Shayne on You: I don't need you to make me happy

Dear Maggie,

Several of my good friends plan to go to one of the gang’s house for a get-together one day next week, and they’re all very upset with me because I don’t want to go. It’s a three hour drive from me to where they’re gathering – almost as much for one or two of the others, I might add. And I just simply have things I’d rather be doing at home. I’ve been reading you for awhile, but I couldn’t remember something quite like this coming up before. The friend who lives so far, sometimes does make that drive to come out here, and the others say it’s only fair that we drive out to her from time to time. How do I balance doing what I want with doing what other people think I should?



Signed,

Too Old For This

Dear TOFT,

You nailed the problem several times in your note. Especially in your signature. Your friends are acting like they’re still in grade school. But the conflict here is in closing line: How do you balance doing what you want with doing what other people expect of you, think is right for you, tell you you “should” be doing?

The answer to that is, you don’t. You should never try to strike a balance between doing what’s best for you and anything else. Trying to please other people never works out, because there are too many of them, and because what they want from you keeps on changing. You could honestly never do enough to make another person happy, because that person can’t be happy until she learns that her happiness is her own job.

Basically, you’re being told to behave in the way they want you to, so that they can feel better. But you need to think about the way you feel. And they need to manage their own lives. They can have a perfectly good time with you or without you. It’s a healthy lesson for them to learn, and you too. Try applying it to all of your relationships. You don’t need me to do anything for you to be happy, and I don’t need you to do anything for me to be happy. I’ve got that covered all by myself.

Good luck!

Maggie

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