Everybody in the world except my son and my grandma has disappointed me.
Yes, I have even disappointed myself. What‘s the most disappointing thing about myself?
Thinking that others won’t disappoint me and being extremely disappointed when they do.
I don’t know if it’s just me or if it’s actually in the air, but as I write this post I’m feeling emotional and thinking that it’s impossible that Don Miguel Ruiz, who wrote the internationally best-selling book that I DO like called The Four Agreements, encourages us to not take anything personally. Ever since I read his book, I would mentally ask “What do you mean don’t take anything personally ?!” But I brainwashed myself to think that the way the people in my life responded and that the events in my life were impersonal.
However, I’ve had personal things happen lately. So many of them, actually that they inspired me to write this post.
Have you ever had:
- A friend who says they love you but they don’t call and write?
- A friend who says you can drop by their house anytime but doesn’t take the time to write to you in months (even on your birthday which you both share)?
- A friend who asks for your number to WhatsApp you, but it’s been a month and a half since you‘ve heard from them?
- A colleague who treats you like a friend at times but then seems upset when you WhatsApp them even though they shared their WhatsApp number with you and said you could contact them if you had any questions. And when you did, they were so focused on being so “profesh” with you that you wonder if they even know you (when you know for a fact that they do and have even referred to you as a “godsent” friend before)? And get this, it’s not like they were offline when you WhatsApp-ed them. They were actually online, talking to someone who’s probably more important than you, at least in their eyes.
- A supposed best friend who says they adore you and spent years looking to reconnect with you only to care less that you‘re going through a major life transition which you waited five months to be able to tell them about in person less than a month ago…. and they haven’t even mentioned it ever since?
Well, all of these “non-personal” things happened to me anywhere from a month and a half ago to today.
So don’t tell me things aren’t personal! What the heck! How can they NOT be personal?
And that’s not even counting the fact that three family members admitted to forgetting my birthday, and others, well, they simply figured it was better not to wish me a happy birthday at all… perhaps that way, I’ll never know if they forgot my birthday as well, or if I should think of them as being “too busy” to say “happy birthday.”
Of course I realize that the common denominator in all of this is me.
But I don’t believe that I have brought these friend situations upon myself…. even though I do believe in the Law of Attraction. What I mean by that is that I didn’t do anything bad to them that would make me deserve what I’ve experienced. What I have done, though, as I said in the beginning, is thought the world of them, so… feeling disappointed is my fault.
What I also believe, that can benefit you, is that we should remind ourselves and ACCEPT that people evolve… and that we become “unimportant” or “less important” in the eyes of others. You maaaaaayyyyy be on their to-do list, but if you‘re number #333, then, mmmm, well, you‘re not feeling the love lately, are you?
And that’s most likely what’s happening with me. I’m expecting semi-VIP treatment from people who may even forget that I exist, sometimes. Not a pretty picture.
Things Also Have The Potential of Looking Up
While everything that I’ve said up until now sounds pretty much like a rant, I want to say that I wrote this post thinking about you. Trust me, I could have kept these friendship embarrassing moments to myself. But I’m sharing this with you because you and I know that sometimes, the “grandest truths” such as the fact that you shouldn’t take anything personally sounds like such a lie when YOU KNOW that if you were one of the top people in someone’s life that you wouldn’t feel as dispensable as a Kleenex.
Yet, friendship is a two-way street. Have you ever decided NOT to wish someone a happy birthday or congratulate them because YOU didn’t like them? Yep, I thought so. So while I do think that the actions from others can be personal given that our actions toward others can be personal, I think that we choose to impact each other personally positively or personally negatively. Sometimes we do this consciously, other times, it’s unconsciously.
Thankfully, there are positive things going on in my life as well. I have other friends who have publicly and privately honored our friendship within the last couple of months. I’m truly grateful for them and having the opportunity to hear them say the beautiful things that they said which are true, warmed my heart immensely.
So What Do I Have To Say About Friendships?
1. Actions speak louder than words
Whether they are meant to be personal or not, actions indicate what the person is able to do for you and what they are not.
2. Are we okay with having real conversations anymore or do people just prefer that you like their posts, follow them on social media and call that “blind leading the seeing” interaction a friendship?
Even though social platforms are amazing in helping you connect with awesome people who you otherwise wouldn’t have been likely to meet, I’d say that instead of calling each other “friends” that we refer to each other as “people we are intrigued by.” Wouldn’t that be more accurate?
That way, we wouldn’t confuse (even for a nanosecond), that someone who follows me and whom I follow falls under the “people I’m intrigued by” category, not the “you can count on me” professionally or personally category.
