It’s not surprising, with an impending trip back “home” to the UK, that my mind has wondered of late… with my a-game focussing on family and friendships back there, compelling me to look deep into the eyes of belonging, from my past, present and into the future – all without the help of Ebenezer Scrooge or any freaking Ghosts too, I might add!
I’m not a mean-spirited, or a miserable old woman either, it’s just that I’ve been remembering how, in my past, these intimate connections have helped me through the many up and downs in my life but… my present though, sees me feeling torn, by what really is miles!
Of course, I still have that sense of belonging, that connection, feel loved even but … freaking time zones and distance really push the limits! And eventually, the virtual hugs, small talk and big freaking talk – when the shit hits the fan – become less. It’s hard, real hard, to maintain without the day to day, in your face… LIFE together.
So how do we then go about making “new” connections and friendships … to start to belong once more?
For me, as I’ve gotten older, “making friends” still feels a lot like first day’s at school. Then, I’d sit back in the playground, taking everything in from the side lines, wanting to be left alone in the crowd but at the same time, look out for the head girl, who’s the most liked? who has the most friends? Yet I knew that, even if I figured this out, I still wouldn’t know how or where to start! … and nope, it’s not got any easier, as I’ve found a much bigger and better playground? … the one of Social Media!
Yeah, I know it has its positives and negatives and we’ll all have our opinion on Social Media – but as always – it’s all about how well you’re playing your a-game, right?! Let’s not forget, it’s YOU that truly matters and it’s YOU that can directly affect or change the game YOU are playing.
So, in this new playground … I’m thinking pigtails and hockey stick, who’s with me?!!
Seriously though, how do we go about meeting and starting to play with others on here? I’m not just talking about hitting the like, adding a comment or clicking that follow button! Maybe, our a-game can really help build and strengthen meaningful relationships, making connections easier and bringing about a sense of belonging? Have you ever considered how your attachment style might impact on your friendships?
Back at school, we were told the rules … nurtured and directed by our parents and teachers, moulded by these experiences. But that was then and this is now! Things have changed somewhat, pigtails maybe out?! So, thinking afresh, what’s the first thing you think we should be considering if we’re serious about making new friendships and connections today?
Well, for me, I think it’s all about understanding how comfortable we’re going to feel being emotionally close or intimate with others, maybe even depending on them – or maybe even having them dependent on us. Which, for certain people, can sometimes lead to that good old fear of rejection or abandonment raising itself, possibly even bringing out a certain amount anxiety.
So, here’s my next, personal – warts and all – insight …
“I’m comfortable with intimacy and not that worried about possible rejection. In fact, I find it easier now to get close others, being able to trust and depend on them… as well as having them depend on me. I don’t worry about being abandoned or about someone getting too close to me.
There is one big caveat to this statement though … and that is that I do set myself clear boundaries. Which, as a topic, would be a whole other blog itself and so rather than cover it here, I’ve included this link for you to ponder on later!
Anyway – and not unusual for me – the prize piece of perfection I laid out in my statement above has not always been and is still not always true… Going back to my earlier school story, I did in fact find it extremely difficult to trust and depend on others and this manifested itself in many ways depending on any given situation.
Growing up, I found it very important to feel and be both independent and self-sufficient. At times though, this led me to question the commitment and love of others towards me. For example, when I was in a relationship, I’d worry that they didn’t love or value me and that they might abandon me… resulting in an innate need for love, intimacy and closeness from them. Freaking crazy I know, as of course, the resulting suffocation would have nothing but the opposite affect and drive them away!
On the flip side of this though, I found that I just couldn’t allow others to get close. I found I was not able to trust or depend on anyone! I’ve certainly swung from one extreme to another in life, but I’ve now finally freaking found my happy medium, a mixture of traits as such and besides… who wants to fit into a box. My names not Jack and I sure as hell don’t want a spring stuck up my arse thank you very much!
Reflecting all of this “history” against my most important and intimate relationship (poor hubby!) provides me with the ultimate insight. I’ve come to realise that I really am comfortable in a warm, loving, emotionally close relationship. I love the fact that I can depend on my him and allow him to depend on me. I adore his “independent-ness” without feeling rejected or threatened and he encourages and supports mine. We can be both close AND independent. We’ve become trusting, tolerate each other’s differences and have each had to be forgiving at times. We’ve learnt to recognise our own emotions as well as one another’s (he’s good right… for a man?!)
I’ll admit we are very “blunt” to one another at times, in an open, honest, candid way and we do NOT avoid conflict. In fact, generally, we just don’t seem to get overly upset or worry about relationship issues, at all. I can’t help but think that this is probably down too experience gained from prior relationships – for both of us – although, getting used to someone “new” is never easy. Maybe it’s just an age thing? I do consider us both “old farts” now… but then again, are we?
Anyway, comparing this to where I was in a previous relationship of mine, one which I considered abusive, I was emotionally distant, rejecting even. True, I was great in a crisis… but devoid of emotion, bottling them all up to avoid any potential conflict… thriving on being needed and depended upon. I was cool, controlled, self-sufficient. Then, my anxiety would rear its freaking ugly head, I’d be constantly worried about rejection and abandonment. I’d ruminate and bring up old, yet unresolved issues, tainting the present with the past… bringing forth, resentment, fear, hurt and anger. I became sensitive to actions and moods. I hate to admit it, but sometimes I’d even provoke reactions through conflict, stirring things up…”
So, why am I telling you all this?
Well, I suppose, it’s to try and share, if not explain, how I’ve come to understand and define what “belonging” or “connecting” with someone means … to me. My reflections on past experiences and that of the loving, intimate friendship I have in my present, have allowed me to discover and accept that fine balance that exists between comfort, closeness, intimacy, dependency… and possible rejection.
With this realisation, I’m now able to apply the same concept to any future connection I’m looking to make … be that on Social Media or in the real world! I simply start by asking myself how comfortable am I to become close or dependent on this person… or to be depended on by them and whether I’m worried by, or fear rejection? How I respond to these questions, enables me to then set boundaries on how much I let someone in!
So, that’s me… but how about you? How do you go about making new connections? What’s your thoughts on Social Media “friends”? Truthfully, I can say that I’ve met some of the most amazing, beautiful people through the various Websites and Apps I am on and feel comfortable and close to many I’ve met… what about you?
Heaps of love and wellness