I have had a lot of friends, and I have lost a lot of friends. Friends come and go, it’s just a fact of life. Someone once told me that relationships are funny things… sometimes they just fall apart. People change, grow in different directions, lose touch.
Sometimes relationships end in emotionally violent ways. I’ve had my fair share of those endings… and then some.
Some friendships just sort of drift off into nothing, with no rhyme or reason, they just disappear. One day you find yourself wondering, “what happened to so-and-so?” That’s happened to me as well… at least a couple times.
Through all of these friendships, though, one thing has been a constant in my life.
I am the person you don’t call.
You don’t check up on me. You don’t pop in and post a “Hey, how are you?” on my Facebook wall. I don’t find messages from you in my email inbox. You don’t text me.
What little contact between us that you actually initiate… most, if not all, of it seems pretty shallow.
A Christmas card that makes me feel like I am just a name in your address book.
A “Happy Birthday” post on my wall when we all know that Facebook reminded you.
Phone calls only when you think I might be able to do something for you. Like you need to fly somewhere and you think I might be able to get you a cheap ticket… that’s a pretty common one.
There are a few exceptions to this. I have one long term relationship that consists of almost no real contact between us but is strong enough to withstand the distance, and a relatively new relationship that has grown very close very quickly and consists of regular contact. And, of course, I have to mention my husband… someone who contacts me multiple times a day, every day, and even though I sometimes get irritated when his phone calls constantly interrupt my reading, TV shows, and/or blog post writing… I love him that much more for calling all the time anyway.
But for the most part, no matter how I try and build friendships, it almost always comes down to this… I put in a lot of effort until I tire of it… then I sit back and wait to see if you will reach out to me… and then it all just falls apart. Because you never reach out to me. So when I stop reaching out to you, there just isn’t anything left to keep it going.
I think that I have often put more into relationships than was necessary or appropriate, and I think that I often have much higher expectations of others than I should, and I think that, sometimes, I want more from people than they are able to give. It has taken me a long time to realize that I shouldn’t do these things. It’s taken me so long to figure out that I should not expect anything from anyone and I should just allow relationships to follow whatever path they are destined to follow without getting too wrapped up in them. Without asking much. Without expecting anything.
But, on the other hand, if everyone took this stand offish approach, how would any relationship ever progress anywhere??
A couple years ago I just dropped the expectations. Sometimes I still get offended or upset. Then I remind myself that I am judging unfairly. That this person meant no harm to me. And I should accept people for who they are and for where they are in their life and in their relationships. And I let it go…
If you are reading this and you actually know me, please don’t take this as a guilt trip. Don’t take this as a cue to call me… I am generally a quiet person who likes to spend time alone; sudden phone calls from everyone would just piss me off, quite frankly. And I have to wonder if maybe… just maybe… the fact that I like to just be alone sometimes is a vibe I am subconsciously giving off to others. Maybe… just maybe… I only want others to reach out to me because I am lacking self-esteem in certain areas and I am hoping for some sort of validation… validation that needs to come from me, not you, anyway.
I’ll leave you with this…
Freeing myself from worrying about what other people are thinking in terms of my relationship to them has freed up some space in my mind to focus on other things… like where I am at with myself.
In the list of qualities that I am okay with vs. ones that I need to change?
I’m okay with being the person you don’t call.