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A few weeks ago I posted about a friend I offended. Recently, she and I had an honest talk and buried the proverbial hatchet. During the conversation, she admitted that one of her standard responses to conflict was to just cut the person off completely. She had considered such a response to our situation, but thankfully felt sadness at the idea of us not talking again. This got me thinking. When should you cut somebody off and when should you graciously forgive?
I keep a very tight-knit coven comprised of a select group. You are either in or you are out. I do not take shit. But I am forgiving. I’ve had friends drift in and out of the circle over the years. When someone approaches me with sincere contrition, my compassion won’t let me hold a grudge. Most friendship offenses I can forgive and forget. There are major exceptions to this rule. Betrayal breaks us. Publicly embarrass me more than once and you’re out. I can’t with the raging Narcissists anymore. If you’re a bigot, a liar, a thief, or suffer some other sort of basic fundamental character flaw than you would never make it into my inner-circle anyway. The lengthy application process and a number of time-honored tests weed out the weak and unworthy.Almost everything else, I eventually let go. Small infractions, petty grievances, thoughtless comments, who among us isn’t guilty of saying or doing something stupid? Major life events like death, divorce, and disease deserve MAJOR friendship leeway. Empathy looks good on everyone. I offer my friends the same grace I wish to receive in response to my less graceful moments. I rely on them to steer me straight when I veer off course.
In my humble experience (which includes relationships that span 25+ years), the friendships that last are the ones that are allowed to morph, change, and grow with the people involved. Over a lifetime, friendships may include periods of great intimacy or estrangement, but true pals are always welcomed back into the fold.
I have a friend who takes baths in hotels, and not high-end ones either. The kind where it is likely someone OD’d in the bathtub.I have friends who lock their pets away all day and then accuse me of “not being an animal person.” At least I didn’t have one for lunch, and there isn’t one locked away in a tiny dark room in my house like the Devil’s Issue in Flowers in the Attic. I have a friend with 7 figures in the bank who won’t spring for a 4 day dress rental for a black tie event.I have a friend who claims to want to visit an Indian ashram, but complains about carrying her yoga mat around Telluride.
Luckily lately, I’ve been on the receiving end of a number of kind gestures. I’m seeing someone new (Hi Ty). He opens EVERY door. He doesn’t make a grand show of it, and he doesn’t just do it when other people are watching. That said, you should see the jealous looks of the lady onlookers and the shame-drenched expressions smeared across the faces of their discourteous mates when he gallantly walks out of his way to my side of the car and gently guides me inside. Last weekend in Chicago, The French Pastry School’s newest intern, my dear friend Michael, walked me back to my hotel late-night style even though it was out of his way. Before you chalk it all up to unabashed pussy collecting, let me stop you there. He’s gay, in a committed relationship, and could give a fuck about my puffed pastry. He did it because he is kind and gracious. If you are a certain kind of man, it’s just what you do.
In the spirit of graciousness, let someone ease your burdens and seize opportunities to ease the burdens of others. In a hate-filled and spiteful world, shock others with good old-fashioned courtesy.
Those of you with long memories remember that just about a year ago I was preparing to attend the wedding of one of my best friends. Despite the build-up, I mysteriously never mentioned the weekend again which some of you surely found annoying and some of you never noticed.
I’d rather not get into the complicated details out of respect for my former friend. Needless to say, bad communication, weird energy, and selfish behavior all around caused what has amounted to an irreparable rift.
Keep in mind, this relationship spans over a decade.
So the question becomes, if neither party reaches out after an extended silence, is the friendship over?
Is it better to be stubborn, right, and lonely, or forgiving and rich with friends?
Or is it the very event of a wedding that shifts the agenda for all involved? Can some friendships simply not survive a wedding? Does the solidification of one relationship spell doom for another? Only if you hate the person your friend is marrying. Which isn’t necessarily the case here. It isn’t so much I hated the groom. It’s more that I hated who my friend became around the groom.
I’ve often considered reaching out to this friend, but something always stops me — usually one of my other friends who likes to periodically remind me how poorly we were treated at the ceremony after traveling many miles and undertaking great expense to support our friend’s union.
Knowing my dear friend as I do, I suspect she still checks this website from time to time. If that’s the case, I hope she knows that despite the obstacles between us I do wish her and her husband well. Perhaps now they’ve even begun on their little family.
Nearly a year has passed since we last spoke, and I suppose it is time to move this conflict from the active to closed file. I do so with a heavy heart. For many months, I held out hope we would reconcile, but some opposing forces are too polarized to ever meet in the middle. The only useful thing I learned in Brownies – Make New Friends, but Keep the Old. One is Silver and the Other Gold.
Our friendship may be tarnished, but this girl will always be gold to me.
I have this fantastic friend who gives the best gifts. Over the weekend, she brought me this amazing patchouli perfume from France, some Gala Fashion mags, and French Elnett. Plus, she always smuggles the best snacks. Her thoughtful and expertly cultivated selections make me feel so happy and loved. I aspire to give gifts with the same sparkle. I appreciate you, your talent, and your generosity AMP! You are a blessing.
Today culminates and concludes the intensive program I participated in every single one of the last 26 days. No it wasn’t a fat farm, and it wasn’t rehab you bitches.Just under 40 people from all around the world participated. Over the last few days, people have been frantically collecting numbers, email addresses, and making big promises to meet up soon. Can folks just admit this over-emotional, hyper-attachment is mostly a big bag of bullshit? It’s like summer camp: a short, intense bonding experience. Honestly, how many people do you still speak to from summer camp?Of the forty or so people I was forced to spend the last 26 days straight with, there are approximately 4 I’m interested in keeping up with in the future. I will make sure those people know how to contact me and I them. I prefer to keep a tight circle and put energy into people that don’t make me want to burst into flames. Anymore, pretenses to the contrary wear me out.Enough with the Facebook. I have never had a Facebook page and I will never have a Facebook page. Facebook encourages some fake fuckery, as if you can collect friends like trading cards. As long time readers know, I value privacy over accessibility. I realize I’m in the extreme minority on this point, and I promise I understand and still ♥ you even if your are a FB fanatic.I know goodbyes are difficult, but I refuse to undignify myself by lubricating the farewells with a bunch of false promises.
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