Dear Five Faces: You’ve written a lot about Fires and their spontaneity, but I haven’t seen you address my problem, so I’m hoping you can help. I’m a Fire and, as you have stated before, connecting is important to me. Maisy, who is a very close friend of mine, moved away six months ago for an exciting opportunity as a corporate planner with a large firm. She loves the job, but I really miss her. For several months I’ve been telling her how much I miss her, and she always asks when we’re going to get together. I have young children and love being a mom, so can’t easily travel. Maisy doesn’t have much vacation time available, so we haven’t been together since she moved. Last night, while talking on the phone, I told her again how much I miss her and she exploded, asking me why I keep telling her that if I’m not going to do anything about it. What’s going on with our friendship? Signed, Missing Maisy
Dear Missing Maisy: This is an interesting problem, and one that really makes sense when you consider the elements involved. As a Fire, you do want connections and will miss them when they are gone. You don’t mention what your secondary element is, but if you love being a mom, I suspect you probably have Earth as either your second or third element. That will make connections all the more important to you, and also make it harder to let go of long-term relationships of any kind. It will be very natural, and truly a compliment from your soul, to tell Maisy how much you miss her. But it’s clear that Maisy doesn’t get your meaning.
It sounds to me like Maisy is a Wood; they usually do quite well in planning positions and the structured corporate environment. And if she was excited to go try this new job, that also says she is probably a Wood. For Maisy, you telling her that you miss her is interpreted as you telling her that you have a problem. She cares about you and will want to offer ways to fix things for you. The fix for missing her is to go see her, and here’s where Maisy probably trips up. In her Wood mind, if missing her is a real problem, you should be willing to do what it takes to fix it. Your inability to go see her, while you keep telling her you miss her, becomes an unwillingness to go see her. From there, she can jump to the belief that you don’t like her anymore, she’s not important enough to go see, etc. You get the drift, right? So what can you do?
Remind yourself that Maisy is probably under a lot of stress trying to fit in and perform well (very important to Woods) at her new job, so it’s likely that her Wood is out of balance. At work, she’s concerned about what people want and need from her and is probably pressuring herself to “deliver.” In her relationship with you, her Wood feeds your Fire, which is usually nurturing. But I can tell you from experience that there are times Fire relationships can feel “demanding” to an out of balance Wood; they become just one more expectation or responsibility laid on the Wood. It’s possible Maisy feels that, when you tell her you miss her, you expect her to fix the problem, which of course you don’t.
Another aspect of out of balance Wood is that your telling her you miss her will evoke a silent rebuttal that says you really don’t miss her that much because if you did, you would go visit her. Remember that Woods are the “Do it!” element and a Wood with a problem usually tries to take the necessary steps to fix it. Through an unbalanced Maisy’s eyes, you aren’t taking steps to fix missing her, so she might think you aren’t being genuine when you say you miss her.
I suggest you have a long talk with Maisy over a weekend when her stress levels might be lower. Explain that when you say you miss her, you aren’t expecting anyone to fix anything. It’s just a way to let her know how important she is to you, how much you treasured your past times together, and that you really look forward to more fun times in the future when getting together again becomes an option. And until that time, try telling her how much you miss her a little less and instead, stay plugged into what she is doing now. Ask questions about her job, her new home, her new friends. Share with her what’s going on for you. Stay connected to her in the best way you can from a distance and you might even find that you miss her less because you’re relating to her more. Good luck!