Dr. Marvette Lacy Ph.D., (she/her) is the founder and CEO of Qual Scholars where she helps higher education folks finish their dissertations and start a profitable consulting business.
In this week’s episode, Dr. Lacy friendships during the dissertation process and how you can come from a place of love and keep your communication open so you can preserve your relationships with your friends even if you go in different directions.
Hey, you can finish your dissertation and start a profitable consulting business. I’m Dr. Marvette Lacy, and I’m here to show you exactly how to do that. Welcome to the Office Hours with Dr. Lacy podcast, where we talk about all things healing from your higher ed trauma. So you could become doctor and live happy, free and pay. Now let’s get to this week’s episode.
Hello, welcome back to a new week of the podcast, how y’all doing so today we’re going to be talking about relationships. Today’s episode is titled being a real friend and then relationships in general can be quite a journey and the relationships in the doctoral process could even be more of a journey. And today I want to talk about relationships, particularly in a doctoral process. And I am going to first spend some time defining your relationships, how I understand them, which may be a bit different than probably Like what you’ve heard before, I’m going to to talk about some common things that I see come up within the relationships in a more of an academic context, especially during the doctoral process. And then I will leave you with some things to consider or reflect on as you go about your work your work and your week.
Join Defend Your Dissertation!:
But first I want to take an opportunity to talk to you about Defend Your Dissertation, the program, the defend your dissertation program. It is a 12 week course designed to help you finish your final chapters of a dissertation and prepare for the big defense. And we have had some students come into the program over the past couple of weeks, and, um, they have hit the ground running because you get immediate access to all the materials and they have commented that they appreciate the thoughtfulness, the thoroughness, the simplicity of the materials. And we’ve even had students complete the program in a matter of days, and like go on to successfully defend their dissertations. And so this is the final call. If you are someone who has been considering joining the program, first of all, like what are you waiting for? But second of all You need to come on child and make a decision because the doors are closing Friday, October 22nd. So if you’re listening to this in real time, just know you only got a couple of days from when this episode comes out to get into the program before we close the doors. And I don’t want you to block your blessings. So I’mma want you to come on over to qualscholars.com and sign up today. All right.
Being a Real Friend:
So back to today’s topic. So relationships, how I come to understand relationships is that relationships with other people only exist in the thoughts that we have about the other people we are in a relationship with. I’m going to give an example because I know some of y’all are like, say, what now are you scratching your head? But relationships only exist in our thoughts. So to give an example, right, we all have a friend or maybe it was you, but we just gonna keep it cute and say, it was your friend, um, who met somebody probably on one of those dating apps. And just for funsies, they met on plenty of fish. Cause y’all know how, how it goes down in PoF and so your friend goes, they go out with this person that they met on POF and they had an amazing time. They come back and they talking to you, like, I think I found the person I’m going to marry, right? Like next thing you know, your friends, she over here making plans about future vacations and what they going to do that barbecue next summer. And she constantly calling and texting this person. And you just sitting over there like how we get here. Y’all only went out on one date. You don’t know this person, but because you’re not your friend, cause y’all need to know your friends. Okay. And you know, they pattern, you’re just going to sit there and just patiently pettily we gonna go, we gonna go with it.
It’s a word ya’ll. Um, and just wait for the other shoe to drop because you know, inevitably that other person that they can’t stop talking about. And they had this amazing time with they can stop calling that person stopped responding to your friends, calls and texts, right? You’re friend start like wondering what happened. And she start stalking the person on Facebook, seeing if she’d been left on read or not. Right. And you from the outside, looking in can see that, you know, maybe girl, you came on a little bit too strong, but for your friend though, she had an amazing connection on that first day. And she like, I don’t understand what’s happening. And so if we take a step back a little bit, your friend had thoughts about how awesome this person was on their date and how they seem to be able to talk to this person about anything. Like they talk for hours in a day and your friend could clearly see in her mind that this person checked off all the right boxes. And so therefore it was cool to start making future plans. However, the person, she went on a date with maybe had some different thoughts ok. Like that person probably thought you had a date was cool and all. And I’m interested in learning a little bit more about her, but I’m not making no future plans yet. Or maybe they had entirely different intentions altogether, or maybe they didn’t even have a good time on a date. We don’t know. Right.
