I walk up the hill to visit a good friend, whom I’ll call Jay, to talk about something that’s weighing heavily on my mind; I don’t know what to do about another friend, whom …
I walk up the hill to visit a good friend, whom I’ll call Jay, to talk about something that’s weighing heavily on my mind; I don’t know what to do about another friend, whom I’ll call Sally.
Sally loves to make suggestions on getting together but after I say yes I never hear from her. I just don’t know why she even bothers bringing up dinner, for example, when I know full well she’s not serious about the invitation. A person braver than I would probably say something. That’s why I decide to consult Jay. He’s much more forthright and typically graceful, whereas I just get mad.
Jay’s advice is to confront Sally. We even role play a situation where Sally asks me what’s wrong. I simply want to say, I just don’t trust you anymore, but Jay says that’s too abrupt. He suggests gently telling her that I build friendships on trust and because over the years she has made promises and not kept them it makes me sad and uncomfortable, and truthfully not too sure about our friendship. I’m not certain I can say all of that without getting mad, but I’m willing to try.
Since Jay and I are exchanging ideas on friendship, I add another thought; friendship, I say, is also based upon each person accepting and respecting the other for who they are even when opinions differ, and that true friends ought to be able to discuss anything. Jay agrees and sensing that something else is bothering me, asks what’s wrong. I proceed to share some of my deepest concerns that have nothing to do with Sally. All of a sudden Jay lambasts me. Calls me a nut job. Compares me to his brother whom I don’t even know, but who happens to have the same concerns. I’m flabbergasted, hurt and confused. Jay demands we never discuss the subject again. I walk home feeling very sad and now potentially minus, not one, but two friends.
When I get home, I find an email from Jay with an article about the very subject he demands we never discuss again. Thinking he changed his mind, I naturally get very excited and reply with additional information and…oh boy! Jay returns a very curt email reminding me that we’re not supposed to speak about that issue. This further confuses me and I’m suddenly faced with a very strange dilemma. Should I, according to Jay, be a good friend and call him out on his actions in, of course, the most graceful of ways?
Using his template, I compose an approach, “Listen Jay, I build friendships on the extent that I can be my true self around someone without any censorship and, in turn, not get judged or put down for my deepest thoughts and concerns. When you lambast me and call me a nut job for my innermost worries, it makes me sad and uncomfortable, and truthfully not too sure about the extent of our friendship.” In my daydream, where I say this to Jay, it doesn’t bode well.
Instead of talking to him, I slip a peace offering in the form of a small gift under his door. A day or so later he writes, “I hope you didn’t put a spell on me.” Not sure exactly what he means and if he’s kidding or not, I reply with a GIF of Paul McCartney giving a big wink and just leave it at that…for a while.
Weeks later, I ask him and some others over for tea. The taboo subject comes up, not by me, but by someone else at the party. Jay and I lock eyes in a deafening stare. He squirms, I squirm. We’re each waiting for the other to do or say something first. Then all of a sudden, we burst into laughter; the belly kind that just doesn’t stop.
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