There are as many ways of being as there are people on the planet – somewhere in the neighborhood of seven billion. Every one of us will make friendships and break friendships in our own way. There are the friend-sluts who befriend anyone, there are the “connectors” who have their fingers in every friend-circle but lack deeper connections, there are the wallflowers, too shy to make friends in large groups, and people in every spot in the spectrum.
This doesn’t mean we’re broken or bad or wrong or stupid, any of us. Quite the opposite – doing things in our own ways means we’re healthy!
Me, myself, and I
I used to want to be like Pace. She’s a friend-slut; she has hundreds of friends and is open and easy to get to know. Everywhere we go, we run into someone who knows her. Her close friends don’t ask “Do you know Pace?” when they meet someone new – they ask, “How do you know Pace?”
And I’m the opposite. It took me ages to get comfortable with how I am and how I make friends. I’m very picky. I’m picky with acquaintances and even pickier with friends. I’m not particularly easy to get to know. I’m a Guardian, so I’m guarded by nature. I’ve been wounded, so I’m quick to defense. I’m ridiculously loyal to and fiercely protective of those I choose to befriend, so I choose carefully.
I take time to make connections, and I only make a few of them at a time.
The Connection Paradigm
I am intentionally leading a shift from the control paradigm to one of connection.
This has caused some dissonance. How can I teach the connection paradigm if I’m super-picky about with whom I connect?
Because I don’t have to connect with everyone to teach connection. I don’t have to connect with people who make me feel bad. I don’t have to connect to people who hurt me. I don’t have to connect to people I simply don’t like or with whom I don’t agree. I don’t have to connect to people who don’t want to connect with me. I don’t have to connect with people who might be a potential best friend for life.
Choosing whom to connect with is part of leading the connection paradigm – because I’m also teaching self-love and self-knowledge. Knowing myself, knowing my limits, boundaries, and what I want out of the connections I make, be they friendship or other kinds of relationship, is part of being a whole and healthy person.
It’s like communication.
I don’t have to communicate with everyone to teach communication. We chose a select group – a target audience – for our book. We wrote it with examples from gay and poly relationships. We wrote it without the use of religion.
Particularly religious people might not like it. People who are anti-poly won’t like it. People who are anti-gay won’t like it.
And you know what? I don’t care. It’s not for those people.
I don’t wish them harm. I just self-select out of being their teachers. There are plenty of resources out there, and they are more than welcome – in fact, encouraged – to find a teacher (or set of teachers) that resonates with them.
I’m not for everyone.
The same goes with everything else I teach or preach. There will be things I say that don’t resonate with everyone. There will be people I will refuse to teach. There are people with whom I refuse to communicate – and there are people with whom I refuse to connect.
But refusing to connect with everyone ever doesn’t mean I can’t teach connection – if anything, it’s the only healthy way to teach such a powerful thing.
I will model healthy boundaries. I will model self-knowledge. I will reach out to those I feel safe with, to those I know will learn from me, to those I can actually get through to. There will be natural times when I stretch my limits – likely there will be hundreds of those – but I will choose those times. It’s the only way I can remain strong in myself.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.