Dear Five Faces: I’m having a difficult time with one of my best friends. I’m an Earth and have assumed that Gail was also an Earth. She is a caring and thoughtful person and we have a lot in common, especially our love of gardening and our children. But as I’ve thought about it, she might be a Fire, she does everything fast—eats fast, walks fast, talks over you when you try to say something, and finishes your sentences. She’s also impulsive and does things without thinking them through. Anyway, the problem is that my husband and I welcomed our first grandchild into the world a year ago and while Gail was initially enthused, she has really stopped being interested. She never asks about him and I’ve stopped bringing him up because it feels like she just doesn’t want to talk about him. It’s gotten to where I can’t be my true self around her anymore and it’s ruining our friendship. What can I do? Signed, Grandma
Dear Grandma: The births of children and grandchildren are some of the deepest changes we can experience in our lives. They reorder our priorities and affect everything, including our friendships. I suspect this is partially what’s going on in your friendship with Gail. And while Gail certainly has Earth if she loves gardening and children, it sounds like she also has either a lot of Fire or some seriously out of balance Wood. Doing things fast can certainly be Fire, but it can also be the impatience of Wood. And finishing people’s sentences, interrupting to speak, and impulsiveness can also be brought on by an imbalance in Wood. Honestly, it sounds to me like she’s more Earth and out of balance Wood than she is an Earth/Fire.
If this is the case, Gail’s Wood might be over-controlling your Earth to the point that you feel unable to express your Earth joy of being a grandmother. And that does need to change or it could permanently affect your friendship. We have to be able to be ourselves with our friends.
Right now, you feel uncomfortable sharing the part of your life that involves your grandson with Gail because you think she doesn’t want to talk about him. But before you assume this is true, I suggest you have a chat with Gail and gently point out what you’re feeling. Her Earth will respond to your heartfelt attempt to connect, and her Wood (even if it is out of balance) will appreciate you not judging her, but instead giving her a chance to explain herself. But be warned, if her Wood is seriously off, her need to appear in control of her life (really, for Wood it is not being out of control) may mean that she will lie to you about what’s really going on.
In truth, Gail may be jealous because she doesn’t have grandchildren yet. Or, she may truly not be interested in grandchildren. But if she’s been your friend for a long time, she should still be interested in you and what’s going on in your life even if that means including some talk and photos of grandchildren in your time together.
Something else that might be going on for Gail is that she misses what your two used to do or talk about before your grandson arrived. Looking back, has what you’ve brought to the relationship changed markedly since you became a grandmother? If so, then maybe you can be a bit more of the “you” you used to be with Gail. You two used to connect as Earths, so it seems likely you can recapture that relationship. Earth bonds run deep.
Finally, remember that this may have nothing to do with you and your grandson – it could be something happening in Gail’s life that she has chosen not to share with you (Woods can be very private about their problems). Whatever is going on, a good talk with her should help you understand. Your friendship deserves clear communication about this shift rather than you making an assumption that could be incorrect. And bravo to you for bringing this up at all. Your Earth will not relish the possibility of confronting Gail, even in a kind way, but it is likely that your friendship will wither and die if you don’t gain clarity about why you can’t be yourself and enjoy your “grandmotherhood” around her. Good luck!