The truth about your relationships:
You’re a part of every single one of them.
You are the common denominator.
Although uncomfortable and uneasy, even your hard relationships are a reflection of you. That girl that always has something snarky to say? Why is that triggering? You sister in law that always wants to comment on your parenting–and she doesn’t even have kids? Yeah, you’re a part of that. Any interaction that involves two people, has two parts. These two parts make up what’s happening and what happens after the fact.
Let’s talk about your part.
The truth is you can own the result of any relationship — WITHOUT controlling the other person and WITHOUT needing them to act a certain way or say a certain thing. Your part and being intentional about your part is how you’ll create and maintain meaningful relationships.
Let’s talk about friends.
If you scan through your mind and think of all the people that you consider ‘friends,’ do you think they would all think the same about you? Maybe. Maybe not. You get to think about the relationship however you want and it’s okay if you think about it differently than the other person. Now think of some people that you consider to be acquaintances rather than friends. What makes the difference for you? Why do some people end up in one column over the other? The only difference is your pre-determined definition of what a friend is and what an acquaintance is. I think it’s highly possible that some people on your ‘acquaintance’ list may think of you as a friend, and vise versa. This pre-determined definition thing throws us off and then we go down a spiral of mental gymnastics real quick and may end up in the loser column because according to our pre-determined definition ‘friends’ are supposed to do certain things. When they don’t, we may be susceptible to thinking we have no friends, or aren’t supported, or no one likes us. That doesn’t have to be your reality.
Let’s talk about that.
Stop turning what other people do into something about you! I’m going to say it again slower — because this is really important! Stop turning what other people do (or don’t do!) into something about you! (Was that slower in your head when you said it? 😉 Let’s say you think a friend should reciprocate after you’ve invited her out to lunch. You’ve been waiting weeks, or possibly months, and she hasn’t reached out, texted, or said boo in all that time. The easy thing would be to let your brain go down the default setting of ‘oh, I’m not interesting/She doesn’t like me/She must have better friends/I don’t fit in with them/I must have said something awkward when we were together last time/She doesn’t have room in her life for another friend.’ Notice how all of these statements have turned what she’s doing (or not doing in this case) into something about you?? This is not necessary. It leads to feeling isolated, lonely, bored, sad, resentful, and a whole host of other yucky emotions. You can feel differently about it by thinking differently about it. Maybe ‘she must have a lot going on, I should check in with her.’ would work for you. Or here are a few other possibilities: ‘she’s still my friend even though I haven’t seen her in a long time.’ ‘I love having lots of friends and some I see a lot and some I don’t see very often, and that’s okay’ or ‘I want to see her, so I’m going to stop by!’ — this last one is great because it disregards all the ‘rules’ you have established about what a friend is supposed to do in order to be considered a friend.
Remember, you are the common denominator. You are a part of every relationship you have. Your kids, your spouse, your friends, and your family, plus anyone else. You’re a part of each one. Own your part & the truth of your relationships will result in more meaning, more fulfillment, and far LESS wrongful thoughts that you are not fun, not cool, or not fun enough to have friends.