I was brought up to always be friendly, agreeable, charming and cheerful. My parents believed that would make people like me, and people liking me was, they believed, crucial to my very survival.
I grew up, got married and, over the years, developed a variety of friendships of varying degrees of social ‘appropriateness’ and superficiality.
I worked as hard as I could at all these relationships. One of the approaches I had developed was to avoid conflict at all cost. I actually believed that conflict signified the end of a relationship, that if I ever told someone how I really felt, they would walk away and I’d be alone – forever. This ‘walking away’ might be physical or psychological.