Last week I got an interesting (and divisive) response to the loneliness of
pursuing your goals.
Perfect Manifesto: Fear Pursuing Your Dream? The Reality Isn’t What You Think
Some of you agreed that following your dreams can be a lonely experience.
Others disagreed and said that in their experiences they’d had a fantastic
array of support.
I’m glad for those who’ve had different experiences.
This got me thinking, not that either view was right or wrong, as I think
the answer whether someone supports you will always depend:
· How ridiculous does the dream appear to your
· What is the dream? For the man on the street
does it appear to be realistic?
· What is the character like of those around you?
Are they supportive? Bitter? Apathic?
· What is the personal investment / commitment the
individual gets from you achieving your goal?
· How much time / interest does the individual
have to champion you in your quest?
· Does the individual have experience or think
they know the reality of what it takes for you to reach your destination?
Perfect Manifesto – How Far Should You Go? (When Supporting A Friends Dream?), by James M. Lane
How far do you support your friend?
My experience with my own loneliness in pursuit of dream, is not necessarily
that no one cares, but no one cares in the way you want them to.
Take a friend who has published a book.
To be specific – a fantasy, fiction book.
As a friend, I’m amped that they’ve gone and achieved something they’ve
always wanted to do.
And of course, to show my support, I’ll buy a copy.
Months down the line I’ll catchup with them, and get the dreaded question
“So what did you think?”
I could be honest and say
“Well I got bored and stopped reading after the first chapter”
I’ve not revealed in this scenario that I’m not a massive fiction reader…
especially if it’s fantasy fiction.
It would not be fair to say, as I’m NOT the best person to give feedback in
their pursuit – I struggle to even read authors listed in the New York Times
And so my friend feels isolated – they think no one cares about supporting them to achieve their dream.
Well I do, just not in the way they expected.
How far do you support your friend (if you know they’re going to make a
fool of themself?)
I don’t know if they still do this, but back in the early day of British
signing competition shows they would show early auditions.
The good, the bad, and the tone deaf.
For those that fell in the last category this was public humiliation at the
benefit of TV ratings – something I always felt was a scumbag move from TV
The budding contestant would go through a pre-tape audition lacking the
self-awareness they were not being brought on TV for their talent, but to be
part of the 21st century equivalent of being put in stocks in the
town square to have rotten veg pelted at them.
Perhaps it’s us the viewer that’s in the wrong? If we keep watching
programmes purely to laugh at someone else failing in their dream, just because
we’re not pursuing ours, maybe we deserve shows like that?
When I would see these cringe performances I always thought – where was a
friend member to say
“Hey, I know you don’t want to hear this, but I have to be honest. You’re
not good enough, if you go ahead and do this it’s not going to end well for
Perhaps they did, and stubborn pursuit of “the dream” made them do it
The testing question – if we have a friend (or family member) eager to
pursue a dream they have no chance of realising. When do you step in?
· at risk of getting hurt?
· about to humiliate themselves?
· damaging their own personal growth?
· neglecting other areas of their life?
As both a writer who loves to get feedback on my work – I can relate to any creative who feels support from friends seems hollow.
But also being me, I can relate to myself and why I take the light touch approach like giving money to show support to friends, whose interests I’m not fully invested in getting involved in.
If you’re the person with the big ambition it helps to manage your expectations – if a friend buys what you create, but doesn’t show any further interest, recognise that this is their personal way of showing support to what you’re trying to do.
If you’re the friend, keep doing what you do. Support them in their efforts, give encouragement, constructive feedback.
But be prepared to be honest to protect them whether it’s someone trying to take advantage, or avoiding them from harm.
Wishing you the best in your success (whatever that maybe)
James @Perfect Manifesto
7 thoughts on “How Far Should You Go? (When Supporting a Friends Dream?)”
When reviewing a friend’s book, I’m someone who would be honest in saying that the genre of the book isn’t me, so there is no point in me reading it because I’m not going to enjoy it.
I have a few books from fellow bloggers I’ve not read because I know I will not enjoy the read because the genre isn’t something I enjoy. None have asked me why I haven’t left a review, but any that do will get an honest answer.
What I can’t understand is the groups of authors giving each other’s books 5-star reviews. Surely, not all of those books can be 5-star. It always amazes me how some in those groups pull the wool over their own eyes by not asking the same question. Some of those reviews can’t be true, or have they struck lucky?
What I find frustrating is that nobody even asks me about my blog; never mind give me any feedback.
Many friends have a difficult time giving feedback because a) they don’t want to risk making the relationship awkward and b) negative feedback is really very difficult to give in a way that doesn’t destroy the other person or ruin the friendship.
In the case of your friend, the genre wasn’t something you enjoy, and no matter how well-written the book might be, you may never feel connected with it.
I know a lot of my friends feel awkward reading my books because I get into the personal backgrounds they may not feel they want to handle, and b) they may fear it may not be all that well written, and they don’t want to be the one to tell me.
In truth, some people may find my books to be poorly written, while others have given me amazing feedback.
I dated a man who said he read my book, but he couldn’t remember anything about it worth talking about. Ouch. That never went to a 2nd date, and I had known him for a while.
I also received unexpected feedback from people who were just gobsmacked by what I wrote and felt I had been able to give them some valuable new tools.
Even people who give us negative feedback may not be the ones we need to listen to!
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I agree that it’s difficult to give feedback as a friend as it does make things awkward, I’ll avoid that conversation if they’re not doing anything that’s hurting anyone and they’re enjoying themselves – I don’t want to be the guy point out the glaring spelling error on the opening page of the first book they’ve ever published when they have 2000 copies in their garage to shift! 😂
It’s best if you know someone with a book, to be able to recall some detail, or just admit you’ve not read it!
I feel the feedback needs to come from the right place, as in my example with fantasy fiction, I’m the worst person to ask, as I don’t want to undermine the friend authors confidence when I got bored trying to read the first chapter, when it was never my type of book to begin with.
And true with negative feedback – you can hear it, but you don’t have to accept it if you don’t think it’s coming from the right place!
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I need to review my manuscripts now to make sure there aren’t glaring spelling or grammar errors! LOL
I’ve been debating over this question too and I can relate to your musings. One part of me feels lonely, and another understands that receiving/offering support is very relative… However, I’ve been also aware that sometimes people will not support a dream/goal that makes them feel like you’re ahead of them. In some cases, it is very interesting to explore the shadows… but I don’t think we should pay much attention to it, because the clock is ticking, haha.
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Hi Vanessa, thanks for your comment.
I was reading something talking about that support is not given for that feeling of insecurity because you’re ahead/doing something they don’t dare do!
It’s true life is too short, scratch that itch (so to speak) if you must, but be ready to do it solo!