In the age of Internet snark, kindness is something that seems to be reserved for animals and Bob Ross quotes, but there’s no more important trait when dealing with matters of the heart. This week, kindness and forgiveness are things we should all remember.
“My best friend chose a guy over me about a year ago. Not only was it a guy who happened to be one of my good friends but I also had feelings for him and she knew about it. She lied to me for about a month, they snuck around behind my back and when she finally got caught she insisted that she had not done anything wrong and refused to apologize. Needless to say, we stopped being friends. Today, almost a year later I get an apology from her. Saying she knew she was wrong all along. What do I do?”
It’s your choice what you do, if you forgive her, accept her, include her, love her, forget her, deny her, acknowledge her, but the truth remains the same: people make mistakes and they often make fools of themselves when they do.
I’ve never heard the heartwarming story of someone refusing to forgive. Can you trust her? Can she ever be your best friend again? Regardless of who she was, she’s now the kind of person who is brave enough to admit her mistakes, and kind enough to know you deserved an apology. We all get so caught up in our love stories that we forget one of the greatest loves in the world is a true friend, and they are such rare gems as you get older. If you have an opportunity to salvage a friendship, if someone has made a mistake and is trying to repair it, if someone is apologizing to your hardened heart, let it melt the freeze just a little, if only for your own growth. She doesn’t need to be your best friend again, but she is a person who knows you and knows you well. She’s a treasure trove of old stories and inside jokes and things worth remembering. She may never again be someone you share your most personal thoughts with, or even someone you want to go to the bar with, but she is someone you loved once who made a mistake and knows it.
Give her a chance to show you who she is now. She is trying. All you need to do is listen.
“I sent my ex a note about becoming friends (mind you, he broke up with me) and he never wrote back. This kind of makes me hate him again? How would you feel?”
You don’t hate him, you hate the feeling of putting yourself on the line and having someone walk away from it. You need to treat that email like a message in a bottle – you said what you needed to say to the universe, you put it out there to be heard, and you need to just let it take its course. Who dumped who doesn’t change the fact that feelings were involved on both sides, and those feelings can manifest and fade and evolve behind closed curtains in ways we don’t get to know. You may be a sore point for him. He may have an insecure girlfriend. He may simply not want to be friends.
You tell someone you love them because you want them to know it, not because you want to hear it back. This is the same thing. Does it hurt to have no reply? To hear nothing? To feel ignored and inconsequential? Of course, and feel injured! You wanted approval, acceptance, closure, kindness, and to feel like the bigger person, you wanted something from him that is not the reciprocal joys of friendship. And that’s OK. It’s OK to want something off your chest, it’s OK to reach out for these things, but when you do, you need to know that rejection is an option and often times, you will not get to know why. There’s so much on the other side of a breakup that we never get to know, and we try to fill in the blanks, eavesdropping on our own lives, speculating what could be felt or heard or seen on the other side of the story, but we do not get to know.
You said your piece, now let it lie. Don’t let someone’s inaction turn your kindness to hate.
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