Monday, August 4, 2014

How to Rekindle Old Friendships

Guess how lucky you are?  We're ready for round two of:

A friend who has been through this situation with me suggested I write about rekindling old friendships.  And I mean, like...deep friendships. 
Have you ever had that awful situation where you and one of your good/best friends get into a huge fight/argument/disagreement/kerfuffle and it ends in a blank silence on both ends?  And then you're all like, whoaaa, wait...?  Are we not friends now?  What just happened?!  Crap.

And then you may or may not partake in gossip between your mutual friends.  Deleting of Facebooks.  Taking pictures down.  General anger and confusion.  But you won't be the one to break.  Because they hurt you.  (But in turn, you are hurting because you miss having them in your life.)  Yeah...that.

I've been there.  I've cut off fantastic friendships because of one misunderstanding.  It may have been a hurtful misunderstanding at the time, but it certainly did not need to result in YEARS of non-communication. 

I won't go in to juicy details, but I've had this happen with three extremely close friends since my senior year of high school.  And luckily for me, I can now say that I again have these three lovely women back in my life.  One as recently as six months ago, after an almost two year blackout and missing each other's weddings. 

So how did I get these lovely ladies back in my life?  I GAVE IN.  I GAVE UP.  I GOT OVER IT.  Whatever you want to call it.  It's appalling how long I let it eat at me without doing anything about it.  Why would we do that to ourselves?

Don't pretend you haven't been there.  Unwilling to be the one to "crack".  "I won't call her because she hurt me."  "I will NOT be the one to "friend" her on whichever social media."  You instead resort to awkward social situations, leaving your friends in the middle, and a state of personal unrest because you're seriously at odds with one of your best friends.  NOT COOL!

In all situations, it eventually ate me up inside and I looked for a point of entry


Look for something to open back up the conversation.  In my situations, it was a child being born, a grandmother passing away, and a friendly gathering where I knew I needed to clear the air between the two of us.  I used Facebook, email, and an in-person talk to open the door.

It's up to you to break the ice and make contact.  It's best to be upfront and say something to explain how you're feeling and why you were hurt.  Likely, they are feeling similar, and from there you can feel out the direction of the conversation.  Don't come out with accusations or attacking statements.  Just follow the good old "I Statements" rule.  Considering you're both adults, hopefully you can talk things out.

For two of my conversations, they involved each of us admitting the whole thing was blown out of proportion.  That we had both exaggerated.  And that we wish we hadn't waited so long to clear the air and be in each other's lives again.  In one situation, the other person didn't even understand how much she had hurt me.  After a kind talk, we were on the same page and were able to turn over to the next page together.

For me, the reality was that I just genuinely felt a void in my life when these women weren't in it.  That's how I knew I had to do something to "get them back".  Someone has to swallow their pride and take the first step.

In my experience, these three friendships have easily fallen back in to a "normal" relationship.  Once we got our gripes out in the open, we were able to move on and once again enjoy having each other as friends!

***Note that you should only make the effort to rebuild a friendship that was originallly healthy, and one that you will appreciate having back in your life.  Some people are not good friends.  In that case, be the one to realize that having them as your friend is not good for you!

1 comment:

  1. Well this was just lovely. Glad to hear that I'm not the only one who has gone through this and that positive friendships are being restored. Also, happy you included only to rekindle healthy relationships as I have cut ties with some that were not good and it was very freeing. On a completely unrelated not, can I submit questions for "Ask Mrs. O" anytime? Because I have questions.