A few years, I shared a post about how my oldest daughter was playing at the splashpad and she met a friend while there. She ran around, splashing through the water with the other girl, laughing and smiling and living her best life. Until I realized…. she was basically do it alone. She was mostly just following the girl around who was clearly annoyed with my daughter and just trying to get away from her.
Makkedah had no clue. She was just having the best time and thought her “friend” was too. She just has such a great outlook on life like that. I motioned for her to come over to me and asked her about her new friend and she explained to me how great this girl was and how much fun she was having playing with her. I asked Makkedah if her “new friend” was talking back to her or playing with her. And she said, “Oh, not really, but we are still having fun.” She wasn’t getting it. So, I explained to her about social clues. I told her that even though she is amazing, this little girl might be having a bad day or just interested in doing something else, or just maybe not interested in being friends as much as she is. And because of that, she is not responding to Makkedah with the same enthusiasm that she is. Those are all clues that she isn’t very interested in playing.
I told her that when the girl doesn’t respond or follow her back at all or reciprocate the “playing” that Makkedah should just move on and find another friend that will appreciate her company. Makkedah nodded and ran off to splash some more. The other little girl was leaving the splashpad and so Makkedah promptly went over to her and wrapped her arms around her and hugged her. The girl didn’t even hug her back and had the most disgusted look on her face that she was being hugged by this “stranger.” Part of me felt so bad for my daughter, but she actually didn’t even notice. The other part of me was like, “Dang, I’ve got the weird child.” And then most of me was like, “Wow, i am so proud of my kind and loving daughter. She is incredible.” And shes also just like me. I hug strangers all the time. It’s the best.
Fast forward years later and I am finding that I am exactly like Makkedah. That I am chasing all these people that literally want nothing to do with me and I don’t even realize it. I’m not catching the social cues because I’m so caught up in trying to make them like me. Hoping they love me the way that I love them. I’m sending the text messages, chatting on Marco Polo, sending gifts in the mail, pouring out my heart to them about how much their friendship means to me. And in return, I get silence, or a change of topic, or assumptions or avoidance. And so, I chase some more. I chase their friendship. I chase their acceptance. I chase their love. I thought we had this deep bond (or maybe I was working to create it or maybe it was all in my head) but none of it is real.
And I get to this point where I wake up. At some point, I shake out of my hypnotism and realize I’m chasing someone that does not want to be pursued by me. I’m pursuing someone that is utterly disinterested in me. They just don’t like me. And I have to be okay with that. And know that I am not going to be friends with everyone. I can’t please everyone.
I realized, I’ve been like my little girl. Having the freakin’ best time of my life but surrounded by people that want nothing to do with me, possibly even disgusted with me. I was clueless. And yet, still chasing them around, thinking we were close friends. Laughing “with” them but truly just alone in the laughter. Completely unaware that they really just wanted to distance themselves from me. All the times I poured out my heart and repeated their meaningfulness in my life and never having that reciprocated (at least in a genuine way).
And I looked at myself and said, “Dang, I’m the weird one.” And realizing I hadn’t picked up on any of the social clues. And then I said to myself, “But wow. I am kind. I am loving. And I am incredible.” And I love exactly how God has made me. With a big heart. Even if it opens me up to get hurt easier. Truth is. I’m not hurt. I’m not a victim. So, don’t feel sorry for Makkedah. Don’t feel sorry for me. This trait helps us love easier. It helps us act out love and express love to people who don’t even “deserve” it. Or even want it.
I’m going to work on focusing my love and attention to people who want to love me back. And who want to pour into me just as much as I into them. I’m going to try and listen to the signs sooner when I’m investing in someone who wants nothing much to do with me. But really, I’m just going to keep on loving. Everyone. That’s the advice I would give to my daughter- “just keep on loving.” God will continue to bring the people into your life who will love you back endlessly.