Friday, April 19, 2013

Friends Who Cancel, Q and A From the friend Me? Conference 3.16.13

Photo by Amelia Grace Photography

Friends Who Cancel

ByLucille Zimmerman

“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way…” 

Ephesians 4:15

Q. What is the best way to deal with a friend who constantly breaks her plans with you?
A. The best way is to have a gentle, but honest talk with her.
You can keep the focus on yourself (e.g. “I get frustrated when we make plans and then you break them. I realize life is unpredictable but it happens so often.”)
Say it as gently as possible. You don’t need to show anger or frustration; just loving honesty.
There’s a wonderful book called Boundaries written by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. I requested the audio version of the book from my library so I could listen to it in my car.
The book teaches you how to set a boundary and how to have a consequence in a loving Christian way. The hard part is following through on the consequence---you have to decide what you would be willing to do should your friend ignore the boundary you set with her.
Emotionally healthy people both care for each other and tell the truth to each other. Driven by our own insecurity we often resist the need to confront because we fear the following things: 

  • Losing Relationship:  The fear that the person will withdraw either emotionally or physically from them. 
  • Being the Object of Anger:  They do not want to receive someone’s rage or blame about being confronted. 
  • Being Hurtful:  They are concerned about wounding the person and hurting their feelings. 
  • Being Perceived as Bad:  They want to be seen as a nice person, and they fear that they will be seen as unloving and unkind. 

You are not responsible for how the other person reacts to your reasonable boundary. People tell you who they are by how they respect your boundaries. Cloud & Townsend assert that, “the extent to which two people can bring up and resolve issues is a crucial marker of the soundness of the relationship.”
Here’s an example: “Suzy, it seems like you cancel so often and I find myself getting frustrated. If it continues I won’t be able to make plans with you. I love you but I need to do this in order to care for myself.”

Lucille Zimmerman is a Licensed Professional Counselor with a private practice in Littleton, CO and an affiliate faculty professor at Colorado Christian University.

She is also the author of Renewed: Finding Your Inner Happy in an Overwhelmed World. Through practical ideas and relatable anecdotes, readers can better understand their strengths and their passions—and address some of the underlying struggles or hurts that make them want to keep busy or minister to others to the detriment of themselves. Renewed can help nurture those areas of women’s lives to use them better for work, family, and service. It gives readers permission to examine where they spend their energy and time, and learn to set limits and listen to “that inner voice."

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