3 Things We Dive Into In This Episode:
How to use boundaries, self-examination, and introspection to make sure you are friends with the right people.
The powerful role friendship plays on your health — especially as an adult.
How to navigate losing or outgrowing certain friendships over the course of your life.
Check out the Whole, Full, and Alive’s official trailer to know more about me and the podcast.
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[07:32] Connecting With Shelagh Curran
Shelagh does many things. But first and foremost, she is a human being.
Shelagh is doing more than transform her labels — she’s removing them and letting herself be a fluid person.
As a manifesting generator, she's continuously changing and following what lights her up.
Shelagh is also a registered dietitian specializing in hormone health and helping people with PCOS and similar conditions.
She owns a private practice called Shelagh Rose Nutrition.
[11:38] Shelagh and Caitie’s Friendship
Shelagh and Caitie met at a retreat.
Caitie's work resonated deeply with Shelagh, forging a powerful connection before the retreat began.
Shelagh saw Caitie as an inspiration and an expander.
An expander is a person who shows proof that what we desire is possible because they’re already doing it. For Shelagh, Caitie is an expander.
[17:24] Starting Friendships
When you're young, you usually make friends based on proximity, like the people in the same class, same club, or your co-workers.
As adults, you'll likely have to put yourself out there to find people with a shared interest. Relationship management may mean taking the initiative.
Children find it easy to make friends, but adults tend to be more guarded due to their life experiences.
The people around you will influence your life. Build ones that align with who you are now, where you want to go and who you want to be.
Adults tend to be competitive and see other people as threats, preventing friendships from forming. Instead, see other people as an inspiration.
Shelagh: “You totally absorb the energy and the beliefs of the people around you. Build friendships that align with not only who you are but where you want to go, and who you want to be.” - Click Here To Tweet This
[23:44] Friend Breakups
Friendship breakups can happen because one person can feel triggered by the other. As one person evolves, the other might not be ready to change alongside them.
Evolving and expanding can also mean outgrowing people. As we grow into who we are, friendships can fall away.
Unlike romantic breakups, the end of a friendship doesn’t always have a conversation. There can be a lot of confusion about where you stand with a friend.
Ask yourself: Do you still want to be part of this friendship?
Friendship is a two-way street. You need to practice relationship management and check in with your friends. However, as a friendship fades, you may start to talk less and less.
[31:36] Boundaries for Effective Relationship Management
Setting boundaries is necessary for healthy friendships.
Shelagh recently went through a breakup and several big changes. During that time, her friends supported her and always checked in on her.
However, Shelagh didn't have the energy to keep up with constant check-ins. She set boundaries about how she wanted to receive support and what she could give.
Shelagh: “I think that even just having those types of boundaries with ‘this is how I'm able to be your friend’ is like life giving back to yourself, but also those friendships.” - Click Here To Tweet This
It can take a lot of energy to stay in touch with people. That's why we must set boundaries about how much we can give and when we want time for ourselves.
How a friend responds to a boundary can tell us whether or not they're a true friend.
[41:27] The Power of Friendship
It’s beneficial to have a community of friends.
Take some time to create an inventory of your friends. Who are you still close to, and who's drifted away?
Caitie has experienced having her life evolve around one person. It can be easy to get wrapped up in one other person and forget the rest of your life.
Caitie’s friends caught her during a bad breakup. They were her safety net, and showed her that she had so much support from great people in her life.
If you have yourself and your people, romantic relationships can be a plus you can have on the side.
[46:12] Appreciation: Another Form of Relationship Management
It's great when your friends are there to listen and support you. Everyone has a different dynamic, but Shelagh and Caitie can talk to each other almost constantly.
Express gratitude and appreciation to your friends. Let them know how much they matter to you; telling your friends you love them is also relationship management!
A simple text or audio note can help brighten up a friend's day and their perspective of themselves.
Shelagh: “Every time you pour love into your friends, you pour it back into yourself.” - Click Here To Tweet This
[49:19] This Week’s Processing Prompt and Actionable Experiment
Processing Prompt: Do a little relationship management! Take an inventory of your friends and family. Write a list of the friendships you have.
From your list, pick one and send them an appreciation note. Tell them something you sincerely believe would make them feel good about themselves.
With this note, remind them how much you appreciate their friendship.
Actionable Experiment: Ask your five closest friends to write about what they appreciate about your friendship. Save their reply somewhere to look at on a bad day.
Don’t be afraid. Put yourself out there and create new and stronger friendships.
[52:06] How Friendships Keep You Healthy
Joy is the most important missing ingredient in our health.
Feeling happy and having connections can help keep our bodies healthy.
A lack of joy can affect your hormones and other physical aspects of your body. We might feel like we’re out of alignment.
[53:13] Shelagh’s Ever-evolving Routine
Every morning and night, Shelagh tunes in to herself and asks herself what she needs.
A quick meditation, journaling, a card pull, and some self-love can help start the day.
Shelagh also does some movement to get her blood flowing in the mornings.
A quick yoga flow before bed helps Shelagh transition from work to rest.
Shelagh Curran is a registered dietitian and the founder of Shelagh Rose Nutrition. She chose to work in the field of nutrition because of her love for food. After finding out she has PCOS and other conditions, she successfully navigated her health through functional nutrition. Now, Shelagh specializes in PCOS and hormone functional medicine, and nutrition. She has worked with hundreds of women to take back their health and feel better in their bodies.
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Whole, Full, and Alive is a podcast exploring the art and science of falling in love with your life, with your story, and with who you truly are — underneath your titles, your resume, your relationship status, and your bank account. Who is your authentic self? Remember, friendships can be one of the most empowering things for you — or unhealthy. It’s vital to practice effective relationship management to have happier and healthier friendships!
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Shelagh Curran: Joy is like the most important missing ingredient in our health, right? Even like the mind-body connection, if you're feeling unfulfilled, if you're feeling lonely, if you're feeling stressed without an outlet for someone to talk about it too, if you've had a lack of physical touch lately, these things are so important just for your literal physiology.
