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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 05-Nov-17


Sunday 05-November-17

Reconnecting: a natural response to vulnerability

A relative recently became more friendly they have been in the past and I wondered what was up. Did they want something from us? No, didn't seem so. Notable, perhaps, was that they had been unwell a couple of times. Hmm. This could be a case of hedging ones bets in case of future need.

Being sick, suffering losses or otherwise experiencing problems, makes us feel vulnerable. And, while we may not like to impose on others, it can make us realize that we may have to in the future if things become more problematic. A natural response to this is to re-evaluate our relationships, thinking about who are our 'real' friends and who we could depend on in an emergency. A result of this thinking is that we turn down attention to more frivolous friends that, while fun, are less likely to help out when we are in need, and turn up the time spent with those who seem likely to be more empathetic and who would offer practical assistance.

Reviewing relationships is a good idea for many of us in any case. You don't have to wait until you are vulnerable before standing back and taking stock. It doesn't mean ditching all your fun friends, but you might want to wonder who would step up if you fell down. This is not necessarily an easy task. My daughter has been through many ups and downs and has been surprised by who turned out to be fair weather friends and who really cared about her.

Life is a game of give and take, though some take more than they give. Figuring out this balance in people is a useful skill. If you are feeling really brave, it can be a challenging task to look in the mirror and ask: Am I giving as much as I am taking? Pragmatically, you also need to ask if you are giving to the right people, because if you are giving only to takers, when you need to take, there may be nobody to give.

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