And this is hypothetical, but here’s the thing I want you to realize both your friend and the person they went on a date with. They went to the same place. They went to the same restaurant. They had the same conversation, but they each walked away with different thoughts and those different thoughts, those different individual thoughts led them to having different individual feelings, thus acting differently as well because our thoughts create our feelings and our feelings create how we act, how we show up, how we behave. Right. It’s like going to the movies like you went to go see end Game if you are a Marvel fan is it Marvel. Yeah. Y’all listen, it’s been a day. But it’s like, yall went to, you went to the end game, which your brother or y’all was watching it at the house or something Cause it is COVID up in the streets. Right. And when the movie go off after five hours later, cause its long y’all, I’m exaggerating, but not really. Um, after the movie goes off, right, your brother like that was that wasn’t good. That was whack. Like that’s how they going end it. And you were probably able to like, this is the best ending ever, right? Y’all watched the same movie, but y’all had different thoughts about it. Right? The same is true in relationships. Everything that we experience in the world, it really comes down to how we think about it.
Right. And that is how two people could be in the same movie or two people can be in the same relationship and think about it completely different or act completely different. Right? One person like in this example was planning forever. And the other person was like, this was cute to do for a day. Right. But the, the reality of it, the date was the same. The actions were the same. You just walked away differently from that. And I wanted to start off with this example to further illustrate what I’m about to say when it comes to relationships, right? So you probably have a bestie or two in your program right now, right in your doc program. And you probably had a bestie who has since graduated. Right. But before they graduated, you and this person helped each other a lot. Right. Y’all helped each other Get through coursework. You helped each other study for exams. You started the dissertation process together, but then maybe you started having a hard time or maybe like a lot of life started happening at once. And for whatever reason, right? You had to slow down your progress or it’s just taking you a little bit longer to get through your dissertation. But then your friend, for whatever reason, kept going and, your friend ended up finishing their dissertation while you were over here, still just trying to figure out what your topic was going to be and how to get out of the literature review like hell right. And so your friend defends.
And they graduate and they move on to the, from the program and maybe they got a new job. Right. And you may then begin to feel stuck or like a failure, or like you start to make your friend moving on from the program you started to make that mean that something is wrong with you because you’re friend finished before you did. Right. And this doesn’t necessarily come from a malicious or a place of jealousy. Although that definitely happens. And if you want more information, like if you’re like, no jealousy, is it for me? I’m going to want you to go listen to episode 108, where I talk about how to deal with jealousy in this process. But today this is more about the friendship, the relationship in and of itself. Right? And it’s about how your friend completing their dissertation before you is highlighting how for how much further you have to go. Right? And simply put, you may think like, just something is wrong with me. Or you may feel a lot of shame and guilt, right? You may be like, how did they finish before I did? We started off at the same place. We were struggling and then what happened? They must have more support or something must have changed or they must’ve kept something from me.
Our brain goes to a negative place:
Right? Like your brain will naturally go to this place. And it usually will go to more of a negative place. It’s just how our brains work. It’s nothing wrong with you. It’s not that your brain is different. It’s just what our brains tend to do. Especially when it doesn’t have any clear direction to go off of. Like, if you don’t consciously direct your brain to think positive, then it’s going to go negative. And because your friends, right. It’s like, that was a big source of support for you. And then they graduate. You may be fun, a little bit lost or stuck, or like what, what, um, what am I supposed to do now? And then as time starts to go on, you’ll probably start thinking things like I can’t ask them for help because they are too busy or my best friend can’t help me with my dissertation. So there’s no reason to tell them I’m struggling with it. Or I’m having a hard time figuring out this whole literature view. And is my topic Even a topic, or I don’t want to, you know, we both got trauma from this raggedy program. I don’t want to re stimulate or retraumatize them with my problems. Right. We started thinking all of these types of things, but just like your home girl, from the example, from the beginning of this episode, with the first date, you start then acting from a place of these questions and these assumptions and these thoughts about the relationship, right?
You and your friend are still in the relationship. You and your friends still have the same history of helping each other, get through the classes and the test and whatnot. But then because you now have this circumstance where your friend has graduated, you start making this mean all sorts of things about you and about the relationship, right? You start being very hypervigilant about certain things, right? And maybe this may lead to you Like you start reaching out to them as much, right. You stop Um, you decide like, I can go ask them if they want to write with me on Saturday. I can’t, I’m not going to update them about what’s going on with me or about the program because they done don’t want to deal with it. Right? Like they got trauma or they don’t, they are over it. Like you, you are acting, you believe that you’re acting from a place of consideration and of a place of like supporting your friend in a way. Cause you don’t want to bring up old stuff. Right. However, right. Like but you start acting not as you normally would in your relationship, like you start making decisions on their behalf or you Start assuming that they must be thinking this or doing this, or this is what this mean when they did that. Like for instance, like if you call them and they don’t pick up or they don’t call you back, right.
