Letting Sleeping Dogs Lie...

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Okay, let's try this.

A little more than a year ago, a friend and I had a serious falling out. I can't claim that it was a case of no wrongdoing on my part -- I hurt her, but certainly not intentionally. The situation was complicated in that the manner in which I hurt her was by clearing my name of a horrible accusation. It was a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation. At any rate, she refused to speak to me. I gave it five months and in a moment of crisis contacted her once before. I'd never lost a friend under those sort of circumstances before and that, coupled with some other recent losses, proved to be overwhelming for me. And truly, I missed my friend and wanted her back. I'd have been willing to do the work it took to patch up the damages, but I was also very hurt that she'd shut me right out of her life. At that point in time she became very angry with me, assured me that she'd moved on and found a new circle of people who cared for her, and left me with a pile of accusations -- the vast majority of which were untrue.

Now it's been more than a year and I hear via a mutual friend that she's feeling the stirrings of remorse and may be contacting me in the near future. My response is something akin to panic. I don't know that I'd ever let her back into my life again -- for what? So she can bail once more when the going gets tough? Yet it's also true that at one point in time we were remarkably good friends and if I could find a way to move into complete forgiveness, possibly we could resume our friendship once more.

Has anyone else ever been in this sort of situation before? What did you do? Try again or let sleeping dogs lie?

ragnfild (ragnfild), Saturday, 26 October 2002 21:58 (seventeen years ago) link

You could at least regain polite civil speaking terms. making up doesn't mean you have to be great friends who rely on each other again, but it surely can't hurt to come to some kind of resolution.

Maria (Maria), Saturday, 26 October 2002 22:09 (seventeen years ago) link

I don't know, I don't know. It's pretty difficult to answer this question without knowing more information, which you may be reluctant to give.

I mean when I'm reading, "the manner in which I hurt her was by clearing my name of a horrible accusation", I can't help but try to imagine scenarios where that could be the case. All I could think of was some kind of situation where she got suspicious of her boyfriend and you, or something, and though he was coming on to you, to clear his name he tried claiming that you were coming on to him. Some mess like that. And she found herself having to believe him over you for the relationship's sake.

Anyway, it's obvious that the accusation against you affected her in some way. So all I can say is that you've got to ask yourself whether her behaviour was understandable, even it was wrong. Could you imagine yourself taking the position she took? I mean, you have to be kind of objective: I know she hurt you, but was what she did genuinely bad, or only bad because it hurt you?

On the another hand, you also have to be not-objective: do you really want her as a friend, regardless of who has behaved the baddest? Sometimes we want to be with old friends, even when we don't like them much, if only not to be betraying memories.


I like the 'we's in my last sentence. I feel so pseudo-profound.

Eyeball Kicks (Eyeball Kicks), Saturday, 26 October 2002 22:56 (seventeen years ago) link

It's pretty difficult to answer this question without knowing more information, which you may be reluctant to give.

Yes. I am. :-) However, it certainly wasn't anything in the line of the boyfriend scenario.

So all I can say is that you've got to ask yourself whether her behaviour was understandable, even it was wrong.

Initially I found her behavior baffling and later, painfully bewildering although I most certainly did understand that I'd hurt her and felt horrible about it from the outset. I made my apologies to her many times over even then. But I also think her expectations of me were far too high. She understood the ins and outs of the situation as well as I did and to ask me to walk away and start all over again with that kind of label hanging over me when she knew as well as I how completely unjust it was -- that's an awful lot to ask of a friend. And I couldn't do it. I did (privately) defend myself to a small handful of people but I later felt so remorseful at what I perceived to be my betrayal of her, that it felt as though I was choking on glass... Because that's how she did react to it -- as though I'd not only betrayed her, but also done it only for shallow gain -- what she defined as "betrayal for the sake of pure egoism". And of course, to want to defend one's reputation when accused of a vile course of action is an act of egoism, isn't it? So again, my defense of my self falls short.

Could you imagine yourself taking the position she took? I mean, you have to be kind of objective: I know she hurt you, but was what she did genuinely bad, or only bad because it hurt you?

I think what it comes down to is that I'd never do what she did to a friend. Quite frankly, I've had enemies I've treated better. In spite of that, I did put my guts on the line and go back and tell her that she was important to me and that I cared for and missed her, and she just wasn't interested. She more or less kicked me in the guts while I was bleeding. And even then, I still had to find a way to let go and grieve the loss of her in my life and move on -- all while I was juggling multiple losses and still had that accusation hanging over my head. I guess that I'm finished grieving now and I can't imagine going back... she was my friend and I loved her and certainly needed her in the darkness of those days, but she really wasn't interested in being my friend. The time for apologies and mending of fences was long past. It's too late now.

I guess maybe I have my answer.

Thanks muchly for the ear.

ragnfild (ragnfild), Sunday, 27 October 2002 01:22 (seventeen years ago) link

i think you answered yourself ragnfild, yes.
isnt it so sad when a long time friendship dissolves into this sort of thing?
i have had falling-outs with my closest friend over the years, but all the while we both knew our friendship was worth making the effort to 'forgive and forget', even though our bust-ups were major, involved other people and were very convoluted tales.
if we didnt have that value attached to it, our friendship would not have made it through.
i think the fact that you have tried before, put yourself on the line and been hurt even then, speaks for itself.
what is the point of trying to continue with someone who is disinclined to respect you?

donna (donna), Monday, 28 October 2002 03:09 (seventeen years ago) link

It is sad, donna. I'm sort of surprised at what this news stirred up in me -- some anger, some sorrow and most certainly, some newly erected walls.

I think what gets to me is that it didn't need to be -- or at least, not in my interpretation of events. You'd mentioned respect and that's certainly important. By the end, I didn't feel respected, I felt used and tossed away. Perhaps she felt the same. If we could have talked about it we might have discovered that what felt like one thing on one side, had been intended very differently from the other side and perhaps made our peace with each other. However, when one person refuses to talk, you can't make those sort of discoveries or patch up the cracks while they're still small.

ragnfild (ragnfild), Monday, 28 October 2002 04:23 (seventeen years ago) link

four years pass...

JACKPOT!

kingfish, Tuesday, 25 September 2007 06:04 (twelve years ago) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.