How fragile are your friendships? I mean, let’s get really real here. How do you respond if someone doesn’t reply to your text? What do you do if it seems ‘hard’ to arrange a catch-up? Which of your invisible rules have you articulated to your friends? Are you flexible and generous in your interpretations?
Get it off your chest now. How many friendships have you allowed to slip away because they seemed a bit hard? What meaning have you assigned to someone’s behaviour? They didn’t call (which means I’m not important to them). It is hard to book a catch up with them (they are hard work so I will passive-aggressively do nothing while I wait for THEM to organise it). They have cancelled our last few catch-ups (they mustn’t want to be friends anymore).
WHAT ARE FRAGILE FRIENDSHIPS?
A fragile friendship is one that exists only as long as it is convenient, or somehow rewarding for you.
For example, you have fun with that friend, they value your advice, they are available when it suits you. But when they are going through a rough patch and aren’t fun, they disagree with you, or are difficult to spend time with, you end the friendship. In fact, you end the friendship and justify it by saying that they have changed.
You might say things like;
- They’re too busy these days
- They take too long to reply to texts
- They care more about their new partner/kids/study/job
- We’re just too different
WHAT IS THE VALUE OF YOUR FRIENDSHIPS?
Adult relationships are complex (but not complicated). There are many facets to our lives and there is no such thing as “balance”. That is because at some times, one or another area of our life requires more time, energy & attention than others. As a result, another area will temporarily be put into maintenance mode, or ignored.
What that means is that sometimes your friends will be more focused on their health, their career, their family. Life gets in the way of social connection. This is when you prove the true value of your friendship. Do you write them off? Or do you continue to stay in touch, even if it’s just to send a text every month saying “Hey, I’m thinking of you”.
Even more importantly, how truly do you value the people in your life? Do they only matter if they behave in the way YOU believe that a friend, family member, colleague, or lover behaves? Can you see their deepest treasures not just despite, but BECAUSE they are different to you? Are you willing to let go of your own fragile ego, and appreciate them no matter how they do?
Some of my most precious friendships have been through tough times, periods of no contact for months or years, and growing apart only to later find we have grown back together.
HOW DO YOU AVOID FRAGILE FRIENDSHIPS?
The sooner that we truly accept that we are all deeply flawed, AND gloriously divine, the deeper our connections will be woven. You simply don’t know what is going on in the lives of others. You may not see their pain, frustration, heartache or grief. Until you bring the most generous assumption to their actions, YOU are the friend who is creating the rift.
Unless you have the maturity to articulate your expectations, the courage to maintain your own boundaries, and the kindness to get curious about what is happening for someone else, then you don’t get to ride your high horse into the sunset.
This has, is, and will continue to be the focus of my exploration of my relationships. How do I honour the gifts that each person I have chosen in my life brings? What will I say & do when they inevitably disappoint me by not behaving in the narrow way I desire? Which skills do I need to develop so that my emotional state is independent of the behaviour of others? What can I learn from our differences?
I invite you to join me in this exploration, to take your relationships to a new level and build a global community with deep connection and strong ties.