Recently, someone I don’t know well in one of my (many, I’m afraid) private online groups vented about the guy she was seeing: a not-quite-boyfriend. She was most often the one to make plans, and he cancelled at the last minute about a third of the time. She was asking the group how to get him to back out less often and to take the initiative more.
My opinion on this is, well, you probably can’t. If someone doesn’t make you a priority, then most of the time, you can’t persuade them to do so.
Why was she so invested in a relationship that gave so little back? Because he said so many nice and sweet things to her. She confronted him before, and he told her she was very important to him, and while he didn’t know exactly where their relationship was going, he felt differently about her than he had about other girls in the past.
Well. Lots of you who read this blog are writers. You know the truth of the sign F. Scott Fitzgerald posted over his writing desk: Action Is Character. A hundred lines of dialogue don’t mean as much as what your character actually does. And the same is true in real life.
A while back, someone else in a different group (I told you, I have lots of groups) complained that a group of friends frequently made plans that didn’t include her. My advice? Get some new friends.
If someone doesn’t make time for you, and isn’t there for you when you feel like you really need them, it turns out you don’t really need them. Nobody needs an unreliable boyfriend. For that matter, nobody needs a peer group that treats her with indifference — we have strangers for that.
It doesn’t mean the people who aren’t making you a priority — the flaky boyfriend, the group of ladies you went to college with, or whoever — are bad people. They probably have good qualities. They may be cute, or say hilarious or insightful things, or have an ineffable sense of coolness about them.
They might very well be terrific acquaintance material.
If you’re not on their “A” list, demote them accordingly to your “B” or “C” list. That opens up a spot on your “A” list for someone better. There are tons of clever, awesome people out there who will make you a priority, just as you do for them. I promise.
One of the best things that happened to me this year was meeting and joining a group of women writers in town who are brilliant, creative, inspiring, and encouraging. We’re all there for each other.
I’ve lived in Kansas City a long time, and it’s not a big town, but somehow, I never met them before this year. You have more kindred spirits out there than you think.
If you’re looking for a romantic partner, the same thing holds true. They might be practically under your nose. But you’ll never find them if you’re wasting time trying to get an unreliable not-quite-boyfriend-or-girlfriend to get serious.
As I’m writing this, it’s almost Halloween, or Samhain, which some people see as the end of a cycle. It’s a season of apparent incongruity, celebrating both death and abundance. But it isn’t really a contradiction, because endings are needed for new beginnings.
It can be a good time to cut away all the dead wood in your life — all the things that aren’t working for you and that can keep you from new growth in the months to come. This might include heavy investments in relationships that don’t give enough back. This can be painful in the short term, but fruitful in the end.
There have been a couple of times in my life when I’ve been slighted or passed over by someone, only to hear a voice inside me say: They don’t fit with what the future holds in store for you. They would only hold you back.
That voice has always turned out to be right, and I bet it’ll be the same way for you.