Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

When you were considering making a big change in your life did you tell people about your plans?

Asked by JLeslie (54508points) November 27th, 2012

Did most of the people around you support you?

The people who supported you, did they grow inpatient when you didn’t do it fast enough?

Examples would be confiding in people you are unhappy in your marriage, but maybe it took you years until you finally asked for a divorce. Or, talking about starting a business, but not doing it for years. Etc.

Do you wish you had kept your ideas to yourself? Do you wish you had reached out more to people to find supporters? Do the negative voices stick about how your ideas won’t work, or that you never follow through stick with you more than the people who encourage you?

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23 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

No….I kept things to myself until I was sure…..

Bart19's avatar

I made a couple of drastic changes in my life but I never told anyone. I was afraid of people being judgemental and unsupportive. Sadly enough, I was right.

Shippy's avatar

When I decided to sell my home, to cover debt and to seek treatment in the UK since I am from there. Not one friend I told was glad for me. They all said things like “you are nuts” or “you can still make it work here”. I found the whole thing exhausting. Plus irritating.

The only people that said it was a good idea, was my Psychiatrist, and my GP. So no, I have had zero support here. But I expected it, that is why I am leaving here. If I had, had any support here whatsoever, even a friendly ear, I might have stayed.

So for me, I can’t wait to see the back of this experience I have had here. Other supportive people have been here on Fluther, who had read my initial posts. Some even wrote to me and said, you’ve made the decision now “Go for it”. I appreciated that, as I don’t always feel strong in my decisions. Due to my illness.

I have even had friends fight with me verbally over leaving.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Shippy Do you think that’s a UK v America thing? (Unless I mis-interpreted something…)

deni's avatar

I guess the biggest thing I did was deciding to move to Colorado from PA after I randomly met my ex boyfriend that one summer, and he lived here. The part of PA I’m from, people just rarely leave, so it’s a big deal. They are family oriented and take it personally if you move away. My family didn’t, because we are sensible folks and my oldest brother had already moved away and lived a million different places, and my parents are awesome, so they were all for me doing it. But my best friends parents, for example, were so weird about it. “WELL I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY YOU’D WANT TO MOVE THERE.” “Pennsylvania has mountains!” Well whatever, I was glad I made the choice and yes for the most part people were pretty supportive. THey are still jealous and I know a lot of my old friends from home still feel “stuck” and I try to tell them just fuckin pack your bags and quit your dumb job that you’ve had since high school and LEAVE! I don’t get that mindset, which is why I don’t really see these people anymore.

Shippy's avatar

@Dutchess_III No, I’m in S.Africa and moving to UK. I found Fluther my best support on this issue :)

Mariah's avatar

When I dropped out of college due to illness, I was very uncertain about how I was going to proceed. At first I didn’t want to do anything drastic, just go home, heal up, and try again. I remember lying awake one night and just suddenly knowing with certainty that that option was going to do nothing for me. Everything would just happen again. I had been in that cycle for years already, it was just easier in high school.

That night I realized something drastic was going to have to change, and I was pretty much at the end of the line as far as medication options. No more pussyfooting with trying new dosages, bizarre diets, yoga, whatever. Those were all things I did when I didn’t have the guts to do what needed to be done. I had to have surgery.

I didn’t say anything at first. My illness has always been very hard on my parents, and I assumed they weren’t ready to think about me having surgery. I was going to wait for my colonoscopy and see what the doctor recommended. But the night before my colonoscopy, my mom sat down with me and carefully asked, “how will you feel if Dr. P recommends surgery tomorrow?” And I told her I’d be okay. And that I knew in my heart that that was what needed to happen, and that getting the recommendation from the doctor would just solidify my certainty. And it turned out my mom had been having the same train of thought the whole time.

Once it was a certainty, I told the world because I knew I was going to need the world’s support for the next year. And I did, and they supported me, and everything worked out pretty well in the end.

deni's avatar

@Mariah You go girl. You’re much braver than I.

Mariah's avatar

Aw, thanks. You’d be amazed how much “bravery” you can dredge up when you have no other options, though.

augustlan's avatar

When my ex and I decided we needed a divorce, some people were very supportive and others…not so much. A lot of people were shocked, but how they handled the initial shock and the time after it varied widely.

On a more general level, I’m full of ideas and plans that I never seem to implement – and I tend to blab about them. Most of those closest to me have learned not to take these things seriously at first, because I rarely follow through on them. I wish I’d learn to keep all this stuff to myself, so I didn’t come off looking quite so lazy!

Dutchess_III's avatar

You can tell us anything, @augustlan! We won’t make fun of you! (Not when you’re around, anyway! ;)

snapdragon24's avatar

I’ve made the mistake of telling people my plans before obtaining them…and most of the time my plans have changed. So sometimes I felt feel silly. Also people can be major obstacles. You may think they know whats best for you, but sometimes its manipulation, jealousy and the secret need to see you fail, hence provide you with false support. So keep plans to oneself and family members who you trust and people who can help you move forward!

JLeslie's avatar

@augustlan that is how I feel, that people view me as lazy, because I talk about doing things and then don’tact right away. Sometimes I don’t ever do some things. Then there is a plethora of things I have accomplished in my life, but somehow that is overlooked.

I have a friend who wanted to get divorced and ittook her about 5 years to finally do it from the time the writing was kind of on the wall. She told me I was one of the few people who was understanding of how much time it took her to do it, to leave. Personally I don’t know anyone who leaves their marriage when they first start considering it, I don’t really understand why people were so unsupportive of the process she needed to go through. She had total family support for her to divorce, but they had no patience for how difficult it was for her. That is one example I can think of, but there are others.

