I’m not very good at giving people space, I’ve realized lately. I email or facebook someone and then obsessively check for their reply over the next several hours. It’s a problem, I know. Not only because it means I’m wearing out the refresh button on the lower right of my key board; it’s not helpful to other people in my life or even myself.
For instance: I probably don’t need to call Ghena four times in an evening. One (or even two) ought to be enough. Granted, I call Ghena because her phone is always getting lost and every time I think “maybe she”ll walk past its newest hiding place and hear it this time. Maybe this time!” And when I text someone, I don’t have to do a follow up text twenty minutes later. It turns me into an unintentional nag–and nobody wants that.
I have some close friends who need time to process in quiet solitude. They have to mull over their life in their head, roll it around to every corner of their brain and eventually they come to a conclusion whether that is expressed verbally or not. I think I overwhelmed a friend lately, talking to much, emailing or texting too frequently, etc. And I think, in his own quiet way, he said that the last time we hung out. So I decided to back off a bit.
But that is so much easier said than done.
[especially because I am selfish and so easily hurt when someone distances from me in their time usage]
And yet, it has to be done. Because the poor guy needs some respect for the way that God created him. Ghena respects me in letting me talk and ramble and get all of my thoughts out on the table. Joy loves and respects me when we go to coffee and she lets me do a majority of the talking to begin with and then she finishes off with her own verbal processing. Jana listens through facebook and email and I feebly attempt to show her love and respect by making sure I ask questions to pull out specifics on her more general conversations.
That is so much easier for me than silence. But that makes no difference, my quieter friends need space to process. They need quiet moments of independence to think about things before they can come back to me and talk with me about things. And while it’s not easy for me, it’s a necessary fact of relationships especially within the body of Christ. It’s not just giving someone space and room to breathe, it’s giving them the respect and ability to function the way that God made them.
Does that make any sense? I know this is all very vague, but I don’t know how else to say it and I am kind of looking for suggestions. I have to respect him, or this friendship won’t work. I have to let him breathe, just because that’s how God created him. And after all, he talks to me and tries to be sensitive to my desires as a friend and my needy female moments. If he’s trying to cherish my needs, I should be respecting his too.
[and Ghena and Jana and Joy’s as well]
I’m not very good at loving other people who I’m close to. And I’m not very good at letting go of control.