Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Relationship Confusion.

Syd wrote an excellent two-part post about relationships in the last couple of days.

One of my major confusions in friendships, is deciding how to speak up when I don't like something a friend has said or done. Over my lifetime, I've lost a few friendships, when I've finally reached a limit and said "I didn't like when you..." I think that contributes to my hesitation in setting or maintaining boundaries; I'm afraid that even my small, tempered boundary setting will be taken with such offense that I'll lose the friendship.

What do I do when a friend continues to do, that which I've asked them to not do? Well, how important is it? There will be minor irritations which allow me to practise being more tolerant and accepting, and larger trespasses which feel like disregard or disrespect.

How do I distinguish between the two? There will be days when the former feel like the latter, because I'm hungry, angry, lonely, tired. I've learned to give myself time to reason this out, but with a limit. I like to wait until I'm in an excellent mood, and then consider the problem, because that's when I'm at my most tolerant.
I reason it out with my sponsor, because she has the ability to  pick out the one vital element in the relationship, and ask me to discuss that aspect, and how or why it works in the way it does, and whether it is respectful or dismissive.

My first sponsor asked me a question about my friendships that opened up an entirely new line of thinking: "How do you usually feel, after an encounter with a friend?"

It may sound silly now, but up until she asked me that, it hadn't ever occurred to me that if I felt unhappy, frustrated, irritated, annoyed or negated, dismissed, any of those feelings, perhaps the friendship wasn't a good fit for me. I had grown to adulthood with those feelings being the major part of the relationships described to me as "loving," so why would I think differently?

I've used that question ever since, and it has made it possible for me to work my way through the murk and fog of my own denial, to realise that when I feel those things after being with someone, I'm doing both of us a disservice. I don't want any more passive aggressive friendships, in which I'm often feeling as though I'm in the wrong, for a reason unexpressed.

I don't have to keep contact going, because of time spent together in the past, that't not a good enough reason. I have friends from whom, after a few hours in their company, I take my leave with  a full heart. We delight each other. That's what I'm aiming towards, more of those - I deserve it.


  1. What a great post, and a nice complement to Syd's. Thank you for sharing. I'm glad you came out of blogging "retirement."

  2. Great post, thank you! Completely relevant --also comforting -- to me today!

  3. Excellent. I am dealing with some issues with a friendship that mirror what you write about here. I come away feeling negated, irritated, dismissed and unhappy. I am now examining my motives for even being in the friendship. But I'm tired tonight so will pray about it and re-examine in the morning.