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Saturday, February 5, 2011

When people do not respond the way we want them to

Sharing particular facets of information with those closest and most important to us, whether it is announcing a new relationship or pregnancy, outlining a disappointment, planning a break up, or discussing personal achievement or career aspiration creates a special, intimate point in time between two people. In an ideal scenario, the receiver of “news”, and both good and bad, will share in their mate’s emotional state, acknowledging, celebrating or empathising where appropriate. Here, each participant in the interaction has responded or behaved in the right way, leaving both parties sure of where they currently stand in the relationship.

In a less than ideal situation, our friend or confidante fails to give us the emotional support we were looking for. They could be disinterested, annoyed, perhaps not so happy for us or simply fail to acknowledge the enormity of the situation for the other person.

When such a situation arises we could spend the rest of our lives wondering and trying to understand why they reacted the way they did; “I thought we were friends”, “How could she not be happy for me”, “he didn’t seem to even care that I had just lost my mother”….the examples are endless. The truth is though that nothing is achieved by wondering why someone has not responded the way we had hoped that they would. The actual issue is that we had expectations of a person that they were unable, at that particular time point to stand up to.

Now, indeed this may be a one off random occurrence for this person, or it may be a more regular one where someone who you trust and look to for support is unable, for whatever reason to give it. And here, it becomes more apparent that perhaps it is us who need to be more careful in choosing those who we trust with our hearts and our souls for those who are worthy will not let us down, where as those who are not supposed to be playing the roles we have defined for them, tend to falter.