S1E7 - Friendship & Anxiety
Text messages - the good, the bad, and the ugly.
How we think we are being perceived through the words we use in a text vs. speaking in person.
When you have your own life circumstances going on that hinder you from being the friend you think you are expected to be, it can cause anxiety.
Alex struggles with the fact that she does not emote well, so face to face conversations about emotional topics where friends are looking to feel supported can be challenging for her. That’s why she prefers writing texts, letters, etc. to friends about touchy subjects.
Anxiety about wondering if the other person can sense that you don’t want to be with them at the moment in person. “It’s not that I don’t want to hang out with them, but it’s that my life or headspace is so scattered that I can’t fully be present with them.”
Having a misperception about someone else’s perception of you while they’re right in front of you.
Acquiescing to someone else’s bullshit. Making accommodations for others that may impact us.
Alex has had to write letters to friends to explain why she acts the way she does in a friendship. They think she’s a bad friend, when really she is just doing what she needs to do in order to survive a challenging time.
Boundary setting and the problem with expectations.
Reciprocity in friendships. Some people have different ideas of how much needs to be reciprocated in a friendship.
The question is: how do two people want to exist in relation to one another? This is all based on a need for connection. Everyone’s idea of what they need to feel connected is different.
Here’s how Alex and AJ do “friendship” - since 2010 we have come in and out of contact with each other.
AJ feels that a part of her role during this lifetime is to be there as a friend for others during challenging times. She feels contentment with being able to assist others despite whether they are able to reciprocate the amount of time and attention that she is able to give.
Alex checks in with her higher self/intuition/the universe - what is my relationship with this person meant to be? How am I meant to respond to them?
Alex’s overall in dealing with anxiety when it comes to friendship: set boundaries either initially or after someone calls you out for your level of interaction, be clear about expectations or lack of expectations. If a friend is really upset about her friendship style, she writes them a letter to explain herself. She trusts the ebbs and flows of relationships as being partly orchestrated by the universe. Anxiety she experiences comes from her human self, not her soul self.
Some clarification about the letters Alex writes to friends. . . they go over poorly. She believes that is because she triggers something within the other person that relates to how they are unable to set their own boundaries. She holds up a mirror to other people.
AJ is usually in the role in friendships of supporting or providing help to others. She will reflect inwardly before making any decisions about who or what to give her time to. If she’s feeling anxiety about a person or experience, she does an inward check in order to find out the root cause of whatever she is experiencing. Doing this check in doesn’t mean she needs to get rid of the symptoms, it just means she is identifying the cause of the symptoms.
Honest with yourself comes before honesty with a friend.
Questions by Rosie Molinary to ask yourself when trying to decide whether you want to attend something:
are you thrilled to be asked?
are you happy to prepare to go?
are you eager to go at the time of the event?
will you be joyfully present at the event?
are you willing to move trash? Help with set up/clean up etc.?
are you willing to savor the memory of the event?
Mindful mentionings: if you are answering no to each of these questions for every single event you could possibly attend, you may need to address some deeper issues within yourself. There’s a fine line between something being self-care and something being isolation and depression. This is why the check in with yourself is so important to do first, so you can answer these questions from a place of understanding where you are at in relation to other issues in your life that may be affecting your decision making.
To get to the answers your truest self has, you have to navigate all of the other voices in your head that might be telling you things that aren’t true. Example: depression voice says this, anxious voice says this, my mom’s voice say this. . . but my true voice says this. . .
You may not be able to get through the critical voices in you head to even tap into your truest self. This involves acceptance of where you are at in your process and having compassion for yourself.
Elizabeth Gilbert - Big Magic - anxiety can sit in the car with you, but it is not allowed to drive the car. It is in the passenger seat. You are driving the car.