I need to have a hard conversation with a friend. You know, one of those conversations that you dread because you’re not sure if you’re friendship will bend or break under the weight of what you need to say.
I used to be so great at conversations like these.
But at the core of this conversation, I know, the real questions are am I loved? Do I matter? and Can you be there for me? And, I’m not sure I want to know the answers.
Showing up, and investing in others is one of my core beliefs. And yet, I must confess, there’s a piece of that puzzle that I haven’t quite got figured out. It’s the question: when do you keep showing up, and when do you walk away? When I’m really afraid, I’ve chosen flight as my ‘fight or flight’ response to bumps in the road along the way in friendship and I’ve walked away from friendships when I should have stayed the course simply because I was too afraid to say out loud: I’m hurting. I matter. Can you be there for me?
I struggle to be vulnerable, I don’t ask for help, and I offer it when I don’t really have the capacity to keep giving it. And, I think a big reason for that is I sometimes don’t feel I have the right to be discerning or demanding. I’m a very social person. I just want a sense of belonging. I just want people in my life. But, now, I’m realizing I must be clearer about my needs and my boundaries- because otherwise, I’m not forming friendships that are sustainable in the long run.
I want to change that. I’ve focused for some time now on connecting with others on this blog. I believe so strongly in the power of investing in friendships, neighborhoods, and communities just by reaching out and showing up. And, reaching out and showing up are the first steps to building community. But, I think the next step is sticking around when things start to get messy. Loving others enough to stay even when it’s scary to stay, and loving yourself enough to speak up and speak out when things need to change in a relationship so there’s enough for you to stay.
So, all that to say, I need to have a hard conversation with a friend this week.