This is a very quick post..inspired by someone I met today. This young girl, while chatting with me, happened to mention a very good friend of hers with whom she has recently lost contact. Theirs had been a wonderful friendship, spanning over several years. And then, suddenly, one day, they weren’t friends any more. The young girl (I will call her Jane in this article) said sullenly that it wasn’t her fault the friendship broke and so she wasn’t going to waste a single night’s sleep worrying about it.
‘Why did you two stop talking?’ I asked. Jane shrugged. ‘No idea’ I was a bit surprised by that. ‘What do you mean? You and your best friend have broken up and you have no idea why?’ Jane frowned, struggling to come up with a good reason. ‘Well, she just stopped talking with me one day. She has been behaving a bit strange for a few weeks. Avoiding my phone calls, snapping at me if I asked her a question, refusing to catch up for our usual coffee and gossip sessions.’
‘Maybe she’s upset about something,’ I reasoned. ‘Did you try finding out what had annoyed her?’
‘Ha! Why should I give her so much importance?’ Jane sounded outraged at my meek suggestion. ‘If she wants to sulk and pout, she’s welcome to it. I can’t be bothered with such childishness. I don’t remember having said or done anything to upset her. So, if she wants to break off our friendship, then so be it’ and Jane sniffed self-righteously.
And a beautiful friendship ended. Just like that, with barely a whimper of protest.
I came home, thoughtful and pensive. My conversation with Jane made me wonder about why friends get estranged. Why do people give up on beautiful relationships without putting up a fight? Why didn’t Jane confront her friend and demand an explanation for her strange behaviour? Could the friendship have been saved if only the two friends had been open and honest with each other?
It takes two to tango! A friendship needs to be nurtured, protected and cherished by both parties. Sulking because a friend has unwittingly let you down will not solve the problem. If the friendship is worth preserving, then it is worth fighting for. If Jane had asked her friend outright what was troubling her, perhaps her friend would have given an honest answer’. It would have given Jane the opportunity to either apologise or to tell her friend that her anger was misplaced. If Jane’s friend had, instead of avoiding her, told her frankly what had annoyed her, she would have figured out the truth. A friendship could have been saved. The air would have been cleared and all would be well again.
Having said that, some so-called-friends will, no matter how often you ask them what’s bothering them, sweep things under the carpet and insist that there’s nothing wrong. And yet, they will go out of the way to avoid you and make it clear that something definitely is wrong in the relationship. Like I said before, it takes two to tango. If both parties are not committed to making the friendship work, then I’m afraid it’s best to let such a crippling friendship fade away.
So, my dear readers, if you’ve argued or quarrelled with a friend, and if the friend means a lot to you, don’t give up so easily. Either stop fretting, forget and forgive, and get on with your life. Or demand an explanation for behaviour that you don’t appreciate. Either way, keeping silent is never going to help. True friends are hard to find. So if you’re lucky enough to have found one, don’t let him or her slip away.