Dear Five Faces: I like your blog, but haven’t seen many questions from guys. Here’s one, and I hope you can help me. I’m having a problem with my sister, Anita. We’re just two years apart and have been close most of our lives. I’m pretty sure we’re both Woods. I’m thinking I’m a secondary Earth and she is absolutely a secondary Fire. So here’s the problem. Months ago we set up to go to a big event in a nearby city. We planned to drive there and back together and make a whole day of it. I know I’ve been looking forward to it, and I think Anita has, too. Well, last week she called and told me that while she will drive to the event with me, she’s going to go straight from it to a “girls only” party at a friend’s nearby cabin. Now, I’m a big boy and can certainly drive home alone, but it feels like she’s dumping me and part of our event together for something else. What should I do? Signed, Dumped Dude in Delaware
Dear Dumped Dude in Delaware: It is very understandable that you would feel dumped by your sister. Your Wood will have specific expectations for your time together with Anita and those expectations matter. Also, Wood is the planning element and honoring plans, once made, also matters a lot. On the surface, it would seem that, as a fellow Wood, Anita should feel the same way. And at one level, she probably does. If you asked her, I’m sure she’d say that the time with you and your plans are very important to her. So why did she change them slightly and why is it bothering you? The answer lies in the difference between your secondary affiliations.
Your secondary Earth will feel slighted by the loss of the whole event you have planned with your sister. Your Earth would have been looking forward to the ride home to debrief about the event. And even though you would probably rather eat weeds than attend a girl’s only cabin party, at an energetic level, your Earth is feeling a bit left out that you weren’t included.
For Anita, even though her Wood will tend to honor plans, her secondary Fire will be inclined to burn that Wood structure (both yours and hers) and leap to a new plan for any number of reasons. Fun with girlfriends is a Fiery reason, but the efficiency of going directly from the event to the nearby cabin is a Wood reason. Woods love efficiency. This is a clash between your Wood/Earth issues of honoring plans and wanting connection and her Wood/Fire appreciation of efficiency and the opportunity for additional fun. So what do you do?
Sadly, your Earth probably isn’t going to allow you to do much. If we were dealing with just the primary reality of two Woods, you would see the efficiency of her going straight to the cabin from the event and it would be a non-issue. And honestly, you could tell Anita that you are disappointed that your time with her is going to be cut short. She would understand and might even change her new plans because, as a Wood, she would see the fairness of holding to your original plans. But I suspect your Earth won’t want to ruin anything for her, especially when you know she’s looking forward to it, so won’t be comfortable raising the issue.
But here’s a possibility for a small win-win. Instead of saying something that might cause Anita to miss her party, why don’t you set up a time for lunch together as soon as possible after the event and debrief then? It won’t be as immediate as driving home together, but it will give your Earth a follow-up connection and opportunity to discuss your shared experience. This way, your Earth will feel good that you didn’t interfere with her Fire fun, and your Woods can both appreciate the plans you made and the efficiency of a slight alteration. Wood, Fire, and Earth working together can be a beautiful sight!