Posts Tagged ‘fights

15
Dec
10

forgiveness

Reader K. N. writes:

I had a huge fight with a friend a while ago. We both said some pretty awful things, blocked each other on Facebook, and went through a lot of other drama that I’m sure our other friends didn’t appreciate. Today I was going through some old pictures on Facebook, and I kind of miss her. Am I just being sentimental, or is it time to forgive and forget?

Dear K.N.:

There isn’t a statute of limitations on grudges. Some people hold them for life; others forget about them easily. It all depends on who you were fighting with in the first place and how much pride you have.

It sounds to me like you’re over it. If you’re capable of “missing” your friend, I think you’re ready to overlook the fight, regardless of who started it or what it was over, and be friends again.

The big question is: does she feel the same way?

And moreover, how are you going to go about finding that out?

The biggest part of holding a grudge is pride. People who aren’t terribly proud don’t hold grudges. You’ve apparently got a bit of pride in you, or you wouldn’t have been angry this long in the first place. Luckily, your pride isn’t completely keeping you from moving on. How prideful is your (former) friend? Is she still angry about the whole thing?

You can gauge this in several ways.

sea lions fighting

Do sea lions hold grudges? Image: Liz Noffsinger / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

First, check with mutual friends. She may have been talking to them about you, especially if she’s over it. If she hasn’t been, you could ask them to bring you up in conversation and see how she reacts. If she shrugs her shoulders or changes the subject, she might be willing to reconcile, although it’s still dicey. If she spits on the ground and curses you, it’s probably not the right time. You can certainly forgive and forget in this case; just don’t hope for any luncheon dates with her anytime soon.

You could skip the intermediary, of course, and just ask her yourself. The best way to get through a grudge is just to admit wrongdoing on your part, not accuse her of any on her own, and apologize, regardless of how wrong you think you were.

A very kind (but arguably sissy) gesture would be to write her a letter. People don’t write letters these days very often, so sending her an apology card with a brief note that says you’d like to bury the hatchet shows you really care. And you were willing to spend 44 cents on a stamp! Amazing!

An email would serve this purpose just as well, although it doesn’t speak the volumes as much as the formality of the mailed letter. Still, you should keep it short and apologetic rather than accusatory. Be the bigger wo(man) and simply say that you miss her and you feel that you were wrong.

Is there a little voice going off in your head right now? Is it saying, “NO WAY JOSE, she was wrong and I was right”? That’s your pride speaking. And if your pride is saying things like that, you’re not ready to get over this and you’re just being sentimental.

But if you’re ready to apologize, really apologize, even if you still don’t think you did anything wrong, this could work out well.

Under no circumstances would I suggest a face-to-face confrontation here. This is one of those instances where being a sissy works. You want to think out your words, and edit them, until they will be impossible (or at least very difficult) to misconstrue. If you approach her physically, you’re just opening up the opportunity to have another fight before you even get a chance to say what you mean.

Of course, if she’s not ready to forgive you, it’s not going to work out, anyway. Still, the act of forgiving is a great release, even if the object of your forgiveness doesn’t believe she needs forgiving or doesn’t accept your forgiveness. You can at least know that you gave it an effort, and the grudge ball will be in her court. Furthermore, you’re not telling her that you forgive her in this case — you’re asking her to forgive you. Do the forgiving whether she asks for it or not, and move on.

Frankly, I think if we stopped carrying around our petty grievances, we’d all be a lot lighter for it. So I say hop to it, and forgive and forget, even if you can’t repatch the friendship.

09
Apr
10

taking sides

Reader A.C. asks:

I have two friends who recently broke up after 7 years of dating/engagement. Although I have known him longer, I have thus far maintained my relationship with both of them. The break up did not go well, so they are not currently speaking and he also has a new girlfriend. I have a big annual party coming up in May. Who do I invite?

Dear A.C.:

Taking sides after a relationship has ended is one of the hardest things we friend types are forced to do. You shouldn’t have to choose between them, but they’re going to make you do it. For the most part, you can probably hang out with either one of them whenever you want, but in terms of the party, you’re just going to have to choose.

it's your party

It's your party. Cry if you want to. Image: Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Luckily, it’s your party (and you can cry if you want to) (but you shouldn’t). You get to be as selfish as you want in this instance, especially since they’re selfish enough to put you in the middle of their relationship troubles.

In an ideal world, you would be able to invite both of them and they would be gracious enough to let the bad feelings slide for the night, for your sake. Hell, if you want to see fireworks, by all means, invite both of them. It’s quite possible that they will solve this problem for you by duking it out on their own. She may ask you if you’ve invited him, and when you say yes, she may just say, “Well then I’m not coming.” Easy enough.

But if you feel that you must invite one and not the other, I think you should simply invite the one that’s more fun, will mingle best with your guests, and is the most interesting. I’d lean towards the lady friend, since she apparently doesn’t have a new significant other and therefore you won’t have to invite two people to your party. Single people can be much more fun at parties (teehee). Of course, if she’s mopey and spiteful, by all means, leave her out. Once again, it’s your party. It’s supposed to be fun. If you don’t want drama, you don’t need to invite it.

Of course, if you must, you can opt not to invite either of them. If it’s just going to cause them more grief anyway (“You invited her to your party but not me???”), then there is nothing wrong with leaving them both out of the fun. They should be capable of being adults, but if their relationship blues are going to get in the way of that kind of thinking, you shouldn’t have to deal with it. It may save you a lot of trouble and explaining if you just opt not to invite either of them.

Unfortunately, if your party is an annual event and they both know about it, you’re going to have to explain to whoever isn’t invited why that is so. It’s kind of a dick move to do it pre-emptively, but it may be necessary to save the friendship in the long run. If you end up not inviting either of them, write them each a separate email explaining that you love them both too much to choose between them, and you didn’t want to cause them pain by inviting both of them to your party. Once again, adults would understand. Maybe next year they’ll be capable of standing to be in each other’s presence again and you can invite both of them.

Basically, your guiding principle here should be your own feelings. Obviously their feelings are going to be somewhat hard to deal with right now, but yours are what matter in deciding what you want your party to be like.




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