Is That Your Friend or A Familiar Face From the Past?
We’ve all experienced someone from the past popping back into our lives and expecting the relationship to continue on as it once was. Sometimes, it’s easy to fall back into place. For instance, when I was 14 years old, I made a friend and we knew early on that we’d be friends for life. We were the best of friends through high school though we attended different schools. When I moved into My first apartment, I rented two apartments next door to each other and sublet to My bestie. We are like family.
In 2010 or so he disappeared, I could not find him anywhere. As social media became popular, I searched all over but due to him having quite common first and last names, I could not find him. We finally reconnected in 2018 and from our first phone call forward, it was like we had never missed a beat. He will always be My best friend; no one will ever know Me as well as he does nor share the history we have. In 1999 he held My hand at My mother’s funeral, this year, I held his hand as he laid his mother to rest.
That easy, fall back into place feeling does not happen with everyone, however. In fact, I recently experienced the very opposite and it left Me feeling quite uncomfortable. Unlike with My best friend, this person and I had not bonded over common interest and personality traits, we bonded over trauma and pain. Me talking about, helping work through, and emphathizing with her struggles was the crux of our relationship. We didn’t hang out and have girls’ days or talk on the phone about things that weren’t related to problems, stress or struggle.
We hadn’t seen each other in months, the coronavirus pandemic limiting My interaction with many and how much I enjoyed the peace of not being everyone’s savior, played a big part in it too. I used the excuse of the “big bad virus” to allow Myself time to break unhealthy attachments with people. I have reveled in the quietness around Me when I am not fixing other people’s mess.
I love My coaching clients, but coaching is structured; the people who call themselves My friends will dump their emotions and problems at My doorstep at anytime of day or night without a thought as to what I have taken on or been through that day. It’s like they think I work 24/7.
This “friend” was planning to be in My area and asked if she could stop through. Since we hadn’t seen each other in months, I said sure; I was happy to catch up. The visit didn’t go that way. She arrived and after I asked how things had been, she explained things that had been going on in her life business and personal wise. She filled Me in on her kids and what they’d been up to as well as her health and other things. I patiently waited for her to ask Me about Myself. It never happened. Not once did she inquire what I had been up to during the pandemic, what was new in My life, when I mentioned My son and mate she never once asked how they were. Anything I said, she never asked a follow up question. It felt like she didn’t come here to catch up with Me but instead, to see Me because it made her feel good to share her updates.
I became frustrated after mentioning multiple times that I was preparing for surgery and her not wishing Me well, asking Me any questions about it or even acknowledging it. I kept asking Myself why she had come to visit. I didn’t see My best friend for 8 years and when we reconnected, it was one of the best days ever. We fell right back into old ways like we had never been apart, yet, this woman who I haven’t seen in just 5 months made Me feel like I never even knew her. I realized that when I wasn’t offering advice, there was nothing to say because she showed no interest in Me as a person.
It hurt but was liberating. I’ve known for a long time that we weren’t friends, I wasn’t quite sure what category to put her in because we had definitely crossed the boundaries of business. I was sisterlier than I was a coach so though I felt a need to disconnect, I treated her like family. Today, I realized that it is more than okay for Me to disconnect from people I no longer feel connected to, even if they haven’t done anything wrong. Wrong does not have to be in their action, wrong can be in the way our interaction feels, wrong is anything that unsettles our spirit.
I’ve held on to many relationships out of a sense of loyalty, due to trauma bonds and past their prime. I have promised Myself that I will reevaluate each relationship I currently have and ask Myself truthfully “is this person My friend or just a familiar face that I refuse to let go of?” I have grown so much, the people around Me do not always reflect that and I am ready for that to change.
Have you let relationships go past their prime out of a sense of loyalty?
Are the people in your life a reflection of where you are in life or have they tagged along from parts of your past?
How do you set boundaries in relationships?
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