Caitie Corradino: Welcome to Whole, Full and Alive, a podcast exploring the art and science of falling in love with your life, with your story and with who you truly are underneath your titles, your resume, your relationship status, and your bank account.
I'm Caitie Corradino, a registered dietitian, nutritionist, certified fitness and yoga instructor, eating disorder recovery coach, Reiki healer, and founder of Full Soul Nutrition, but underneath my titles and resume, a big fan of kitchen dance breaks, early mornings, all things chocolate truffles, world traveling and serendipity.
I'm here to share no bullshit stories and actionable tools to help you feel unshakably worthy. You have everything you need within you to feel whole, full and alive right here, right now. Let's get into it.
Hi, welcome back to another episode of Whole, Full and Alive. That was a very aggressive energy I just served there. Let's calm it down. Wherever you are, in this moment, wherever you're tuning in from, take a nice deep breath in. Hold it and a nice long, extended exhale. Actually, do it one more time. Deep breath in. Hold and then try to clear it out. Nice long extended exhale.
I hope you're feeling more grounded, a little more peaceful. Whatever's going on for you today, we’re still pretty early in 2023. How is your January going so far? Are you feeling like you're connected to your intentions for this year? My personal intention for this year is ease, that's my word of the year.
Maybe I'll do a little podcast episode just talking more about why I chose ease but I love, love choosing a word of the year. I've talked about this on a few episodes now, and I feel like it can be such a centering thing when I'm having a hard time making a decision about something, it's like, well, what honors my intention more, which of these things would honor what I know I really need this year or what I know is going to help me navigate this year.
Anyway, before we dive into today's episode, I want to let you know that I have a few spaces available for one-on-one holistic nutrition coaching and body image coaching right now. So I offer a three month one on one program that is a very unique combination of holistic nutrition coaching, body image coaching, and if you need it, eating disorder recovery coaching, and just overall well-being, confidence and embodiment.
I use a combination of my skills as a registered dietitian and my skills as a somatic breathwork facilitator and a yoga instructor and fitness instructor and body image coach to really help you feed yourself well, to feel yourself, to feel good in your body and feel good about yourself and your life and to really live fully and freely and authentically. I think just a sense of freedom is the ultimate goal with all of my clients. I love, love, love when my clients are able to tap into a sense of freedom.
So if you are ready to get started working on nutrition and body image and an overall sense of well being and confidence, just go to my website at fullsoulnutrition.com to book a free discovery call. I'll also try to get that link in the show notes in the discovery college just like a consultation. We'll chat for about 15, 20 minutes and see if it seems like a good fit for you.
Pretty soon, I will be opening enrollment for group coaching again, so keep your eyes out for that if one on one is not a good fit for you at this time and also if you just maybe you want a little bit more of a community vibe. As always, the Whole, Full and Alive toolkit is available for purchase on my website for $99 at fullsoulnutrition.com. This is a collection of many workshops, journal prompts, actionable experiments that you can use to develop nourishing nutrition habits, rituals, routines, positive body image and really feel more whole, full and alive every single day.
So let's get into today's episode. I have an amazing guest on today's episode, one of my dear dear friends, Shelagh Curran, and she is actually a newer friend of mine, which is unbelievable, because we are so unbelievably close, although we've only known each other for literally less than six months.
That is why we're actually talking about friendship on the episode today, having friendships and adulthood some of the stickiness and trickiness that comes with making friends and sustaining friendships and adulthood and how do you know if someone's like a good friend for you and setting boundaries and all that good stuff that comes with friendship in adulthood, very different than friendship in childhood and high school and college and all those things.
So that is what Shelagh and I were inspired to dive into today, and I'm so excited to have her voice here on the show. She actually also happens to be a registered dietician, nutritionist. She helps people who are living with PCOS and fertility issues to rebalance their hormones through a holistic approach, and she also has her own private practice.
She's going to tell you a little more about it in the beginning of the episode, but without any further ado, let's get into my episode with Shelagh Curran, amazing, inspiring human being, one of my great friends. So let's talk about friendship.
All right, Shelagh, thank you so much for joining me today.
Shelagh: Thank you for having me. I'm so excited to be here. I've been looking forward to it all day.
Caitie: This is long anticipated. I think we've been trying to record this since like October, maybe?
Shelagh: This is not our first try. Finally, it happens.
Caitie: So I feel like it's perfect timing, honestly, all things considered with the amount of things that I know you've learned through life since October. So I'm excited to be here in this moment.
Shelagh: I'm so excited. You're so right. I feel like even in the last like two or three months, now I have so much more to bring to this conversation. Let's go. So divine timing.
Caitie: Tell everyone who you are.
Shelagh: That is a big one right now for just like where I'm at in my life. I am, first and foremost, a human being, I would say. In terms of who I am, I do a lot of things, and I have a lot of labels. Like at the end of the day, I am a human who is also a registered dietitian and a friend and a daughter and all of the things, but at the end of the day, I’m a person, just a human and a soul here on Earth.
Caitie: Love that, love that. So many people get intimidated by that question. I've actually found it to be a really interesting thing, just to see how people react to that question when I first asked it. I felt really passionately about making sure I asked my guests who they are before I asked them what they do, because I think it is so important that people find value in themselves beyond what they do.
It's been so interesting to hear people be like, “Oh, that's big,” or to hear people be like, “I don't know,” or to hear people be like, “Oh my gosh, thank you so much for asking.” It's just such a range of responses. So I find that so interesting in and of itself.
Shelagh: I feel like just where I'm at in my life right now. So many of those box labels are not applying anymore. I don't live in boxes anymore. Just like so many things about my life and kind of what I have identified as over the last few months are completely no longer true, or they're transitioned out. So now I'm in this, I don't even want to call it a limbo period, because it's not like there's one destination that we get to but there's just so much unlearning that I've been doing about myself that right now like, who are you? It's just a very active journey.
