I used to think that true friendship was a two-way street. Meaning, both parties are actively engaged in keeping the connection strong. That’s a very nerdy way of saying it, but you get the idea. It takes two to tango. A handshake requires two right hands. You reach out; I reach out. If only one person is making an effort…
to spend time together then is this really a healthy relationship?
I don’t think this anymore. On the surface, it makes a lot of sense, but this two-way street idea disregard one thing—we’re all unique.
People are different.
Call Divide it what how you want—Enneagram types, love language, personality types, intro/extro/ambiverts—we all have different ways of expressing ourselves, our needs, our dreams, our affection. Not to mention all our flaws and unhealthy habits we occasionally fall into.
My hypothesis is there are two main kinds of friend interaction—Initiators and Receivers.
An Initiator type is one who instigates
the experiences. They are the ones who reach out. They plan dinner, coffee, meetups, and other experiences. They are always periodically checking in on how you are doing.
A Receiver (it’s the best word I can think of at the moment) type is one who receives experiences. They are waiting for the other person to reach out. They want to hang out but they don’t want to overstep or be a bother (they know that their friend is busy with their new job). They are ready and willing to do something if only their friend would reach out and initiate the next steps.
We are often both of these things and switch types depending on the friend. Neither is bad per se. Initiator’s tend to be leadership types and Receives tend to be follower types, but not always. Things start getting messy, however, when you’ve got two Receiver interactions going.
When two Receivers are both waiting for the other person to reach out, then inevitably nothing happens. They each assume each other is too busy (which they are, but that doesn’t mean they won’t make time for their friend.)
(Side-note: Of course, if someone doesn’t care about you, then are they really worth your time?)
Often our friends aren’t too busy for us, they are just waiting for us to reach out to them first.
You may be in this kind of connection right now. If you are, then it’s time to decide whether or not the relationship is worthwhile for you. If you are finding genuine joy and value out of the connection then you might have to flip from a Receiver to an Initiator.
Reach out. Plan a meet up. Don’t wait. Make the first move.
It’s like Chess or Checkers (or any game really)—someone has to go first.
STAY BOLD, Keep Pursuing,
— Josh Waggoner | Daily Blog #1192