A couple of days ago, mid-afternoon, I received a call from a friend. She was in tears; tears of anger, frustration and disappointment. She had cooked a beautiful lunch for some people who not only failed to turn up but, when contacted, lied to her about why they couldn't come. Furthermore, this wasn't the first time this had happened with these particular people. And they were family! Nobody can hurt us more than family, can they?
Well, we're never ones to turn down a good meal (regardless of the fact we'd already eaten), so we promptly dropped everything, rushed round to her and we soon sitting down to a delicious lunch, at 3.30pm. Hey – I believe that's a fashionable time to have lunch in some circles.
I'm sure you can imagine how my friend felt. It took several hours of hugs, her eleven year old daughter saying "well, you're now spending time with people who want to be with you, mum", and, yes, a couple of strong G&Ts for her to feel validated and wanted again.
We can often put ourselves out for people and then find our efforts are entirely unappreciated. It's even worse when it's family and close friends where there is so much emotional investment. While we know that true love, in the words of the bible "always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres", there does come a time when we need to take some of the emotion out of that love.
There is a very strong argument for dropping those people in our life who are not positive, who do not contribute to us. It's more difficult if those people are family. We can choose our friends; we can't choose our family. What we can do, for our own protection, is withdraw emotion from that arena. It's their loss, not ours. We'll invest that emotion in reciprocal friendships where it will be returned tenfold.
My friend will not be cooking a lunch for these people again, although she'll meet them in a restaurant. She can't cut them out of her life: they're family, but she can make sure she's not hurt by them.
Very much their loss, or maybe ours, as she's a very good cook!