It sounds harsh, I know. Yet the sooner you realize this, the better.
I know that it can be easy to justify why they aren’t around. Maybe they’re going through something. Maybe they are too busy and just don’t have the time right now. Maybe they really want to be there, but they’re waiting for you to reach out.
People can have good intentions, but that doesn’t mean they will follow through with them.
Because we already know that people who want to be part of your life make an honest effort to do so. If they are having a hard time, they communicate that to you. If they have a hectic schedule, they let you know, and they try to plan for the future. They reach out and they allow themselves to be present with you.
This isn’t to say it’s not hard for people to always be there. We’re human, and we all need moments where we take care of ourselves. Yet when it comes to your relationships and friendships that you care deeply for, it makes sense to let them know that you need that time. If you realize you’re unable to be there for someone the way they need, and that isn’t going to change, then it makes sense to tell them so.
The problem is that we would rather believe in excuses than believe in the truth being told to us: they aren’t here, and even if they care for you in some way, it’s not enough to be present. It’s not enough to warrant them to put in the effort. Excuses hold hope. They are the promises we make to ourselves on their behalf. We want to believe that if we are flexible, vulnerable, and accommodating then they will eventually show up. If we can prove to them that we are worth making time for, they will finally step into the space we’ve cleared for them.
It seems reasonable, until we continue to bend and fold ourselves smaller to make more room for someone who isn’t coming. We don’t realize how much it hurts us. How our hearts break a little more each time that we reach out with no reply. How we grow devastated when we are going through a hard time and we really need them there, but they don’t take the time to do so. How we hang onto every possible hope of a future when they say they really want to be there, but just can’t right now- and how we grow tired when it seems that future will never arrive. We call it patience and empathy. You’re allowed to have both for a person, and also finally accept that they aren’t in your life the way you want or need them to be.
You can understand where a person is coming from, and also decide that you really don’t need them in your life after all.
We tend to think that if we cut them off, we are a bad person. Or we justify it by thinking they are horrible for not being what we need. Neither of these things are necessarily true- sometimes your wants and needs just don’t match up with the other person. Sometimes you need them in ways they don’t want or don’t know how to be. It doesn’t make them evil ,and it doesn’t mean anything is wrong with you.
Maybe this person isn’t a horrible person, but they just aren’t a person who is going to be in your life. That can be hard to wrap your head around, because if they’re an awful person, we can hate them and want them out of our lives. When the reality is they aren’t bad, just unwilling and apathetic, it stings in a way that’s hard to explain. When someone constantly talks about how badly they want to be with you, or they make promises they can’t keep- you have to recognize nothing good is going to come from it. People talk, but their actions are what show you who they are.
The truth is, you deserve to have people in your life who not only want to be there, but people who genuinely choose to be. You don’t need people who constantly tell you how much they wish they could be there, because this doesn’t do anything for either of you. It doesn’t help someone to say they want to be with you if they know for one reason or another that they can’t be. It doesn’t help you to hear it from someone who isn’t going to be there for you, but saying something nice to give you hope that someday they will be, once they get everything “resolved.”
There are people who see you for who you are, and they cherish you. They value what you bring to the table. They understand and admire you, on so many levels. They know that your time and your attention is worth having, and so they make room for you in their lives. They also know you’re a person who needs support and validation, just like anyone else, so they show up when you need them to. They understand that friendships and relationships require both people willing to meet in the middle as much as they can, and to figure out how to best be there for each other. They know that connections are hard work at times, but they believe you are worth it and will do that work with you.
There are people who love you and think so highly of you that they won’t make excuses on why they aren’t there, but will make small sacrifices in order to be there. If they are having a bad day and can’t be with you the way you need, they communicate it to you. They don’t leave you guessing about why they’re absent. There are people who want the absolute best for you, and who know that if they can’t be the best for you, they will step out of the way so you can find someone who is.
You deserve someone honest with you, and someone who cares so deeply for you that they ensure you aren’t left holding onto half-hearted promises. They will do the hard things even if it’s uncomfortable. They will care for you just as much as they do for themselves. You deserve to have people in your life that you know you can depend on, not ones that you constantly question whether they will be around. You deserve to have people who want to see you thrive, and will try to encourage that in you, rather than allowing you to drain yourself waiting for something to change.
When it comes down to it, if they wanted to be in your life, they would be. It hurts that they aren’t, and that’s okay. You’re allowed to be hurt. Yet don’t forget that this person isn’t the end of the world. This person isn’t the only one who can support you, care for you, and love you. There are so many people in your life that you may not even realize, and so many you haven’t met yet. You will find the people who want to be in your life, who view you as someone they don’t want to live without rather than someone they have to tolerate.
Just wait and see.