How to have real conversations with friends from I am Michelle Gifford

Real Friends and Real Conversations

Work Life Balance

Real Conversations with I am Michelle Gifford

My in-laws live 14 houses away from me.  They bought chickens and have been enjoying fresh eggs and morning wakeup calls for the past 9 months.

Recently when one of my nephews was visiting, he refused to eat the omelet because he knew where they eggs came from.  They were too “real” he said.  I’ve been thinking a lot about being “too real” lately.  The internet and social media give us an outlet to carefully curate our lives.  I know, you’ve heard this before, but today after talking with friends at the park, I realized that even though I thought I was being absolutely real with them, I wasn’t.  The truth is, sometimes the real parts of our lives are a little too real, like we-can-hear-the-chickens-in-the-background real.

I have two friends who I adore and for the last three years have served with them at church and I chat with them every Wednesday at the park.  In the last week, I have had my first real conversations with them.  How has it taken me three years to have a real conversation?

I want to blame them, but I can’t.  Most of my life is filled with kids, family and church and the small portion that is mine I pack full of business stuff.  Every time I came to the park, I felt like I had to leave that business stuff at the door because why would they want to hear about it?  Why would it matter to them?

That’s where I went wrong, I can see that now.  I thought that they wouldn’t want to get to know every part of me, but by leaving out my business side, I was stunting our friendship.

My Fears

  • I can get pretty passionate and not everyone loves that side of me.  It tends to come out when I am talking about my  business, the power of mothers and living up to our potential.
  • That they will get the wrong idea.  I love business.  I love talking about business, dreaming big and coming up with ideas. I fear that when I talk about the different things that I’m doing, my friends will feel like I expect them to do something similar.  I don’t.  I will never be a marathon runner.  I won’t.  It just isn’t my thing.  I remember my friend trying to get me to train for a half marathon.  I got to 7 miles and was done (I felt pretty good about that).  I quit because I didn’t love it.  Running is not my thing.  Business is my thing.
  • My mom taught us not to talk about ourselves and our accomplishments.  It was the quickest way to make enemies, she said.  And that is true.  If you start talking to your friends like you are bragging, then you probably will get the eye roll pretty quickly.  I’ve always erred on the side of saying nothing.
  • Putting all of my stuff in the open leaves me open to judgement and criticism and that is hard.

My Lessons

  • Real friends can handle your accomplishments and are able to pick you up in your failures.
  • I need women around me to help me process my thoughts and ideas.
  • Sharing your whole self can result in building deep, lasting friendships.
  • Good friends are a good reality check and the best cheer leaders.

These two conversations have made all the difference for our friendship and my business.

My Challenge to you

  • Download this file and fill out what lies you are telling your self and figure out what the truth is.
  • Today put the phone down, find one friend and share something personal with them.  Try to do it face-to-face.  Then, listen to them.  Build a real relationship.  And eat the omelet while you listen to the chickens cluck.

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