3. Trust your instincts, no matter what your mother says.
Moms are right most of the time, but not always. Just recently, I was taking to my mom about two “friends” I alluded to above. And I basically was telling her that I didn’t think they were as genuine in the compliments they gave me and that I didn’t think they were as interested or invested in our friendship as their compliments seemed to indicate.
My mom was once again upset at my way of thinking. She said that instead of thinking “negatively,” that I should think of myself as someone worthy of those compliments. I realized that as I was sharing what I felt, that I WAS sounding like I felt unworthy of their friendship, when in actuality, I was trying to convey that these friends weren’t giving my worth since I felt that something was “off.” I now know why I felt this way…. my intuition was right. Ironically, these “friends” were the two that let me down the most. I expected more from them… I truly thought they were capable of giving me their sincere interest, but most importantly, their sincere kindness. Expecting that from them was my mistake, even though I have gone above and beyond in giving them my kindness (which is without a doubt another mistake of mine).
4. Don’t base your quality as a friend on the shortcomings of people who couldn’t live up to the title of “friend.”
So what type of friend are you gonna be?
The one who provides a lucrative idea to a friend regardless of whether they don’t think you‘re capable of supporting them in their business even though you know you and your idea will get rejected? Or the friend who won’t share this idea because you fear being rejected?
It’s up to you… and how much that little heart of yours can handle.
If you don’t care about having a balanced and reciprocal friendship and you just want to give…. you can give your friends everything.
If you’re a bit more sensitive (like me)…. and you do wish someone would at the very least be happy to hear you or remember that they should probably check in on you, then …. you might take it easier in this friendship thing.
But you know what the most important gauge for identifying what type of friend your’e going to be is? That you’re at peace with who you are as a friend.
Your friendship is a gift to others. Is it wrapped up in beautiful gold gift wrap? Or is it wrapped in a wrinkled, brown paper bag? Does this even matter? Maybe. Maybe not. Remember…it’s not the facade that’s the most important…. it’s literally the gift that’s inside, that is. It’s the internal you. So don’t act friendly and make others believe that you’re giving them a gift with gold wrap inside only for them to realize when they open it, that the gift is empty, that there’s no YOU inside because you really don’t care about being their friend. In that case, it’s better not to give any gift at all.
What‘s Are My Ultimate Friendship Take-Aways?
I have 3 take-aways that I’ve learned:
1. My disease to please needs to be addressed.
2. I need to be my own great, kind, generous friend.
3. And tying one and two together… as egocentric as it may seem, instead of trying to give so much to the projects and dreams of others that I substantially reduce the time I devote to my own, I actually need to reset my priorities…and place my dreams in front of theirs.
Kindness is great. I LOVE kindness and being kind to others. What I DON’T like is people thinking that I’m less valuable than I am because I seem to value their life and projects more my own. People can sense this and it often makes them feel entitled to behave like they’re better than you, when they sense that you’re cheapening your value.
I’m okay with losing friendships. I’ve lost them since 3rd grade… but I’ve also preserved some amazing friendships for more than a couple of decades.
Even with all of the friends who have let me down, my life is SOOO amazing already and I’m really thankful for it.
It’s stupid, futile and even dangerous to try to cling onto people who don’t value you. It zaps the energy right out of you.
You have to analyze what you‘re doing that is making you feel like you‘re compromising yourself. When you address that, your energy automatically rises.
Help yourself first.
And when you do that, rather than literally investing hours helping friends who don’t appreciate it, you‘ll be closer to fulfilling your own dreams.
When that happens, your disease to please will most likely subside.
Lastly, but most importantly, make sure you‘re investing time in treasuring yourself and the loved ones who will appreciate it instead of chasing after some friendship that’s not even worth it.
Now It’s Your Turn
So what do you think:
- Should we take things personally?
- Do you take things personally, still?
- If you do, why?
- If you don’t, why not?
- What are some of the greatest friendship lessons you’ve learned in life?
I would love to see your comments below. I’m sure we can ALL learn from your answers. Nobody has this friendship thing mastered. I certainly don’t. 😉
The Want/ Need Series
If you liked this post, feel free to visit the others in the series designed to teach you how to navigate the difficult waters of assuming responsibility for what you want, what you need and how to communicate those wants and needs.
1. What Do You Mean Don’t Take Anything Personally?
2. How Good Of A Communicator Are You Really?
3. How Do We Get In The Way Of What We Want? And What To Do About It
4. What Do You Need That You’re Not Getting? – And What To Do About It