Many years ago, I met a new mom at an event at the school my kids were attending at the time. Right from the start I knew she wasn’t “my people” and I definitely didn’t want her as part of my inner circle or in “my tribe.” How did I know this so quickly? I could sense it intuitively, but also by what she was saying, I knew she was very judgmental and wasn’t particularly nice or kind to others. I always tried to be nice and kind to her when I saw her after our initial meeting, but I made sure not to engage with her more than was socially necessary.
Fast-forward a few years to my daughter’s fifth grade going away party. This woman made a scene (her last chance before we moved) in front of the other moms who were at the party with their daughters to say goodbye and wish us well. Long story short, she basically said that she never liked me and wasn’t impressed with the strict boundaries I set with her. As shocking and hurtful as these comments were, I knew this was actually about her (the person saying the mean and hateful comments) and not me. Even when I said “I’m sorry you feel that way.” She put her hand up, told me she had said all she needed to say (again, all about her and her need to be mean and unkind) and walked away.
I had tried really hard to protect myself from the negativity she exuded from that very first meeting, but as often happens, this incident still struck a cord with me, and still left me crying and feeling sad. I had to process it with a friend to be reminded that these were her issues and not mine.
Why was she so mad at me? She was angry because I set good boundaries with her, which she did not like in the least. Do you see where I’m going with this? You can set good boundaries with others because it’s the right thing for you, but the other people may not like it and may lash out at you because of this; however, in the grand scheme of things, regardless of how they act and react, you must do what you know deep down is right for you!
It turns out this lady was not supposed to be at the party at all, but somehow came anyway, which I really hope (being the positive, optimistic person that I usually am), was not just to ruin the party for me. When I got home and told my husband all about the party drama, he reiterated that this was not my issue, and reminded me that I never, ever have to see this woman again. Sometimes things like that, the little things that are really the big things, are totally worth celebrating!
As we mature and get older, we tend to know ourselves better, which means we also know the people we gel with friend wise, and those we don’t particularly like for whatever the reason (which is just fine!). I’m not saying you shouldn’t give new people a chance here, I’m just saying that once you have the signs and signals that this friendship is not for you, trust your intuition!
And, as I’m sitting here writing this, I’m also feeling so thankful. Thankful for my intuition warning me about unhealthy people, so I can set clear boundaries with them from the start (like it or not!).
In the book, The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker, the author talks about the importance of our intuition in a variety of life circumstances, and how listening to your intuition can keep you out of harm’s way. This is a more extreme view than what I’m talking about here, but important all the same. When you are sensing that something is off with someone, be it a potential friend, babysitter, stranger, etc., listen to what your intuition is telling you!