Have you ever been a bad friend?
Have you ever stuck your foot so far down your mouth you thought it might be time to move to a new country?
Have you ever dropped the ball and forgotten to text or call back when it was actually pretty important?
Have you ever gotten triggered by something and way overreacted and then been embarrassed?
Have you ever assumed the worst of a friend, when that really wasn’t fair or right?
Have you ever been absent when you really should have been more present?
Have you ever been harsh and judgmental?
Have you ever dropped off the face of the planet because you were just going through something, but you left your friends wondering what the heck was going on?
Have you ever pushed them away because of old wounds and baggage that wasn’t their fault?
Have you ever not given the benefit of the doubt and quickly jumped to negative conclusions?
Have you ever forgot a birthday and felt like a jerk?
Have you ever gotten resentful, and instead of addressing it, just let it fester and grow into something bigger than it should have been?
Have you ever made a joke that (unintentionally) made you friend feel like crap?
Have you ever been wrong? Like you really really thought you were right, but you were not?
Yeah, me either.
Perfect friend right here.
If anyone thinks that they haven’t been a bad friend at one point or another (intentionally or unintentionally) then that’s a bigger problem.
We all screw up.
It’s about what we do when we screw up that matters. That’s where the rubber meets the road. Were we humble? Or did we focus on getting our point across? Did we take ownership or did we shift blame to something or someone else? Did we listen (like really listen) or did we just try and defend WHY we did what we did? Did we prioritize our connection or did we prioritize being right? Were we approachable or defensive? Did we try to understand or focus solely on being understood?
When we screw up, all we can do is do our best to clean up our mess (even when it’s hard, even when it means eating humble pie).
And sometimes it can’t be rectified, and that’s terrible, awful, and so painful, but the only person we can control is ourselves. So did we do our best? Did we try?
That’s what matters.
And maybe if we have more grace for ourselves to make mistakes, we’ll have more grace for our friends too.
I don’t know, but I think that friendships that weather storms and hurt feelings grow stronger and deeper.
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Photo by Tim Mossholder.