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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

the act of being proactive

Being proactive in friendships is a weird thing, and I'm not really sure what to make of it. Last week, I met with a wise lady who feeds my soul wisdom, and she cautioned me to not always be the one asking. It's easy for me - and be it because of my job (and all its asking...), because of my networking nature, or because I want and love to build community around me - to simply be "the asker" in all of my relationships. Whether male or female, if "friend" A is always doing the asking, then a few things can happen: "A" can become the sole asker and initiator, and "B" becomes reliant upon that role; "A" asks, "B" doesn't reciprocate, "A" doesn't get the picture, and thus wrong feelings can be communicated; the list of "asker" problems goes on...

I feel like I'm in the middle of a sticky Algebra problem right now.

So whether I'm right or wrong in asking, there exists the delicate balance of friendship. With a kid, it's different - I know going into it that I'm going to be the asker, and until they intitiate with that phone call, the ball's in my court to let them know that I'm here and that I want to be in their life. With peers I have to ask the question: in relationships, in friendships, in getting to know people, where and when do I eventually stop asking? Is three the magic number? Ask three times, and if they don't reciprocate, then don't you dare, try try again... With the opposite sex it's even more tricky, and I ran into that this past week: I didn't MEAN to send ill "I like you" signals, yet because of my proactiveness in our friendship, that was communicated.

So is it simply that I don't want to be alone? Is that it? In still feeling that the sharp numbing pains of settling into life up here, I've put myself out there in friendship more than ever; perhaps I've tried to create community too hard, and now it's coming back to bite me in the butt, BUT I firmly believe that we're meant to live life side by side with people.

Without making apologies, I guess I just don't know where to draw the line. I don't know where my own personality meets what I'm finding out are the rules and regulations of friendships. I hate the lines that have to be drawn. But do they exist, or have to exist? As much as I want to be understood, more importantly (as St. Francis of Assisi once prayed), I want to understand. So whether that's with other people, or just of life in general, the answer my heart comes to at this moment is that it'd rather put itself out there, even if it's not understood, in order to love someone else and try to understand them.

Your thoughts?


)(( hannah mello ))( said...

i absolutely LOVE and appreciate this post, cara. yep. good thinking. important introspection and rumination! i'm joining you in it for sure. it's such the art of letting go in relationships, isn't it?!! giant abbracci baby-- hannah

Gibbytron said...

Cara! I am in a similar boat with you as well. I tend to be "The Initiator" (maybe that should be my superhero pseudo-name) when it comes to friendships in general. And yes, it's a sticky situation, alot of give and take (and sometimes no take). Sometimes, because I know the person and that they suffer from general flakiness, I forgive them and still pursue them because I value their friendship. And I know that despite the fact they don't call, I know they do care when I DO connect with them. Part of it is personality, too. Some people are naturally wired to bring groups together, to be the "social center" and connector of other friendships, because without them, other people wouldn't have a community at all. You have that gift. Don't lose it. :)

The other problem is some people are better friends of "proximity," i.e., when you live in the same town as them, it's easy to see them, connect, re-connect, and cultivate those friendships because you are both in the midst of that same community and are doing life together. However, when it is limited to a phone conversation, and you are miles away from that person, the connection is less often established, and you may feel "out of the loop." It sucks. And there's nothing you can do about it. I have come to that realization out here in CO. It's sobering. All to say, though, making an effort is a GOOD thing, and I can tell you on a personal note, I appreciate YOU because you do make the effort. I know you care, and value you even more because of that. Be encouraged. BTW, I WILL CALL YOU NEXT WEEK! Promise. :)

Dan said...

All I know is that I am increasingly nervous that Mike H. is going to be taking my title of "coolest pastor ever".

That is what I am thinking about procatively.


Brenda Joy said...

Huh, well, it is definitely good food for thought. But I must say one of my favorite things about you is that you initiate, and that you are really interested in community. It is a gift I think because you have a way of making people feel very special!

And BTW -- I started reading the little book you gave us for Christmas "how to love". I am loving it. Definitely what I needed right now :-)

Royden and Ruth said...

I love that you make hanging out easy and fun. So you can ask ask away to us Lepps...our answer 'Yeah! Let's be friends!' -but I think you already knew that:)
Ruth (and Royden...)

Thegoodz said...

Great thoughts, wise words from your mentor, yet a very wise response..

I have always appreciated your "asking" I see in your a great desire to know and be known, have loved when you let me processes life with you, but have also loved when you have processed your life with me..

Maybe I need to learn about this initiating bit as well..