When a person says they are giving you space, it’s not actually for you; it’s for them. After isolating themselves from you during a difficult time, they claim that they decided to make an assumption that you needed space. The reality is that they don’t know how to react or be there for you. It’s about them not you.
Yes, after something profound happens in your life it can be very difficult to be around people. However, no one truly wants space. We want to know that someone is there. We want to pour our sadness, anger, frustrations or heartbreak out so that we can process it. No, we don’t want to talk right away but we want to know you are there when we are ready. We don’t want to be left alone. We don’t want weeks to go by wondering why you dropped off the face of the earth.
Even if it means leaving flowers at our doorstep, or a cheesy sympathy card, or a random hug, there are subtle ways to be there without actually being there. Food is always an easy way to help or show your love and concern, or by sending loving texts every day. We are going to say no when you ask us if we need anything because we are lost and don’t want our burden to pour onto your shoulders, but when you show up anyway we are forever grateful and it won’t be forgotten.
The people that do show up are usually the people who have been through it too. They understand the grief and the heartache. Or, they are very intuitive and empathic to others. We forever remember those who were there at our worst, not our best.
When a friend fills empty space between you and them, time just slowly drags on while you wonder how solid your friendship was in the first place. It’s lonely and isolating. Friends aren’t supposed to abandon you during the hardest times in your life, but some do. Then, suddenly they pop back in with “I was just giving you space.”
Take all the space you need, because other people showed up when you didn’t. As we get stronger and grow through the grief, we move on from your absence.
*If someone does say they need space, it’s just for a damn day or two, not weeks. Don’t make empty promises that you can’t keep or your friendship will forever have a painful scar. Never, ever make assumptions.