Monday, April 6, 2009

I recently made a decision that hurt someone.

After a dear old friend had asked me why I was distancing myself from her, I thought long and hard about a reply.

I waited an entire week before answering. I weighed the options; to tell, not to tell, and the ramifications of all. I talked to four friends about it, including my daughter, who has always been a wise one.
In the end, I felt that honesty was the best answer and took the chance that the friend - who had ASKED me for honesty - was open enough to receive it. She wasn't.

She is hurt and angry and it is absolutely understandable.
We don't really want to know the truth about ourselves, do we? I think most of us would prefer to believe our own version of ourselves. We don't want to know if we have failed as a friend, a partner, a co-worker or a parent or child.
And believe me, I understand that it is not my place nor my job to "fix" someone. But when I felt that this person's actions were becoming more and more unacceptable, I pulled away.
She reconnected and wanted to know what was wrong.

I could have lied. I could have said I had just been busy. Or she was mistaken in thinking I was pulling away. And I have to ask myself whether, in looking back, that would have been a smarter response.
But for me, it would not have been the TRUE response. I would have been living a lie, and as so, would have felt part and parcel to her actions. I truly believe that there is no place for lies between friends - none.

This friend said true friendship is unconditional. That our friendship should have weathered her absence of years, her distance when involved in other things, as well as hurtful actions she has taken. Yet I think the very definition of unconditional implies that friends don't abandon friends, friends don't disappear for years, friends stay connected, despite everything else in life.

I do not want a friend that hurts others. I do not want to share my life, my secrets, my most innermost self, with someone that is so selfish that her own needs, desires, whims, replace friends and family, and she doesn't even see the hurt she is causing. Isn't the first and most important rule of real friendship to do no harm?
But, in being honest, in telling her the frank truth of why I put distance between us, I have hurt her. Wasn't that what I was so upset about in the beginning? That she hurt others? And by hurting her, haven't I now become the one thing I said I can't accept?
Despite my desire to have an honest, true relationship, my brain keeps shouting:
"You hurt someone."
"You hurt someone."
"You hurt someone.''

In the end, I guess, I feel I hurt a friend that I had already lost. It was clear in my heart that there was not going to be any way to salvage this friendship. And so now I must live with that - that I hurt another. My worst fear.

Would you have done differently? Please share your thoughts...


Tatersmama said...

Hun, for what it's worth, I feel you did the right thing. Sometimes we have to do things that hurt, because to do otherwise... well, it's not only hurtful to ourselves, it's unfair to the person who has asked. IF you had kept quiet, given excuses etc... you would have been hurting yourself in the process and this person would have gone off thinking that she had done no harm.
You need to be honest and you need to be true. Not only to yourself, but to others around you...

It was a very hard call for you to make, but if you were true to your heart, you did the right thing.

Gladys said...

I think firing a friend is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. Even more so than going through a divorce. As the saying goes to thyne ownself be true. That is what you did. You did not hurt your friend, she hurt herself by her actions. You told her the truth and I am sure you told it with love. So ask yourself "Did I hurt her?" Is that true? Is that really true? Now you would you be without the thought that you hurt her? Turn that around to She hurt me. Or even She hurt herself. I hurt me... so many different ways to look at it.

Becky said...

Honesty is the best policy. It will be okay.

Lisa said...

I have been on the other side of this situation, unfortunately the truth she told me about myself was not true. It was a political/religious drama and she made an assumption that was really not true and it truly broke my heart. It still does and I miss her terribly. HOWEVER, if she had told me something like, Lisa, you are too outspoken, too sarcastic and you need to lay off the whoopie pies,(all true) well it would have hurt but I would have known deep down she was right and that she loved me so much she was willing to sacrifice our friendship to get me to a better place with myself.

What you did was hard but it was necessary so don't second guess yourself or doubt your loyalty.

Please smile,

Libby's Library said...

You did the right thing...I said so, and that's the end of ii!

Libby's Library said...

It...the end of it! Geesh I need a proof reader;-)

A Spot of T said...

I think you did the right thing. I always want to know the truth but maybe I have broader shoulders then most. Sometimes some of us need a little dose of truth. I know you feel sad, but in the end I really do think you did the right thing

Dawn Fortune said...

To THINE own self be true. You are the one who has to live with yourself. You are the one who would have known the lie you might have told. Friendship, like shared genetic material, does not give others license to treat people badly. And no, it does not mean that you have to stand silently by while someone does something that you consider to be very wrong. I know you (or at least I think I do) and my gut says you would be more angry with yourself if you had watched this woman hurt someone and done nothing. As it stands now, she knows that the consequences and price of her actions have cost her your trust and friendship. All of our actions have consequences. She has no idea how blessed she is that hers were explained to her in a gentle way by someone who really cares.

You done good, Queenie. Give yourself a break.

NWRMK said...

Dear Queen, First thanks for adding me to your blogroll and so quietly that I did not know until I saw you in my feedjit.

Second, I love the fused glass and the whimsy in the title. I am considering learning a bit of glass work so it is good to see your.

Finally, You did the right thing. We cannot avoid hurting others regardless of out commitment to that ideal. It is hard to hear from others that we fall short of perfection and it requires real strength of character to hear it, get over the hurt, examine the feedback and then use it for good purpose -- growing as a person and as a friend.

Giving that feedback (in the manner and spirit that you did) is an act of courage and integrity. Remember two things:

1. Speak your mind even if your voice trembles.

2. You cannot be true to your friends if you are not true to your own character and integrity.

Just OWO (one woman's opinion)

Peace. O.

Anonymous said...

Hi Queenie - sorry I'm coming to this post late, but I think you definitely did the right thing. I on the other hand, did what you thought about doing - I kept my distance from a friend because she had hurt me, but when she called me on it I just lost my nerve and told her "I'd been busy". I really wish I'd just told her the truth because in not doing so I've just hurt myself more and every communication with this person just causes me pain. You definitely did the right thing. The quickest cut is the kindest, as they say! Thank you, I've learned a lot from your words today :)