Last night I met my best friend for dinner. We haven’t seen each other in months. And lately our relationship has mainly played out over texts. Hilarious, wise, super smart texts of course. Okay, maybe not… it’s more like this usually:
As we laughed sooooo hard over dinner (Okay… yes… fine, we also laughed over dessert…#caloriesdontcountwhenyouarewithyourbff), I realized how good it felt to just be myself – in a sense, it’s me: “unfiltered”. Which is absolutely the best thing about having a best friend. You’re you and they’re them and it’s just… best. #seewhyitscalledabestfriend?
In most situations, we all have our social filters on…What should they be called? Are they my “KelFilters”? PeopleFilters? You know, like Instagram filters, but ones you use as you talk or present yourself to those around you in real life.
I’ve been working hard on removing the negative filters from my skill set. “PerfectKelli!” “NeverGetsUpsetMe” “YouBetterLOVEMe” “IWillDoThisButIWillBeBitter” “IWillNotFail”…. I had gotten so used to using them, I hardly noticed it was happening anymore. Years ago, I had an entire friendship (nobody reading this is this person) with someone that was based solely on so many filters in place, I wasn’t even myself. I was like a skinny, photoshopped, gorgeous model friendship version of myself that after I would be around them, I’d come home and look in the mirror and realize that wasn’t me. It was so exhausting. It was the healthiest thing I ever did when I broke off that friendship and stopped filtering everything for their sake.
On the other hand, not all filters are bad. I wouldn’t be posting pictures of my dirty laundry on social media every day, just like I wouldn’t tell everyone all my dirty laundry of my life. There are still some Filter Rules…but the good, healthy filters are far fewer than you would think. Here’s my three basics:
ContextMatters Filter: Everything in context. (I believe there is a place to being open and discussing difficult topics in an open forum – this is not what I am referring to here. My context here is relationships/friendships.) Not everyone is going to be one of your best friends or even your friend. Doesn’t mean you can’t be nice and have a relationship – there are basic human niceties (that’s called “Maturity.”). But not everyone deserves to/needs to/should hear your “story.” There are rings or circles to your friendships and relationships with others. As in, you will have a few people who know everything about you and love you in spite of it (you BEST love on these people so much), you will have some that are acquaintance type, and you will have some that you are basically the equivalent of Facebook friends you never talk to (why are you so worried about these people and what they think???). You can still be real with everyone in your responses, but not dump things all over people who barely know you and then be disappointed when they don’t react how you think they should. That’s not their fault – you just chose the wrong context. Be wise in who you choose as your one or two people you say everything to. You wouldn’t post a naked picture of yourself on social media, amiright?? So don’t naked your emotional self to people who you shouldn’t be nakeding yourself to. #keepyourclotheson
Fruity Filter: As a Christian, I believe I am to reflect Christ in my relationships and my talk. I believe when I talk, I should be putting those filters of the fruit of the Spirit into place: Love, joy, peace… For example, with a sarcastic bent to my humor, that means that I have tried my hardest to make sure that when I make a joke or comment, it is not tearing others down. Yes, I will make a joke about the situation at hand, or I will deflect it back to me and put the joke on me instead of someone else…. but I try not to employ that sarcasm toward a specific other person.
Um, that’s really hard. In fact, I just paused. That’s what those dots are. I totally paused because I used sarcasm on someone yesterday. It was so yummy and delicious and self-uplifting…but it was so wrong and so against my filter. So, even though I just said that above, I am not perfect in this and am still trying to learn. So hard. You can call me out on it if you see me do it. (just kidding, no you can’t. #gofilteryourself)
NoGame Filter: The best lesson I’ve learned as I’m now getting old(er), is to use the NoGame Filter. It’s just not worth it to play the people games, the one-upping games, the ones where you aren’t even yourself anymore and you realize you don’t have any real relationships because you’re so fake. Nope. Not gonna play it. This means honesty in my responses (Or, frankly, many times this means keeping my mouth shut.). But by being honest in my responses, my friendships are much more honest as well. Shocking, right?
Btw: Passive aggressiveness is the enemy against the NoGame Filter. You know you’re in a passive aggressive rut when you’re constantly thinking, “Why am I here?? Why am I allowing this person to affect my life when all it does is bring me down??” Stop. It. You’re not being mean, you’re letting that person fly free to find someone else that will be better suited to them- you’re not being honest in your relationship, so how is that even fair to them? All along you think you’re being so nice and kind and giving, when actually you’re just a big liar. #youusedtoomanyfilters #youdontlooklikeyourselfanymore
And sometimes this means that the filter isn’t even about you. It’s about them: Try having a conversation that is just questions about the other person. Let them talk. Let them share the stories. It’s not about you. It’s about getting to know people and supporting and encouraging them. Listen.
So what do you think? Do you have a set of filters you apply to the “Real Life You?” What filter are you applying that you should delete? Are you only showing the good shots? The tilted-neck-til-we’re-skinny shots? Or are you using the real-life shots, the ones where you’re not playing games and you’re applying the grace of God to your talk and your relationships?