When I was in kindergarten, someone said something unkind to me. According to the old family story, I reported the incident to my parents, confessing sadly, “I thought everyone would like me.”
I feel like that five year old girl today.
Y’all, relationships are hard. No matter how good your intentions are, hurt happens. And then what?
You speak out according to your convictions, convinced that you are doing the right thing. You choose your words carefully and yet, the people on the other side are upset. You feel misunderstood. They probably do, too.
You’re asked to help in an area of ministry, but the person who asked you to help seems to resent it when you do. Hurt and bewildered by the lack of support, you continue in the ministry, but wonder if the person truly wanted your help in the first place – and if not, why did they ask?
Someone asks you to help on a committee, then stops including you in the flow of information. You ask how you can help and they say, “Oh, it’s fine. We’ve got it.” You wonder why they’ve decided you’re incompetent. You thought you’d done everything that was expected. You see them planning the next event, but no one assigns you a task. Feeling insecure and confused, you stop offering to help and want to hide at the next event. At all following events.
Is this how life is for everyone? Does everyone go through this jumble of misunderstandings and hurt?
Or is this just how life is for introverts? Would an extrovert run down each of those situations and discover exactly what the other person felt/needed/meant/wanted and tie up each one with a pretty bow of resolution?
Or am I just completely socially backwards and haven’t figured it out yet?
I feel each source of conflict, each strained relationship, deeply. My husband does not. His standard response to my analyzing of every relational stress is, “Who cares what they think?”
Me. I care.
I want to be liked. I want to be understood. I want to go to the store without worrying that I’ll run into the person on the committee who stopped asking me to help, because oh my gosh it’s so awkward and what did I do wrong and why doesn’t she like me?
I’m still that kindergarten girl, wondering that anyone could misread my motives or misjudge my actions.
How do you handle relational conflict? Do you contemplate the plausibility of withdrawing from all human contact rather than initiating those conversations? Or do you march in unafraid, determined to get answers and resolve the problem?
And if it’s the latter, do you offer a class in that…? Asking for a friend.