Sklover’s Monday Thought: Standing Up . . . to Friends

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“It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but it takes even more to stand up to your friends.”

– J.K. Rowling

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The phrase “standing up” means to support, defend or oppose a person, position or principle. By its very definition it is an act of confrontation. By its very nature, “standing up” requires a measure of courage, as “standing up” carries with it the understanding that those who “stand up” may, for doing so, be “knocked down.”

If being “knocked down” is the risk involved in “standing up,” it goes without saying that an “enemy” is presumably already inclined to “knock you down” if, when and how he or she can do so. At a very minimum, an “enemy” is not a person or group you see as being interested in your support, defense, well-being, interests, concerns or those you care for.

But “standing up” to a friend is a very different experience. It carries with it a greater, more menacing risk: alienation of one or more people who you view to otherwise be “on your side” and, quite possibly “friendly” with others who are, as well. Standing up to a “friend” carries with it the risk of alienation from those you value and may need, isolation from what is important to you and those you care for.

Thus, standing up to a friend requires more careful consideration, accepting greater risk, and understanding that the stakes are higher. You might envision that greater risk not only of being “knocked down,” but of also being “knocked out.” That is, losing a confrontation is one thing, while losing bonds with those “in your corner” is another.

Yes, it takes more courage to stand up to a friend, and it takes more care and clarity, too. And, too, it takes considering who are, in fact, your true friends, and why they are so.

This insightful quote was among those we received many months ago, that we had held on file. This fall, I found myself sharing it with many clients. In fact, I had to check my list of prior Monday Thoughts going back to 2006 to make certain I never wrote about it before. Simply put, it has never before in my many years of practice seemed so very relevant. Thank you, Deanna, for your appreciated contribution.

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