It’s funny sometimes how as an adult, you find yourself still learning completely obvious lessons. Things will happen to you and it’s like someone flipped a switch because you’ll finally be able respond to them with intelligence and common sense. And then, you’ll wonder why the hell you weren’t doing that for years.
This happened to me recently when I was dealing with my friend Bjork. Just a little background info – we’ve been friends for 10 years and I love her to pieces. We have been through a lot and have had many heart-to-heart talks. The bad-stuff-is-going-on-at-home talk. The I-think-I-might-want-to-sleep-with-this-dude talk. The what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life talk. This girl knows my dirt and I know hers.
Anyway, a little while ago, we made plans to go to a concert together and I was really excited. Way back in our younger days, we went to a bunch of concerts together and we always had fun, so I was looking forward to enjoying a lovely day of music and laughs just us girls. I bought my ticket six months in advance and I understood that she had her ticket as well until . . . a week before the show, I got an e-mail saying she hadn’t bought her ticket and she wasn’t coming with me.
I was none too happy.
The way things used to work with me, if someone disappointed me, I wouldn’t do anything about it. I would just kind of take my displeasure and frustration with the situation, jam it way down into the pit of my stomach and not say anything because I was so worried about offending or upsetting other people. I come from a family of WASPs and it was just the preferred way of reacting. Don’t mess up the couch cushions, don’t mess up your hair, don’t mess up the world with your silly/complicated feelings.
This strategy is not a good one. In fact, as I have learned, it is a giant mistake and it just plain sucks.
So, blazing forward in a shot of emotional recklessness, I actually took a chance and called her out on it. I told her that I valued our friendship, but that being blown off last minute was rude and hurtful. And much to my WASPy surprise, the entire world didn’t come crashing down on me. In fact, it actually helped. We got to talk in an honest, realistic way about it. No getting pissed and stomping off or other junior high style antics, just back and forth about what had happened and what was going on with both of us until we worked $h!t out.
Damn if it didn’t feel good.
So from here on out, I’m going to try to make the whole honesty thing part of my regular routine. I can’t believe it took me 27 years to figure it out, but there you go. Everybody’s got to learn sometime, right?