“You made me confess the fears that I have. But I will tell you also what I do not fear. I do not fear to be alone or to be spurned for another or to leave whatever I have to leave. And I am not afraid to make a mistake, even a great mistake, a lifelong mistake and perhaps as long as eternity too.”~ James Joyce

A few days ago, I was hanging out with a friend of mine who is female. I do not get to spend a lot of social time with her and so any opportunity that I am able to get my hands on, I go for it. To the best of my ability.

It was a pleasant visit with her and I really cannot complain all that much to be in her company.

All of a sudden, my cell phone began to ring. I ignored it because I was busy. But then a few minutes later, it rang again and for another time I did ignore it.

Moments later, another time it rang. So I excused myself from my friend and answered the call.

At the moment that I realized that it was not necessarily an emergency but rather a social call, I explained that I had company and was not able to sit down and socialize but I would return their call when I was at home.

I ended the phone conversation with, “Okay. I will call you later. I love you.” And then I hung up.

To which my female counterpart took that as an invitation for taunting and teasing and to play 50 questions.

No… to this day, I am not married, engaged, have a girlfriend, involved in a relationship, or gay. And these were the extent of the questions that I endured. As I said, I do not get a lot of time to hang out with this friend of mine. So it was understandable to me that she would not be aware of current events in my life. And that basically was the purpose for hanging out with her… to catch up with one another. But she could not understand why I had such an affectionate ending salutation to the conversation.

I explained that it is just who I am. That I say it to all my friends. And then things got heavy between her and I.

She said, “You do not say that to me whenever we hang up.”

My reply??

“That is because in the past when I have attempted to make such a ending salutation with you, you detonated a nuclear device to protect yourself in your own defense. And I got tired of having radiation burns.” 

As it may be very true that I do love and care for all of my friends, this still is something that I just do/say. Some accept it, some reject it. That’s just how things are with certain individuals that I choose to have in my social circles.

Some reciprocate the verbal displays of affection. Most do not.

And although I do not believe that there’s anything wrong with telling all of your friends that you love them. One must understand and respect the boundaries of other people’s feelings. You must acknowledge that some people just aren’t that expressive. To which that is not their fault. Nor is it yours.

If that is the case, just because it is not verbalized doesn’t mean that the you or the other person does not care about you. Or that you do not care about the other person. It boils down to every individual’s comfort zone. And if one person shows signs that they are not comfortable with such an exchange, you have to respect that and not push the issue.

We all have at some point gone and said the “L word” to someone and came back with such a major burn that we began to think that we wouldn’t be able to survive the night. But in reality, we all survive. Perhaps a little broken and hurt. But we learned that it is a boundary that should be noted not to cross again. In time our wounds did heal.

And I will repeat myself here: Just because its not said, doesn’t mean that its not felt.

As for my female counterpart, what I said to her would ultimately sting her. And I did make the effort to apologize for that because that was not the intention. But I made it clear that I was aware that she was not comfortable with hearing such sentiments from me as her friend, and therefore I simply stopped and respected that boundary. I also did mention that I totally enjoy the times that we spend together, as infrequent as they already are… in the hopes of mending things with her.  Going in for the kill was not the plan.

But she understood where I was coming from. And we were able to move forward with the rest of the day. And in the end when it came time to go, we hugged. So that was OUR way of sharing that particular moment of love, care, and of course– respect for one another as friends.

Pushing something on people whether its because you want them to do or say something is never the thing to do. It only causes a lot of friction in your social relationships and quite possibly, causes them harm. To which, you will end up having to switch gears and begin damage control. And that at times can become a hindering issue.

Always keep in mind: Once bitten, twice shy. If you strike and you are bitten then don’t fool with it again. How many times are you going to stick your hand inside of a fire before you say “Ouch! That burns!”

If you strike and its graciously accepted? Well, don’t abuse it either. Let things come as they may.

The greatest thing in the world is love. And love is defined in infinite ways. Don’t meddle with that. Its okay to love your friends as you love your family. Just don’t vomit your expressive feelings on them. Family is one thing, friends and social groups are totally another. Know the boundary lines.

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