There are two sides of the street, but they both take you to the same place.
Have you ever been absolutely CERTAIN that someone else’s feelings toward you or your actions were irrational and unfair?
You are not alone.
The other day I was having a conversation with a girlfriend who was mad at me because… Well… Truthfully, she didn’t feel like she was getting the attention from me that she deserved. She sent me a passive aggressive text message along the lines of “Are we ok? I haven’t heard from you.”
Immediately my emotional defenses were on high alert and my internal voice was muttering things such as “Really!? Just say what you actually want to say.” and “The phone works both ways.” and “Doesn’t she know that I am fucking busy?”
So I avoided the text message for the rest of my work day until I could speak with her on the phone.
(I am a FIRM believer that any uncomfortable and/or important conversation should NEVER be had over text message. Tone is SO important for sarcastic people like me.)
I let her talk first. I truly didn’t think I had done anything wrong, so I certainly wasn’t going to act like I did. (EGO ON FIRE, PEOPLE.)
*internal voice* “Alright, out with it already, what are you upset about todayyyyy.” *rolls eyes*
I wasn’t feeling very empathetic AT ALL… Until she started talking.
I realized that her feelings really had nothing at all to do with the fact that I had spent a previous weekend on a couples trip with a different girl and her significant other, and much more to do with the fact that she was lonely and didn’t know how to say that. Do any of us know how to admit that?
It was the tone in her voice that made me step off of my own front porch and on to hers. Suddenly, I was looking at my side of the street from her lenses. She was lonely and that is a hard emotion to process.
With this realization I was able to come off of my high horse, lower my defenses, and meet her half way.
Yes, I AM busy. Yes, I AM aloud to have other friends. NO, I as an adult, do not owe her any explanation as to how I choose to operate my life. NO, my relationships with other people are NOT a direct reflection of my relationship with her, and have no reason to be compared.
All of those things are true.
But what is also true, is that she is my friend, and was feeling lonely. She was hurting I was not paying attention to her feelings. That is my fault, and absolutely something that I should have taken into consideration.
I believe, but often forget that two things can be true at once. I was not trying to hurt her, but she was feeling hurt.
If I am going to be the type of friend and human that I want to be, it is my responsibility to check my ego at the door and take a look at my house from the other side of the street.
If someone says that we hurt their feelings, we don’t get to say that we didn’t.
It takes 10 seconds to send a text. It takes 10 seconds to check in. Do I have 10 seconds to spare for a friend? I certainly hope so.