3 Tips to Get Back on Track When Your Self-Growth Threatens your Friendships
Who doesn’t love the feeling you get when you have a really close sister friend? You two can chat for two or three hours nonstop at least once a week and your bond is so friggin’ tight she can finish your sentence practically before you even think it.
Hands down, these friendships are some of the best. They help us maintain our equilibrium during the best and toughest of times. They become a refuge in the storm, a beacon of light when we’ve lost our way and a place to throw back our head and laugh long and loud when we feel like no one else out there gets us. We never want it to end, and for good reason.
However, sometimes our friendships can get a little off balance. Instead of feeling in sync, we feel distant and out or rhythm. Triggers that can undermine our connection can come from anywhere.
I was once in this exact situation. I’d known this particular sister friend for 20 years. We went to the same college and we were cool as ice water! As adults we hung out and managed life’s ups and downs and celebrated birthdays together. I was in the inner sanctum. Her job required her to travel and every time the wind blew her trippy alarm went off at her house. I’d get a call from the alarm company and I’d have to drive to her house to make sure everything was where it was supposed to be, then I’d punch in my special code to alert the alarm company that nothing was amiss.
We both loved to read personal and spiritual development books and we’d spend long phone conversations analyzing the principles or some weekends spend sleep overs at her house binge watching our favorite PBS television shows.
Everything was groovy until I get involved with another circle of women friends.
I’d joined an entrepreneur leadership program that required me to travel and spend weekends in a mastermind setting with women like myself who were committed to stretching ourselves and wanted to create new levels of business success. Right away I noticed a shift in how my sister girl treated our friendship. I’d return from those trips wanting to share all of the new ideas I had but she was far from interested, in fact she was dismissive.
Maybe you’ve experienced something similar.
Perhaps, like me, you joined a personal or professional development program and now your brain is filled with all kinds of out-of-the-box thoughts and ideas and your sister girl doesn’t agree with your new path. Or, perhaps you’ve finally lost the baby weight you both have been trying to lose for the past 5 years, but she fell off the weight loss wagon and never got back on. Now, instead of long phone chats you’re trading a short text once or twice a week. In fact, some weeks all you hear is crickets.
Other friends may even suggest that your sister friend has entered the dreaded “jealousy zone”. Maybe you’re inclined to agree with them. However, I advice I ended up taking for myself. I suggest that before you lump your girlfriend headfirst into the jealous category, take a moment to think about things from a slightly different perspective.
Yes, it’s true that it can be incredibly painful when our self-growth somehow sabotages our friendships. But the truth of the matter is your growth is the most important contribution you can make to the world. When you’re in alignment with the law of growth, you’re more likely to fulfill your purpose in life. Your first commitment is to embrace your growth. Never hide it, but also don’t flaunt it.
You might consider that your sister friend’s seeming jealousy may be stimulated by her own unexpressed desires and life goals. If you realize this is the case, I’d like you to see your friend through the lens of compassion and understanding. This may be difficult at first because your first thought might be something like “She just needs to grow the heck up!”
Sometimes our growth reminds our friends of their own neglect. Your growth may be casting a reflection revealing her repressed desire to improve her life. It may start to feel like you moving forward means she’ll be left behind. Although you know that’s not true, she doesn’t.
Here’s 3 tips you can try that may help to get things back on track:
- Take a short break – perhaps, through giving each other space and time to adjust, in her own time she’ll recognize what’s behind her feelings and start to make changes in her own life.
- Write a letter – but ask permission to do so and clarify that the purpose is to get to the heart of things so you can get things back on track.
- Be a Catalyst, extend Invitations – if you realize that there’s some truth to your friend not having a zest for her own life, you can extend invitations, phrased as “Maybe we can do _____ together. I’m starting to lose my mojo doing it by myself.” Sometimes people just need to get in motion and commit to something, to get their confidence and ideas flowing in the right direction.
Ultimately, the most beneficial mindset you can have in this kind of situation is to remain focused on love, compassion and understanding. Above all, remember that honoring the law of growth and expressing the transformative positive feelings of love towards yourself and your friend is the ultimate motivator and healer.