“Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold.”
Until you grow up, you don’t realize just how difficult this old Scout anthem is to put in practice.
Relationships require work. All relationships—even (especially) friendships. I love my friends. I lean on them. I rely on them. I depend on them. And I’d like to think that in return I am their shoulder to cry on, and their person to rely and depend on. But as an adult, I’ve lost more friends than I can count. Close friends. Sister friends.
Recently, a run in with a good friend forced me to reevaluate how I handle my adult female relationships. The reason for the argument is inconsequential, but my feelings are not. I was hurt, and I told her so. She did not respond.
In the past, I would have asked a million people what they thought about the dispute to confirm that my response was appropriate. But this time I kept it in house. While I vented to one or two people, I realized that what anybody else thought or felt about what happened was unimportant. All that mattered was how I felt, how she felt and where we were going to go from here.
Am I over it? No. I’m still very hurt and a little shocked that she chose to make the decision she made. But I realize that we are both rooted to our position and there is only one way forward. I decided that although what happened wasn’t right, it wasn’t worth sacrificing the relationship. So I sulked for a couple of days then gave her a call and acted like nothing ever happened. I chose to forgive, focus on the times she’s been there for me in the past, and hope that she is more considerate of my feelings in the future.
I can’t lie, my approach for moving past this betrayal was informed and influenced by my past relationships. With the girl friends I’ve lost, there was always a big falling out. I always thought that big argument was the reason for the friendship ending. And in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to blame the other person. But in reality, that one-time event was always preceded by small disagreements, times when I felt they were being inconsiderate or selfish or mean (and vice versa). Miscommunication and taking others for granted can end a friendship just as surely as they can split up romantic relationships. Rather than making an effort to truly understand each other’s perspective and to try and be better friends, we allowed the resentment to grow and spread until it was so all encompassing that we couldn’t move forward any longer.
In the past, I didn’t fight hard enough for truly exceptional women who were important to me. I didn’t find ways to make them understand how I felt, how I hurt. I didn’t try to understand all the ways that I hurt them. But my sister friends are dwindling, and they are more important than ever.