Bringing Balance to our Friends
Some personality tests divide results into technical sounding categories, like "melancholy." I prefer the animal names; I'm a cross between a beaver and a golden retriever. The golden retriever can pose challenges when it comes to friendships.
I'm loyal - to a fault. You can do just about anything to me and I'll come back for more, tail wagging and tongue poised to lick your wounds. Loyalty is a good trait, but it has to be balanced with a healthy sense of self-worth and the ability to set good boundaries. As the saying goes, "Good fences make good neighbors."
All friendships need boundaries. Some friendships need endings. This is where my retriever experiences the greatest difficulty. I want to find what is lost and bring it home. I want to stay by its side and tend to it until it regains strength. To leave something alone in the forest - even if it we are both better off if it remains there - isn't in my nature. But, over the years, I have learned there are seasons where friendships are meant to end. That is not to say they have to end badly.
You may go through a season of daily interacting with a friend. Then, without reason, you find yourselves connecting only periodically. Some friends you may only connect with every few years. Some friends you may fall out of touch with altogether.
We only have so many hours in a day. Even with the internet, it is impossible to keep in contact with every person we have ever met. Gradually, I'm learning that friendships ebb and flow, and even end. I can allow a friendship to run its course - to ebb or end -without feeling slighted. If I have done nothing to offend the friend, then I can gracefully let go of that relationship without guilt. I can have fond remembrances of the friendship, without feeling the need to revive it.
From setting good boundaries to learning to say goodbye, balancing friendships can be challenging. How do you balance your friendships?
(Disclaimer: I often have my husband proofread articles to see how they come across. That might not be the wisest choice; since we've been married for almost 18 years, he "gets" me when others don't! But on this piece, his comment was, "So who are you kicking to the curb?" I'm happy to report that this article in no way reflects on the status of any current relationships. This is simply one retriever's retrospective. You can't help but pick up a few pointers over the course of four decades!)