I got a hurtful text out of the blue from one of my oldest friends yesterday.
Although she didn't put it this simply, she was upset that I hadn't responded to her last two invitations to visit her. And she was very angry about it.
I, of course, was stunned and felt horrible and apologized immediately, explaining what's been going on, and apologizing again, but I haven't heard back from her other than a text wishing my Dad well.
After I'd calmed down somewhat from the surprise and hurt I felt myself, I thought things through.
I know I'm not the greatest at being social with my friends. I don't accept every invitation to come over or hang out or go to a barbecue or whatever it might be. I wouldn't say that's my forte as a friend. (Or as a daughter/sister/co-worker as the case may be.)
But I'm a good friend in other ways, and I appreciate that most of my friends and acquaintances accept this about me. As far as friends go, I'm on the less social side of things.
And for once, I'm not beating myself up about it.
I've grown a lot in the last few years, and learning who I am and then learning to accept who I am is an ongoing and challenging thing.
I'm very sad that I've inadvertently hurt my friend and I feel rude and careless that I missed responding to her invitations. I know, from my end, it wasn't on purpose, but I still should have not gotten distracted or whatever and done the polite thing and declined the invitation, that's my bad and I'll do my best to be better about that. (I'd thought I had been pretty good about that, but certainly my focus has been on immediate family this past year and especially this past month.)
And I'm also sad that my friend handled things this way. The text she sent was an angry one and I had no warning or idea that she was upset so her anger hit me full force, without warning.
I try to remember that often when someone's really upset there's something more going on in their life behind the surface and I do my best to be understanding of where they're coming from, but I don't quite know what or how to repair damages here.
(Yes, I've called and left a message, and hope to hear from her.)
It also reminds me to continue to be careful when I have a grievance with someone, especially someone close, because being blindsided is an awful feeling.
I try, when a friend or loved one upsets me or hurts me in some way, to see where it is I'm coming from. Is it my issue that's at play here? Or is there something worth talking over with this person?
And if I think that a conversation might improve things, which, as I said the other week
, I'm not always sure it does, I'll try my best to be calm about it, not to bring it up in anger, although that's easier said than done of course.
But I like to think that if I had a problem with the way a friend treated me, that I'd be able to say "Hey, I feel like you always put your work ahead of our friendship and it makes me feel lonely." or whatever. But maybe I wouldn't. Maybe I'd just hold it in until I snapped and then.... wish I hadn't. Or something.
I'm not happy that this has happened, but I'm happy that my brain didn't get stuck in "no one likes me and I'm a horrible person" mode, because that's certainly where it was headed for a while.
I'll miss my friend if this is the tipping point of our relationship and she choses to end things or withdraw somewhat, but I will also remind myself that I am a good person, and I am a good friend, even if I'm not the type of friend some people want.
And to the couple of friends who have found their way to this blog over the years, thank you for allowing me to be who I am and for accepting me flaws and all, even when those flaws maybe frustrate you or make you feel like I don't spend much time with you. I love my friends dearly, and think about them all the time, and I hope at least that much comes across. I would never intentionally hurt the people I love, and I always mean the best.
I am learning who I am, for better or worse, and accepting the good and the bad and working on the ugly. It's a bumpy road and nothing close to easy, but I think it's important and I value the process enough to keep going.