The good enough friend part 4 – Get the grade right

Andrew Wake Newsletter, Parenting

Here is part 4 of the series on good enough friendships.

When entering a relationship, it is vital to prepare yourself first by being accepting of everyone’s freedom to minimise the “shoulds” and expectations, and thus decrease possible disappointment.  If you want a connection with someone, it is important to initiate and not wait passively and dependently for the other.  But when you do initiate you need to be aware of, and curious about, what level of interaction the other person wants, as well as mindful of what you may be wanting from them.

Matching the level of interaction the person is at is important if your expectations of the relationship are not going to lead to your disappointment.  If they are interacting at a C grade level, then you have to accept this and simply give them “polite” back.  If they are interested in play and fun, enjoy this level for what it is, but don’t start hoping for a phonecall or invitation to a party.  Keep it light and fun.  If they want A grade level closeness and you want this too, that is great, but don’t try to make them an intimate by over-sharing what you would only share with a very close friend or partner.

Equally, if the other person seems to want backstage or A grade closeness, but you only want simple fun  with no strings attached, don’t interact as if there was intimacy.  Keep it light and fun and avoid personal topics.  And if the other person is someone who you have discovered you cannot trust, yet they are interacting with you  like an old friend, you simply give them polite replies and find a way to move on as soon as you can.

Being aware that there are different levels of friends and matching your level of interaction with the other person helps in coming across as relaxed, fun and playful.  The disappointment you feel when you don’t get back what you expect or wish for will likely lead to some poisoning of the relationship and is a fun-killer.

And sticking to what you wish for if they want more than you do is an important aspect of feeling confident in friendships.  You are free to want or not want a particular level of closeness…as are they.  Freedom lies at the core of all good relationships.  Control lies at the core of all dysfunctional relationships.  Trying to make someone interact with you at a level they don’t want to is a controlling mistake.

Get the grade right – part 4 the good enough friend – Video Link