Relationship Evolution

Jun 20, 2013 by

          I’ve come a long way from the self-conscious girl who started writing for this blog in March. My progress is distinctly noticeable through my changed perspective on relationships. Since starting my happiness experiment, I’ve transitioned from a people-pleasing conformist to a confident individual. By previously acting in ways that I thought would make people like me, I made them not like me. Even more detrimental to my self esteem, I didn’t like myself. Today, I am no longer desperate for friends or stuck in a battle against self-hate.

          My increase in confidence is particularly evident through changes to the state of my friendship with Olivia. Probably due to the fact that I’m no longer pining for her attention or grasping at a friendship that may be deteriorated beyond repair, she feels that I’ve become distant. Really, I’ve simply been busy. She’s not used to this. Before I left for my parents’ house, I rarely went out, especially not without her. My return from my parents’ house happened to coincide with the fast-paced expansion of my social life. From her viewpoint, the change was quick and sudden (because it actually was). I left our apartment a near-loner and came back a sociable person one month later. I feel that she’s taking it personally. The speed with which I began to change shocked me, so I can only imagine how caught off guard she was. I can understand why she’s internalizing it.

          To be clear, it’s not that I don’t care about Olivia or our friendship. I am sorry that she feels I seem cold. It’s just that I don’t care to have drawn out conversations with her about our friendship anymore. If we irritate each other, I want us to apologize and move on. There’s no need to overanalyze each other’s words and actions within every tense situation. It doesn’t solve anything. Being honest, the state of my friendship with Olivia is not my top concern anymore. I know that sounds heartless, but I’m being truthful. I’ve become much more accepting of change in recent months, including changes within my relationships. Wherever my friendship with Olivia goes, it goes.

          Knowing that this will sound brutally blunt, all relationships die. Whether people part ways emotionally or literally die, relationships end. Within relationships, individuals exchange what they need from each other. For a hypothetical example, let’s discuss Person A and Person B. Person A is lacking social confidence while Person B is lacking emotional support in following his dreams. Person A and Person B meet. Person A is drawn by Person B’s ability to easily charm people in social situations. Person B feels empowered by Person A’s encouragement toward the pursuit of his ambitions. A relationship, whether platonic or romantic, develops. Over time, Person A and Person B influence one another. Person A becomes more outgoing and Person B finds the courage to achieve his goals. Their personalities evolve, and so do their needs. This causes them to drift. Maybe they aren’t able to meet each other’s present needs. Maybe they’ve become acquainted with different people, who can give them what they need now. To be frank, maybe Person A and Person B just don’t like who one another has become.

          Considering relationships in such evolutionary terms, maybe the death of mine and Olivia’s friendship is coming. Maybe it’s not. Maybe we’ve already taken everything that we need from each other. I don’t know. What I do know is that I’m not afraid of our friendship’s future anymore. Before my happiness experiment, I had thought that only Olivia could give me what I needed in my life. I thought that no one else would ever make me feel comfortable or understood. I was very wrong. I wasn’t letting other people in. I didn’t give anyone else a chance to show me what they have to offer, and I didn’t show anyone what I can offer in return. Now that I am open to new friendships and a romantic relationship, I appreciate the different ways that multiple people can fulfill my various needs. I don’t need for everyone to be my best friend or for one person to be my everything. I can fill my life with a different people who, combined, give me all that I need as I am now.

          Resulting from this mindset is my newfound relaxed approach to relationships. I’ve become comfortable with the concept of people entering, exiting, and sometimes re-entering my life. It is in my best interest to be fluid and adaptable to such changes. In doing so, it is vital to ensure that I never define myself through another person again. I don’t want to prioritize anyone over myself. Throughout the process of people coming and going, I will be the one guaranteed constant in my life. I will be my own best friend.

Happiness Tip: Be your own best friend.

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