When miscommunication occurs in a close friendship, what is our best course of action? Here is my learned the hard, sad way lesson and how I lived into my answer. I hope you will find it wise and valuable.
This blog is about a very close friendship that ended because of poor communication, the lesson I learned -- we never stop learning -- and my theory on how one should handle a close friendship when things go wrong.
I want to share my story with you because close girlfriends are treasures. And, although I lost a friend, I do have many girlfriends that I hold dear to my heart. I know I am a friend who can be counted on, and I am grateful to those girlfriends who have enriched my life and my soul.
This is my story...
My dear girlfriend left a negative message on my phone after receiving a very open email from me about our relationship. I felt I could email her and explain my feelings. After all, we were very close friends. How close? We would call one another for a reason and talk for an hour! We traveled together with our husbands. We laughed together. We were the same type of mothers and wives... dedicated. She was the only girlfriend I ever shared a dressing room with and we were so in sync with our style. I loved everything she had and, I think, vice versa! We were two peas in a pod.
Or so I thought, but unfortunately the message in my heartfelt email got lost in translation. She completely misunderstood the sentiment! I thought my email came from love. Her reaction was the opposite! And she chose not to forgive me.
The lesson: had my close girlfriend and I been face-to-face, I believe our friendship would not have been fractured.
Here are the rules I now live by with my friends and family. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way. Hopefully, my recommendations will help you with your future actions when you are faced with a 'glitch' in any important relationship:
- Do not communicate in writing.
- Do not communicate over the phone.
- ALWAYS COMMUNICATE IN PERSON!
- Validate your friend's feelings.
- Show empathy because her feelings are real.
- Seek closure and forgiveness.
Five months after we had our falling out my phone rang. My estranged girlfriend called to wish me a Happy New Year. It was the Jewish New Year, a time to ask God's forgiveness, a time to atone. I was shocked and thrilled at the same time! My girlfriend felt my happiness. We hung up.
I remember it being a beautiful September day. I sat alone digesting her words for quite a while. Was her phone call made because it was customary at this time of year? I suspected that was the case. But, perhaps the phone call was made because she wanted to rekindle our friendship.
Was my intuition correct? It was more right than wrong. Our special friendship never recovered and the experience undermined my faith in my ability to read another woman's intentions.
Why? Because I was so disappointed that a dear girlfriend could not forgive me. It tugged at my heartstrings. Aren't best friends able to forgive? Aren't best friends able to shower empathy on one another? Did I misread her, thinking we were alike when we are not? After all, I did not mean to disappoint her.
A few years have passed. Are we friends? No. Unfortunately, our close friendship ended. However, we have reconnected in some ways. We ran into one another late one afternoon and decided to have dinner with our guys. And this year she called to wish me a Happy 2016 New Year. She called again, a month later, after we ran into one another at an event.
We talked and talked never letting up for air, as if it were the good old days! Then it was time to say, good-bye. Will I hear from her again? I do not know.
What I do know is that there is no more shopping together and giggling; no more traveling with our guys; no more sharing our fabulous joys! She was by my side when I fell ill, calling constantly, and even remembering when my next Cat Scan was due.
I decided it was necessary to tell my story to my daughters and my grandchildren. And then I thought why not share my experience with you, my readers because "No man is an island. No man stands alone." People need people. Women need women. A dear girlfriend is the 'cream and sugar in our coffee'! My goal is to save you from experiencing what I accidently caused myself...
Here is a wise and valuable quote to pass on and to remember: TO ERR IS HUMAN.TO FORGIVE DIVINE. I hope my girlfriend reads my blog.
Off to walk my delicious Wheaton, Orchid, who always comes from love and forgives me when I err, unintentionally.
And to all my friends who are reading this blog...I am here for you, through thick and though thin...always. And, now I am smiling.
Do something GOOD today: Call someone who you just need to forgive.