Hello one and all!
How often do you think about your relationships with people? Not just your closest family and friends, but everyone else who has a connection with you.
Yesterday I happened to think about an old coworker and friend with whom I haven’t spoken in over a year. It got me thinking about the people I do have in my life, and especially my role in maintaining those relationships. So today I took a gander at my phone contacts.
Of the 17 people listed in my phone, this was the breakdown:
4 – people I actively want in my life
6 – people I would like to cultivate stronger relationships with, but I wouldn’t be heartbroken if we lost contact.
3 – obligatory contacts (family & work)
4 – people I either actively don’t want or know I’d be better off without.
I pinpointed a few issues right away.
Of the four people I actively want in my life, I’m only quite close with two of them. Of the other two, one person is someone I simply grew away from, and we haven’t taken the time to properly reconnect and get to know each other again. The last one is someone with whom I have always had (and may always continue to have) a tumultuous relationship with, and I let my fear of conflict prevent me from forging stronger ties. The solution in both cases is, of course, to actively pursue communication and quality time.
With each of the six people with whom I might like to forge stronger friendships with, the common factor is that I tend to let them reach out to me, instead of the other way around.
Then I get to the four people I either don’t want in my life, or would be better off without. Thankfully, one of them hasn’t contacted me in ages. Two of them get sparse replies from me; they are by no means bad people, but my relationships with them have me stuck in the past. The last person is someone I do actively keep in my life. I’d ask myself why, but I already know the answer: guilt, hope, and precedent. It’s not the first time I have kept someone in my life against my best interests, and it probably won’t be the last, but I have had prior success in simply sticking to it until the relationship had much improved and we were both better people. The question I must ask myself is whether it is worth the pain and effort right now.
There are also a handful of people I would like to contact who aren’t even in my phone currently. I think about them, but I haven’t reached out to them consistently or recently.
The theme across these varying categories of people is that I don’t hold up my end or I passively let them dictate the terms of our contact. I have never been a social person, and I tend to need a lot of time to myself, resulting in me putting off communication with people no matter how much I would actually like to speak with them. I also worry a lot about pushing my friendship on someone who doesn’t want it, which leads to inaction and sends an entirely different message. On the flip side, I don’t want to tell someone that I don’t want them as a friend!
What I have to now determine is who I want to pursue relationships with. I cannot put my time into all of them right now, as unfortunate as that is. So I must decide who I want to make my priority and, perhaps, who I need to firmly leave behind. It won’t be an easy decision; it never is. It must be made nonetheless, hopefully for the benefit of all.
Who do you know? Who do you want to know better? Who do you wish you had left behind? Have you made these decisions before, or have you needed to and put it off?
As always, much love and happiness to you all!