Caitie: I like that because it's not that you're transforming from one label into another label. It's that you're removing the labels and just kind of letting yourself be a fluid person.
Shelagh: Yes, yeah. I’m a manifesting generator. So if anyone listening is into human design, that's kind of like what manifesting. Manifesting generators are always changing, and you're supposed to follow what's leading you up so I guess it makes sense. Everyone that I've spoken to about this are like yep, you know your chart, all these things. Like this totally lines up. You're not crazy, but it definitely felt a little crazy for a bit.
Caitie: I love human design actually, should probably do an episode about that soon, but putting that in the back pocket. Anyways, yeah, and I also resonate with. I used to identify as a New Yorker so hard, and I just don't anymore. I'm not a Colorado person either, though. I didn't transform into a mountain girl. So I feel you. I feel you on that. I think that's so awesome. So anyway, tell us what you do, though.
Shelagh: What I do? I am a registered dietitian, just like you. I have a different specialty, so I work with hormone health, specifically in women's health administrators, working with people with PCOS. I personally have PCOS, which is how I kind of got into that niche, and endometriosis, wacky period stuff, kind of that whole realm of hormone health stuff. That is what I do. I have my own practice as well. It's called Shelagh Rose Nutrition, and it's the best. I love it.
Caitie: It is the best. I love it.
Shelagh: It is the best. I love my job.
Caitie: That's so awesome. So what we're diving into today, I am a registered dietitian just like you, and that's how we met. That's how we became instant friends, because we had that in common. So we decided today's episode is going to be about friendship, because you are a really good friend of mine. We formed a really deep and important friendship in less than a year. I've known you since August. So I'm so excited to dive into this topic with you today.
Shelagh: Me, too. I’m so excited. I was actually thinking that earlier today just with the topic. I was like five months, like less than six months.
Shelagh: And now I’m about to live in your home. So that's kind of funny.
Caitie: Oh my gosh, there's so many layers to this friendship right now. Yeah, Shelagh is gonna come live in my apartment while I'm traveling for two months. So yeah, that's also exciting. So we met in August at a retreat with other entrepreneurs. I just want to tell the story really quickly, because it was an important moment. I had just moved to Colorado the night before. My flight got in very late at night, and I just literally stayed up all night unpacking my boxes, because I didn't want to come back from this retreat to an empty apartment with a bunch of cardboard boxes.
So I was like, “You know what, I'm just gonna pull an all-nighter and then get in the car and drive to this retreat.” Silly idea, because I showed up to Steamboat Springs totally exhausted. But I walked in the living room, where all the other amazing entrepreneurs on this retreat were sitting, and Shelagh comes up to me like, “Oh, my gosh, I've listened to every episode of your podcast.” I was like, “Hi, how are you?”
It was so special, because you were the first person that I made eye contact with that I didn't really know who said, “I've listened to every episode of your podcast.” It means a lot to me. I'm in the same place in life as you right now, contemplating breaking up with my boyfriend, contemplating moving. I'm a registered dietician. I have a private practice. You're such an expander for me.
It meant so much for me to hear that. I had met you briefly in a Zoom room, like maybe two, three months prior, but like we just very loosely connected, and I kind of needed a little memory jog. When you came up to me in that moment and shared with me how much my podcast meant to you, it meant everything. I think the message I want to share with this story is that you just had no sign of ego at all whatsoever in that moment.
You were just so genuine like, “Hi, here's how your work resonates with me. Here's why you're an expander for me, and I just want to connect with you.” I loved it.
Shelagh: I love that that was so special for you. Because for me afterwards, I was kind of like, “I hope that wasn't creepy.” But in that moment, I was like, “Yeah, of course, I'm gonna say this to this girl.” Like, it's true, and I like I was so happy that you were at this retreat, because I was like, oh my god, like this girl is going to be such an expander for me might as well tell her, you know?
Caitie: Let's talk about that for a second like that word, expander. What does that mean to you?
Shelagh: For me, it is other people embodying and being and showing you proof basically that like, what you want, what you think you desire is possible because someone else is already doing it and it already exists. It's like physical proof. It shows you that what you are calling in, what you're working towards, what you're desiring is possible. So again, in that part of my life, right, I was like, oh, here we are: successful entrepreneur with her own private practice, who also just ended a relationship, who also just started traveling, doing all these things.
For myself, I, at that point, hadn't done those things. So it was really scary. I mean, I talked about it a lot on that retreat, just how my brain was working through all of those. So it felt like such a gift to see you there and have you be there because I just remember feeling expanded, but also just like, wow, okay, there's safety in this because look at her, she's doing it. She's not only, like not only is she okay, like she's better than ever.
I remember you said on that retreat, like I feel more myself than I ever have. I thought that, okay, that's a good sign, you know?
Caitie: Yeah, yeah, thank you so much for sharing that. I think that word, expander, I'm pretty sure it's something that a lot of people listening to the show haven't heard before. But it's a concept that's really important to me, too, is finding people who are evidence that the thing you want is possible, I actually find people who inspire me and print out pictures of them and put them on my vision board every year, because I'm like, I'm like, I wonder if this is creepy. Because you know, some of these people are not that famous but they’re up on my vision board, I don't care.
That's where I kind of want to start this conversation about adult friendships, though, is that you do want to form bonds with people who feel genuinely inspiring and expansive to you. When you're a child, making friends or when you're in high school, making friends. And even when you're in college, making friends. The thing that bonds you to people is proximity.
It's like, okay, this person goes to my school, this person's in my major at my school, this person's conveniently close to me or knows my family or whatever it is, and then all of a sudden, you enter adulthood, and the world's your oyster. And you get to decide where you want to live and what you want to do. And you don't only especially when you're an entrepreneur, and you don't have coworkers, you're not only making friends, by proximity, you're making friends through shared values and through what inspires you.
