Have you made the decision to be better person? Or maybe you’ve decided that you want to start a new business? You might have already taken some action in doing one of these (or both!) and you’ve been putting off telling those around you.
You wouldn’t believe me if I told you, but even I had to wait before I told Maria that I was a diehard self improvement and business fanatic. I don’t think she ever really realized that while we were dating, but I definitely made her aware after our Honeymoon, and it was a wide awakening for her!
In retrospect, I probably should have done that introduction differently. But I also think that it would have been more of a magnet had I done it better too. Up until then, she knew I was in Amway and that I was a teacher at heart. But that’s about as far as it went.
Keeping It Real
But, yes, there’s different reasons YOU might be keeping this information from people. For one, it might be you think those people won’t want to change with you. Or perhaps they don’t believe that you are capable of starting your own business. That you should have a job.
These are normal reactions.
Just because you want to change something in your life, doesn’t mean that another person does. Heck, you might be the only one out of a group of people who want to change. What’s a person to do?
Personally, I’ve had to deal with both of these in my life. I grew up believing that I should care what others thought of me. That alone drove me to trying to be someone I wasn’t. It also made me suppress a ton of emotions. Emotions that everyone else had. Emotions that I’m now in touch with.
Today, as I’ve made being captain of New Inceptions my full time gig, people have wondered when I’m going to get a full time job because they don’t see the results from my work. The answer is “Never.” but they don’t get that because they’ve never had compatibility issues with their job.
Truth is, you might have similar issues with what you’re currently working on. In fact, it might feel as if your entire social circle is turning on you as you start seeing results.
If you’re wondering how to deal with it, here’s how I’ve done it:
Test the Waters: Give As Much or As Little Detail as They Want
So, here’s the first truth. Your friends and family are going to realize that you’ve “changed”. That you’re either happier in general, maybe you’re “weirder”, or you just talk about “your business” more than you discuss anything else. They will notice.
One of you will cave first and want to discuss it.
Since the incident with Maria, I’ve gotten better at this process…
Let’s say that they ask first.
When you respond, they will give you a general feel in whether they appreciate the conversation. But don’t force them to do anything they don’t want to do. If it’s for them, they’ll ask more questions. If it’s not, they’ll probably try to change the subject to something else.
Let it go until another time.
If they give you crap for it, move on to the next step.
If there is friction between you and them, take note of it. You’re going one way and committed to that path while others are going another way… or not going anywhere at all.
Just like tectonic plates shifting, these subtle changes might eventually cause at least a tremor in your friendship or worse yet, an earthquake.
Ask yourself this: Is the drama that you have with friends or family based on you changing or making something? If so, is it a cycle? If it isn’t, then shrug it off. If it is, then let’s move on to the next point.
Understand Where They’re Coming From
Really, this part can be hard at first. Our natural reaction to people causing drama in our life in a repeated fashion is usually anger.
We feel slighted. We’re the one making the adjustment – why can’t they understand that?
Well, the thing is they probably feel threatened.
Just as an example, for my wife and I, we’ve both had to deal with parents who struggle with empty nest syndrome. That’s something that many parents deal with who have been helicopter parents their entire life. They don’t know what to do with themselves once the kids are gone.
Many of our friends already do the same thing with their kids, but we understand where they’re coming from. Many of us Millennials have grown up that way. Our parents made their lives all about ours.
But if you’re successful in your own business down the line, there’s a good chance you won’t have the opportunity to be there all the time for your kids. However, as I’ve said many times before, if you make your kids the reason you work as hard as you do and not the excuse, then you’re probably going the right direction.
In my mind, these two perspectives clash. And while I might not necessarily think that people should essentially devote their entire life to their kids, I do think that our kids grow up with us as examples.
If you do have kids, what kind of example are you showing them? Are you proud of that example? If so, then that’s great!
Consider what the other Person Brings to the Table
So, there’s a conflict of interest here. It’s recurring and you can’t wrap your head around where they’re coming from.
Now’s the time to start questioning their involvement and influence in your life.
If they’re usually supporting of everything else you do, then it might be a difference of opinion and that’s all it is. But, if the value they did bring to your life has disappeared, then unfortunately it might be time to just them go.
Seek a Balance
As you might have already figured out, there’s going to be some people in your life that even if you would like to let them go, you won’t be able to. Family members, especially parents, sisters, and/or brothers might be this way.
Life has a way of treating us all different. They, like you, might have changed. However, unlike you, they might have gone through some negative influences that you shouldn’t have to be expected to deal with in your own life.
So, to put it bluntly: maybe you just won’t spend as time with your siblings as much anymore.
It doesn’t mean you can’t still stay in touch – you should always have complete control over how involved someone is in your life. But don’t think that you’re wrong in holding someone at more of a distance than you used to be.
If they want help to move forward in their life like you, you can help them then. But don’t let them bring you down in the meantime
Take Action and Reassess
Once you realize where a friend or relative lies in their value to you, it’s time for the hard part. You’re going to have to follow through with your decision in how limited they are in your life.
Truth of the matter is that friendships tend to run their course naturally. So, as you start on your new path in improving yourself or building your business, you’re going to meet new people that have more in common with you.
There’s only so many hours in a day. Those folks will be your new friends and you’ll naturally have less time for your old ones. It sucks, but that’s how it works.
As far as family members go, you’re always going to love them and care about them, but being a little further away than you used to be will naturally make them have to think about going out of their way to beat up on you.
More often than not, they’ll realize they’re wasting their time and “you’re a lost cause” and that’s when you might be able to build a better relationship with them at a distance.
If they don’t get the message here, you might have to be very direct with them sometime. There’s good and bad ways to do this. Do it in a good way. You don’t want to be the bad guy here.
So, let’s go over real quick what we just discussed.
- Test the Waters – You want to see if their receptive to the topic first. See if they’re interested or not.
- Recognize Friction – If there’s any friction that you’re sensing from your friends or family, determine if it’s cyclical. If it isn’t, not a big deal. Bring it up again later and see what happens. If it is cyclical…
- Understand where they’re coming from – People have different perspectives in life. Let people who they are. If they want to make any changes in their life you think they should, they’ll let you know.
- Consider what Value the Person Brings to Your Life – If someone is causing drama about what you’re doing and not bringing any further value in your life, it might be time to let them go.
- BUT – if they’re a family member or a long time friend, you might need to be a bit more careful in how you do that. If you can move across town, that might be an option. If you just say you’re busy, keep doing that until you’re not with them as much. You know the person, you have a better idea in what will work.
- Take Action and Reassess – DO whatever you planned, and see if it helps you feel better about your changes in life. They’ll hopefully get the message. If they don’t, then you might have to “break up” with them.
Want More Help with Dealing with Frustrating People in Your Life?
Early on, one of the first AoL podcast episodes we did was about this topic. There’s much overlap here, so if you want to hear this topic actually discussed, you can find it here: