My name is Megan, and I am an extrovert. I was the girl who constantly got in trouble for talking in class. I am the girl who will strike up a conversation with the bank teller, and will genuinely be slightly bummed when the transaction is over (because we were hitting it off so well!). I will be the old grandma that you love, but also kind of dread one day, because I'll talk your ear off. It's who I am. I'm a people person. In my mind everyone is a potential friend.
My 3 year old daughter has inherited this gene. She definitely has the gift of gab and always wants to be around people. She refers to everyone as her friend. The other day I was at the park with her and there were a group of teenage boys playing football. She saw them and said "Mom, I'm gonna go play with my friends." I laughed. "No baby, why don't you just stay with Mommy? We will play with some different friends later, ok?" She sulked "Ok.."
She prattled on, as she ran through the grass. She would point out the birds she saw and tell me how blue the sky was. However, anytime somebody new would wander into the park she would stop and stare a minute. I could just see the wheels spinning in her mind "People! Friends!" Sure enough she would turn and look up at me and say "Mommy, look! My friends are here! Let's go play with them!" I looked over and its a young couple holding hands. I laughed again. I love her outgoing heart that loves so easy. However, if I'm honest, sometimes it worries me.
Don't get me wrong, I don't want her to change. Quite frankly, I get it! I don't act like my 3 year old does because I know its socially unacceptable. If I wasn't trying to cleverly disguise myself as an adult, I would be running to the group of "friends" with her and shouting "Hi, my name is Megan! What's your name?! Want to be my friend?!" My open heart has a allowed me to meet a lot of incredible people over the years. It has also brought some incredible heartache.
You see, I had started a bad habit from the time I was young. I had a lot of people in the category of "friend" that never should been there in the first place. It's not that I was stupid or naive. I just loved people so much. In fact, I valued them more than I valued myself. This was a problem. I didn't understand the importance of boundaries. I constantly felt like I was giving love out and getting nothing back in return.
Soon I found myself starting to shut down. Suddenly, this outgoing girl started to hide. I didn't really reach out like I used to anymore. Without realizing, I began to build a wall around my heart trying to protect myself from anymore pain. It was subtle. I actually didn't realize how bad things had got until my husband sat me down and asked me if I was ok. I said I was, but that was a lie.
The reality was I just felt done. I was over constantly being let down by people. I started to self sabotage relationships. I rejected people before they could reject me. In my mind, this was my way of trying to keep my heart safe from disappointed. Instead, I was just preventing my heart from getting what it really desired: love.
I thought relationships were the problem when in reality I just needed to sit down and really ask myself "What is a friend to me?" I needed to set those boundaries. The purpose of these boundaries isn't as much about keeping the wrong people out, as it is about keeping the right people in. I was so quick to throw people under the title of friend, that I didn't even pause long enough to see if they really acted like one. It would be equivalent to me referring to a guy I really liked as my boyfriend, and he only saw me as a friend.
When it comes to relationships, its about quality over quantity. If you constantly feel lonely, especially if you are surrounded by "friends", I encourage you to pause a moment and ask yourself why. Perhaps your story is like mine. You find yourself so zealous to love people that you forget to check if they are loving you back. Or maybe you find yourself in a relationship where they look like a friend, and sound like friend, but they don't act like one.
Make sure that the ones you put under that title value you back. A friend is someone who makes time for you. They value your opinion. They don't just allow you to choose them, they choose you back. They are there for you. They listen to you. They aren't constantly blowing you off. They don't just hang out with you when there is no one better to hang out with. They are FOR you! You feel encouraged after leaving their presence, not put down and defeated.
Not everyone you like is meant to be your friend. The other thing that is important to remember here is that if they don't fall in the category of a true friend that doesn't need to mean they are automatically an enemy. There is nothing wrong with having a buddy at work that you get along with and laugh at lunch with. The problem comes when you see her as a best friend and she only sees you as a work buddy. If this is the case, don't get angry at her and resent her for not seeing you as more. Learn to accept what she can give and be thankful for that. Then find comfort in the fact that you haven't put someone in a "bestie slot" that isn't meant to be there. All this is means is that slot will be open for the right person when the time is right. Never just settle to fill a spot, to try and keep your heart from feeling lonely. You just set yourself up for hurt that way, and will end up feeling way more lonely that you ever could have imagined.
Be confident and trust your journey. Love people and don't forget to love yourself too. You teach people how to treat you, so make sure you teach them well. Don't doubt yourself, just because someone you think is awesome doesn't feel the same way about you. They just aren't into you the way you are into them. That's ok. It doesn't mean something is wrong with you. It doesn't even mean something is wrong with them. Some things just aren't meant to be.
As much as it kills this girl's people-person heart, not every cashier I laugh with will be at my next birthday party. I won't be able to storm up to a group of guys playing football with my 3 year old and suggest being friends. I will ,however, be able to truly value the people in my life who really do love me. It's because of the rejections, disappointments and losses I've experienced that I can truly see what a gift it is to be loved. Despite my loud laugh, talkative nature and quirky ways that put some people off, they chose me.
So they just aren't that into you? That's alright.
The right people will be, and that's all that matters.
Megan Baca - Guest blogger
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