A close friend of mine in college had a habit of finding the wrong guy.
She’d wonder what was wrong with her. Why he didn’t like her the way she liked him.
The same pattern of chasing the wrong guy carried on after college, too.
Until one day when she was crying over another cruddy dude, and I decided to tell her it was a pattern—one she was responsible for.
I shouldn’t have told her that.
It was the wrong time.
After ignoring my phone calls for a couple days, she finally answered one to inform me, “If this is my own fault, then why are YOU the only who said that? All my other friends said he’s a jerk who doesn’t deserve me.”
I told her none of her other friends were telling her the truth.
We didn’t talk for months after that call. But then one day we ran into each other at the gym, and we admitted that we were both bummed to not be friends anymore.
She asked me to come over for dinner and to talk, so I did.
Over italian sausage and steamed veggies, she told me that she’d been seeing a therapist. And that therapist said I just didn’t know how to talk to my friend in her moment of need.
I felt angry, mostly at the word “just”—like it was SO simple to KNOW EXACTLY what to say to someone in a situation where history had repeated itself … again … for the Nth time.
Now, eight years later, I realize it WAS that simple.
Trying to get my friend to see what I saw about her choices—when she was at her most vulnerable—wasn’t one of those “the truth hurts” moments, much like I thought it was.
A good friend knows better than I did when to be direct, and when to put that aside to instead say, “He’s a jerk, and he doesn’t deserve you.”
Like most things, there wasn’t one single thing that kept us from becoming friends again. We’d already grown apart, and we’d both learned to be different kinds of people. Maybe someday we’ll cross paths again and share in the kind of friendship we had during college.
In any case, I’ll look back on how things evolved as a life lesson I’ll hold dear forever.
Photo (Flickr CC) by Wrote