Are You Relationally Lazy?

A few weeks ago, I was listening to a podcast by my favourite astrologer, Molly McCord, and she spoke briefly about something she called ‘relational laziness’. I’d never heard to term before but essentially (I think) what she was saying is that some of us are on this earth and really prioritise relationships, relational experiences, and emotional intimacy, connection and all that that entails (hell?!) and others of us centre our lives round other factors such as jobs, financial security, projects…etc. This second group of people are less impacted or affected by relationships, of course they have them – it’d be hard to live on the planet and not have relationships – but they aren’t the be all and end all for them.

I’m paraphrasing and massively condensing but she basically said something along the lines of: we are not all here on the same journey and those of us who are really motivated by relational depth can often end up feeling crappy when we come across people who aren’t on the same relational wavelength that we are on. Being in a relationship with someone who isn’t relationally motivated or is ‘relationally lazy’ can sometimes feel rejecting or abandoning. We feel like we are putting in all the hard work whilst they coast through life, dipping in and out of ‘us’ whenever suits them and seemingly not really valuing us or the connection.

This got me thinking.

Uh oh!

I think it’s fair to say I’ve met a few relationally lazy people in my life…hello Mum! But then I started to wonder, am I relationally lazy? Or, at least, could I be perceived as relationally lazy?

My first response was – No – I am not relationally lazy but then thought – Yes- I could be perceived as relationally lazy.

But how can I answer both yes and no? I’ll get to it in a minute.

So, I continued pondering this stuff a bit further and it made me think about our ‘perception’ of both ourselves and others in the relationships we have – which then made me think of the love languages.

Yes, my mind jumps around like a bouncy ball and my thoughts resemble a tangled ball of string so that’s why these blogs are always so random!

I guess in relationships it tends to help if you mix with people who understand and speak your own love language/s. Essentially it makes sense that you’d feel happiest around people that communicate their love in the way that you do – and in the way your value. This is a bit tricky, though, because we are obviously drawn to people and connect with them and it’s not always immediately apparent you don’t talk the same language or, at least, prioritise the same things.

If you haven’t heard of this stuff before then there are, apparently five love languages:

  • Acts of service
  • Quality Time
  • Receiving Gifts
  • Words of Affirmation
  • Physical Touch

Follow this link to find out more about them and discover your own love language/s www.5lovelanguages.com

Fortunately, I don’t think many people only speak one language which is a relief, or we’d all be screwed especially when you factor in our differing attachment styles too! But simplifying these ideas a bit. I guess, someone who demonstrates their love care through ‘quality time’ or words of reassurance and ‘affirmation’ probably won’t be all that impressed by the person whose primary love language is gift giving. To them they might feel like it’s ‘buying’ love or ‘just’ a gift and yet to someone that expresses love through gifts it is actually a huge gesture of care and love because of what the gift represents. It’s not just a gift but a symbol of thought and love. Equally, someone whose love language is ‘touch’ is probably not going to feel especially loved and connected when someone else’s love language is ‘acts of service’.

I just did the quiz on 5lovelanguages.com and was actually really surprised by the outcome:

I really wouldn’t have said my dominant love language would be acts of service but then I guess it’s come out in my career choice as a teacher and then over the years as I have become a wife and then a mother… a lot of my life has been acts of service – doing things for other people that may seem inane to some but are clear demonstrations of my care: there is a lot of love that goes into daily packed lunches, school runs, swim lessons, and the laundry – especially when it comes at the expense of ‘me time’.

I guess now that I am running too fast in the hamster wheel of life, I really now do value when someone lightens my load more than a gift – that is ultimate love. And yet years ago I probably would have said my dominant love language was gift giving. I would show people how I cared through gifting and would equally feel valued through gifts I received. That’s really not how I am now. I really don’t care about presents but I do care about ‘presence’.

Interestingly, touch is right at the bottom at only 10%. It makes me wonder if this stems from a deficit in touch that I had as a child. Like maybe I don’t see it as important as other languages because I didn’t experience it enough as a child to register it as a love language. But then that seems off/wrong, because look at how I am with Anita. My child parts’ love language by FAR – like 80%- is touch closely followed by words of affirmation and quality time. Those are absolutely essential to feeling loved and cared for and good enough in my relationship with A. It has been the lack of touch, quality time, and affirmations growing up that has led me to feel so unlovable and untouchable in the first place. Those are the core wounds.