Shelagh: Absolutely, it's so true. Like we’re given our lives for so long, and then you kind of get to a certain age, and it's okay, I can keep doing things. Just because I was put on this path. And with these people that are already along the way, or, you know, especially I think, in entrepreneurship, you are kind of like dropped in the middle of a lake. And it's like, oh, I don't have any co-workers or any proximity to anyone. So here I am. It is like, okay, world is your oyster. There's all these people. How do you even like, how do you even start?
Caitie: Yeah. And how you start is having the balls to like, go up to people who you think have a cool vibe and who you think inspire you. Honestly, because I used to think about that in terms of romantic partnership a lot. I used to think like, oh, if I just have the guts to like, start this conversation with this one guy, like this thing could change my life, I need to be fearless in the pursuit of romantic partners.
I felt that way when I was younger: I needed to think about how like, yeah, one conversation that you have the balls to start can change your life? And also, why not start those conversations with friends? Why not start those conversations with people who you could potentially have a lifelong meaningful friendship with? I think for some reason, people don't don't apply that risk taking approach to friendship as much as they apply it to romance. And I don't think that people take those chances in adulthood as much as they take them on the playground in childhood.
Shelagh: That is so true. Because when you're a kid, yeah, everyone is just, “Can I play with you?” “Sure!” Like normal. But I do feel like people are just more self conscious as adults, or nervous or not as comfortable or oh, I don't want this person to think that I'm weird. Or I don't want to seem creepy, or I don't know what to say.
Caitie: Yeah. And it's like, I've never been creeped out by anyone who approached me for friendship. And it's happened like a few times in my life. I'm very thankful for that. People have kind of like cold DM’d me and stuff saying like, “Can we meet for coffee? It seems like we have a lot in common. I've never ever been creeped out by that. And I feel like anyone who is creeped out by that is like not the person you want to be friends with anyway, which is also just like dating. It's like, okay, yeah, anyone who's like creeped out by your approach, like, isn't the person for you? Totally.
Shelagh: That's so true. It's not like the way you approach is going to be the make or break. Yeah. It's either open or not.
Caitie: Yeah. So I think that is definitely the first thing that separates adult friendships from childhood friendships is like, you have to kind of take a chance and put yourself out there and it might feel a little risky because we are more insecure as adults. We have had more experiences of rejection. We have had more experiences of trauma in our life that have maybe left us a little bit more guarded. And also, it's important to take the chance and approach people who feel expansive for you. I love this word, expansive. And like the importance of finding expansive friends and approaching the people who inspire you.
Shelagh: Especially as adults, your friends are so important because like, what is it your you are the five people that you surround yourself with, or something like that? You totally absorb the energy and also the beliefs of the people around, you know, building friendships that do align with, like, not only like who you are, but like where you want to go, who you want to be. I think I mean, I just think adult friendships are so important. And we were not really given the skills or we're not really taught how to make them.
Like, oh, once you got out of college, like maybe you'll have some coworkers. Other than that, like, you really have to go out and meet people. Or whatever it is.
Caitie: Two things are coming to me as you're saying that. The first thing is like, you do have to put yourself out there and you do have to nudge yourself to get into rooms with people who have shared interests with you, you do have to sign up for activities, you do have to go do things like in your town, in your city, you do have to end up in random networking Zoom calls, like you have to put yourself in those places and spaces, a little bit of action needs to be taken and inherent risk and inherent freefall comes with that.
And another thing is kind of what I was saying earlier about how you approached me with no ego. I think some people get really competitive in adulthood, and don't want to be friends with people who feel like a threat to them. Can you let people inspire you instead of seeing them as competition? Because that's something I see in the Nutrition and Dietetics field a lot. A lot. I'm lucky to have some dietitian friends. And also, I've seen it go the other way.
Shelagh: Totally. Because I mean, honestly, and there's a lot of mindset work that goes into this, and you know, therapy and all that stuff. So even a few years ago, I might have been too intimidated to approach you. I might have been triggered by you, or thought that like you were my competition, even though like, because on paper, we have so many of these similar things, but like our business is completely different. You know what I mean? Like my client and your client, they have different needs. But yes, all to say, I think that you can get yourself if you don't feel like you're there yet. Like it's possible to feel comfortable. Like that.
Caitie: Yeah, yeah. And sometimes it's not even like what I was just saying like conscious competition, sometimes it is just like trigger. Like what you were saying, sometimes someone who's doing the thing that you're afraid to do is triggering for you. Because you're afraid to do it. And then they're doing it and you're like, very triggered by them. I used to feel that way about people. I especially used to feel that way about people who were authentic on social media.
I would be so jealous that they are authentic on social media, because for a long time, when I worked in eating disorder treatment centers, I like wasn't allowed to post on social media, because my bosses didn't want me to they didn't want my clients knowing anything about me, which like, I can't believe I was allowed to tell my clients I had like a brother or like I was going on vacation. Like I was not the approach I wanted to take.
But I would see other dieticians, other clinicians with their own private practices, just sharing about their life and being able to inspire people by being authentic. And that was something I always desired. And instead of being like, okay, that's possible, I was like, I don't like this person.
Shelagh: I don't think that's your fault. Like, that's just like so many of us have been conditioned to think that way.
Caitie: Yeah. And I think this is also a really good segue into friendship breakups, because I do think one of the reasons why some long term friendships and is because one person feels triggered by the other person, and slaps the label that I was just saying, of “Oh, I don't like this person” on to them, when in reality, it is not that they don't like the person anymore, it's that that person is expanding and evolving at a rate that they're not ready for. I used a lot of “they” in that sentence. So I feel like there's I might have gotten a little confusing, but you know, what I mean,
Shelagh: You know, inclusive. Right?
Caitie: When one person sees another person evolving, and that one person is not ready to evolve yet, they could wrongly think “Oh, I don't like this person that's evolving anymore”. Like we're not aligned to friendships anymore, but they're just not ready to evolve themselves.
Shelagh: It reminds me of that, drawing or whatever I feel like it's all over social media. And it's like, you've changed and there's two people and you know a little bundle of flowers, and then the other person's like, I would hope so. And it's like a blooming garden. Have you seen that before?
