Friday, January 22, 2010


Here I am, probably overthinking things as usual. But I read this post by Listen To Who I Am and it really got me thinking.  I especially liked his last paragraph:

I’ve found that my most rewarding and enriching relationships are those where, instead of trying to settle into a defined role, I allow the relationship to remain suspended in the unknown. I allow the other person to be. I let them define who they want to be and how they want to interact with me. I also try not to assign meaning to shifting and evolving relationships. During times of shifting, the temptation might be to more rigidly adhere to our unwritten rules of relationships as a desperate attempt to hold on to what we think is slipping away. As a result, we unwittingly limit where the relationship can go and the ways that it can teach and feed us.
I think that's a very positive way to approach things, and I'm going to start using it.  I've got this friend that I'm currently struggling with -- at least I think I am, but it also is very possible that it's only me that's struggling and he has no idea.  I'm kind of a Holden Caulfield sometimes, in that a lot goes on inside my head and  I don't necessarily interpret things the way other people do...I read too much into things, or overreact, or underreact, or miss social cues, etc. Lol I don't want to make myself sound as crazy as Holden, but I always try to look at things from a few different viewpoints and interpret things a few different ways to make sure I'm not locking myself into one wrong interpretation.  This serves me well sometimes -- for example, if someone is rude to me I can dismiss it pretty easily and tell myself they don't matter or they don't really mean it, or I can stay calm in stressful situations and not let panic set in. But it also causes me to think way too much sometimes and have too much analysis and not enough action. Or I just confuse myself and not know what to think or do.

Anyway, back to my friend, and the above quote. I guess I've assigned him the role of "best friend" and I've expected him to act the way I think a best friend should act...i.e. talking to me every day, hanging out with me fairly regularly, opening up to me about his struggles and the details of his life. And then when he doesn't I overthink things. My first instinct is to think "well I guess he just doesn't want to be friends, or as good friends as I want to be." And then I feel sad and depressed, and try to look at it from another viewpoint:  "I'm overreacting, he's just very busy with school and work and other friends, and by feeling bad I'm being too possessive, and that's bad...chill out, David." But then I continue to think, and tell myself "well what if I'm just trying to excuse his behavior and I'm missing important social cues, and he actually doesn't really want to be good friends, so I should just move on and save myself the pain."  And on and on it goes, and I end up either keeping my feelings to myself and gettting mad or sad, or I overreact and say stupid things and act like a victim and blah blah blah. Ugh.

So....what to do. We haven't talked for a week or so, and we usually talk every day. I'm waiting for him to initiate contact, but he hasn't. Which, if I let it, could lead to a whole 'nother round of overthinking.  So...advantages of contacting him:  it would show that I'm not stubborn, it would keep a friendship from drifting away, it would (maybe) get my needs met by making me feel good by hearing from him, it would let him know I'm there for him even though he's very busy. Disadvantages of contacting him: it would make me feel like we have a one-sided friendship and reinforce that we don't talk unless it's me that makes contact. It would possibly bring up sad/negative feelings that I've somewhat put behind me having not talked to him lately.  Advantages of NOT contacting him:  I apply what the quote says...I let him define who he wants to be and how he wants to interact with me. I back off from the rigid role I've assigned him, and just let things evolve.  And I focus on new opportunities with others that have recently presented themselves.  Disadvantages of NOT contacting him: I'm left in limbo, which is uncomfortable for me. I'm left wondering why.  And I'm opening the possibility that the friend will drift away, leaving me sad (although putting energy into a friendship that needs to drift away would be even more frustrating)

What to do, what to do....keep thinking, I guess.

Thanks for listening to my random thoughts. :)


Anonymous said...

Hey...I have some suggestions. When you get into your Holden moments, run those thoughts through the gauntlet of the following 5 questions to test their validity.

1) Are you absolutely sure that it's true?

2) Does it bless your life in anyway when you think or believe it?

3) What effect does it have on you when you think that or believe that?

4) Could an opposite statement or thought be true?

5) When you think about the answers to these questions, how does it make you feel?

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