One of my 2020 goals is to improve my relationships with family and friends. These last few years have been difficult. Moving out of state, custody modification with my son, an emotional breakdown. I laid low last year. Embarrassed at how my life changed in three years time. People that were there for me in the past, I ignored.
But the worst thing that happened, was my worsening relationship with my son. Trying to move past the guilt and shame of it all has been rough. But here this, I believe things are going to get better, and I would dare to say, it will be better in the future than in the past.
How do you mend a fractured relationship? Time and trust. Especially if the relationship is on rocky ground due to whatever circumstances, time and trust is needed to rebuild. One thing I have learned lately, is listening is a HUGE factor in rebuilding a relationship. I would get into arguments, trying to justify my position, without even hearing the other person out. I would fail to listen to other’s point of view, therefore blocking any chance of me improving that relationship.
Time and trust. The person(s) you are trying to mend fences with, may not be so receptive to just being friendly again. You are going to need to prove that you care about the relationship. That means, periodically checking in with the person, listening and genuinely caring. This can take a while, depending on how damaged the relationship is to begin with.
I forgot to make note, that this pertains to relationships that YOU want to mend. Not all relationships that end need to be rekindled. Especially, if the other person is hurtful or abusive. You need to keep healthy boundaries.
If you are currently in a situation, like mine, where you want to reach out to your family and friends again, but feel lost on how, here are a few suggestions:
- Call them, if you get a voicemail, leave a short message asking for a call back.
- If calling is too hard, text message or email. Email can be a great way to reconnect, you are able to write out how you feel, without the fear and anxiety of speaking directly to the person.
- Snail mail. Yes, people still mail letters.
- Offer to meet for lunch or dinner. (Make sure you pay for the meal if you are inviting).
I find that re-connecting on Facebook has helped me immensely. My friends and family can look at my wall, see my photos, and have an idea of what I have been up to recently.
As far as improving my parenting relationship with my son. I found that all my son needs is for me to be present. It doesn’t have to be some grand production. Just spending time together is enough. Building trust is not just for adults, its for kids too.
Last piece of advice, Give yourself grace. Forgive yourself and move forward. Reaching out again is brave, and you can do it. If the relationship is meant to be mended, it will.