I stood outside a D.C. restaurant a few weeks ago wondering if I were really ready to face three former friends. Walking away would show that my pride was still stronger than my love for them, walking in would hopefully show that I was finally ready to bury the hatchet. I walked in.
I was nervous and a bit uncomfortable but when I saw the three of them sitting at the bar I realized how much I missed them. After all, I’ve been through it all with these girls; high school, college, careers, men, vacations and everything in between. We have stories, pictures and memories for days.
In the prime of our friendships I thought nothing was strong enough to separate us but with time we began growing as women, liking different things and even different people. Then ultimately our differences began to influence our lack of tolerance for each other and then as they say “all hell broke lose.”
This person couldn’t be in the same room as that person. One large group became two small groups. Some acted better than others. Others turned and twisted conversations so much that by time it got around the group, people who were once ‘like family’ couldn’t stand each other. What followed next was nothing but drama, scandal, foolishness, betrayal and hurt people.
That night as we talked over dinner, it was apparent how each of us had been hurt. The more we talked about the things that occurred it was also obvious that each issue had a cause and effect. An action and a reaction. I realized that if a hurt person isn’t immediately tended to, that hurt will cycle itself and form a social and emotional virus that will spread within the hurt person and the people around them.
Its true. One friend was hurt by a comment that she heard I made. Had she called me on it immediately, she would have known that the comment was taken out of context. But she didn’t. Instead, she reacted in a way that once it got back to me—hurt like hell. My disbelief and shock that she was capable of treating me the way she did, hurt me so much that I couldn’t find it in myself to call her. So it took us months to clear up something that could have been resolved in a matter of minutes.
Hurt people hurt people. Even if it isn’t intentional. Even if it isn’t direct. It still hurts and an unattended wound can damage a body or in our case, a friendship.
One thing I credit brotha’s for—they can argue and be normal again the next day. Women take a lot more work. We’re a lot more emotional and vulnerable. We have a higher level of expectations in our friendships which is why one bad move can cause so much harm.
Like any relationship, friendships take work and in my case—courtesy calls. My friendsdhips and connections with people should be strong enough where I have the courtesy to call them if their love and loyalty has come into question.
What I’ve learned in life is that some friends are phases and with time and maturity you’ll learn to let them go but others are lifelong commitments that you have to learn to work through.
I’m glad I walked into the restaurant that night. It’s not an overnight process, but each day I grow closer to the women I want to be and she is one who learns to forgive, trust and love even when the odds are against her.