Dishing the Dirt

My friend Ingrid posted this on her blog a while ago.

“Many years ago I learned that how people spoke of others in my presence was most likely how they spoke of me (if that was their pattern). If I had tea with Girlfriend Y and we spent the afternoon dishing out the dirt, I could be reasonably assured that next time she was with Girlfriend X she was doing the same to me. I took action ten years ago to either end or shift those types of friendships.”

I tend to be more ‘critical?’ of my friends than I would be of a stranger, which means I sometimes ‘dish out the dirt’ on friends to other friends. I’ve always sort of thought this was ok if I was doing it honestly and openly (ie I wouldn’t say something to someone else that I wouldn’t say to your face). I might refer to one friend as “my crazy friend who gets involved in pyramid schemes” or another as “my friend who doesn’t eat or drink”. Seriously, she forgets to eat! and she doesn’t like eating anyway–drives me crazy. I may tell one friend about how another was in complete denial about her son’s drug use even though the signs were obvious when she first brought it up. I could go on and on, but I’m not sure what my motives are for doing this. Usually, I’m frustrated by a behavior that appears completely contradictory to what she says she wants. She might be involved in an unsupportive relationship for example. What I really want is for friend A to have the ‘insight’ to change a specific behavior or pattern of behavior and usually I can get friend B to agree that the ‘solution’ is obvious. But I suppose the bottom line is that since I can’t change friend A’s mind about something (see early post about the essence of conflict), I just want validation for my opinions.

It is going to be REALLY hard for me to change this behavior. So I hope Ingrid doesn’t ditch me! Saying nice things about people gets boring and I think sharing the more controversial stories is part of a bonding process. Is dishing the dirt always bad? I suppose another thing to consider is that I might introduce friend A to friend B at some point and I don’t want her to have negative pre-conceived notions.

Hey… maybe I should start ‘dishing the dirt’ on my website so my friends would have to read my blog, in order to tell me what to remove!