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Ask Dr. C: The Summer of Love – Part 2

On one of my last trips home from Europe, hubby and I discovered we had to pay “baggage fees.” Discovering we now owed $150 which we were unwilling to pay, we proceeded to unpack the offending bag and put on multiple layers of clothing. Apart from looking like the Michelin-Tire-Man, we still had a (somewhat less) offensive fine to pay for our extra baggage.

It’s like that with friendships, too.

 

The ‘baggage’ we carry around in our hearts and lives… ends up costing us friendships that could be very rewarding and beautiful.

There is a point where our real need for a friend can take an unhealthy turn and results in ”baggage fees.” On her best day, your BFF can’t meet all your needs and you can’t meet all hers. No matter how close a friend, the question you have to answer all by yourself is: “Am I valuable? Am I worth something?” Expecting too much from a friend emotionally is trying to get someone else to validate your own worth.

Healthy BFF’s encourage individuality – not conformity to fit in.
Healthy BFF’s are not emotionally dependent on each other.
Healthy BFF’s thrive with realistic expectations about time they spend together, availability and communication.
Healthy BFF’s are not possessive.
Healthy BFF’s are not in fear of losing the friendship.

When two personalities rub together, tension and frustration will surface and the best friendships know how to deal when that happens.

Two pieces of baggage you’ll pay extra for if you bring them into your friendships are:
– Pride (our selfish tendencies)
– Unhealed emotions.

1. Pride is the root of most friendship dramas. It looks like this:

– Pride gets jealous if a friend gets engaged, married, pregnant or promoted first – but it will celebrate the event.

– Pride gets easily hurt when not invited or noticed – but will not admit it.

– Pride gossips about a friend – but would call it ‘concern.’

– Pride believes “I’m entitled” “I’m right” “I deserve” “I want to be noticed.”

– Pride says “why not me?”

Competition fits easily into the pride bag. Girlfriends compete over boys, clothes… anything.

We mostly compete over the thing we have chosen to define us. Whatever we think gives us worth (person, title, talent, possession) is what we compete for.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” – CS Lewis

How much is it costing you to carry that bag of pride around?

2. The other piece of luggage is stuffed with our unhealed wounds from past friendships and family.

Have you ever tried to capture an animal that has been wounded – to try to help it? They hiss and claw at the very thing that would heal them, but they can’t know that. And while we are NOT animals, we can react in a very primal way to preserve ourselves when we have been wounded. We get defensive in our thoughts and actions and isolate ourselves from relationships that could help bring healing.

We know that ABUSE is felt and understood by the person and translates to: “People hurt me.”

We know that ABANDONMENT is felt and understood to mean: “I’m all alone… You won’t be there for me.”

We know that REJECTION is felt and understood by her actions: “I’m not good enough to befriend.”

Here is what some of those girls may look like in a friendship:

1. Party Patty: Her conversation stays shallow. She isn’t safe letting you know ‘her stuff’. She is fun to be around, but you never get to feel truly close to her.

2. Running Rachel: She bolts at any kind of conflict in your relationship. She will run from you before you can run from her. The deep wound of abandonment growing up has never been healed.

3. Fragile Fran: Her moodiness keeps you and everyone else walking on eggshells. She is easily offended and hurt by small offenses. Her emotions are so close to the surface, she can’t stay in a normal relationship. The normal give-and-take of it is too painful.

4. Leech Leah: Sucks life out of your friendship. Requires constant attention and affirmation that she is worthy of your friendship and time. Clingy and draining to be around.

5. Octo-Olive: She acts jealous and possessive of you and other friends. If you can’t meet with her, she feels insecure. She’s expecting too much of the relationship and clings to keep it alive. She steps over friend boundaries and intrudes.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these? I am working on correcting some of them in my life. I would love to hear what you love about your best friends. And I would love to hear what makes YOU a great friend.

“Lovers are always talking to one another about their love; friends hardly ever talk about their friendship. Lovers are normally face to face, absorbed in each other; friends, side by side, absorbed in some common interest.” – CS Lewis 

Side by side… common interests… WHAT… YOU TOO!!?

Here’s to the Summer of Love,

Dr. C

Photo Credit here