So, I wonder, then, if I speak to the various parts of me and check in, if they have different love languages. As I said, the young parts are absolutely fixed on touch, time, and affirmations – basically keep throwing the cuddles and reassurance their way please AND LONGER SESSIONS! But what about the teen? What does she need? Probably quality time and words of affirmation and not so much the touch. This is something I will keep thinking on.

Anyway, I am really rambling – but I guess getting back to my original point. Am I relationally lazy? No. But could I be perceived as relationally lazy? ABSOLUTELY yes. I think this is really more down to love languages and also TIME.

Over the years most of my friends and I have walked down similar paths. Years ago, we used to be able to meet up regularly coffee, lunch, dinner, go for weekends away, spend loads of quality time together but that’s less and less the case as we get older. This has nothing to do with the love and care we feel for each other.

It’s life.

Life gets in the way.

We all have kids and busy demanding jobs.

And anyone with kids (and no childcare) knows that planning get togethers with friends can be a real struggle.

My oldest and best friend from university lives about two hours away. We put our diaries together in September via WhatsApp and have found a weekend in February 2023 where we are both not committed and can sort childcare to have a weekend together.

That’s just how it is.

A few weeks ago, I ran into another really good friend at a school open day (our kids are the same age). We used to meet up every week when the kids were little but somehow, it’s been two years – pre-covid since we last saw each other. We both now work more than we did when the kids were little. There are no blocks of time on weekdays off for a cheeky swim and a coffee and throw in the 45-minute drive to get to one another it all just gets a bit tricky! Yet we made a massive effort and met up last weekend and it was like no time had passed.

This week I managed to see a friend who lives in my city, and lives literally 10 minutes away. She’s my kids’ godmother and one of my very best friends. We haven’t seen each other since January and spoke on the phone May.,,like wtaf?!

Crikey I have been busy being social– which is obviously why I am on my arse. LOL.

Sometimes I feel really guilty about not being social ‘enough’ or checking in enough with people but actually when we get together, we are all in the same boat. I don’t think my friends suddenly don’t care because they haven’t text in a few months because I haven’t either. BUT because our lives are running down similar tracks, we all understand and are singing from the same page. We are all exhausted, hanging it together by a very frayed thread, verging on burn out, and the ‘to do list’ never gets any shorter -and at the bottom of that list is often our friends and loved ones.

Difficulties, I think, can arise when people’s lives don’t align in similar ways. If one person has no time to fart and is literally cramming stuff into every available minute, then someone who isn’t under those pressures mightn’t get it and might feel rejected or not prioritised enough when they would like to talk and hang out. AND of course, throw in the mix our varying attachment styles and quite frankly we’re all fucked aren’t we??!

The irony is not lost on me about what I am about to say now.

Brace yourselves!

Why it is then that with my friends I can totally understand that they care for me, I can keep them in mind, and don’t need continual evidence of their care because I am a busy person too… I don’t see them or myself as relationally lazy….and yet…oh CRINGE…when Anita is busy and is less available, I literally have a fuck off meltdown?! Like why is she so busy? Why can’t she find time for me? Cue big dumping of toys out pram!

ALERT!

RUPTURE ZONE!

Honestly, it’s been fucking embarrassing this last week or so. I had a full-blown wobble this week and then today and it was just agony in session. I will blog about it over the weekend if I get chance. I mean, I get it, things work differently with Anita she is my attachment figure, I relate to her in a different way to my friends -she’s ‘just’ my therapist, but man it’s just bloody painful.

Anyway, that’s a random thinking out loud.

Love to you all. x

18 thoughts on “Are You Relationally Lazy?

  1. Empowering Wolf November 25, 2022 / 9:55 pm

    This is interesting!! I’ve always been told our love languages for giving and receiving are or can be different. So for example you may not show love through touch, but it may be how you recieve it. And I think unfortunately our love languages in therapy are so different as much as we hate it, it’s a paid for/one way relationship.. in the sense our therapists can’t need anything from us. So it is always going to trigger our attachment and therefore love languages differently! Therapy is so weird when you think about it lol. Like we need the relationship and yet it’s made so one sided. When what we need to heal is the fact we had one sided relationships as a child in some way!! Make it make sense 😂

    (Anyway hi! Long time follower but never had an account to comment til now)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. SH November 26, 2022 / 5:50 am

    So much for me (and my system) to reflect in there! Im increasingly lonely, partly because I still can’t work consistently. I know people care and they’re busy. I wonder too if I’m relationally lazy due to how small and closed up my life is due to how fatigued I am. And yep, younger system-members have their own love languages about our therapist!