Caitie: I haven't. But I can kind of imagine what you're saying
Shelagh: It's pretty much just like we do evolve, and sometimes that means outgrowing people. Especially if you're getting things back from that other person. Like, the person who might be being triggered or feeling threatened by your growth.
Caitie: Yeah. And I think that happens most with people that you've been friends with since childhood, or since college, the friends that you made by proximity, before you really knew who you were, as a person. When you start to grow into who you are as a person those friendships sometimes inevitably fall away. That's a really, really sticky and tricky place to be in the midst of that friendship falling away. That was the reason why I felt inspired to record this episode with you. I wanted you to come on the podcast, and I wanted to tell the story of our friendship that came through this year.
And I was like, “Well, I've been wanting to talk about adult friendships for a while. So why don't we just talk about this together?” And the main thing I wanted to make sure we talked about was like, how do you navigate that process of recognizing that your friend group is totally, totally changing?
Shelagh: It can feel really disorienting. When that happens, especially because again, going with identity too. It's parts of who you have always thought you were, especially if they're like, hometown friends, or college friends are like this part of your life that was kind of like what you were born into almost. And then your own friends are a part of rewriting your own story and creating yourself as an adult and actually choosing who you are versus kind of who you told that you were or were told what to be.
So I do think that it's natural for friendships to fade during that time. But it can be really disorienting because it doesn't necessarily have to be a big blowout or anything like that. It can just feel confusing. I remember, I reconnected with old friends, and afterwards just kind of felt like, hmm, okay, that was a little weird, you know? Or like I can tell that maybe we're not vibing the same way that we used to anymore”.
And that's okay. It's nothing necessarily against that person. It doesn't have to be beef, or anything like that. But there are totally times when you can recognize that maybe this friendship isn't serving you as it once did. Or maybe it's not as aligned as it once was. And navigating that is definitely sticky.
Caitie: Yeah, it's not the same sort of abrupt labeled breakup as a romantic partnership because we don't always have to be like, “Hey, I'm breaking up with you”. I think maybe, you know, once in a blue moon, friends do break up in that way. If something happens, or if they were once very, very close, and there needs to be an explicit conversation. I'm not like taking that off the table. Most of the time. There isn't that conversation, though.
And so that makes it kind of like, you're in this limbo place wondering, “Where do I stand with this person?” And if you're a human being, which we all are, no animals listen to this podcast. Your brain is averse to change, your brain doesn't like change, your nervous system doesn't like change.
So when that change that's occurred in your life isn't explicitly labeled, and you're like second guessing it and wondering, are we still friends? Is this thing in my life changing? Do I still have this source of stability through this friendship? That can feel really, really jarring for your system.
Shelagh: I think a big part of it is like, how do I want to be friends with this person? Right? Because I have friends who I would say, maybe we went from friends to being friendly. You know, or like, we're still close enough where we can comment on each other's Instagram stories or reply or whatever, like in ways like that. But there is a shift that I think sometimes almost feels a little not awkward, but obligatory, maybe. You know what I mean? Because at the end of the day, having friends, you have to maintain them, right? Like it's a two way street.
You both have to check in on each other. It's a big part of it. So I do feel like that. You're almost like ghosting each other. But just like talking less and less and less, you know what I mean? And then you're like, “What do I do here?” Like, “Can I just backpedal and reach out less? Do we need to cognitively think about this or does it just happen naturally?” I think it's a very interesting thing to navigate.
Caitie: Yeah. And there isn't really a way to navigate it, there is no one way to navigate it. And that's why we're putting this out there. That's why we're labeling this because I think the most important thing we can do is just normalize it and just say, “Hey, if you're feeling this way, in your adult friendships, you're not alone.”
One of my very best friends was talking the other day about how we've kind of grown apart from some other people in our original group of friends. And she was like, feeling sort of rejected by it. And she was like, “I just feel a little bit confused?” I don't know how they feel about me. I don't know what they think about me. And you won't know how they feel about you or what they think about you.
Because even if you were to ask them, who knows that they're going to tell you the truth? Or who knows that they even know what they think about you. And just normalizing that weirdness, you used to be really, really close with this person and have a lot of inside jokes with them, and be close with them and hang out with them on a regular basis, or talk and text and send each other things on a regular basis. And now they're just a stranger. It's hard.
Shelagh: Yeah, totally. Again, it depends on how you're feeling about it, like, do you want to still be in that friendship or not? I think that makes a big difference in how the stickiness feels. But I think it can almost happen, like accidentally. Sometimes too, when you just wake up one day and realize that the people that you've been with for all these years is no longer really like your vibe.
Caitie: Yeah. That was what I was gonna say is like one of the last things that distinguishes younger proximity friendships from adult friendships is the introduction of boundaries. We don't really need or have the language for rather boundaries when we're kids. When we're in college, we don't know ourselves well enough to set boundaries in certain ways. And so as you become an adult, and you get to know yourself better, and you get to know your needs better, and you hopefully heal from some things, and whatever, you just grow into yourself a little bit more, boundaries become a thing.
And so I was thinking, we could maybe talk about some boundaries that you feel like you've set in friendships or some boundaries that have made you realize that you needed to give up certain friendships.
Shelagh: I would love to talk about that. Because boundaries is something that, honestly, I would say, the last year of my life I've really been working on. But especially the last few months, with the intensity of my life, I feel like I'm being mysterious and vague. So I'll just tell everyone I went through a pretty big breakup a few months ago, and moved out of my apartment and it was a whole thing.
But also through this time, I've kind of realized, and I've been so grateful for how much friendship I've had supporting me through this and how that has been so significant for getting me through this time that was so chaotic. But through that, I had people reaching out and checking in every day. And some of them I've liked a huge thing that I noticed was just the difference in "How are you” text versus “Sending you love” text, “I hope you're well” text, you know what I mean?
