Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Loved ones may not support big life changes

  • Article by: HEIDI STEVENS , Chicago Tribune
  • Last update: October 18, 2013 - 2:34 PM

Be willing to be the one who broaches the topic in a nonthreatening way, rather than waiting for your friend or relative to bring up your new life.

“The secret is to acknowledge the way you used to be and then ask for their support in helping you be the way you are now,” said Jay Carter, author of “Nasty People: How to Stop Being Hurt by Them Without Becoming One of Them” (McGraw-Hill).

“Let’s say you used to be smoking buddies or eating buddies,” Pryor said. “It’s wise to bring it up in a really natural way. ‘I just want to tell you that I’m exactly the same person I was before. I need you to know that this doesn’t change anything between us. I just had to do this for me.’ ”

And brace yourself for a range of outcomes. Part of forging a healthier path, Pryor said, is remembering that you can’t control other people’s emotions.

“We can’t change the doubters,” she said. “We can only change how we respond to them and how much impact we let them have.”

That means deciding how much negativity you’re willing to shoulder, Apter said.

“If we have faith in the friendship, then we can give our friend a chance to adjust to the change,” she said. “We can offer reassurance by showing continued interest in her or him. After all, new success or excitement can make us temporarily self-centered. But if a negative response to our new goals and achievements persists, we have to accept the limits of this friendship.”

A healthy relationship, on the other hand, will weather big and small changes in each person’s personality and habits.

“If you have an open heart, you can take yourself out of someone else’s success,” Pryor said. “Regardless of what you’ve been through, when you can celebrate someone’s better situation and look at their success as an inspiration rather than a threat, then that’s a wonderful thing.

“People who go through fairly big transformations will learn who their true supporters are.”

Help others accept your new attitude

Your relationships will benefit from a little extra self-awareness in the wake of big changes.

“Sometimes when you embark on this new life, you want to talk about it a lot,” Pryor said. “That’s great, but don’t judge others who haven’t made the same changes.”

“If you can’t sit with your friends when they’re eating cake, you’re not all the way there,” she says. “Don’t go out to dinner with your old friends and make demands on them about what they eat or make them uncomfortable about the personal choices you’ve made in your life.”

And remember that your old relationships are still give-and-take.

“You want your friend or sister to be able to say to you, ‘I’m really happy for you, but you’re really bugging me with the calorie counting,’ ” Pryor said.

The new you can handle a little ribbing.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters