Over the holidays, my sister was telling me about a conversation she had with a “friend” of hers, who we’ll call “Robbie” (not her real name). She began her story by saying to me, “Do you remember Robbie? She’s my friend who is not really my friend, who you met last month?” I did remember this person, but I was mostly curious as to why my sister referred to her as “her friend who is not really her friend.” My sister said that Robbie is not someone she considers to be her friend because she often hurts my sister’s feelings.
So I asked the obvious question: “Why do you continue to spend time with her?” My sister said that Robbie continues to invite herself into my sister’s life. My sister stopped making plans with Robbie months ago, but she continues to bump into Robbie at the gym, the library, the store, the park, and other places. Robbie then proceeds to latch onto and hang out with my sister. My sister, not wanting to be rude, has never said anything to Robbie and continues to cordially tolerate her during these interactions.
Sound familiar? I’ve often heard similar stories from my coaching clients. Many of us have had and may currently have people in our lives who are not really our friends, but who we continue to allow into our life. We may not have many options when it comes to some of these people and how often we interact with them since they may be a family member or neighbor. But we do have options when it comes to three very important considerations: 1) our boundaries; 2) our perspective about who this person is to us; and 3) what we want for our self from this person.
First consider what boundaries of yours are being stepped on by this person. In my sister’s case, these are many • from quality time alone with her children to feeling verbally abused by this person. Once you define your boundaries, you will then be more prepared to have a conversation with this person.
Secondly, consider who this person is to you. If this person is not your friend, then don’t refer to this person as your friend. By one definition, friends are people we invite into our lives, have respect for and care about. Their words have the potential to really hurt our feelings. An acquaintance or stranger’s words and actions can have a completely different impact on us. Check in with yourself on who this person really is to you and what perspective you’re standing in when it comes to your relationship with this person.
Now you’re ready for step three. Remind yourself that being a part of someone’s life is a privilege and a gift to be honored and cherished. Then honor your boundaries and ask for what you want from this person.
Coaching Challenge: Define your boundaries and perspective and then talk to this person about what you want.
Coaching Inquiries: Who are the “friends” in your life, who are really not your friends? What boundaries of yours are these “friends” stepping on? How can you begin to create less space for them in your life? What do you want for yourself from this person? Who are the people in your life who champion the unique and special you?
To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. If you are interested in learning more about how you can partner with a LifeTrek coach to enhance your resilience, please Email Christina or use the Contact Form to arrange for a complimentary coaching session.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Christina Lombardo, PCC, CPCC (Christina@LifeTrekCoaching.com)
LifeTrek Coaching International