Just like asking versus just sending love, you know what I mean? And for me that was a really good way to practice boundaries, because previously, I would be like, “Okay, I have to reply to every single one of these right away” and to give them all the details and fill them in. Because that was so nice of them to check in. So I really should kind of like, tell them, you know. But I did not have the capacity to do that.
I was so grateful for all of the love that I received and all the people checking in. But I told some people, “Oh, I was trying to call” and I had to tell people, “No, I'm sorry, I don't have the energy to talk”, or “I don't have the energy to check in.” Or, you know, even the people who said “How are you?” I didn't even make it around answering all of them. But I would say, you know, quick little two second recap. And I'd say I did check in like in a few weeks and I told them, I don't have the capacity to tell you, you know, at first I was like,oh, this is so dramatic of me. Like I can take the three minutes to type out a text and tell people to fill them in or whatever, that was nice of them to check in.
But then I just realized how good it felt to say, I can't go into this right now. Or “Oh, I'm sorry.” “Like, I know that you want to have a check in call and that's so nice. But I can only take so many calls, you know?” So laying those boundaries felt just like my energy was so aligned and then people that I wasn't taking calls with were like, “Oh, I totally understand that.” Then they kind of transitioned on their own from “How are you?” to “Sending you love.” So it was kind of like, they react to you in your energy and like how you put it out there.
I feel like I'm talking a little bit in circles right now about setting boundaries with friends. But just like, there's a big difference when you're adults, people don't have time to text all day. I remember we were in high school texting all the time. And you know, you're in communication with your friends so often.
So I think that, even what you have to give, what you have available for others, is so different as an adult, and that ebbs and flows with what your life looks like and where you're at. I think that even just having those type of boundaries with, “This is how I'm able to be your friend,” is so like life giving back to yourself, but also those friendships, because then those people, rather than like completely blowing them off, you also get closer to them and away because you let them in and still tell them “This is where I'm at. Thank you so much.” And then they understand why they're not hearing from you.
Caitie: Hmm, you answered that in a way that I wasn't expecting you to. But you touched on a few different points that I think are really important, the first one being that it's necessary to set communication limits. You can't continue to stay friends with every single person, we have a limited capacity as human beings and I think social media, texting, and the convenience of communication nowadays, makes it seem like it doesn't take a lot of energy to stay in touch with a lot of people. And it does take a lot of energy to stay in touch with a lot of people.
So you do have to decide, in what ways are you able to show up for which friendships, and it sounds like something that you use as sort of like a filtering was like, okay, the people who said just like wishing you well, versus the people who asked “How are you?” are kind of good ways to sort of like signify what people are willing to give to you. And people who may be asked how you are, are providing a little bit more support than just sending wishes. And also, you had to kind of turn- what were we gonna say?
Shelagh: I was actually gonna say the opposite. Like someone asking if I got a text that said, “How are you?” This is like a lot that I have to reply to, you know what I mean? As opposed to a text that said, “Hey, I've been thinking of, you know, no need to reply. I'm just sending you love.”
Shelagh: Yes. But then like for the people who asked, “How are you?” I would kind of just explain “Hey, I’m not really capable of telling you right now.” And that was me, like laying the boundary..
Shelagh: And then they learned from that, you know, it was helpful in that way too. Because I know what, it's normal to ask someone how they are, when they're going through something, you know what I mean? So that was like nothing on them. It was honestly a good experience for me to kind of just like, okay, this is how I like to be supported. I can imagine that other people would feel this same way too.
I think it helped me know how to be a better friend and other cases as well. But it kind of gave me the opportunity to set that boundary and practice setting that boundary with like, I know, you want to have like a thirty minute call and ask me how I'm doing and hear all the details and be there for me. And thank you so much for that. But I don't even have that energy right now.
Caitie: Yeah. And I, I feel that setting boundaries like that is a really good way to understand which friends you're on the same wavelength as because the way people respond to your boundaries, like that one or any other boundary that you feel you need to set like, “Hey, I can't come to this Thursday drink thing that we normally do, I need actually that night for myself.” Or, “I actually can't go to this bachelorette party because I can't afford to fly to Mexico, I'd rather spend my money in a different way.”
Whatever the boundary is, the way your friends respond is going to tell you whether or not that friendship is serving you because the people who are actually there to be your friend, your true friend, are going to support your boundaries.
Shelagh: Yes, absolutely. I'm very proud that my, a lot of my friends, like if we're hanging out in a group and someone has to, like have a self care night or just like doesn't want to. It's like we applaud each other for that. But I think especially for a lot of women, it's we're not really taught that that's okay to just not go to something because you just don't want to, you know?
I feel like so many of us feel like you need an excuse. That's something that again, like some of my friends have been verbalizing to each other. Like if there's plans, we'll say like, if you don't want to come just say it, like that's fine. I applaud you if you don't want to come but I would rather you just say that for your not for the sake of the group, but like for yourself. You don't need a reason.
Caitie: Oh my gosh, and you can always tell when someone's just making up reasons because usually they list more than one. They'll be like, Oh, this and this was like, okay, like, just say on reason.
Shelagh: So y'all I have this crazy, day all these details.
Caitie: Exactly. Yeah, usually the more details, the more bullshit. So just yeah, permission to take care of yourself and permission to set boundaries is a really important part of having healthy adult friendships. I feel like we could do a whole episode just on boundaries. But I feel like that is just kind of like a good little bite-sized piece of the importance of setting boundaries in friendships.
And I think the last thing that I do want to talk about so what we just went into with boundaries was basically saying, you're a human being with a limited capacity, you can't talk to everyone all the time, you can't keep in touch with every single person that you've ever made friends with ever, you cannot go to every single bachelorette party that you get invited to, cannot go to every single like Sunday brunch that you get invited to.
We are human beings, we have a limited capacity, emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually, financially. And so it's not realistic to expect yourself to be the ultimate friend and be at all the things because if you don't rest enough, you won't be able to give enough to the friendship in order to maintain the bond. And maintaining the bond is so important, which is the last thing I want to talk about, which is just the importance of having a community of friends and taking time every once in a while — this is something that I actually like to do — is I take inventory of my friends. I literally open up a blank page in a journal, and I write a list of the important friendships in my life right now.
