Aim for a level playing field in relationships

“Since I’ve been focusing on the area of my life concerning my friendships, some interesting things have been happening,” Donna said as we started her life coaching session.

“What have you noticed?” I asked.

“As I’ve been changing personally, my friendships have shifted as well,” Donna said. “I’ve outgrown relationships that used to mean a lot to me. As I let go of old friendships, I find new ones that fit me better.”

“You used the term, ‘outgrowing relationships,’ ” I said. “Tell me more about that.”

“I’ve noticed it most with a woman I work with named Julia,” Donna said. “When I graduated from the school of cosmetology, Julia was already a legend in the business. She’s only been a stylist five years longer than I have been, but many stylists have heard of her and respect her work.”

“It sounds like you look up to her,” I said.

“I do,” Donna said. “In fact, I’ve idolized her and wanted to be just like her. I don’t think it’s bad to have a role model. It’s helped me to see what’s possible.”

“How has your friendship with Julia changed?” I asked.

“We became friends about a year ago when we worked at the same salon,” Donna said. “We had a lot in common and I was flattered that someone like Julia wanted to be my friend. We were really close until about four months ago.”

“Isn’t that about the time you started life coaching?” I asked.

“Yes, which is also the time when I started to grow and change ... a lot,” Donna said.

“As my self-confidence grew, my relationship with Julia changed. Where I used to need her friendship and somewhat put her on a pedestal, I now feel more confident in who I am and in my own work.”

“How has that shift impacted your friendship with her?” I asked.

“Once I took her off of the pedestal, our friendship changed,” Donna explained. “I used to be the one to facilitate the relationship and now that I don’t worship her, it’s different. It’s not like we’re mad at each other, but more that we’ve each moved on. It feels more truthful to me.”

“You mentioned new friendships that fit you better,” I said. “Tell me about that.”

“I have a couple of new friends and we are all on common ground, that is, no one is on a pedestal,” Donna said. “That works better because the relationship is not built on infatuation, but more on reality. I take each of my friends for who they are, and I feel accepted by them.

“It seems that the perception of a pedestal makes the relationship feel imbalanced, as though one of us needs the other more. It’s not fair to either person. I’m more comfortable on a level playing field.”

“Are there other relationships where you aren’t on a level playing field?” I asked.

“I’ve never thought about it,” Donna said.

“But I’ll ponder it this week and write about it in my journal. As I’m building my friendships, my intention is to maintain a level playing field, which feels more stable and truthful to me.”

Coaching challenge: Whom do you put on a pedestal? Who puts you on a pedestal? How does this dynamic affect your relationship?

Imagine being on a level playing field with each person in your life. How does this shift your perception and change your relationships?

Sheri Fisher is an intuitive life coach living in Grand Junction. The situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality.

For information and to access her blog, go to


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