Friday 8 May 2009

Pondering on sensitivity

In this world we live in today is it better to be insensitive or sensitive?

Now I’m a ‘sensitive’ person. That doesn’t mean that people have to be careful what they say around me in case they upset me but it does mean that I’ve always been aware of atmospheres in rooms; of other peoples moods or just generally able to ‘feel’ what others feel.

Now this means that I tend to go through life trying to avoid hurting people and feeling their pain when they are upset. It also means that you ‘think’ a great deal. You sometimes read too much into situations which don’t warrant so much time and emotion being spent on them. After all we are all put in this world to lead our own lives; to learn our own lessons and to try and enjoy it along the way.

It also means that I put too much into relationships and therefore face the real possibility of being let down – over and over again. For example I had a friend that I’d known since we were teenagers. We weren’t the type of friends that saw one another all the time and quite often we would go for ages without hearing a word from one another, but then when we met up again the years would just drop away and we would be exactly the same as where we last left off. Now I accepted this type of situation and after all we were both getting on with our new lives. However to me she was my best friend; we both knew that whenever one or the other of us was in trouble we could just pick up the phone and we were there for each other. I held great store in this remote friendship. We understood one another – or so I thought.

Then one day a couple of years ago I was approached by her daughter to attend a surprise party for her 50th birthday. Of course I would go and Mick was only too pleased to go too as it was this friend who had introduced us to each other all those years ago.

Well the day of the party came and off we went to this party – it was about an hour’s drive away – so no drinking for Mick :-) On the walls of the hall there were old photos that her children had gathered – lots of them showing pictures of her and me as teenagers – and I was excited to see her again.

We only knew a handful of people there and everyone else were strangers to us but that didn’t matter and we waited for our friend to arrive. Well it was awful. For a start she only saw us as we were sitting by the door and she just about nodded to us. Then a bit later on when I went to chat to her I was introduced to her new friends as “someone I used to work with many years ago”.

She then proceeded to disappear with her new friends and after about another hour we just left and went home. She didn’t even notice we had gone.

Now that hurt as I realised that to her I was just a friend that she used to work with – no memory of the tears we had shared together on and off over the years. To her that chapter in her life was over with while I still carried the memory of that friendship.

So I’ve had to accept and understand that she didn’t mean to hurt me – she just didn’t think, after all she never was sensitive to other peoples feelings, and I’ve had to accept that the friendship I had with her was now over.

I’ve tended to find so far in life that in hindsight you can see people that have come into your life, and have disappeared from it, that they tended to be around for a limited amount of time. You both had a need at that time for each other and when that purpose was over with then the person tended to leave.

Instead now I’m grateful for these ‘fleeting friendships’ knowing that the real, true, never-ending friendships will always be around and time or distance will not fade them and that there are many types of friendships that occur in your life – some to last and some to fade – and that this is just the natural order of things.

So getting back to being sensitive or insensitive – well we are all made differently and we all have to find our own way in life – but if I had the choice then I would still remain ‘sensitive’ for that’s the way I am – and that’s the way I was meant to be....

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