Dear Vicki: Dory and I have been good friends ever since we met while volunteering at a local pet shelter three years ago. We are a good team there: I organize the ever-changing base of volunteers and Dory keeps everyone upbeat and motivated. She always makes me laugh, and when I get really angry about something – which I tend to do —she has a way of cajoling me out of it. Dory thinks of lots of fun things to do and I really enjoy our time together, but there’s one small problem. Dory has a sister named Katie and sometimes Dory just spontaneously announces that she’s asked Katie to join us when we go shopping, out to a movie, or whatever. I hate this because when Dory and Katie are together, they kind of whip each other into a frenzy. I can tell they are having the time of their lives, but lately it feels like total chaos and craziness to me. How can I tell Dory that I really don’t like it when Katie joins us? Signed, Fried in Franklin
Dear Fried: It is very interesting that you’ve signed your letter “Fried,” because I think that’s exactly what’s happening. I strongly suspect that both Dory and her sister are Fire elemental personalities and the two of them together are just too much heat for you right now. Usually everyone loves being around Fire people because they are fun, outgoing individuals who laugh a lot. But each elemental personality will react differently to prolonged exposure to Fire energy, especially a double dose.
In the Five Elements model, the two elemental personalities most negatively affected by Fire energy are Metal people (fire melts metal) and Wood people (fire burns wood). Given it was easy for you to organize a significant group of volunteers, I suspect you are a primary Wood personality. Spontaneous organization comes easily to Wood people. And for the record, Metal people organize too, but they look at the past and identify patterns of organization. Wood people organize on the fly. They also succumb to anger.
It’s understandable that Dory would want to spend time with you. In the Five Elements model your Wood energy feeds her Fire energy on what’s called the Nurturing Cycle. That usually feels great to the Fire person and not so great to the Wood person. However, given that you are both so dedication to the animal shelter, I suspect that you each have a lot of Earth energy in your personalities, too, and that is the key to the longevity of your relationship.
As we’ve discussed previously in this blog, we each have a primary elemental personality, but we also have a secondary elemental personality that “flavors” our primary. I think your Wood energy and Dory’s Fire energy are each flavored by Earth, which explains your strong connection. Earth people bond easily and deeply with each other, really value lasting relationships, and also have a soft spot for animals. So even though Dory’s Fire burns your Wood on the Nurturing Cycle, her Fire feeds your secondary Earth on that same Cycle, which will feel good to you. Relating to your Earth will feel good to Dory, too, because she trusts you to help her stay in control, which is something Fires can find difficult. In nature, an earthen hearth is a very safe container for fire.
The good news is that Dory’s secondary Earth energy is going to be the key to addressing your issue because Earth people want to keep the people who matter to them happy. That said, Fires will always be spontaneous – it’s one of the things we really love about them – so you can’t expect Dory never to include Katie again. In truth, Fires don’t really see any problem with including extra people. They believe the old adage, “The more, the merrier.” And while you won’t be able to change this about Dory, sharing with her how you feel might help limit the number of times she includes her sister. And while doing that might not be easy, you owe it to Dory and your relationship to try, so here are some things to consider.
An important attribute of Fire personalities is that they tend to be more in the “now” than the other personalities. This means that the best time to make a point about something with a Fire person is when it’s actually happening. Obviously, you can’t complain about including Katie while she is there, nor would your Earth ever want to do that, so the next time you go out alone with Dory comment on how fun it is when just the two of you do things together. You can emphasize what Dory already knows: the two of you work well together at so many levels and you really enjoy the connection you have. Since this is sincerely true, she should hear you. Ideally, this will cause her to think (briefly) before she spontaneously includes her sister again, but it won’t work all the time. It’s the nature of the Fire personality to speak before they think and the nature of the Earth personality to want to include people (especially if they think anyone’s being excluded).
Honestly, it’s unlikely Dory will completely stop including Katie, so here are a few ways you can make the time spent with Dory and Katie easier to manage:
- Shorter Exposures: You don’t have to stay with the two of them any longer than is comfortable for you. At the point it isn’t fun anymore, or you’re feeling spent, excuse yourself and go home.
- Wear Blue. In nature, when there’s too much fire, water puts it out. We each have all five of the elements in our energetic make up, so wearing blue will help you bring your inner Water to the table. Also, try slowing down the pace of the interactions, being thoughtful, or even shifting some of the energy from “doing” to “discussing.” This will dampen their Fire.
- Declining a few of the events. If you have warning ahead of time that Katie will be joining you, tell Dory that you’re not feeling up to it and are going to take a pass. If she asks why (which would mean she’s coming from her Earth energy), it will be a great opportunity to explain the combined affect that she and her sister can have on you. Because she asked, Dory won’t take this information as criticizing her sister. And if you get lucky, she might even act on it going forward.
The bottom line is that at some point you will need to share with Dory that an abundance of Fire takes you down. And whenever that happens, make sure you are coming from a loving and Earthy place. As your good friend, and a secondary Earth personality herself, I firmly believe Dory will step up and help work things out. And who knows, if things do shift, down the line you might actually enjoy a bit more Fire energy yourself. We all need fun in our lives. Blessings to you!