Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Building Relationships from the Ground Up: An Interview with a Natural

In my last post, I came to the conclusion that one foundation of self-care is creating and maintaining healthy boundaries in working relationships.

Having moved across the country in the past year, I’m in the process of creating and maintaining an all-new set of relationships. And if my social media newsfeeds are to be believed, making IRL friends as an adult is something that a lot of people struggle with.
Three people throwing their fists in the air in unison.
Text reads, "Team friendship!"

To help me start with this reflection, I looked to the person in my life that is probably the best relationship-builder I know: my spouse, Caleb. Nearly all the people I now call friends are people I’ve met through Caleb. He has been asked to stand at weddings several times and he’s a godfather to two. His best friends are those he’s been friends with since FOREVER. And their friendships are not just of convenience, since we’ve moved so far from his hometown in Florida and they still keep in touch frequently. He tells basically every FB friend “happy birthday” and while I don’t understand it he sees is as an important Facebook Friend Role.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Healthy Boundaries in Work Relationships: Self Care times a Million

“I’ll be what you want until I can’t be that anymore.”

A person in a sparkly green jacket.
Text reads, "Tell me what you want."

I long ago figured out that this was like my motto in romantic-type relationships before I met my spouse. In December 2005, I had recently recovered from an 8 month relationship (that we ridiculously drug out to over a year) followed closely by a three week relationship. The timetables were different, but the arc of the relationship was painfully the same: Figure out what you want me to be, try to be that, get exhausted being that, force a breakup.

Then I met Caleb. I was tentative at first, not trusting myself. And while that sounds terrible as a romantic comedy plot, it actually helped me create the boundaries I didn’t know I needed for us to get to know each other at a slower pace, and form a more lasting relationship.

I’ve held a few different positions in my 11 professional years, and some working relationships have looked similar to my old romantic habits. The feeling that comes up when I examine any dissatisfying or failed relationships is the feeling of being consumed. And when I have attempted to set boundaries once that feeling starts to happen, there are hurt feelings and broken trust.

And I’ve been doing lots of examining lately, because I’m in the first year of a new job again. And as the old demotivational poster goes: