Thursday, May 17, 2012

Friendships

I have had many friends but only a few I have called Best Friends. My best friends are those who know me and love me for who I am. They are my confidantes. They know they can call me for whatever reason anytime. They cry with me and laugh with me. Sometimes they laugh at me but they are the only ones allowed to do so.  They are the only ones who will give me brutal honesty although it hurts to hear. When they do, I know they do it out of love and caring. They support me in whatever I do. 

I try to do the same. I try to be there for them.  I cherish my best friends. I listen to them and give them advice. I love them for who they are. I support them as best as I can. Or so I thought.

I think my downfall is that I care too much at times. I try to help too much. When I see the problem, I tend to be brutally honest telling them what I see and what I would do. I come off as pushy or judgmental, at least to one. I want them to see it and do something about it now so they won't endure further heartache or frustration.


Their best interest is my only concern.


I only hear their side of the story. But I try the best of my ability to help them resolve the issue. But I mainly tell them what I would do or say. I realize they have different approaches than I would in certain circumstances. I realize their time frame is different from my own.

My TRUE best friends know me well enough that I would never intentionally judge them or hurt their feelings. 

Recently, one of my friendships have been compromised. I admit it was my fault of it unraveling. There were a couple of things they had ranted about continuously. I was supportive, listened and gave advice for months. 

But one bad day,I felt helpless, hopeless and frustrated with that person about the same thing. I am guilty of being bitchy to them but I felt like I was in a vicious circle. I was insensitive by the way it came out. As my mom used to tell me, it's not what you say, its how you say it sometimes.

I suspected they would get mad at me but I just felt like it was unavoidable at that point. I told them exactly how I felt and my views as I have done previously but in more of an impatient bitchy tone.

In addition, I've watched how they interact with others. They have told me when they get upset or hurt they avoid the situation and takes time to come back. They have to put space between themselves and the culprit of the pain and hurt.

Sure enough, it all came crashing down. The expected happened as well as the unexpected. I received an understandably defense reaction which made me realize I really did unintentionally hurt them. I figured it would tick them off but not hurt them as much it did.

I pondered and thought. I looked into myself. I owed them an apology, for not what I said but for how I said it. I had to be a true friend that I felt I was and make it right.

They accepted my apology but said they lost trust in me and it will take time to regain it. They needed space. They said they felt judged and just sometimes wanted  me to listen when they ranted. I apologized several times and backed away as requested.

Correspondence had been curt. I wanted to keep the line of communication opened so I asked through email how they were doing. I wanted them to know regardless I was here for them. I still cared for them. I still loved them.

A couple of days later, they informed me they were still working on their hurt and pain and said their other friendships were compromised by OUR friendship and they had to step back and work on them.

A slew of emotions rushed through my body.  Confusion.  Hurt. Guilt. Frustration. Anger.

Confusion, hurt and frustration  because it seems all I said was thrown back in my face. And to blame me for their problems with their other friendships made me dumbfounded as it seemed to me that I was the only reliable one. They had agreed with my views on several occasions and said they needed to change some things in their own time. I hadn't factored  in the possibility of me being thrown under the bus.  


Guilt: I felt like a monster. I feel like the meanest person on earth. I know I hurt them. I just bluntly said what I said and regret the way it came out. I hate hurting anyone, especially this person. Guilty as charged. I am human and not perfect. If it is any consolation, that guilt will be with me for a while. 

Anger: Well, lets just say that I have reflected on our friendship. I have thought about their reactions not only to me but to other things that were confided in me. I hate being told I reminded them of someone that hurt them when I am nothing like that person. I guess it can be the same reasons of confusion, hurt and frustration

I don't take kindly to the silent treatment. I have never felt that was an appropriate resolution to anything. I understand that the space may help heal but how do you heal if you don't work it out. I find the silence can become larger as one waits for the other and the space can grow larger until it separates two people forever

It is one of those occasions where "You better watch what you wish for because it may come true" comes to mind. 

It is shocking after watching them be hurt by others for months and the one mistake you make, you are blamed for the whole situation and pretty much not important anymore. From what I was told others dished out more than I did more often but who is turned away? The one person they can actually rely on is the first person they turn away from.

I have run the whole situation from start to finish thousands of times in my head. What would I do different? What can I do now?

I think a true friend won't ever turn their back on someone who needs them, even if they are mad at you and rightfully so. But how long is it feasible to sit and wait for them to realize you seriously didn't mean to lose their trust and confidence? How long do you accept the curtness and space? 

I need to let them figure out their own issues. Nod more instead of talk. Be there to listen more and when they ask for advice, give minimal. I have done everything I can think of.  I have apologized repetitively and have given them space as requested. 

Every day I think, they didn't know me at all. Because if they had, they would know I meant no harm or pain. 

A friendship should not be that hard. I understand relationships take work but you can't work in silence or with space.

I made a mistake and owned up to it. But I feel like I will be paying for it indefinitely. 

I feel like I have done all I can. I have to move on and hope for the best.

Maybe I am too forgiving in that sorts and expect the same. Maybe its not fair to expect such forgiveness and so fast. Maybe I deserve it. I do not know anymore.

But I do know I can't be hanging like a thread. I don't work my other friendships like that and refuse to do so now.  From their words they pretty much said where they stand. Our friendship was the reason their other friendships suffered. They were taking time out from all but because of ours, the others suffered. That one sentence did it for me. I don't want any friendship to suffer so I honor their request. 

They no longer have to worry about me from this day forward. They are on their own. They can give their undivided attention to their other friends. I will not be there to be blamed. 

My door will be opened as they can always come in for a visit or if they need anything. It does not mean I do not love them any less or care for them any less. It does not mean that I will not be there for them ever.

But like them, this conflict has made me see things more clearly.

Wish granted. They can have all the space they need.

Ironically,the subject the conflict started with and the subject it ended with were two different things. It started with my concern for their well being and it has ended with a total different issue.











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4 comments:

  1. I feel like I could have written this, Lisa. I just went through this exact situation with a friendship breakup a few months ago. While I am proud in some ways that I stood up for myself and cared enough to ultimately end a relationship that was toxic, I was amazed at the range of emotions it provokes. guilt, anger, sadness; everything you've listed.

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  2. Nocorngirl, thank you so much for your comment. I am sorry you went through this as well. I have struggled with it but to know someone can understand exactly where I am coming from, lessens the weight of my heart. Thanks so much!

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  3. Sounds to me as if you have certainly gone over and above an apology and explanation. What more can you do? Nothing! The ball is in their court and if it puts wedge between you from now on, well, you weren't as good of friends as you thought you were. You've done enough. You're a sweet lady!

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  4. You are so right on all accounts Barb. Thank you so much for your continued support, compliment, love and friendship. I so appreciate it. Hugs!

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