I found out today that someone I consider a fairly close friend decided to omit an important truth from me. She quit her job in a hurry (where we worked together) and didn’t give any clue as to her plans from there, even when I asked. She’s been playing hard to reach since then, and not just with me but other people who thought they were friends with her too.
Turns out, she had already accepted a new job as a school teacher a couple of counties away.
And…I’m happy for her. Really, I think she will make one hell of a great school teacher.
I also get why she was cagey about it, in the sense that she doesn’t want people at her old job gossiping about her. On top of that she is someone with huge trust issues.
It may sound odd, but I’m not as upset about the fact that she didn’t trust me so much as I am about not being able to celebrate her new opportunity with her.
Here’s the thing: if you cut people out of participating in your life because you are scared of them betraying you somehow, you also cut them out of sharing your joy and excitement.
She left people in the lurch who would have been genuinely happy and supportive of her because of her concerns about being betrayed by them. Well, that’s not avoidable, really, because if someone is set on hurting you, they are going to do it. They are going to lie or cheat on you or gossip behind your back or steal your money. Nothing YOU do will change that, it is a function of their personality.
The only thing you have control over is yourself, and the basic question to answer about yourself is whether you are a person who lets love and understanding into your life without restrictions, or not.
Your safety is valuable and I’m not arguing against people protecting themselves from those who seek to hurt or damage them. But for those you let in as friends, it is as important that you let them be friends to you as it is for you to be friends to them.
My co-worker wanted to be the super-supportive friend who had my back, without ever giving enough trust to let me have hers. It doesn’t work that way; it’s not that I don’t trust her, particularly, but that I know she has no personal investment in our friendship outside of how she wants to define herself in it. There is no room for me to define myself, or her, or us.
In the end, her attempt to protect herself from imaginary betrayals has hurt one of her strongest defenders.