Recently, I was discussing renting a room from a friend. We had set the date for me to move it. But during the last couple of times I spoke to her, she kept saying that her husband had reservations about taking on another roommate. I told her that I didn’t want to cause any problems and that I would find a room elsewhere. She insisted on me moving in and said that it would be ok and her husband would be ok with it in the end.
The day that I was supposed to move in came and went. She made no effort to contact me. I was furious and, letting my anger get the best off me, texted her that a courtesy call that it wasn’t going to work would have been nice. I also rudely reminded her of the time I let her have my car for 2 weeks just to rub in how crappy she was acting toward a good friend. Three hours passed and I cooled off. I called her. She didn’t answer. I left a message saying I was sorry for being so rude in my text and to please call me. I followed up with a text. I should clarify that this friend prefers texting to talking.
A day passed. I called again. I knew what happened because it’s happened before. I went onto Facebook and confirmed my suspicion that she had unfriended me. So I drove to her house that evening and tried to discuss the situation with her. Her roommate let me in, who was oblivious to the situation. I was met with hostility by her husband, who told me to come back later because they were eating. I told hem that I drove half an hour to get there. There’s no coming back later. He’s a pushover, to begin with, so I ignored him and walked past him and up to my friend. She said that she never listened to the message, just the first few words.
The next part put a nail in the coffin of our friendship. She accused me of being “nasty” to her in the past and at her birthday celebration and her friends even made comments that I was being “nasty.” Well, that was news to be because, other than that one angry text, I’ve never been nasty to her. What she and her friends saw the day after her birthday was not someone being “nasty.” They saw someone who had just had back surgery 4 months prior. They saw someone moving at a snail’s pace, barely able to pack my clothes. They saw someone walking with every step causing pain. They saw someone who didn’t speak much that morning after her celebration because I pushed myself hard to be there with my friend. She knew all this. I didn’t buy the whole “nasty” comment and knew it was an excuse. In the end, she said she’ll contact me when she’s ready.
That was a month ago.
You can’t sustain a meaningful friendship without forgiveness.
1, Forgiveness leads to long-lasting friendships
I do have other friendships where we have had disagreements and reconciled. Those are my longest running friendships. Two women, in particular, have been my friends for almost a decade. We always forgive each other’s foibles and personality clashes.
When you get to know a person, pay attention. You will pick up clues as to whether this friend is worthwhile. An early warning sign from this friend was when she told me she frequently cut off friendships. Her reasons seemed sound, but now I wonder if there was more to it.
Friends who quickly forgive others in their lives are showing you good signs that you are on the right track with that person.
2. Forgiveness shows maturity and acknowledges that we are only human
No matter how hard you try in life to make every person happy, it’s never going to happen. We are only human. We make mistakes. We say the wrong thing at the wrong time. But we can always forgive.
This friend that cut me off had spent a lot of time with me. We frequently propped each other up during tough times. A little forgiveness on both ends could mend this friendship, if only she were willing.
3. Holding on to anger only hurts you, not the one that hurt you
This recent one hurt quite a bit. Letting go of the hurt is something that I still struggle with. I am trying to forgive her even if she handled everything the wrong way.
Some friends are worth fighting for with mutual forgiveness. Some are worth letting go. And the truth is, you will get far more of the ones that you need to let go of than the ones worth keeping.
When someone leaves your life, do your best to wish them well in your heart. Your anger will only continue to hurt you and has no effect on them.
So here’s what I learned from all of this:
Keep your head up. Extract problem friends but wish them peace in your heart. Thank the friends who were there for you when you needed them. Because you want to keep those friends. They are hard to find.
When you do get hurt by a friend that you trusted, take some time to heal from it and then let it go. Move on to finding new friendships. Volunteering, attending Meetups, and checking out other local events in your area are good ways to start.
Think of friendship as an egg carton. One bad egg in a carton doesn’t mean you should throw out the whole carton. Get yourself back out there. Your future best friend is waiting.