The other day I interviewed a good friend of mine Michael – who happens to be a Socceroo – for an off the field piece for top football mag Four Four Two.
He is known as the Smiling Assassin as he always happens to be smiling – sincerely smiling – on the field, in high pressure situations. Situations where all the other players look like they are about to kill each other.
His reasoning behind his big toothy grin was as follows -
“My dad always told me that when you smile, a good thought pops into your head.
“Even if the smile is fake, you’ll still think something positive”
I actually thought it was a really beautiful quote and it gave me food for thought.
Now to the pessimists – or even realists – this may sound a little impossible, and maybe to some it is. Because the truth is, things aren’t rosy all the time … of course they’re not.
But I have to say I loved his reasoning, it sounded cathartic and after all… who doesn’t love a person with a smile on their dial?
I have always liked to see myself as a positive person. Even though some may describe me as blunt if the situation calls for it – most likely my many moon friends – I would like to think I am more kind than critical. More supportive than not. More hopeful than negative.
Yep, glass half full for moi.
Of course, this doesn’t mean my life is perfect. Like anyone else, I go through my fair share of highs and lows. But I just talk about them less, and I have found that works for me.
You see, I worked out from a young age that I was an over-analyser and this was at one point, mentally draining.
The more I spoke about menial things that were bugging me, the more they bugged me.
The more I over-analysed what may have started off as a simple situation, the more complicated it became.
The more ears I found to vent to, the more opinions I would hear and hence found myself involved in an inner tug of war and it wasn’t as fun as the actual game was at school.
That’s not to say I don’t talk about issues in my life now, I just try to keep it to a minimum. Vent quickly, try to solve, move on. Rinse and repeat.
Of course being this way doesn’t always work in my favour.
I have friends – beautiful, close friends – that share a lot, and of course, I love to listen. And while I am positive by nature, I think I know when to press the honest button and most of my friends appreciate this. So I hear a lot of stories and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
But I don’t share too many of my own, and this is where it can become tricky.
Will my friends – especially new-ish friends – eventually feel like I’m not being authentic because I’m not pouring out my heart in return?
My husband – a professional sportsman – has always been very private about his achievements or opportunities. He is the most humble person I know and it is his most beautiful quality.
Our good friends often joke that when he gets a new contract somewhere, they have to find out in the papers. He is the last person to call up his friends and talk about contract offers or salary raises or perks or awards or compliments or anything… Simply because he is not that way inclined and also – probably most crucially – because sport is so fickle that unless you sign on the dotted line, it can often be a load of crap.
That’s not to say that he passes judgement on others that do the opposite – he is a fiercely proud and vocal supporter of all his friends achievements. He is a good friend and a good man.
He’s just not a big talker and I hope this is never misinterpreted as someone who isn’t genuine.
But despite our lack of “sharing”, we do offer our friends this…
We are the ones that will keep their spirits high when things are a bit shit.
We let them know when we are proud of them or when they did something fantastical.
And if you need us, any time, any place, anywhere – we are there in a heartbeat.
And I know…
…that most of my friends get me. They know that if something really and truly bugs me I will talk about it and if great things happen to me I may or may not talk about it until it comes true because… it might not.
But what I am definitely not is…
… fake. I just prefer to keep a happy face on, mostly for me and my kids. I don’t do it so the world can think my life is perfect because I am the first person to tell you that my child is not sleeping well but rather than dwell on it I just get on with it. I am the first person to say it gets overwhelming for me when my husband goes away for weeks on end for work but rather than talk about it for an hour I keep it to a minute and change the subject afterwards.
So don’t judge me if I am a little quiet with what I say out loud…
… I do it mostly because that’s what I do to keep me at my sanest.
Are you a pessimist, a realist or an optimist? An over- sharer or under-sharer? Do you expect the same level of disclosure from your friends that you offer them?