As we mature we realise that it is less important to have lots of FRIENDS, and far more valuable to have a few, no bullshit, loyal, real FRIENDS.
Problems in our FRIENDSHIPS are not stop signs; they are guidelines and alarms that clearer conversation is required.
Whenever an Emotional Fitness client shares with me embarrassed feelings about being hurt because someone has DEFRIENDED them via a text, letter or on social media, there are a few questions I start with.
- Were you ever FRIENDS in the real world, or only ever online?
If the FRIENDSHIP was initiated online only and if the two people have never met it is a very different kind of connection. It can only be a superficial FRIENDSHIP without person-to-person contact. Still meaningful yes, but reliable beyond an electronic connection and transportable like “in the flesh” FRIENDSHIPS? No. The total basis of all information in online FRIENDSHIPS is via text or video, therefore inhibits total reality no matter how intimate the communication has become. When online relationships translate into offline FRIENDSHIPS only then does the relationship have the possibility of evolving.
If my client was DEFRIENDED by an online “FRIEND” only in this situation real feelings of rejection are of course still valid, however, the person that has DEFRIENDED the other has only ever been experienced in one dimension. Cyberspace. It is easy to remain a coward behind a screen and thus never face the person rejected in the flesh. The stories are very common of online FRIENDSHIPS turning sour. My approach in helping restore and rebuild Emotional Fitness with my client is to remind them that if they have not posted anything offensive, or been abusive in any way, that the problem does not lay with them. The online FRIENDSHIP ending is most likely a blessing in disguise.
- Were you DEFRIENDED by an established friend in the real world?
When my clients are upset because a long-term FRIEND (outside of cyberspace) in the real world has written them a letter, sent a text or DEFRIENDED them online, this sudden death of the FRIENDSHIP can be extremely upsetting. I remind them that the person who has used the written word instead of the spoken word perhaps does not have the confidence to resolve conflict in person. So I share these basic tips so they can work on their side of the street in future friendships to intercept this pain reoccurring.
- Did you do the DEFRIENDING, and if so why?
In intimate relationships where lovers have conflict, if domestic violence or any form of intentional disrespect or abuse has taken place, in these instances the written word is a preferable option to deliver a message of unmistakable closure. The same applies in FRIENDSHIPS too. If a FRIEND is physically violent or verbally abusive and face-to-face contact could be dangerous I would suggest my client makes a telephone call or writes a letter or a text informing their friend of the need to end their friendship. DEFRIENDING with an unsafe, unreasonable person can be a wise option. However, DEFRIENDING a FRIEND that has perhaps unknowingly made a social mistake or a misunderstanding has occurred without an explanation beforehand is unkind and immature. DEFRIENDING a FRIEND without letting them know what is wrong in a mature and assertive way is simply passive aggressive and cowardly in my view.
Have I ever been passive aggressive and cowardly in my life? Absabloodlylutely.
When I was boozing and drugging, drama, bitching and punishing others with cowardly silent treatment was my forte. These days people who choose this path of competitive drama, the silent treatment, disloyalty and cowardly gossiping, are not whom I would choose as a close FRIEND. How about you?
We all are emotionally dysfunctional from time to time, none of us are saints. Hopefully as we mature we become more willing to grow and learn. Good FRIENDS, our real no bullshit FRIENDS and lovers, are fallible and will stuff up. They will accidentally bruise our ego, and yes even hurt our heart’s feelings from time to time. Our nearest and dearest FRIENDS and intimate lovers can never be perfect, nor can we. But our cherished, treasured lovers and FRIENDS that we are loyal to, we must also remain emotionally transparent with. If we know someone is upset, we pick up the phone, knock on their door, or arrange to go and have a cuppa and face to face tell them we are shitty and work it out. We laugh and cry together and live and learn together. Thank God I have a few women in my life that are gutsy, loyal and emotionally transparent if they fuck up. I give them nothing less than my best in return. How about you?
Do you feel like you might need a bit of a hand in improving your Emotional Fitness when it comes to resolving conflict within FRIENDSHIPS? If so here are some basic FRIENDSHIP survival tips I invite you to review, and of course to feel free to agree or disagree with.
Healthy FRIENDSHIPS cannot grow and continue to evolve, encouraging both parties to bring the best version of themselves to the table, if conflict cannot be resolved in person. Face-to-face, voice-to-voice, eye-to-eye. This is what an Emotionally Fit and mature person will do in order to honour themselves and their FRIEND.
- When platonic FRIENDSHIPS encounter problems, emotional transparency in person is vital if growth, loyalty and genuine understanding is the desired outcome.
- Acknowledging there is an issue arising from a difficult situation that needs one-on-one attention either over the phone or Skype (if geographically challenged) or in person is a great starting point.
- Making a time and a place where both parties agree to not interrupt and allow the other to express their feelings, hurts and confusion is wise. It is helpful if this time and place allows for privacy and the luxury of time. The truth is far longer than a lie, so plenty of unrestrained time will allow both parties to get to the core things. So after work or weekends is preferable.
- After both parties have had their uninterrupted say, defining the main issues for each person is the next step.
- Both FRIENDS need to open up about their underlying emotional needs and articulate them more clearly without blame or shame for themselves or the other.
- Common areas of agreement on a way forward need to be clarified. Are apologies desired or warranted?
- If the FRIENDSHIP cannot be repaired, this meeting can act as a form of closure.
- If the FRIENDSHIP can be repaired, clarifying solutions on how to avoid a similar upset occurring in the future is a good way to finish up.
- A big hug and affirmation of commitment to continue to make private time for each other when problems arise in future will ensure the FRIENDSHIP continues to flourish in the years ahead.
It has been said by wise philosophers that FRIENDSHIPS and relationships fall into three categories. Reasons. Seasons and … Lifetimes. There have been times in my life where FRIENDSHIPS have hit sudden death for me too and I have been initially deeply hurt and shocked. But if I look deeper the common theme with those who have DEFRIENDED both my clients and me is that the cyberspace DEFRIENDER lacks the ability or commitment to resolve conflict person-to-person in their real-life relationships too.
I would like to share an age-old reading whose author remains “unknown.” I have treasured these words over the years. Maybe you have never encountered this poem before. If you have, it is always good to read and refresh. If you haven’t, it’s a real treasure in my opinion.
This poem has helped me many times file past relationships neatly away and helped minimise distress and magnify my compassion and gratitude. Here it is …
People come into your life for a Reason, a Season or a Lifetime. When you figure out which one it is, you will know what to do for each person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON,
It is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
To provide you with guidance and support;
To aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
This person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realise is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
Because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
Things you must build upon in order to have a solid, emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
And put what you have learnt to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
I will leave you digest this poem for yourself and make your own mind up. My hope is that anyone who is feeling rejected for being DEFRIENDED might find comfort in my little message and this beautiful poem.
Lotsa love Cynthia xxx
© Copyright 2016 Cynthia J. Morton Emotional Fitness™
This Word Vitamin is an excerpt from my latest bookset “The Four Seasons of the Heart”. If you would like to order your own full set of Daily Word Vitamins one for each day of the year, in book form for yourself or as a gift just click on the SHOP tab and place your order.