Today I had to have a tough conversation. A friend of mine has become invasive, ignoring boundaries I have in place. For a couple of weeks she called everyday three or four times a day and sent multiple emails (there was no emergency or urgent need). One day when I hadn't responded to calls or email due to a busy schedule and prior commitments she just dropped by. I wasn't impressed at all and we proceeded to have a very awkward and cool visit. After praying several days for wisdom on how to approach this I invited her out for coffee and dove in. I talked about how I want my time and life to be respected and about how desperate she appears she admitted that she does in fact feel that way at times. I asked if she could allow me the space and time to call her back as it suits me and she said her greatest fear was that I may never return her call.
How do we get to the place where we are looking to someone else to provide our value for us? What goes wrong when women cling to their female friends in a way that only drives them away?
Friendships among women are precious and needed, but they can also be demanding and exhausting. Sometimes one person desires the friendship much more than the other which creates a great inequality. This presents a problem in that one woman is always taking the initiative while the other woman never even gets a chance to miss her or think about making the first move. Sometimes things begin the same on both sides but then things change for one woman which disrupts the balance.
Unspoken expectations can become huge obstacles to growing as friends. "I am looking for someone to make up for my unhappy marriage" is not something you usually say out loud or even admit to yourself. Very often what we are actually looking or what we truly need is never talked about.
Today I shared honestly with my friend and in person so she could see my face during this difficult exchange and know that is was hard for me too because I was trying very hard not to hurt her unnecessarily and yet be very honest. It ended well. She heard me and apologized, admitting she knew it was in excess.
I don't know what the future holds I did encourage her to find out why she would behave this way and explore what else might be going on. I don't want to lose this friend so we'll have to keep working it out in open, honest discussions that are not easy and sometimes unpleasant, and I guess that is part of what friendship is all about.