Relationships of all kinds are tricky. Some establish themselves quickly; others take many seasons. There is a subconscious selection process that determines the significance of the connection.
There is a wife of a relative that I recently decided can’t be my friend. There is nothing major wrong with her and she’s a pretty okay lady, but after many years I have not grown in my affection for her. I never think “OMG I need to call so and so!” I never want to do lunch. I don’t not hold her close in my confidences (aka I don’t tell her my personal business). She has been relegated to the perpetual acquaintance zone.
Before you start thinking I’m mean for the sake of meanness, let me try to explain. The connectors are not connecting, because our conversations are quite plain. There were no “aha!” moments. Not once did I walk away feeling refreshed or renewed. I can barely recount what subject matters we skirted around, but I never left feeling good.
We don’t have many similarities other than our birthdays are in July. I think initially we both thought that would be enough to understand each other’s wit or avoid each other’s limits. It just wasn’t so. I didn’t find her very funny; truthfully, I can’t recall a single joke. I don’t like to talk bad about people, yet I participate in gossip and venting to pass the time until our husbands are ready to part ways. When I behave in a manner that I don’t approve of, I get frustrated with myself. I get upset with myself. I get angry with myself. And if my conversations with someone else consistently ends with me not liking that I was a party to it… then it’s better that we don’t conversate at all.
Oh I’ve tried to broach a variety of topics. From politics to parenting to religion and back. But you know how it goes. Patterns. Two or three sentences in, things deteriorate to complaining or indifference. I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but my brain enjoys some stimulation. I long for alternate perspectives. Our talks provide me none. And maybe that’s the other part of the problem.
How does she judge how I interact? She may not be overjoyed to be paired up with me either. I may be the boring one. That is completely possible. I may not be as engaging as I think I am. She may have already acquaintance zoned me. And I’m okay with that. Let the relationship die peacefully.
Two things that I am very aware of: I might be the jerk in this equation and I don’t need to express my tolerance limitations to her. You can’t tell people that they’re conversations are basic and dry. How arrogant would that be? And really what would that profit her or me? Nothing, so I’m telling you instead. These are the things I think in my head while I sit there listening to her talk. And that bothers me enough to insert a wedge.
I promise I won’t be rude. I’ll always be cordial, but I give myself permission to excuse myself from such uncomfortable small talk. I don’t have to be friends with everybody. I’m not trying to save face with you or her. I’m being as honest and gracious as I can. I know you may think I’m wrong. I’m actually willing to be wrong, but if I am than my growth will take a dialogue above what my acquaintance has to offer.
My mind is made up. I’ve reconciled it in my heart until God moves me otherwise.