Maybe this is a pet peeve … but there are some people in the world, who when I … well, when I used to turn to them as friends, as someone to vent to or sort through a problem … those people make it all about them.
“Oh, man … I had such a rough day! My alarm didn’t go off and then I get a flat tire, and then the boss yelled at me for being late to work.”
“Wow. When I got a flat tire, it was at night – and there were no street lights. I was on this back road in the middle of the night and I kept hearing strange sounds and it was so scary. So I tried to call a friend to come help me and bring a flashlight and the phone wouldn’t connect! And then it started to drizzle. Don’t you hate drizzle? It’s not actually rain, so it seems stupid to get out an umbrella, but you’re still getting wet, and you’re like, seriously? Rain or don’t rain, but I don’t like being damp. Being damp really sucks …: and so on.
By the end of it I feel:
– like I wish I’d never contacted that particular person.
What I needed was:
– to be heard
– to be loved
– to feel like I exist
– to feel like I matter to someone
I’m guessing I’m not alone. I’m a human, and 50 years of experience tells me that most of us share these moments and feelings and needs.
I may get to the point wherein I can listen to the other person’s story, but when I call, I am hoping to be heard first. When someone calls me, I listen first. Talk later.
Usually, this negative exchange is a signal: it’s the beginning of the end of the friendship. Depending on history, it may be the end of a long trial period. I may have been gauging my trust for this person, taking note of when the person is there for me, and when they ignore me. Quantitative measurement. I called him or her 3 times, s/he called back once. I wrote 15 times, s/he did not respond at all.
Most of my life I gave unlimited trust. I believed the other person would make up for this somewhere down the road. This never happened with anyone. Those who only want to talk about themselves, only want to talk about themselves forever.
This is the best way that I’ve found to protect myself. Quantitative communication measurement over a limited time. A lack of genuine reciprocation tells me it’s time to look elsewhere for quality relationships.
What does trust mean to you?