Thursday, November 22

Give it a Chance

One of my biggest fears... is trying to get close to people and then losing them. Investing in relationships that seem to grow, and then somehow causing them to implode on themselves or disappear altogether.

For a long time I've found myself front-loading relationships in case that happened. Trying to ensure that, if I never met the person ever again, at least I would have done whatever I needed to do to be a good friend. Ironically, that front-loading probably helped speed some relationships' demise... because they disappeared when it was time to redefine roles. That's because while being a friend is more than just being a counselor, a teacher, or even someone who is willing to listen... those more nuanced roles have always seemed out of my reach.

The last few days have tossed my world upside down. I used to know... or at least think I know... what my role was in conversations, in relationships. At least part of it. I could see the end from the beginning and each step made sense. the ironic thing now is that I didn't intend my blog revelation to have any real or lasting effect on me... but I feel like I'm completely redefining who I am. Pulled to make friendships with a ton of new people without having a framework to follow and without knowing what they need or even want in a friend. Being involved in their lives, and inviting them into mine, without knowing beforehand what the outcome will be.

Part of me is afraid. Afraid of making too many mistakes, moved to withdraw and go back into my own little world where I control all the variables and my failures are from being too intense or too nonchalant. But another part tells me to give it a chance. Maybe something is different, and the memories of yesterday are just that - memories. Maybe the people are different. Maybe I'm different. Maybe it'll work.

Just give it a chance.

I think I will.


  1. Good for you, David. You will learn what true freedom is. And you need to learn it to be set free yourself.

  2. David,

    I can speak from experience -- give it a chance! Never pass up the opportunity to engage someone in whatever context. You never know when you may be meeting a good friend. Every encounter brings something to our lives. It may be small and almost unrecognizable at the time, but compounded they enhance us and our lives. The nuances we display in our own lives have been created by the encounters we've had over our lifetimes. It is similar to good cooking. One may season each level as a dish is developing and in the end, you may not taste that one odd ingredient that you thought would stand out so much. Next time you leave it out and you wonder why the dish isn't quite right.

    Although I'm encouraging you to engage, I have difficulty taking my own advice. Intellectually I know what I should be doing, but I don't readily do it and I've seen the results (or lack thereof) in my life. Similar to you, I don't do well in unstructured social settings. In most of my other contacts in life, I'm in a "role." I'm a customer, a client, an advocate, a teacher, a counselor, a parent, etc. I know and understand how to interact in my various roles. Stick me in an unstructured or unfamiliar role and I flounder. My solution -- avoid those situations. I can also tell you from experience that my solution frequently sucks!

    So again, I encourage you to let go and just see where an encounter may lead. Let a relationship develop as it will. Most won't go much beyond the initial encounter, but that is alright. If you are kind and loving in each encounter, you have given the other person a wonderful seasoning to add to their life's layering and they have done the same for you. At some point, you will begin to find the stronger ties that stand out more. Just embrace them as a gift from God as they are. I'm praying for you!

    Sorry for all of the food analogies. I'm a hugh foodie and it is Thanksgiving Day, after all.

  3. I can truly relate to that fear. Friendships are scary and I always wonder if people actually like me or if they are just being nice. I am always afraid to talk to much. I am afraid that nothing I have to say is actually interesting at all. Afraid that no one cares.

  4. Thanks a ton for writing. I can relate so much to this. Nearly all the relationships in my life excluding family have faded away, whether I wanted them to or not. Thanks to Asperger's, I'm never certain of my roles or responsibilities in relationships, and I'm probably not meeting needs nobody ever told me about, if that makes sense.

    I need to take that advice as well, just reaching out to people regardless of what the future may hold or how it may or may not benefit me. I probably ought to share myself more, even if I annoy some people in the process. Execution is lacking...


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