Sunday, 6 April 2014

Exactly How Long Is This Gonna Take?!

Getting your thoughts down on paper (or screen, as the case may be) is therapeutic, as I'm coming to learn.  But sometimes, as some things become clearer, others become a little more muddy.

So I'm sitting in a bit of mud right now.  Having learned over the past year or so, that I no longer want any part of one way friendships and relationships, I have the gained the backbone and the self-respect I need to ensure I teach people how to treat me.  And twice this past week I had the opportunity to do just that.
 I didn't revert to those old behaviours of putting things in my calendar when the statement was "day ABC might work."  I didn't call or text the night before to confirm whether Day ABC still "might work" and I went on with my Day ABC as if I had no plans.  Because I didn't.  Did I want to meet up with this friend on that date?  Sure I did.  But I also wanted to begin teaching her how to treat me.  I wanted her to know that I would be happy to meet up with her for coffee and chit-chat, but that she could begin bearing some of the responsibility for making that happen.  I have been doing the planning for 11 years after all.  I think it's time!  And yes, I realize I taught her (and others) that I would gladly take on that responsibility, but, as I have discovered recently, that has created 2 things in my life:

1.  Complete and utter exhaustion over always being responsible for the maintenance of time with friends

2.  Friends who think they can have me in their lives and not put in any effort

Neither of these things are good.  The one is wearing me down both physically and emotionally, the other creates a sense of self-worth that is less than stellar because I don't see others putting in the effort that I put in for them.

So, I was proud of myself for handling last week's lunch date as I did.  Maybe not a big deal (and I think she was annoyed) but I took a step in the right direction towards making it clear that I wanted a partnership and that I intend for my friendships to be Two-Way Streets.  Not always 50/50 because we are all needy at certain times in our lives, but a Two-Way Street nonetheless.

You will recall from earlier posts that I likened this to standing in the middle of a field, waiting for these friends to meet me halfway.  I'm still there, the friendship door is still wide open, but I need them to meet me halfway.  I think that is not only fair, but the foundation of any good relationship; be it friendship, family or romantic.

But, as with any great light bulb moment, the clarity brings with it more questions.  And here's mine:

Exactly How Long Is This Gonna Take?!

Seriously!!  How long do I stand here in the middle of my field waiting to be met half way?  Is there a time limit?  When do you finally just walk away and realize that they are unwilling or incapable of meeting you?  If you walk away too soon, do you risk losing them?  If you wait out there all alone too long, does that make you a fool?

So that is the proverbial mud I am stuck in right now.  The muddy waters of friendship, made muddier (ironically!) by the clarity I have reached in the past few months.  At what point do I realize that they are not coming out to meet me?  Is it weeks, months, years?  Because I can tell you with one particular friend that I have been standing there for close to a year....waiting.....hoping......that she will WANT to meet me halfway and put in the effort to repair and maintain this friendship.  Have I waited long enough?  How do you know?  At what point do you shrug your shoulders and walk away?  And are you willing to deal with the loss that will create?

Oooooo there's the kicker!  Are you willing to deal with the loss?  Cuz right now, as I stand in that field, I still have hope.  I'm still waiting and hoping and holding my breath.  Hoping that our friendship is important enough and valuable enough for them to put in the effort required to maintain it.  And yet I'm still standing there.  

So how do you know how long to stand there?  Why is there no handbook for this?  And are you better off realizing that they will not be meeting you and dealing with the loss, or standing there forever in perpetual hope of something that may never happen?  Both are painful in their own way.  I'm just not sure when you know the time has come to walk away.

And as the quote says, you need to "respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy."

So maybe it's time..........

~ The Lazy Gourmet

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