And I include some family there, honestly, because my brothers are like my best friends. And some of my cousins are my best friends. And so it's kind of like my friends and family inventory. Who is important in my life? I look at the list, I think who have I not reached out to in a while, and I try to reach out to them. Or I'm like, who am I starting to grow apart from, who's becoming more of like a tertiary friend, and why? What boundaries do I need to set?
But just writing down that list is really important because first of all, it makes you recognize how many people you have in your life. Second, it allows you to kind of take stock of like, okay, what's going on here? How are my connections?
The reason I started doing this is because when I was in a long term relationship in my early 20s, I had a boyfriend from the time I was like 19 until the time I was 24, same person. And I kind of lost touch with a decent amount of my friends for a little bit. Luckily, all of those friends kind of came back into my life after we broke up. But when I'm looking at that, I'm like, I'm so lucky that my friends came back into my life. Because if I was them. I'd be like, “Girl, you were just gone for like four years, like, are you okay?” And I told myself, I'm never gonna get in that place again, where I just get so kind of enmeshed in one person, or in one situation. So yeah, it’s not for me, what do you think?
Shelagh: I think that's wicked normal, but also something that isn't good. You know what I mean? I think it's a very normal problem for people to run into. I mean, I think there's that honeymoon phase, right? That's like, a little bit natural. But it can be really easy just to fall into your own world when you're in a relationship and just get really caught up in each other and forget about the rest of your life.
I actually love that, like that journaling listing exercise that you mentioned, because it does one kind of force you to be like, Are these people still aligned? But also, am I still doing the work and being a friend to them as well? Yeah, because it's almost like you won't necessarily notice if people stop reaching out to you if you're all caught up with someone else because you're distracted by that person.
But it's so important to have friendships outside of that person. Even if you marry them and stay with them for the rest of your life. You still need your own friends, you still need your own life outside of that person too. And again, even with this good breakup that I just went through. A really big feeling was just gratitude for the friends in my life, because it would have been a really different experience without them, you know?
Caitie: Yeah, that's what happened to me was that when I went through that breakup, when I was 24, all my friends caught me like this, like beautiful, sparkly rainbow safety net of friends. And I realized like, during that point in my life, I had never been so grateful for friendship, and I was like, wow, I just have so much support and so many awesome and fun and cool people in my life. Why the fuck did I stop like seeing a lot of these people for a while and I think part of the process I want in my life at that point to was that I was like doing my dietetic internship and grad school and had like $0 in my bank account.
And so that was part of it. So I'm not going to totally just blame my relationship. But I definitely was caught in a spiral of like, not spending enough time cultivating my friendships. And I promised myself from that point moving forward, when I saw how much my friends had caught me. During that breakup, during that really difficult time for me, that I was like, this is the most important thing in my life, this is the most important thing in my life. And now, I just, I think, I think romantic relationships even play a different role for me, in my life, because of how important my friendships are to me.
Shelagh: Absolutely. Because it's kind of like, if you have yourself and you have your people, romantic relationships are kind of just like a nice little plus, if the person is aligned and allows you- kind of like what we were saying the other day, you know, if the person allows you to keep going on this path, that's fantastic. But that's not like a primary ingredient for fulfillment, and support.
Caitie: Yeah, it totally just becomes the icing on the cake, or like something fun and additional, that's a plus to your life, rather than a necessity. They're not like your entire safety net, your entire support net. And yeah, I just, I'm so so so grateful for my friendships, and I'm so grateful for the way that I continue to make new friends like you.
We send each other audio notes all the time. Like, I'm always having a conversation with you, which is amazing. It's amazing that I have people in my life like that, where like, I can just finish a really stressful client session or something and just pick up my phone and start talking into it and know that you're at the other end, eventually.
That is the best feeling. I want that for everyone. I want that for every single person who needs that sigh of relief, to be able to pick up their phone and start talking into it for three minutes. And know that someone is gonna press play on the other end of that and listen to your words.
Shelagh: And probably even listen to it twice. I'll usually listen when I get it. And then I'll listen when again when I'm able to reply. So I can be refreshed. You know?
Caitie: Yeah, like it's like a personalized Caitie podcast multiple times.
Shelagh: You get one back, so I couldn't be more grateful for it. Again, so much gratitude for all this friendship. Truly, it changes your life and in so many ways.
Caitie: This is the final thing we'll wrap up with here is that expressing your gratitude for your friends fully and frequently is so important, and telling your friends why they are special and why they mean a lot to you, sincerely and regularly is so important. I can't stress that enough. You first of all, never know what someone is going through. And you never know what they're going to need. Even in that very, low key moment of stress.
When I just moved to Colorado and you approached me and were like, I love your podcast. I was like, wow, that is everything. I really needed that. But you never know when someone's having a dark day and you think of a funny memory or something that that person said to you that meant a lot to you and you just type out a text or record an audio note — y favorite form of communication.
I know some people just don't like them. But I love talking on walkie talkies. And maybe it's because I have podcasts that I'm comfortable doing it. But get over your fear of doing it and just record an audio note for your friend that can change the course of someone's life. And it could change their health and it can change the way they view themselves.
Shelagh: Seriously. Oh, there's also voice notes I love because you don't have to worry about there's no room for misinterpretation for a vibe. You know what I mean? So I love a voice note because it actually feels like you're with someone. It can feel like a hug, you know? But also every time you pour love into your friends, you pour it back into yourself.
Caitie: Yeah, that's so true. So true. So today's processing prompt is, first of all, take inventory of your friends in your life. Make a list, put it on a piece of paper, no one else has to see it. Just do it. Who are your friends, who are the important people in your life? Write it down on a list, and then pick one of them and send them a gratitude note. Send them an appreciation note.