You may take that as further proof that this person is no longer your bestie or your friend and you can’t depend on them. No more. And let me be all the way clear that absolutely relationships or people who switch up once they graduate. I am not trying to sit here and be like, no, this is a you thing. Only you thing, can only be a you thing. I am saying though, from my experience, my personal experience and from working in coaching with clients, usually somebody leaving and switching up is few and far between the actual, like what’s really happening. Usually each person in the relationship and the friendship begins to make assumptions about the other person and act from those assumptions. Right?
Just like home girl with the date, because she thought she had a connection with home, like with the person she went out with. Right. Just because she thought she had a connection, she started making future plans. But all of those, like the connection, like all of those were just her own thoughts in her own mind that she decided was true. And she just started, she decided to act from and the same way, when two people, when something changes or they have a significant transition, right. Each person may then start making assumptions about what those changes and those transitions mean. And then they start acting from that because they take those assumptions as fact. Right. And really all that is happening is a lack of clear communication, right? A lack of expressing needs explicitly. Um, and just a lot of low effort of like making a relationship work is leading to the distance in the relationship because right, the two of you are no longer in the same program.
Relationships require some effort:
You’re no longer physically, probably in the same place with the same schedule. Right? And as a result of the relationship dynamics had to shift because of a transition which may require like nothing has gone wrong. It just means that because you’re not in the same place with the same schedule and the same things going on, more planning and coordination are needed it to see each other, right. To talk to each other, to support one another. And usually what I’ve noticed that the want and the motivation to support one another is there. But because of this new life transition or a circumstance, it has shifted how you interact with each other, right? It’s not as easy to do it as it was before when you had your old pattern and your old way of thinking. And I also want to say like, you cannot control how another person thinks or feels or acts like you can only control how you think and how you feel, how you act.
Right. You can decide that your bestie is still your bestie. You can decide to continue to think loving thoughts about them. You can still have feelings of love towards them. And you can still act from a place of love. Right? You can decide to be understanding that they didn’t respond when you call them, knowing that they just started a new job. And they’re trying to get adjusted. You can reach out and ask them to meet with you on Saturday morning for a writing session, you can plan a trip during the holiday break and ask them to join you. Right. That is what I I’m saying. It may take a little bit more effort than you’re usually like used to giving. Right. And now listen, I can hear y’all now I hear you now that some of y’all are like, yeah, but why do I have to do all the work? It’s a two way street. We both in this situation.
Do you want to be right or be a friend?:
And my response would be to ask, and if you’ve been a follower for a long time, you know, what’s coming, do you want to be right Or do you want to be friends with this person? You can have both, do you want to be right? Or do you want to be friends? Because again, we cannot control other people. We can not make them do what we want them to do, or we can’t make them act the way we think they should act. When they, when they are supposedly our best friend, all you can do, All you have control over is how you think about them and what you make their actions mean. Do you want to think the best or do you want to think the worst of them? Right? And if you have come to the conclusion that this person or this relationship no longer serves you, then you have to make a decision about how you will move forward. You can decide to take action from this place, um, to try to get them to respond in a certain way. You can decide not to call or not to text or not to plan anything, but do not make those decisions, do not act that way Thinking it’s going to get them to call you and text or plan something with you because maybe they will respond, but maybe they wont, but here’s the thing.
And more importantly, do you want to take this action from a place of manipulation and people pleasing? And I know that just hit somebody in a chest and if it didn’t, it’s going to hit you later. Cause that’s a whole other podcast. Shaw, listen, when you try to take action from a place, cause you’re trying to get somebody else to do something. You are manipulating, you are people pleasing people. Pleasing is just another form of manipulation. People pleasers are liars. People pleasing are like, you’re changing how you think and how you feel and lying about like, you want an order because you think it’s going to make the other person think about you a certain way or feel a certain way about you or do something for you. Or like, if they feel good, then you can feel good. Like this is a whole other podcast episode. And people do this. Like we do this commonly in relationships where we will be like, well, I’m just not going to call them. And I’m just gonna wait for them to call me: manipulation. I’m just call a spade, a spade it’s Manipulation.
So as you move forward this week, here’s a few things I want you to think about. What are your thoughts about your relationships? How do those thoughts influence how you feel about those people? How do those feelings influence how you interact with those people? So asked another way. Are you only feeling good with people you’re in a relationship with when they act the way you think they should? Or do you fully accept them as they are? That’s going to do it for me, that’s going to do it for me this week. Y’all come on over to Instagram and let us know. And I’m gonna talk to y’all next week. Bye for Now.
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