When we develop a close friendship or an even closer intimate love relationship, we are often fooled into a sense that we can just be ourselves, let things flow, and everything will be all right. Problem is, as we spend more time with another person, thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors occur that may trigger unexpected responses in either person. If the emerging thoughts and feelings are not expressed openly, they begin to fill a sort of filing box in each person’s mind.
Everything seems to go along at the same pace. Both people seem to be thinking alike and enjoying their time together. One or both may be fooled into a state of complacency. And then, one day, seemingly out of the clear blue sky, one person expresses a list of issues that have been festering for days, weeks, months or even years.
This is the point at which we have the ultimate power to make or break a relationship. The words we say, the attitude we pervay, and the way we handle the other person’s list, can make that person feel heard, understood, acknowledged and love — or — threatened, ignored, invalidated and humiliated.
We cannot know what another person is really thinking or harboring in the recesses of their mind. But once we are told, once their thoughts are out on the table in full view, we have a powerful choice and decision that can alter the course of this relationship – and sometimes – the rest of our life.
Counseling is invaluable at these precious choice points in life. A good friend with some life wisdom and a supportive, listening ear, may be all that is required. Sometimes, we ought to turn to a professional to receive some educated, experienced input, suggestions and evaluations.