It's not weird. It's just not all the time. It's not weird. It's just not weird. So do it. Record an audio note or write in a text, something that you can say to that person that you sincerely believe that you know might make them feel good about themselves and remind them how much you appreciate the friendship
And an actionable experiment. I'm excited about this, let me know what you think. So, one time, one of my mentors recommended that I do this. She said, reach out to five of your closest friends and tell them to write a paragraph about all the things they appreciate about you, and why they think you're special, then copy and paste that into a note in your phone.
Whenever you are having a hard day, you just read that to yourself, like just read the notes that people sent you. And I think that's such a cool exercise and such an important gift to give yourself because there are five people in your life who will do that. I guarantee it. If you're listening to this podcast, and you personally know me, I will do it for you. You already have one person.
Shelagh: And if you know me, I will do it for you.
Caitie: You already have.
Shelagh: People will do it for you eagerly. Like it's easy.
Caitie: Yeah. And if you personally know both of us, you already have two people on your list. So there you go. Any other processing prompts or actionable experiments that you would recommend?
Shelagh: I guess just like not being afraid. This is like a really big one. Maybe this would go off of the journaling processing prompt. Like if you make a list and you're kind of like, maybe this is shorter than I want it to be, or I'm feeling like these people aren't really aligned anymore. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and walk up to a stranger. Or cold DM someone on Instagram. Like, ask yourself, “Okay, what needs to happen to change this? How do I get stronger connections on this list?”
Caitie: Good stuff. Yeah, expanding on that a little bit, I think is a good idea, too. All right, I actually forgot to ask you my questions about routines and rituals. So we're gonna do that real quick before we wrap up. And before we do that, if you don't mind giving me one more minute of your time because you are a dietitian, I want to take advantage of your brain. Why is maintaining positive relationships Important for your health and your well being and your digestive system and your hormones?
Shelagh: Oh my god. I mean, joy is like the most important missing ingredient in our health, right? Like, even like the mind-body connection, if you're feeling unfulfilled, if you're feeling lonely, if you're feeling stressed without an outlet for someone to talk about it to, if you've had a lack of physical touch lately, oh my God, my friends. And I like to hold hands and hug each other all the time.
These things are so important just for your literal physiology. So feeling joy and feeling connection. Yes, it's important for your digestion, it's important for your hormones because if you don't have that happiness, your cortisol is going to be higher, your stress is going to be higher. All of these things are just going to be out of whack. You're going to feel out of alignment. So without really diving into it, does that answer that question?
Caitie: Yes. Like I can tell you are really passionate about that. I think so.
Shelagh: Yeah, I am. Thank you. Happiness matters a lot, like, how can we have more fun?
Caitie: Life is meant to be enjoyed not endured. Love it. So do you have morning rituals and routines slash evening rituals and routines with the caveat that these things don't happen every day? They just happen sometimes.
Shelagh: Oh, do I! Do I. And they totally changed. They're kind of like always evolving. I would say the real ritual, or the routine, I would say, is tuning in with myself, because I'll kind of ask myself every morning, in the evening, what do I need? And then there's a few things that I kind of like to rotate through. So for the morning, a lot of them overlap. A lot of the morning ones, in the evening ones are the same, but usually this is what I've been doing in the morning, when I'm actually still in bed, because I am not the type of person like I can't wake up, count to five or whatever Mel Robbins says and like get out of bed. It just doesn't work for me.
But I also don't love to snooze, I don't want to scroll on my phone. So I've been playing like an actual meditation in that kind of still dozing part of being awake, which actually, it's one of the best times to meditate because it's like the way that your state that your brain is in. So I'll just do like a five minute one instead of scrolling Instagram while I'm half asleep, and that has been really grounding.
And then I'll usually brain-dump the journal, sometimes it's two seconds, sometimes it's a few pages. And that's kind of like bare minimum, meditating is the bare minimum. I love the journaling, if I can do it, I love a card poll, if I have time for it and a little bit of journaling on that like an Oracle Card of some kind. And then some type of movement. I love to get outside in the morning. If it is weather permitting.
I was just in Florida for a month. So I was able to do that every day, which was fantastic. But now sometimes it's just like walking to the mailbox and back, a child's pose for a few minutes on the floor. But like some type of very gentle blood flow in the morning, hydration, skincare, you know, like the basics, like how can I just pour into myself a little bit before I start my day. And then for evening, it's a lot of journaling as well. But I like hard fast six nights out of seven. I do some type of yoga flow before going to bed.
I love to set a vibe, I'll put my salt lamp on with the lights off. So it's like a nice calming environment with some music and then I'll just kind of like shake out the day on my yoga mat, and do whatever feels good for usually like fifteen minutes, sometimes thirty, depending on how I'm feeling. And it's a really nice way to transition into bed. Because I've had time away from my screens my phone isn't thinking about even like social media or who I'm texting and I fall asleep so fast
Caitie: That stuff, that's exactly what I do before I go to sleep to that's been really helpful just to kind of like release my back from setting and seeing clients too sometimes it's just like, oof, alright, I can't just like see a client and then walk to bed like my back needs to release here.
Shelagh: Yes, especially even like when working from home. Sometimes I'm like, if I don't have these systems in place, or these routines, like I won't leave the house or move my body.
Caitie: I get it. I feel you on that. Well, thank you so much for being here. Your vibe is so appreciated and I really appreciate having you at this very transitional, transformational moment in your life and maybe we'll get you back here after your travels are done or after your time living in my apartment.
Shelagh: Thank you so much for having me this felt like it flowed so easily like we couldn't even have been recording and we would have the same conversation.
Caitie: Probably! This is what our audio notes are.
Shelagh: Like our audio notes are just like the inner depths of my subconscious mind. I’m happy to be here. Thank you for having me.
Caitie: Oh, much love for you! Alright, if you enjoyed today's episode, please leave a five star review, share it with someone. Tell your friends, your friendship circles. And yeah, that's all I got for you. I never know how to close out these episodes. So I'm just gonna say goodbye and take care of yourself and go out, love all your friends.