Once upon a time, I was the dumb friend. 

It had been a while since I’d been that stupid with people I care about. Of course, maybe assorted friends will read this and think, “Oh, she’s talking about me and that stupid thing she did recently of which she’s unaware.” If so, will you accept a blind apology from me? Or come over for a cup of coffee and we’ll talk about it. I’ll own my behavior. Promise.

However, in this case I’m talking about one particular friend and how I spazzed out on her for no good reason. 

Can I list excuses? Sure, I can. The exhaustion of a week spent under the weather, my hypothyroidism wigging out again, and job stresses. They were a wicked combination of situations that had me out of sorts and not focusing on what’s important.

Are any of those reason enough to behave badly and hurt a friend’s feelings?

Nope. Not by a long shot.

Blessed we are to have fine friends

You know what it’s like to have good friends, right? The kind of friends who are always there. Those folks to whom you can say anything and know their first reaction will be to really hear what you say before judging or going into battle with you? The special friends who heartily laugh with, and at, you right when you need them to.

That support and inclusiveness is at the core of this woman’s personality. She’s ethical, moral, intelligent, great fun and always, always believes the good first while keeping both feet on the turf of reality. Isn’t that refreshing in a world filled with personal politics—the distracting and unneccesary kind we live with every day? 

She’s also a fellow redhead, so we share a childhood background that meshed from the day we met. How could I be such a jerk to someone like her?

When our behavior is off

I’ve been pondering my conduct and think that sometimes I reach the boiling point with the uncontrollable stuff in my life and somethings gotta give. Usually I delve into something physical. I head outside to brutally destroy a weed patch or I clean the house from top to bottom. Sometimes I go as fast as possible on the elliptical hoping I’ll sweat away my frustration. This time, physically not feeling well, I chose the wrong path and went mental.

Why did I this act badly toward this friend?

I’ve been pondering that, too. 

Taking advantage of good people

Perhaps I still intended to meet with her, despite my mood, because I knew she would provide the relief my grouchy self needed. There’s no game playing, no parsing my words or her words before speaking to gauge their possible impact. We speak straight and don’t hold back, honest words are always exchanged. 

Boy, was she honest this time. I was a jerk and she called me on it. In her calm and direct manner, she let me know how my behavior affected her. I took full responsibility for my actions, knowing I was in the wrong.

Then she went and behaved with graciousness and forgave me. 

Jeez.

Emulating the best

How many more lessons are left for me to learn until I can reach that same level of grace? Generosity and poise are intertwined and complementary, yet often I’ll forget to be both those individuals at the same time. My friend never does.

Later that same week a different hurt my feelings. Without me bringing it up, that person realized it and called to apologize. I answered, “I’d never hold a grudge against you, ever, but that surely hurt my feelings.” We agreed to move forward and all was good.

Would I have reacted that way and said those words if I hadn’t just hurt someone else’s feelings? And, had that person not called me out on it? I doubt.

What I don’t doubt is that life is short and friendships are precious.

Life is too short to be mean to each other, to hurt feelings, and not cowboy-up and apologize when needed.

Oh boy, I’d better make a list.

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Read The Vulnerability of Apologizing