When we insist that a friend act a certain way or maintain a certain level of closeness with us when they need space, we push them away.Based on the social distance both they and you desire, determine how you will act toward them.
Instead, we can see our social life as a stage where each of our friends enters and exits as they please.
Our role in a friendship is not to demand a certain social distance; instead, it is merely to welcome with love and compassion and warmth and acceptance those who step onto our stage.
There are some friends who need to leave our stage for a while or even forever. We can choose to appreciate the time during which they were in our lives.
We can make the decision to let go of our psychological models or schemas that dictate how a friend should act.
We can recognize that these habitual ways of thinking about friendship have been influenced by the preordained social distance from ourselves we have allocated to a particular friend.
We desperately hold onto this preconceived level of closeness in the relationship to keep our loneliness at bay.
This week, each time you interact with a good friend, acknowledge the level of closeness they seem to desire in your friendship. Then become aware of how close to them you wish to be.
Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).