For two months this spring, I threw up nearly every day. Using my energy to grow a new human, I used the rest of my limited oomph to love my family, show up at my job, and write occasionally. Beyond that, I became a nap-taking hermit who took weeks to return phone calls.
My neighbor did not know this. And so when she texted and didn’t hear back, she texted again the next week:
I’m sorry if I upset you somehow. Did I do something wrong?
Of course not.
But she had encountered silence and filled it with a story that she was the center of.
We all do this at times. We interpret the awkward moment or the gap in communication as proof that we are rejected or unwanted or passive aggressively snubbed. Sometimes we are (and it’s good to take a hint). But often, if we can’t see a good reason to be turned away, the people on the other end are more likely overcommitted or moving or out of town or distracted by a health issue—or nauseous from growing a new baby.
They are not telling themselves a terrible story about you.
To steal a recent phrase from a friend: They’re just people being people-y.
And we’re all a little people-y sometimes.