One of my biggest pet peeves is when people conform their beliefs to whoever they are with at that moment. I know someone who has done this for years. I don’t know if it’s how he was raised, or if he just has such low self esteem, but it’s very frustrating and it makes me want to slap him!
This person was raised Catholic. He wasn’t ‘religious’, but believed in God and being a good person, and he was. But when he spent time around his ‘Atheist’ friend, he suddenly became an Atheist! His friend loved talking to him, because he agreed with everything he said. I often wondered if he actually believed it at the time, or if he just put on a show for his friend. I honestly don’t believe that he was being dishonest. I think that in the moment, it felt good to agree with his friend and he really believed it at the time. Later, it was probably frustrating to him because his friend made him question his own beliefs and it swayed the confidence he had in his faith.
I can always tell when my friend has talked to someone else who has a differing opinion. I may have just had a long conversation about a particular topic that he is passionate about and strong in his belief, or opinion, on the matter. Later, after he has spoken to the other person, it is almost as though he has become someone else. He suddenly has a different view which may be completely opposite of his strong belief that we had conversed about earlier!
It’s very difficult to have a relationship with a person like this because you are always caught off-guard when his beliefs change with each person he talks to. Recently, he had asked for my help and advice with something. A few days later, I offered my advice (as he had asked) and was hit with him saying, ‘That is none of your business and I need you to let me deal with it on my own.”!
It’s very hard for a strong person, who has strong values that cannot be swayed, to be around someone who is, shall we say…’wishy-washy’. It’s frustrating when they can’t seem to decide how they really feel because they want to make the person they are with like them. I think that’s probably the ultimate problem. Self worth, self esteem, self confidence…whatever you want to call it.
Is there an answer? A way to help these people realize that it is more enjoyable to be around someone who is strong enough to say how they feel, even if it goes against the beliefs of the person they are with at that moment?
I admit, when I was younger, I was that person who wanted everyone to like me. It was hard work! It took a long time to overcome, but I guess growing older really does make you wiser. I finally learned that it is impossible to make everyone happy, or make everyone like you. I learned that oftentimes, it makes someone like you more when you stand your ground and be the person you truly are. Be strong in your beliefs, but honor others, even if they disagree. It truly is OK to agree to disagree! At least this way everyone knows where they stand, there are no questions, and no secrets.