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August 9, 2018

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Auto-Correct: Our Different Responses to Distance in Relationships



Recently a friend and I had a heartfelt conversation via text during a busy week (yes, heartfelt conversations can be had via text!). At the end of our conversation, she responded with a final signature, “Thank you previous friend!! Xoxo”


Of course, I immediately knew that her phone’s auto-correct feature had assumed she meant “previous” instead of “precious” (one of her favorite words). It’s now a joke between us, often signing off with “previous friend.” I smile when I think back to that text and how in our own relationships we hear through the filter of our past experiences. I know my friend well enough to auto-correct it back to “precious” because that’s how she shows up 99% of the time in our relationship— loving, generous, and emotionally safe. She’s generally responsive, accessible when I need her, and emotionally engaged during deeper discussions.  I believe I provide the same for her.  Of course….she doesn’t live with me…

Sometimes it is the hardest to hear through the filter of love and concern when the people we are closest to speak to us.  We must ask, are we guarded when they draw close, or desperate for them to notice us? How do we know if our relationship is emotionally safe? How we hear other’s communication and experience other people close to us is based on our past experiences in life. For example, how do we experience the people who were in charge of us growing up—were they responsive or unresponsive? Accessible or inaccessible? Engaged when needed or disengaged and nowhere to be foun