THE RISK OF SETTING THINGS STRAIGHT (PART 1)
We can easily find ourselves in complicated situations or misunderstandings with family members, friends, co-workers or teammates. How we handle such moments has a great effect on the outcomes – do these relationships survive? Do they grow and strengthen? Or do they break and fade out of our lives?
How we act can lead to weeks of agonizing emotional suffering because things are not clear and because our minds are racing to weave webs of creative stories. Sometimes it can even lead to destroying a cherished relationship. But it doesn’t have to be this way…
Katie (names changed to protect their privacy) recently shared her experience of a delicate situation. A good friend of hers and colleague unexpectedly ventured past the friendship zone and it wasn’t clear to her what this meant to her friend and their friendship. After a few uncomfortable days of trying to figure out how to act she finally wrote her friend a letter.
« Dear Alex,
I’m feeling anxious, confused, nervous, guilty, regretful, disappointed, awkward, annoyed… Let me explain. I really value having you as a friend in my life. I really enjoy your company, our conversations, working with you and I feel very comfortable around you. I have been completely myself and I feel very accepted and comfortable just being me, which is a wonderful gift. I really appreciate you: your openness, your curiosity, your care for people, your gentle and kind nature, your thoughtfulness, your humor, your willingness to learn and grow and the connection we have.
I am now feeling regretful, disappointed and annoyed that I invited you over last week. Now because I didn’t enjoy it, but because I worry that you might think it is more than it was and that as a consequence, I may lose you as a friend. I am feeling guilty that it may not have been right of me to accept your affection as we may not be on the same page. But I also realize that my mind may be making up lots of stories that could be totally wrong. This leaves me feeling anxious, confused and nervous as I really value our friendship and I hope I haven’t messed it up.
So at the risk of sounding ridiculous and making things awkward between us and in the spirit of my 100% honesty, I wanted to share what’s going on for me, with you.
P.s. I am happy to cook for you as long as we are on the same page and you are OK with that being purely friendly. »
She then waited for a response feeling worried about what response she might get but knowing that being fully honest and true was the best way forward regardless of the outcome because a friendship based on pretenses and lies was not going to be a good one in the long run.
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