Sometimes, Friends Aren’t So Nice

May 22, 2011

Don’t you love it when everyone gets along and you feel nurtured and safe and are having fun? I strive for those kinds of relationships daily, but sometimes, even your best friends may not be so nice.

Where do I go when that happens? How do I react? Usually, I look for agreement from my “not so nice” friend that she’s offended me in some way. Sometimes, I react with a sarcastic comment. Often, I ignore the interaction but never really forget.

When I stop to think from another place, from a place of friendship and longevity in that friendship, I look for what is going on underneath the “not so nice” comment or action. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not so easy. Sometimes I have to wait for the “dust to settle” before I can see what I am really committed to.

One of my friends is suffering now.  Her depression and frustration with life’s circumstances exhibits itself in a number of ways. Sometimes, her suffering is silent and she shows up as “missing” in our relationship. Other times, her suffering is “loud and attacking”. When that happens, it’s really hard to see my friend and really easy to “write her off”. Having been at the effect of very difficult circumstances in life—haven’t we all?—I can empathize and bring compassion to the situation. It takes something on my part. I notice I can’t be in a reaction. If I am, it doesn’t turn out so well in the department of friendship. Or as my mother would say, “It all goes to hell in a handbasket”!

We’re usually aware of our own suffering. It can manifest itself in isolation, anxiety, even losing or gaining weight. Now, I’m practicing looking for the suffering in a friend’s unkind or harsh comment. I’m practicing seeing the suffering behind the rudeness or lack of consideration of my feelings. I’m practicing compassion.

Where are you finding your friendships suffering, especially with those women who you care about so much – those you want to grow old with?  What do you do when friends aren’t so nice?  We’d like to hear from you.

– Margaret

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