I had a v. interesting e-mail conversation with my sister yesterday. For me, it showed how far I have come in listening to what people say and don't say, and examining situations in a larger perspective. Also, giving people a fair chance, good communication skills, etc. Blah blah blah therapy works for me. Blah.
My sister has a good friend who, after getting married, is moving to another town. This friend, J., is also my nephew's godmother (yes, I know we're Jewish, don't ask). J. is notoriously hard to make plans with and it frustrates my sister. The situation is coming to a head at this point in time becuase J. is leaving and my sis wants to spend time with her, and knows that if she wants that time, she'll have to ask for it. But my sister, being a part of my family, is stubborn and as such doesn't want to ask J. to spend some time with her but rather wants J. to be overwhelmed by friendly feelings and make the time for my sis without her having to ask. Which isn't gonna happen - J. is packing, making plans to switch jobs, moving, and has a zillion things on her mind. Not good enough for my stubborn sister!
What I have learned in my life, thus far, is that sometimes you have to ask for basic things, even if you think they are so basic you should never ever have to ask for them. Like seeing your good friend before she leaves for another state. Becuase, each person's "basic" is different. Sure, we all wish people would behave differently than they do in certain situations. But if you expect something from somebody, and don't tell them you expect it, its unfair to punish them when they naturally do not come through for you. That's not good communication, and all you are doing is hurting yourself. Its easy to say, hey, I really would like to see you do XYZ, because it would mean a lot to me. Give that person a chance.
I'm sure some people are out there thinking, heck no, biatch. There are totally things that you shouldn't have to ask for, like love or respect or whatever. But I say not always. Everyone is different. Sure, you shouldn't have to ask for compassion. But some people offer it in different ways, and if you know that you need verbal compassion but your friend can only deal with physical compassion, you have the right to ask them to try and give you what you know you need. Let them decide if they want to give it or not. Don't punish them beforehand because you think they are incapable of it. You dont' know if they are capable until you ask them to try. And if it means enough to them, if you mean enough to them, my guess is that they'll try anything to make you happy. You cannot expect people to read your mind and then blame them for failure when they can't.
I'm happy to report that my sister sent J. an email saying that she'd like to see her before she leaves. I have no idea if J. will make the time for her and my nephew, but I think it was important for my sister to reach out and give her the chance to make my sister happy.