I have another friend who suddenly will have created a new website or publishing a book. She tends to tell when things are near completion or already up and runnung. I am thinking I should take a lesson from that. She has done so many projects, so many accomplishments. Her motivation and willingness to take risks is fascinating to me. I think things take her time also, but we are less aware of the time put into it. And, I think she does act more, does pursue more avenues and willing to accept failures.

zenvelo's avatar

Not until after I made my move out of the house.

PurpleClouds's avatar

No. I only spoke to those closest to me. I was not interested in anyone’s opinion. I knew what I was going to do.

glacial's avatar

I kind of straddle the fence on this one. Sometimes I’ve announced big decisions to friends and family once all the planning is done, but other times, I feel people out and ask for advice. Probably, the strategy I choose is related to whether I want a little moral support or whether I dread reprisal (or just don’t want to talk about it, in the case of some family members).

I think I would find it hard to keep all of my imminent accomplishments to myself, though – sometimes, it can help (or just feels good) to have someone to say “Yay you!” along the way.

Jeruba's avatar

I don’t like to have anyone looking over my shoulder, either literally or figuratively. So I generally don’t tell anyone what I’m up to until it’s done or at least until it’s a sure thing. I didn’t even tell anyone but my husband that I was pregnant until I’d reached the 5-month mark and couldn’t hide it.

When I’m on some kind of project or making a big decision, I don’t want anyone asking me why I haven’t done it yet or otherwise badgering me about it. I know they mean well and are just expressing interest, but it’s a sure way to kill my enthusiasm for it. And those are the supportive and encouraging voices! I’ve never had anyone try to discourage me from doing something. Still, it makes me feel like I’m being hounded and as if I have to justify myself to someone else. Then it takes on a loading of guilt and becomes the last thing I want to do.

The exception to this is my husband. I’m pretty open with him about most things I’m working on. But I still save some things up until they’re done.

If I were considering something serious and major like a divorce?—I wouldn’t tell anyone.

kimchi's avatar


Serious? I would tell.

No biggie? It’s ‘kay. I won’t tell.

linguaphile's avatar

I had plans to divorce 2 years before the actual Signature Day. I didn’t tell anyone but my mother and therapist at first, then as time went on, told my then-19 year old son, then my closest local friend. That was it. I also planned to move out of Minnesota 2 years before I actually did, and again, only told 3 or 4 people.

I kept everything so far under wraps that the separation and divorce took many people by surprise. A lot of people’s reactions were, “But you two are great together.” Yeah right. And even after the news got out, I wouldn’t explain why.

I’m in a relationship right now and less than 10 people (other than Fluther) know about it. I find that often just not telling people is so much easier—too many people want so bad to give you their unwelcome input.

I agree with Shippy and others. Fluther’s been a wonderful place for support!

JLeslie's avatar

Thank you so much for the answers so far. After reading them through I found myself wondering if you have always been as you are on this topic, or if you changed over the years?

I fornerly was someone who was very opened. Shared my thoughts, and looked for opinions and advice from friends and family. It is still my gut thing to do, but I am thinking about changing it. @Jeruba really captured what happens to me along with @augustlan as I mentioned above.

To reveal what I am thinking to the collective, this just has to do with my next step in my working life. Getting a job or starting a business. I left the Q wide open though, because I didn’t want to limit the answers to career.

@linguaphile I understand keeping marital problems to oneself and divorce, but I never really understood keeping someone you are dating to yourself, like a secret? Why do you do it? I’m not judging, I am curious to understand. I know several people who date and make it a huge announcement or event to finally introduce the person to the family or friends, and I think it adds all sorts of pressure and formality.

Mariah's avatar

@JLeslie To answer your question, I’ve gotten less secretive as time goes on. I realized the importance of support.

linguaphile's avatar

@JLeslie To be honest, I’ve always had this belief that a relationship that is kept a secret is not a relationship to be in, until this one.

I have several reasons but will share the two main ones. I’ll have been apart from my ex for 2 years this January, but my divorce papers were just signed this recent June. Because I was so quiet about the separation, many of my family and friends didn’t really know or process it until very recently. It’s been 2 years, so a new relationship is not “quick” to me, but for them, it’s omg-fast.

Too many people will feel like they have a place to say something, particularly my family. I really don’t want to deal with their advice or opinions, especially since their opinions will be formed quickly and will be myopic—they know nothing about our details. Some of them will probably get snarky and ridicule me because my boyfriend’s 13 years older. I know myself—I’m a people pleaser and tend to get defensive or overly explanatory. I also am very protective of the ones I love, so I will get ruffled and very upset, for sure, even if I’m prepared. I don’t have room in my life for those emotions.

Second, my boyfriend is very well known in the Deaf community—he’s been in 6 Deaf Olympics, was a world-record holder several times, 4 or 5 Pan-American Games and has over 40 medals from all his international games, lived in 7 states and worked with people on an international scale, etc, etc, etc. If someone doesn’t know him directly, they know his equally active brothers or parents. I definitely do not want to be boxed in as “W’s Girlfriend,” especially since I’m new to this state—I want my own identity and I’ve been having fun developing that lately.

Again, for the most part, I disagree with relationships being secrets, but this time around, for a while, I’ll leave us in the closet.

JLeslie's avatar

@linguaphile Understandable. I guess since you usually aren’t secretive it doesn’t really explain why other people tend to do it. I guess that could be a Q if I ever felt like asking.

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