Thoughts on being a middleman

It seems like there has been a lot of  “going through a middleman” behaviour lately in my world.  I’m addressing my thoughts on that issue today.  This is not a “quilty” post, nor is it an “art” post, but it is a very necessary posting for me.

I have been a middleman at times.  When I was younger and mom and dad would fight, I was their middleman.  I’m not sure either intended me to be, but there it was.  And I accepted that responsibility as they were my PARENTS and I had an emotional stake in them.  Over the years I have been a middleman to other family situations, and still am, and probably always will be to an extent. That’s okay, they are my FAMILY and I will do more for family than anyone can imagine.  Even to the point of stepping away to let others have their time together no matter how much it hurts.  But that is MY FAMILY, and I’m not talking about family in this post.

I learned a long time ago to try to step back a bit on being a middleman between friends and acquaintances.  Often I have to relearn that lesson.  Over the years I have learned I do not want to be a middleman.  It’s not a position I like, it saps way too much of my energy, it’s a position that leads to destruction of relationships on both sides.  It’s a situation ripe for  x said about y and z said about x and on and on it goes, until friendships are destroyed or eternally damaged.

Why am I posting this?  Well, as I said, lately I have been asked to be a middleman in a few situations.  I have a friend who has been ill, very ill, in a battle for her very life.  And other mutual friends ask me “how is X doing?”.   I answer them, but my thought inside my head is something along the lines of  why the hell are you asking me?  If this is your friend, or acquaintance pick up the freaking phone and call them, write a card and put a stamp on it and send it in the mail, drop them an e-mail.  Why do you want me to tell you how so and so is doing?  Is it so that you can feel good knowing that you asked so you must care?  Well guess what, that doesn’t help the person who is sick!  And it isn’t really CARING about that person!  Telling ME you’re thinking of someone who is hurting doesn’t help THEM.

In another situation are people who haven’t spoken in  ages.  They possibly used to be friends, but for one reason or another their paths went different ways.  They no longer communicate.  Please don’t ask me how Y is doing, if you really want to know contact them yourself.  I will not become a middleman in your relationship.  I will not become the go-to person for your curiosity.

Does this seem a bit harsh?  Well, here’s how I think.  If the Universe is telling me to think of another person who I haven’t spoken to then it’s MY responsibility to decide to listen or not.  If I choose to listen then it becomes MY responsibility to actually contact that person and let them know I am thinking of them.  It doesn’t become person Y’s responsibility to do that, nor person X’s, it is my responsibility because the Universe has spoken to me.

This doesn’t mean that if I’m speaking casually with someone I (or others) can’t ask something along the lines of “hey, is Z still painting somewhere?  is  M still teaching somewhere?”.    That I see as a “do you know how I can contact this person” type of question, but honestly if you want to know how Y or M or Q or whoever is doing and you have the means to make contact yourself….do so…..don’t ask someone to be your middleman.  It is after all YOUR relationship, YOUR life, YOUR responsibility to run it, not mine.  I have enough to do taking responsibility for my own life, thank you.

(Rant over, back to quilty and art things now)

5 thoughts on “Thoughts on being a middleman

  1. Judy,
    VERY well put. Sometimes, in life people do go astray from one another, but often think of each other as the years pass. I find myself being the one who always tries to keep in contact with others. I often feel let down when I see that I am the one always making the contact with others I want to keep in touch with. I am learning over the years that when I see it is one sided, I let go of that relationship, but wish them well. When someone asks you how someone is, tell them that they should contact that person..perhaps that person is thinking of them too!
    Not everyone thinks like you, or I for that matter.
    I have found over the years that friends are friends, and acquaintances are just that, “acquaintances”..but somehow, I always seem to put a little more of myself into the “acquaintance” part.
    But, what can I say, that’s just me, and I care maybe a little too much sometimes. I think if someone wants to know how someone is doing, I agree, pick up the phone, send a card, let them know you are thinking about them..for you never know what tomorrow might bring. You also don’t know what that person might be going through at that particular moment in their life. Don’t ask someone else how they are, it just isn’t the same.
    I think the world of you Judy, have a great day!

  2. Well put Judy, I agree totally. I do hope you have been able to give person X and person Y et al, the appropriate feedback about contacting person A themselves. You have a keen insight into this dynamic and it should be shared so those other people might possibly learn something and all will benefit.

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