I love this quote and yet it leaves me wondering. How is that we are able to quickly distance ourselves from our friends if there is a clash? I know I have done this before, and I imagine you probably have, too. It’s hard to let someone know that they have hurt us or made us angry. How it is that women, who generally have good social skills, have such a hard time being really honest when someone offends us?
Recently, a good friend of mine did something that offended me. My feelings began to mount. Yet, I have to be honest part of me didn’t want to acknowledge or confront my feelings or my friend. Gratefully, she called me and left a message on my voice mail apologizing for her behavior. I called her back and acknowledged that what she had done indeed was hurtful and dishonoring of our friendship. Her intentions weren’t to hurt me. She is just is going through a difficult time. I told her that we should talk about it. I also let her know that I forgave her and I still love her.
Research shows that our families of origin play a large role in how we handle conflict. If we learned unhealthy ways of handling conflict growing up, more than likely we will engage in similar behavior in our adult relationships with those closest to us. Many people would rather avoid conflict, either emotionally or physically, than deal with it. Some people even choose to completely walk away. However, this is not a biblical model. The Bible encourages relationship and restoration. In the Book of Ephesians, Paul reminds us:
In your anger do not sin: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.
It is okay to have our feelings: to be angry, hurt, or disappointed. God expects this; after all, He is the author of emotion. The Scriptural principle here is that we deal with the emotion. We shouldn’t deny our feelings, or withdraw, or distance ourselves. We need to work through and overcome whatever it is that is coming between our friendships. This is the healthy choice and the right thing to do.
I want to challenge you that the next time you have a clash with a girlfriend not to distance yourself or coyly dance away from the relationship. Instead, I encourage you to the following:
1. Choose to live authentically and acknowledge that there is a problem. Take the high road and be willing to initiate resolution; contact your friend.
2. Be willing to listen to her side of the story, her thoughts and feelings.
3. Be honest and let your friend know how you feel. Carefully choose your words.
4. Take responsibility for your part of the misunderstanding or miscommunication. Be willing to say, “I am sorry” and ask for forgiveness. Remember no one is perfect and we all have “bad days”.
5. Talk briefly about how you might be able to avoid hurt feelings in the future.
Is there anyone who comes to mind now as you read this? Remember a good friend is worth her weight in gold. As St. Thomas Aquinas so eloquently said years ago,
There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.
I’m so thankful Angela shared her excellent, thought provoking and attitude-challenging post! Has this post challenged or encouraged you? Do you have any advice about how to handle the difficulties all friendships face?
Here’s Angela’s Bio:
Angela Bisignano has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and an M.S. in Ministry. Angela has been working with women for over fifteen years: counseling, mentoring, and teaching. She works in private practice finding it a privilege to hear people’s stories, helping them along the journey through healing, restoration and freedom. She is passionate about women finding the hope and joy in God’s high calling. Angela’s first book, Beautifully Gifted: Equipping Today’s Women for the High Calling of God is being released in December of 2010. Currently, she and her husband Gerard are raising their two sons, Jonathan and David.
Angela spends her time divided between the beauty of Southern California living and the Sierra Mountains. She loves her family, connecting to the hearts of her boys, deep conversation, cut lavender, orchids, long walks with her golden retriever “Bella”, enjoying art with her husband, and traveling, just about anywhere.
FaceBook: Angela Gozzi Bisignano