People will walk in and out of your life. People will resonate with your spirit, your personality, your energy. People will connect with you, enjoy your company, and want to be with you.
And some people won't.
I was raised to make friends with everyone. To not have cliches (pal around with one or two individuals exclusively). I was not allowed to spend more time with one person than others, even if I admired them greatly and wanted a close relationship with them. I was taught to give everyone the same attention and love, not make someone feel more important then someone else. At any point I felt rejection in a connection, I was taught to move on. To find a grandmother, a mother struggling with little kids, a little kid that needed help. And if I couldn't find that, I was told to go write someone a letter or walk alone and spend time with me.
As a child this was hard. Everyone had a Best Friend. Everyone had special people over for Slumber Parties, Birthday's and like Events. I didn't get to participate (even if I had been invited the answer would have been No). I had to learn to like the options I got in creating relationships, or I was going to be frustrated because the rules were the rules.
This has brought me a ton of friends. It has connected me to a boat load of people. It has made me able to lead Networking Groups, Facebook Groups, Bible Study Groups, do Speed Dating, Dance Lessons, Dinner Clubs, Singles Cruise, Conferences and more with the ability to bridge the gap, meet new people, connect everyone together, learn each persons story, when most people would be nervous with strangers, only talk to people they know at Events or hide. Honestly, I am not a naturally outgoing person, this has become a learned skill that I have cultivated to create connection.
Yet, this very thing that has been a huge blessing in my life has also brought deep friction in friendships when others have expectations to be my closest girlfriend or expect that when they meet me I will just make time for them all the time. It has caused those that feel I expect them to be as open and vulnerable as I am with them, back with me. It has caused some to feel jealous of the friendships I have with many people. It has made some feel I do not value their friendship because I do not call, text, write, or visit them often. It has caused some to judge both me and the people who I consider to be my friends because of how I have lived my life, trying to be a ripple effect in my circle of friends.
There are four things that help me work through this when it happens and I want to share it with you in case you have challenges in your relationships.
1. Those that want to spend time with you will. Those that really value your relationship will make it work, even when you live out of state. Those that want to learn what it takes to have a relationship with you will ask. We all get busy. We sometimes have to say I am sorry, things have been chaotic, complicated, and my schedule hasn't had time, but I would like to make time in a week or so, what do you have available? If someone keeps making excuses, it probably is not that important to them or there is something else in their life that is getting their focus and creating relationships isn't one of the top 10 things in their life. When we really consider the relationship to be important, we will put it on our calendar. Cultivate deeper connections with those that make time for you. Let those that don't run around living their life and let them join you when they are ready, if they ever are, and don't judge them.
2. Sometimes this means we will have to be the one to uncover what their expectations are in the relationship. This means asking them what their Love Languages are (yes, this applies to friends too not just romantic relationships, in fact I make my employees take this test during their hiring process because it helps the work relationship too). It takes asking what do they need from the relationship to feel connected and to let them know that they matter. If you are not aware the relationship is extremely important to them, whether that is in phone calls, face to face time, or letters, how can you change? Figure this out. Put effort into it, even if they don't, to do your part. Seek to understand before you are understood.
3. Relationships goes through phases. Just as each one of my Counselors / Mentors / Coaches have been a huge part of my life, they have had Chapters. I do not necessary keep in touch with, follow, or read everything they write now because I am working with a new Coach. Does that mean they don't matter to me? Or I don't like their content? It doesn't necessarily mean that. I may have grown beyond what some of them teach. I may not connect with them the same way I did when I was going through a previous Chapter, or I may just need a new perspective from someone new. Someone who doesn't have all the back history that can see something differently then I can. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut in a relationship and need to be challenged further. Sometimes some people have a limit on how far they can grow us.
Relationships can be the same way. Some will feed you for a time. Some will add value for a Chapter. Some aren't meant to be in your life for a long period of time. Some need to be taken away so that you will grow the way you need to because if they stayed in your life, it would stunt your growth. Honor, respect, appreciate, love and have fond memories of the part this person played in your life. If you wanted them in your life longer then they were, let them know. Don't harbor this. If they don't want you on the same level, release expectations and allow them to pursue their own journey. I promise, God will bring someone else in their place. You might not see now why they have been removed, but in time, it becomes clear. It doesn't mean it won't hurt, but if you focus on the good memories, it will help you to heal and let go.
4. Sometimes things are going on behind the scenes that even a very close person knows nothing about. Sometimes the individual will build walls, become reclusive, quiet, shut you out, not because of you but because life itself has gotten so hard that they are fearful. Or maybe they are just trying to live today and to make time for you would send them over the edge. Believe the person is being honest with you when you ask if you have done something to cause harm in the relationship. Ask how you can support them. Ask if there is anything you need to know so you can pray for them. Ask, don't assume. Don't build a story. Get the facts. Don't rely on what someone else tells you is going on in their life. Connect and inquire to learn for your own good, not to share or gossip with others, but to assist the relationship. This will create trust. Connection. Vulnerability. Authenticity. And add lots of value to the relationship.
I've had to remind myself of these things with a situation that happened the weekend after my birthday. I promise relationships are worth it, even if they seem complicated at times. Step forward and be vulnerable and love, unconditionally. Treat someone else the way you want to be treated, even when they are rude, angry, say hurtful things, or don't respond to getting together with you like you want them to. 99% of the time, it isn't about you, it is stuff they have going on in their own life. Just love.
#TheSassyVoice #RelationshipsMatter #ShareInEachOthersLives #CircleOfFriends #SeekToUnderstand #LoveOnPurpose