SOMETIMES WE CAN GET UPSET THAT SOMEONE ELSE ‘DIDN’T EVEN ASK ME ABOUT [X situation]’ or ‘they never mentioned [X issue that is so important in my life right now]’ – perhaps even allowing it to be a signal that we’re ready to give up on the friendship or relationship.
On the other side of the equation, after an interaction is over, someone can lament not mentioning something: ‘I never even asked them about [x] – I [forgot, or didn’t know what to say, etc.]. I feel so bad.’
Indeed I’ve been on both sides of the equation, myself.
When someone does inquire about something in our life, we all likely have a sense of what that might tell us:
~ it’s often people’s way of showing that they care, by showing that they remember something that’s happening in our lives.
~ showing that they’ve been paying attention to what’s going on in our life and are eager to find out how we are doing might help us feel a deeper connection with them, and help us feel supported, valued, and less alone.
BUT WHAT ABOUT WHEN SOMEONE DOESN’T ASK about something going on in our life – even the big things…
~ the illness of our family member, indeed even the death of our family member or friend,
~ the difficult time we discussed during the last time we visited – the unrest within our family or friendship group, or our own inner turmoil, or
~ the exciting new venture – the job interview, the travel plans, our big move to another city, or whatever it is.
Does it mean that we’re NOT in their thoughts? No, it doesn’t.
Does it even mean that they don’t care about us or the issue we’re dealing with? No, it doesn’t prove that either.
All the not-mentioning-it might tell us is that:
~ they didn’t remember it at that moment. Perhaps they have many things on their mind and happening in their life, and while we are important to them and the issue might be huge for us, it’s just not top-of-mind for that person due to the challenges in their life. Whether we know what those issues are, or whether we judge them to be more or less impactful from our perspective – they’re real and impactful for them given their life experience; or
~ they didn’t know how to ask us about it. Maybe they feel uncomfortable about the topic, or they worry about upsetting us, or they just don’t know what to say; or
~ they didn’t have the capacity to get into the conversation about it at that time. They might not have the time right then to get into the depth of the conversation that the issue would require, or perhaps it would trigger them and they are just barely holding it together themselves for reasons of their own; or
~ any number of other reasons…
…none of which confirms that they don’t care about us.
We might indeed be frequently in their thoughts, and they might care a great deal – but they might be focusing on something different, entirely, about us and our life experiences right now – or perhaps something in their own life is holding their focus – something we might never know anything about.
I invite each of us to consider other possibilities before jumping to a conclusion about someone, and seek to find the way a person might be showing that they care instead of only what we are hoping they will say or do.
Wishing you a day of finding value in your connections – including accepting those who are just doing their best, however that looks for them. ❤
(Photo by Min An, pexels(dot)com)