Far From "Home"
Living in San Francisco is probably one of the best things I’ve ever accomplished. When I was as young as 5 my mom tells me I used to tell her I was going to move to California. She would even ask me where I ever even heard of California because we had never been and have no family here. My guess is it's something I heard on Nickelodeon or something. Anyway, when I was growing up I couldn’t wait until I was able to bust out of my little hometown and never look back.
This may be controversial to say, but when I finally did make the big move I immediately started to feel sorry for everyone who hadn't “made it out” yet. It took me time to realize that not everyone WANTS to leave what they know as "home" and that isn't a bad thing or something to be pitied. That's where I came to the realization that it was something I personally NEEDED to do in order for my life to move forward in a more authentic way, and that couldn't happen in Tennessee.
Regardless, the more time that passed by, I realized that there was something happening that no one tells you about when you move thousands of miles away from everyone and everything you’ve ever known, family and friend dynamics completely shift.
Growing up you think, “This friend will be in my wedding”, or “We are going to be best friends forever”, or “nothing can or will tear my family apart”. The weird thing is, it’s easy to say that when the effort is minimal on both parties. I have several friends who are transplants to this area from all over and most of our experiences basically mimic each other’s, which made me think... What do you do when you feel like you carry a relationship, and how do you manage long distance relationships that feel one sided?
The big thing I've learned (thanks in large part to my therapist), is that you can't make someone have the type of relationship that you want them to have if THEY don't want it (confusing enough?). Things change, people grow and grow apart and you just have to be okay with that.
When reflecting on my relationships and how they have changed, I realized there are types of long distance friends/family from what I've gathered and here is how I've categorized them:
This is the one that you want to have in your life! They are the ones that call and check in on you as often as you do them. It can be calls, texts, Facebook, whatever. The point is, that you both show mutual respect in communication and visits. They invest as much time (and money) in keeping the relationship moving forward as you do.
This is the person who always has a reason why "now" isn't a good time to talk, text, or visit. I got this name from the person who is like this in conversations: Me: "When are you coming to see me?", Them: "Soon!" It's harder to lock these people down than the release date for Missy Elliott's new album. BUT the good thing about them, is that if you make the effort first, they generally will too.
This person is the ultra-aggressive one that guilts you into feeling like you have to make all the effort. When you take a vacation they say, "Why didn't you come see ME?" When you go visit near where they live, they say, "Why can't you come where I am?!". The funny thing about these people, is they don't live up to the demands they expect you to follow. This kind of one-sidedness is something to really watch out for because it can be really toxic.
The One-Sided "Poor" One:
This person is the one you always see posting pictures of vacation, or having the newest gadget or doing some fun adventure, but when it comes time for them to come visit you, or to hang out when you're in town they mysteriously have no money to be able to visit or see you. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!
In all seriousness, the thing I've had to come to terms with when dealing with one of the more difficult ones above, is knowing your limits. At the end of the day, you HAVE to do what is best for you. Some people waste all their time and money making efforts with people who don't reciprocate, and that's unhealthy.
Now, I'm DEFINITELY not saying you have to fall into one of the above categories... and I'm also not saying cut people out of your life (we aren't 14 years old), but that doesn't mean you can't take the time and effort to cultivate your current healthy friendships/relationships or even take a vacation for yourself.
You always have to keep in mind, that no matter how strongly a relationship feels, people come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. We all WANT it to be a lifetime, but that isn't always the reality. Take care of yourself and those who (through their actions) value you. And know, it's not just on one person to make a relationship work.. It takes two.
photo: Marc Reyes
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