I have a confession to make – I’ve been a bad friend. This is really embarrassing to admit cause I like to think of myself as someone who cares about my friends. So it was quite the shock to me when I started to feel left out when my friends would hang out. I would be home in my pj’s trolling social and see them all dressed up having a blast and I would think, why didn’t I get invited? After a while, I allowed my wonder, anger, and disappointment to take control and convince me it was them and not me.
This is where I fucked up, cause the problem was me. It had always been me and I was oblivious to that shit. You see, my problem was that I was always on my phone. Like, nonstop. As a blogger, my phone is attached my palm like secondary growth and my laptop is never too far away. While my friends and I would be out my phone would chime away. They would always find my head down thumbs typing as they spoke. The straw that broke the camels back was when one friend really needed me during a devastating time I was unavailable to her despite standing right next to her. I was offering condolences while composing witty tweets. To say I was a self-absorbed bitch is truly an understatement. My actions that day were gross and I will always regret them.
As I reflect back this is when my friendship with this group of women deteriorated. So you see, it shouldn’t have been a shock that I wasn’t included in their outings or that the group chat didn’t include me in it. I had my head so far up my own ass in my own shit that I lost care and concern for the shit my friends were going through. This is how you know you’re being a bad friend. But, I didn’t want to be that person any longer. These were long vested friendships and there was one thing I knew I had to do, fix what I broke.
What are the steps to fixing broken friendships?
Reach out. Despite how much I didn’t wanna make the first move I knew that I had to be the one. I sent a text asking to meet up and waited to see what the response would be. If they wanted to go great and if not then I would have to accept that. And by accept, I mean I would think of other means to try and build back the trust that was lost. They accepted.
Meet face to face. Talking on the phone or texting is easy but when you’re trying to mend a relationship its best to meet in person. You want to be able to look into each other’s eyes as everyone shares the anger, sadness, and pain they’ve been feeling.
Show emotion. This wasn’t a day for keeping my emotions locked up, which I often do. These women were my friends for 20+ years and they’ve never seen me shed a tear. How crazy is that? But on this day I uncontrollably wept on my friend’s shoulder as soon as I saw her. I think they appreciated seeing me with my guard fully down. It let them know Val isn’t a robot after all.
Take responsibility. This is not the time for excuses, not that I had any. I acted pretty badly and now was the time to own up to that. I laid out all my fuckery and how it took me a while to recognize how my actions, no matter how well intended were ultimately hurt their feelings.
Listen. I sat and listened as each shared how my actions made them feel. There was no debating their feelings. The point was to digest and process their words and pain so I don’t hurt them again.
Be truly sorry. If I wasn’t going to be truly apologetic for hurting the people I care about then I had no business reaching out.
The night of our reunion was a long meaningful one. There were hugs and tears, but most of all forgiveness.
How are we moving forward from almost falling apart?
Communication. Talk and listen. We chat a few times a week via group chat. There are meme shares to keep the laughter going and convos about how everyone is doing. Open and honest lines of communication are truly the only way to move forward.
Be present. While we were out I was not on my phone. I’m sure that was a shock to them. I only pulled it out to talk to Jeff about when I was coming home. I was fully engaged and in the moment which is how it ought to be. Nothing is that important where I need to work as often as I was.
It’s been about three months since we’ve started the process of getting back to where we once were. It’s not an easy road, not that I expected it to be. I personally feel an awkwardness that never once existed, but those are the breaks when you fuck up and gotta earn your place back into the circle of trust. But, I know time heals wounds and there’ll come a time where the awkwardness will fade and this moment, while a low point in our relationship will only be a blip in a long list of happy memories.