The not pretty part of friendship


This blog just streamed out my brain while I was attempting to sleep last night, so let’s see if I can remember half of it.

Celebrating with friends is easy. Celebration is fun – laughing, dancing, drinking. We want to have fun and be excited. This is the easy part of friendship. This is the pretty part of friendship.

Unfortunately, friendship isn’t always pretty. Sometimes there are disagreements, fights, divorce, break ups, death, job loss, and the list goes on.

As an adult, my first major experience with the not pretty part of friendship was with a co-worker who had become a friend. As we sat at lunch, she told me very calmly that she was getting divorced. My naive little brain could not comprehend what she had just said. I probably said about 20 things you are not supposed to say in that conversation – the not pretty part of friendship.

The next time I heard those same words was from one of my closest friends. This time words didn’t even come to my mouth.

In these unpretty moments and the moments (days, months, and years) that follow, you are not always the best friend (or at least I am not). The intention is definitely there, but you are trying to figure it all out, too. You will probably do or say stupid things (or again, that may just be me). Luckily, your friends won’t hold it against you (hopefully).

For some reason, in these moments, I let my brain take over. BAD IDEA! In these moments, you should totally rely on emotion — let your heart take over.

I learned this lesson when I lost my grandfather. I was devastated. One of my best friends continually checked in on me. She always said “I am so sorry” and “I understand.” I didn’t know it at the time, but that is exactly what I needed. I needed to stop rationalizing it and just feel it. (BTW, she was a good friend in this moment.)

These times are hardest not because of what actually happened – job loss, divorce, death, and so on (which are in themselves painful). But mostly, they are hard because your friend, a person you love dearly, is in pain. Your heart feels their pain, and you want to fix it. Sometimes you can, sometimes you can’t, and sometimes you just need to listen to them, cry with them…

To all my friends, I am sorry if I have totally sucked in these moments (and I know I have). Please forgive me for thinking with my brain when I should listen to my heart. Please forgive me for trying to rationalize when I should just listen. Please forgive me.

To all my friends, I forgive you with all my heart. Life is hard. We are all busy and consumed with day-to-day life. I forgive you, and I love you.

The not pretty parts of friendships are what truly define a friendship. As the good book says, “[there is] a time to weep, a time to laugh…a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” Laughing and dancing are easy. Weeping and mourning are not, but that is when we need each other the most – those not pretty moments.


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