Call me overly sensitive or a crybaby, whatever, but I refuse to be friends with someone who invalidates my feelings. It’s tea time.
I must admit, I have always been more on the sensitive side. It appears that any and every little thing upsets me, and I find it slightly hard to let go of even the most ridiculous confrontations from years ago. I am still mad at the girl who cut me in line during lunch on sloppy joe day in Kindergarten.
My friends are always telling me to let stuff go, and to be honest, I do that quite often. In truth, contrary to any impression you may have gathered from what I just said above, I seldom let things really get to me, unless I genuinely feel like there is more to it. Often, there isn’t. Yet, on some rare occasions, I feel myself being consumed with what I believe to be true, and it eats away at me.
Am I over reacting? Maybe. But to be honest, that is never the point. While I have been blessed with a handful of friends who are willing to sit and listen to what I have to say, hear where my pain or frustration is coming from, unfortunately, I have a few [former] friends, who seriously had me messed up.
I find myself in friendships with people who truly could not care less about how I feel because they cannot relate. And because they cannot relate, these friends often responded to how I express how I am feeling with saying things like, “It’s not that serious”, or “That has never happened to me, so cut it out”. It is perfectly fine if you cannot comprehend what and how something has made me feel, or even share a similar experience in comparison. But to continuously invalidate how my lived experiences have affected me, is where I draw the line.
I do not believe that you need to relate to someone to understand where they are coming from. I do not believe that you need to have personally experienced racism or sexism or colorism, to understand how that feels on the receiving end. I feel like many people, in our generation in particular, lack compassion and empathy for others, and it leads them to believe that unless they are going through it, it is not a factor, and it doesn’t matter. Girl, get a grip.
Time and time again, I find myself trying to salvage friendships with people who do not care about my feelings. I feel like some people believe that friendships should only be about good times, and laughter and happy memories only, but friendship is so much more than that.
Friendship is about sitting up at 1am talking about what tears you up inside. Friendship is about not feeling stupid when you’re hurt about something that has hurt you before. Friendship is about knowing that you can always come to each other, no matter when, no matter what it is about, and you’ll never feel like you’re alone. Friendship is NOT about telling the other person to ‘cut it out’ or ‘stop over-reacting’ because you fail to realize, that just because something hasn’t happened to you, doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt them.
Friends like this cause you to have a complex. They make you feel like nothing you say matters or is relevant, and therefore, they probably could care less about any of the stuff you say, even if it isn’t related to your feelings. It causes you to feel like you’re annoying, stupid, and not valued.
I feel like people who are like this don’t do it on purpose. I feel like they simply fail to realize that by invalidating your lived experiences and feelings, they are invalidating you as a person. They are missing the point by a mile, and instead of just listening, they offer a distinct counter to everything you say that screams, “I can’t comprehend this because I am ignorant”. I personally believe a lack of empathy and compassion is interchangeable with ignorance. But that tea is for another time.
I must admit, at times, I can be a little bit of a Blair Waldorf—melodramatic, and unbelievably extra. Just like Blair, I know that when something affects me deeply, it is a big deal. While Queen B takes things a tad bit too far, I have always been able to relate to her, in the sense that yes, how I am feeling really does matter, and if you can’t see that, you have got to go.
I am a firm believer that people who suck can and do change, once they realize the error of their ways. However, I am also someone who rarely ever brings these types of issues to friends, who I feel like will not understand. If they cannot understand my feelings at all, then, what is the point?
You don’t need these types of people in your life. Their friendship is worthless since it is so clear that how you feel does not matter to them. You need people in your life who want to be there for you, to understand you, and show empathy where it is needed. Get rid of them and reach your full potential. Chances are they’re already a downer to begin with, and you even still giving them the time of day proves how great you are, despite how they treat you. Your feelings will always matter, and you don’t need anyone in your life who makes you feel otherwise.