    Liked by 1 person

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum November 26, 2022 / 8:21 am

      Oh love. You’re Not relationally lazy…just knackered and burnt out. I genuinely think that’s how most of us are – running on empty and barely getting through so we have little to give to anyone – even ourselves. BUT that’s a whole other part of this trauma crap isn’t it?! Big hugs x

      Liked by 1 person

      • SH November 26, 2022 / 10:26 am

        Huge hugs! Mhm, it feels like every year is more and more exhausting that’s somehow hitting this “how much more can this go on?” thing. Huge hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. SH November 26, 2022 / 5:52 am

    There I go, talking about ourselves…! We do care a lot about you. Your posts spark a lot of thoughts, and we don’t know what to say because we’ve SO many thoughts. We definitely like giving friends acts of service, or a care package and are always bummed that we can’t do that for busy friends here ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum November 26, 2022 / 8:24 am

      Don’t be silly – it’s nice to hear your take on things and how you relate to it all. Also, your comments mean a lot. I’ve just realised I haven’t even got to your new blog yet. That’s what I mean about being perceived as relationally lazy when the real truth is most days I am dead on my feet by 6pm and still working through til 8 and then having to pick up being a mum as soon as I finish. It’s not that I don’t care about friends it’s that I literally run my life on a knife edge. Take care and please can you email me again with the link to your blog xxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • SH November 26, 2022 / 10:24 am

        Oh no, we’d never call you relationally lazy, we totally get the exhaustion! Though for us its a bewildered question for ourselves about why we’re so tired when not working ❤️. Will email you! 💌

        Liked by 1 person

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum November 28, 2022 / 7:08 am

        I hate the perpetual feeling of chasing my tail and never feeling rested. I don’t actually know how to fix it. My life can’t just go on hold for two weeks but I really feel I need a break from all my responsibilities.hugs and take it as easy as you can. The impact of Trauma is tiring xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • SH November 28, 2022 / 8:23 am

        Hugs. I’d be lost without online friends here and on Instagram. It’s been exhausting to face medical discrimination and stigma alone too 🫂🫂🫂

        Like

      • rubberbandsandchewinggum November 28, 2022 / 1:31 pm

        Sending you all such a lot of love. I can’t imagine how tough it must be for you – it’s not perfect by any means in the UK but I know it must be a whole lot harder where you are xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • SH December 3, 2022 / 9:06 am

        Really hoping I can pull my shit together so I can finally move to join fiancé alreadyyyy. 😂

        Like

  4. SunsetCherryBlossom November 26, 2022 / 9:43 am

    *Waves from the hot chocolate, too cold for Ben and Jerry’s!*
    So much to think about here. I did the test too and Im very much a gifts and words person. I was thinking about my lovely colleague, we don’t say very often how much we appreciate each other but every single day we work together we bring the other one a little treat, a bit of chocolate or a bun. I’ve just realised, that’s us saying to the other how much we love working together.
    I also think that the language changes according to how old I feel. 6 year old me wants quality time. 15 year old wants a hug despite being “too old”.
    Interesting….

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum November 27, 2022 / 10:53 am

      Yeah, I guess when we know what people value we try and talk to them in their language…if we aren’t relationally lazy! lol. Hot chocolate sounds a winner. I am safely into winter puddings now and sticky toffee pudding is winning out! Bless 15 – she’s not too old for hugs xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. SunsetCherryBlossom November 26, 2022 / 11:21 am

    Also (and I’m sorry I seem to be commenting on Me and how I relate to your post instead of you) I’ve realised that I adjust each ratio according to the person. So if I know someone responds better to touch, that’s what I give them (and gladly recieve), or if they’re a words, or actions person, that’s what we do.
    You are obviously not relationally lazy, it’s that old thing about people who question themselves, am I bad at this or that, are usually not, the questioning in itself shows you care about it. Burned out, perhaps yes! Exhausted, yes you are. But you won’t always be either.

    Liked by 2 people

    • rubberbandsandchewinggum November 27, 2022 / 10:56 am

      I want to hear about your perspective. I am just thinking out loud – in a rush on that post! lol! Christmas tree is going up today, so house is a mess but time to indulge the inner kids a bit – then a Christmas movie. Ironing can wait! x

      Liked by 1 person

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