Dear Vicki: Last fall I moved back to my hometown after a ten-year absence and reconnected with an old friend from my high school days. I remember Becca as very caring and considerate, someone who was willing to help out a lot, but she’s really overdoing things now. Under the pretense of helping me get settled, Becca calls or stops by way too often for my taste. I feel suffocated and want to know how I can tell her to back off. I actually look forward to going to work (I’m an attorney) since she doesn’t call me there. I’m pretty sure I’m a Metal, and I really just want to cut things off with Becca, but I don’t want to be unkind. How do I handle this? Signed, Suffocating
Dear Suffocating: It sounds like Becca is an Earth who is genuinely trying to help you get settled after your move. She is doing what comes naturally to her, too, because Earths are wired to help with change. Their energy actually grounds the chaotic energy of transitions. This means that Earths can help stabilize almost any shift, good or bad. Hopefully you moved back to your hometown for a good reason, but change, even positive change, can be challenging. Earth energy helps facilitate adaptation to change, so in that way, having Becca around after your move is a blessing.
Given your reaction to Becca and the fact that you’re an attorney, it’s likely that you are a Metal. As a Metal, you and Becca relate via the Nurturing Cycle, with her Earth feeding your Metal. In proper doses, this should feel good to you. Earths care about people being comfortable and most people appreciate help when relocating. However, in the name of caring about someone, it’s not hard for an Earth to slip into a place that looks and feels more like interfering than assisting. An out of balanced Earth can lose sight of the appropriate amount of support to offer someone and when this happens, their constant attempts to help can come across as smothering, especially to Metals who value their solitude. Given your reaction to Becca’s apparent desire to make you her new project, it seems that’s where you are now.
The good news is that you have several options regarding how to handle this situation. As a Metal, you will probably prefer to cut to the heart of the matter and let Becca know that she is coming on too strong. Your Metal approach to doing this will likely be to cite examples of her past behavior that have been uncomfortable for you. This is because Metals are great at using the past to define and explain. And because Metals are basically very kind people, you will no doubt do this in a gentle manner. But no matter how gentle or kind you are, as an Earth Becca is likely to see it as a rejection of her and her attention. Energetically, it will feel like you are stopping the energy that naturally flows from Earth to Metal. There is little way this will feel anything but hurtful to Becca because deep, lasting connections are what matter most to Earths.
But this doesn’t mean that you are stuck with Becca and her over-abundant Earth attention. The energy that is meant to keep Earth in check is Wood (Wood relates to Earth on the Controlling Cycle). Because of this, I suggest that you approach Becca by stepping into your Wood. It may not be your primary element, or even your secondary, but you do have Wood because we all have all five elements in our make-up. The beauty of approaching Becca from a Wood place is that, just like Metal, Wood has a great deal of structure so will be able to help create boundaries regarding time with Becca. But unlike Metal, Wood focuses on the future. From a place of Wood, you can gently shape future interactions with Becca via suggestions and plans rather than recriminations regarding past behaviors. As an Earth, Becca will be happy that you want to continue to connect with her. And structure coming from a Wood place will feel much more natural, so will be less likely to hurt her.
Either way you decide to approach Becca, it’s important that you do say something to her, and not just for your own comfort and sanity. Because she is an Earth, I can guarantee you that the last thing Becca wants is to hurt your decades old relationship. In truth, it will be a gift to Becca for you to make the necessary adjustments that will allow your friendship to continue to flourish. Blessings to you for caring enough to inquire how best to do this!