People Who Get It

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One thing I’m learning (again and again) is how important it is to surround yourself with people who get it.

Who get you.

People who respect what’s dear to you. People you share common experiences with, to whom you can say, “Hey remember that one time…” and they smile and say, “Yes.” People who don’t take it personally when you can’t make it for coffee because they know you’re writing and they love you all the more for following your dream. And you love them for following theirs.

Because more and more I’m learning there is something damaging about sharing your gems with people who don’t get it.

“Look,” you say, holding out your hands for them to see. And they just make a face, or a judgement, or worse, just shrug. They don’t get it. Your gem is nothing to them. It’s out of their understanding or their caring. And their indifference changes how you see it.

Maybe that gem isn’t so special after all. Maybe you’re not so special after all.

After I wrote my first 3-Day Novel (which had won third place), I asked a person I respected to read it, hoping to get some ideas for how to revise it. She returned the manuscript to me with a note that read, in essence: “You should do something other than writing.”

A number of years ago, I met with a friend for lunch to discuss a business deal we were working on. During the visit I mentioned to him a recent trip I’d taken and how during the trip I’d met someone quite famous. Someone I’d dreamed of meeting for years. My friend gave me a strange look and said, “So? What good does that do me?”

Needless to say, I don’t associate with either of these people any more.

It’s not that I can’t take criticism. Quite the contrary. I value workshopping my writing and getting feedback. My skin’s not elephant hide yet, but it’s thick enough to sit at a table with major New York editors and listen to them work over my chapters. Criticism isn’t what I’m talking about here.

It’s understanding. Respect. Sharing.

It’s having people in your life you can trust with your dreams. With your heart.

Do you have people who get you? Have you told them lately how much you love and appreciate them?

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5 thoughts on “People Who Get It

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shirley Meier. Shirley Meier said: RT @Indie_Elf: RT @amyknichols New blog post: People Who Get It: http://wp.me/pBmxU-kR #amwriting #creativity http://bit.ly/cMtffA […]

    Amy Sundberg said:
    July 2, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    I always feel so lucky that I’m married to someone who “gets” me and is supportive no matter what new idea I get in my head. It’s also why my writer friends are so precious to me.

    But yes, I hear you. There are also plenty of people who I baffle. 🙂

      Amy K. Nichols said:
      July 4, 2010 at 12:56 pm

      Hi Amy! I’m glad you have a supportive hubby who gets you. I have one, too. I think that makes all the difference. And the friends who get you are the icing on the cake.

      And also, baffling people can be fun.

    Lisa Nowak said:
    July 11, 2010 at 11:35 am

    I totally understand this. I used to have a lot of people in my life (including relatives) who would take, take, take whatever I had to give, often demanding more, and they never gave me anything back. They didn’t understand my dreams, let alone support them. They rolled their eyes or changed the subject when I talked about my stuff. Then I found a great critique group and made new friends. From there, I started seeking out more writers and creating new, healthy bonds. Now I don’t waste time on people who don’t have anything to offer. Instead I give my time and talents to those who are supportive and caring. Life is too short to hang out with self-centered people.

      Amy K. Nichols said:
      July 11, 2010 at 12:19 pm

      Amen, Lisa! Thank you for sharing your experience here. It is such a life-suck to be with people who only take. Kudos to you for finding the courage to step out and find people who believe in reciprocation. I’m always struggling to find balance in this area. I attract takers like crazy, and just a couple of days ago had to set up new boundaries to keep one at bay. It’s ongoing. But you’re right: life is too short to put up with narcissists. 🙂 I might be posting more about this on Monday. Not sure yet.

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