It seems a tragic title, and it is, in a way. I lost a friend more than 15 years ago, but not in the way you might think.
I don’t know exactly what happened. Either I said or did something that really upset her, or, perhaps someone relayed to her (whether true or not) something I said or did. Just as bad — another explanation could be I just let a wonderful friendship wither away due to neglect.
I admit that much time had passed before I realized something had happened. I asked mutual friends: Is everything okay? Has she said anything about being mad at me? No one knew. I worried over it. I talked to my Mom about it. She, ever pragmatic (and right) said, “Why don’t you call her up and invite her for coffee and talk to her?” I was afraid of being rebuffed so procrastinated. More time went by. I tried, once, to get us together as couples and really was very directly rebuffed. I worried, again, that I had hurt my (now former) friend. I relayed this particular conversation to my mom, and (ever pragmatic) she said, “you tried, and she’s not interested. It’s time to forget about it.” My mom has been gone for more than three years, and I still haven’t forgotten about it.
What bothers me the most, I guess, is perhaps I behaved in an offensive way to someone I dearly cared for. Even if it was by not paying attention. It makes me feel that I must have been selfish or uncaring; something I strive daily to be the opposite of.
My advice if you’ve lost a friend? Let them know you’re sad about it — reach out and fix it as soon as you can — before it is too late. If you are the hurt one? Speak up even if it is difficult.
Of course it’s also a good idea to take an inventory. Are you a good friend? Are your friends always inviting you to do something or checking on you, or are you sometimes taking the initiative to let them know you care? Be honest with yourself: Do you share responsibility for your friendships? Do you nurture them?
I’m sad to say I hope you can learn from my regret. These things really matter because good friends are hard to come by!
Photo credit: “Friendship 4” by Nina from Australia – Friendship. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Friendship_4.jpg#/media/File:Friendship_4.jpg
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