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01 May, 2007

Picking Up The Pieces

A quote I bookmarked on my FeedDemon from writer Gloria Naylor:

"Sometimes being a friend means mastering the art of timing. There is a time for silence. A time to let go... And a time to prepare to pick up the pieces when it's all over."

It took me a while to look at this holiday photo without getting upset, which is why I'm just posting it now. Let me explain.

D. and I have a small inner circle of friends with whom we have the tradition of exchanging gifts every year, just the five of us, for which we set aside a day during the hectic holiday season. Last year was probably one of the best ever; everyone received the gifts they wanted and fun was had by all. Or so it seemed, until we discovered that a friend who had been carrying a grudge almost didn't show up.

We had no idea she's been feeling resentful for a year and a half (!) until an ugly incident weeks later during another friend's birthday when she finally spilled all. The details are too long to go into at length, but suffice to say the evening was ruined for everyone.

The following day, I got even more upset when this person revealed that among other things, it was behavior from me during a trying time in her life which caused her pain. I felt hurt and betrayed by this, because she totally misread my intentions when all I tried to give her was unqualified support.

Needless to say, there were hurt feelings and anger all around. People were not speaking to each other for months afterward, all because of misconceptions and misreading of intentions that could've been avoided if only she spoke up and cried ouch.

When she alluded to walking away and ending her friendship with us, I was so tempted to send her packing and out the door. I resented how little she seemed to value our friendship and understanding when everyone bent over backwards to accomodate her moods and whims.

It seemed too much effort for so little payback, and I certainly didn't want -- much less need -- the drama. Perhaps it was a function of getting older, but I no longer have patience for b.s. If I have issues, I say so and expect others to do the same with me; life is too short for games.

As emotionally exhausting as this whole thing was, I decided to take the mature route when she and I finally had the chance to talk. Instead of lashing out, I patiently tried to see things from her point of view even if it didn't make sense to me. To her credit, she accepted her mistake and apologized.

I decided in the end to give our friendship another chance, because as wrong as this person was about her assumptions, it wasn't out of malice. Picking up the pieces may take time, but I'm willing to work on it if she is.

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posted at 7:09 AM by City Muse


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