to you and tells you awful things that someone else supposedly said about you, they are willing to hurt you. They may be willing to hurt you to hurt another person, or they may just want to hurt you. It really doesn’t matter.
Avoid these people like the plague they are.
Dear Aunt Bossy,
I have a friend who is very, very unhappy. She hates her job, she doesn’t have a boyfriend and wants one, her daughter treats her with no respect, and she does not see any hope for the future. My heart breaks for her.
I’ve tried to help her. I’ve given her suggestions about how to get out of her rut, but she always has an excuse about why those ideas won’t work.
Now, I find out she has been undermining me with our mutual acquaintances, even engaging someone I hadn’t even met to paint me in a bad light to a friend. I know it is just because she is feeling so down, but it is causing my friends and me pain. What should I do?
At a Loss
You only have two choices. The first is to ignore her, avoid her, and pray for her peace. The second is to confront her.
If you confront her, she will most likely throw fuel on her fire and go all out in her mission to make you look bad. Besides, she already feels bad enough without having to hear this from you.
She is obviously in a lot of pain herself and probably thinks you have it too easy in life, so she is going to even things out. If she knew things don’t work that way, she wouldn’t be stuck in the life she has.
If I were you, I would avoid her, be polite when you do have to see her, and cement your relationships with the people you care about. There is nothing you can do to help her, and you just need to keep out of her way.
It would be good if you could find it in your heart to pray for her.
Life is very hard for some people, and just because it is of their own making doesn’t mean they don’t deserve our compassion.
Dear Aunt Bossy,
You know that joke about the scorpion that promises the turtle he won’t sting him if he gives him a ride on his back to the other side of a river? When they get there, the scorpion stings him, and the dying turtle looks up and asks “why?” The scorpion responds, “I’m a scorpion. I can’t help it.”
When we run into human scorpions, how many chances dare we give them before the bite is lethal?
Theresa the Turtle
I guess it all depends on how fast you can pull your head back into your shell. However, I say third time and that venomous creature should be history.
There is no need to put yourself in harm’s way. If you have to go through the scorpion’s territory, say “hi” and hurry along.
Needless to say, no more rides.
Aunt Bossy has an anecdote on this subject. She knows a particularly smart, witty and harrowingly destructive character who is a close friend of a friend of hers. One day when they were sitting around, Bossy said, “You know, Friend, how I know you are a true friend?” She said, “How?” Bossy’ responded, “Because you never tell me all the horrible things so-and-so says about me.”
We all laughed because we know people like that. ‘Tis a pity.
For my next column we will discuss how dreadful it is when people refer to themselves in the third person. Ha!
Aunt Bossy is Susan Murphy, an internationally known Communication Skills Coach who adores spending every winter and spring in Beaufort. Ask for advice at email@example.com