Although I didn’t realize it when I was growing up, my mother was my role model for how not to be friends with someone. I have spent years unlearning what I learned from her. One of these things is pursuing the unavailable.
My mother is adept at calling people who don’t call her, or call her back. For years, I specialized in doing the same. I didn’t think anything of my habit. It was all I knew, familiar.
I chose friends who exhibited warmth and kindness. They showed an interest. Their interest intrigued me. “Call me,” they said. “We’ll talk soon.” I called. If they said, “Can’t talk now; call me later,” I didn’t see that they weren’t willing to put energy into the friendship. They encouraged me to call and that meant they liked me, right?
It was to my benefit to call, I thought. If I were feeling lonely, I might call a particular friend who supported me. But when I wasn’t calling, I rarely heard from her.
I sometimes want to call her for her soothing conversation. I’ve learned to resist such urges. Calling someone who can’t take the time to put in what I give out makes for an unbalanced friendship.
I used to think calling meant feeding myself, but in fact, the opposite is true. The more I don’t call her–or pursue any unavailable person–the more I help myself.