Today, I was in a conversation with a friend. A very very close friend. It doesn’t matter how long I’ve known friend, or what the scope of friendship is with friend, but all you need to know is that I care about friend, and like any close friendships, we fight sometimes. I get sad about these fights, because seriously, who wants to fight with a close friend? Especially when this friend is the friend I go to when I’m feeling sad? No one, duh.
So friend and I got to talking, and a mistake that I made was brought up. It was one of those mistakes you can’t really undo, but we also never really resolved it. We, like many close friends, shrugged it off and moved forward trying to pretend it didn’t happen. At least, I did…kinda. I’m not sure about friend.
Friend was rightfully hurt, saying that friend was better off not knowing about the mistake I had made. Friend is right, and for a while, I didn’t tell friend about the mistake I made. I kept on keeping on, and everything was great between me and friend. Then, I told friend the truth. I stopped omitting the truth for the sake of protecting our friendship, and it shattered us. It made things tense and uncomfortable, hurt friend more than I could imagine, and left me feeling…well, I don’t know what I felt.
Friend and I tried (again) to talk through my mistake. It ended the same way it always does, uncomfortable, silent, a longing for something better than “I’m sorry” or “forgive me.”
So my question is this. With the friends, loved ones, significant others…the people we care most about and hold closest to our hearts, what’s the right answer? Omit the truth to protect friend’s heart? Take the “what you don’t know won’t hurt you” method? The same way teenagers hide their tattoos from their parents until they’re thirty, or the way we ignore how unsanitary most kitchen practices are? Or do we always do what we say we’ll do for those who are closest to our hearts, no matter what pain it causes, and stay honest?
Honesty, always. As perfect as you are, you’re not a robot. You make mistakes just like every other human on this planet. If your “friend” is a real friend, then they’ll love you as you are…skeletons and all. It might take time for them to get there, but your friend’s emotional response/recovery is not for you to control or to feel guilty about. Just be honest and present and demand honesty and presence in return. Most important is to own up to and accept the mistakes that you’ve made as part of who you are (read someone entirely worthy of love, respect, and goodwill).
In the end, there’s no point to being anything but unashamedly yourself. Color me crazy, but it’s those beautiful blemishes I love most about you.
Thanks Mike 🙂 I don’t know if there’s a right or wrong answer here, but I appreciate hearing opinions. I understand my flaws, but sometimes they’re hard to accept. Thanks for your support! 😀
Personally, I would absolutely prefer someone just be up front about doing or acting in a way that could have hurt me. This might come from me being a fairly open trusting person. I would like to expect the same of my friends.
Like Mike said, if your friend is true they will, given time, be able to forgive you. It may take a while, but eventually they will come to terms with what happened and the friendship will heal. If the friend decides that the mistake is too much and would not like to continue the friendship, then there’s not much that can be done. You mourn the loss, as it is a loss after all, and eventually move on after a sufficient amount of ice cream, wine, and chocolate have been consumed, and solace has been sought and found.
It takes courage to admit our mistakes and flaws, and even more to accept them as our own and discuss them with people. I say good on you for admitting to friend what happened, and seeking to fix the damage that was done. If things are meant to work out, it will happen. If they don’t then you’re wiser for the future and there is no harm, even if there is sadness, in that.
Sometimes it’s hard to let the time pass. It feels like every moment is wasted, like we should be doing something to fix it. But you’re right, I need time, I think. Thanks Tom 🙂