Exhibit A – This person always tries to be the center of attention. Always tries to alleviate stresses and pressures by being funny. Breaking up the monotony of situations by setting up some sort of joke or tactic for people to engage with, and distract the situation from whatever it is. This person also, withholds information during conversations, when sharing about details that are bothering them. This person also has deep interests in pointing out when others are doing something incorrectly, and will argue to the end of time. Someone walking away from them saying, I’m not having this conversation anymore, is a “win” in their books. A real, chip on their shoulder kinda person.
Exhibit B – This person is positive. Doesn’t like to be the center of attention, but it organically turns out that way. They are very captivating, interesting and everything they say is logical, balanced, and intentional. They don’t pick fights, but they do defend their position, to a point, and then, they will walk away. They are honest, straightforward, reliable and never feel that anyone owes them anything.
I’ve been friends with both exhibits for many years. In the last couple of years, my friendship with exhibit A, had lessened, because I simply didn’t want to be around that energy anymore. I found it tiresome, contained, and not helpful at all. I used to be very good friends with them, because I used to be in the same mindset. I would tirelessly find reasons to be negative, seek out the bad in situations, allow situations to become worse than what they are, and go down the rabbit hole of misery.
My friendship with exhibit B, has been expansive, fulfilling, positive, supportive, and cherished! We collaborate and collude in ways that are thought-provoking, uplifting, and take real every day situations and conversations and turn them into moments to learn and grow.
The other day, exhibit A said to me, I don’t trust exhibit B. They are too positive and I never feel like I get an honest response.
I was aghast.
My immediate reaction was to say that exhibit B is one of the most honest people I know, and that everything they say is deeply truthful. That I am the same way, and although it may not appear to be the case, I am very much like exhibit B.
Exhibit A, then managed to change the conversation back into what we were originally talking about, which was a complaint about a work situation. They took my “I’m just feeling frustrated about some things today…” and managed to rope me in to a lengthy discussion about what, who, how, why and so on. How? Easily, I let my boundary down. My boundary of remembering that not everyone is an Exhibit B, no matter how much we want them to be. No matter how much we desire friendships to come along with us, when we change.
I felt like shit. It completely drained the rest of the energy I had left.
But, exhibit A, doesn’t know any better. They don’t choose to do better. So I was reminded of why my time with Exhibit A is limited, and civil, and my time with Exhibit B, is the go to option when I need a place to park my thoughts and feelings.
If you’re choosing to change and grow, be careful of the company you keep. You will be faced with decisions around this quite often, because the truth is, that’s just how humans work. Re-writing your thought patterns isn’t necessarily easy, but it is possible.
Once you surrender to this, I guarantee you, you’ll flourish.
I know I did.