Monday, April 16, 2012

Walk away

Richard and I recently walked away from a friendship. This couple had been telling other people untruths and spreading malicious comments about me, while pretending that we were friends. They accepted our friendship and all that we did for them, while they went around saying negative things about me behind my back.

I considered my options thoroughly and carefully. My first choice was to confront them, but it would be pointless. An apology would be nice, but unlikely. Should I hope to change their opinion? Even if they did, the trust is no longer there, the sense of betrayal and hurt is too deep, and it would be incredibly awkward for both sides to even try to carry on after a confrontation of this sort.

Or I could forget it and leave it be. Not many things bother Richard and me, really, so was this worth getting upset about? Well, I wasn't raging mad but I knew I could not reasonably ask my family to continue with this farce. Although my dear husband would go along with whatever I decided, I realised the extent of what I would be asking of him because Richard and I take friendship very seriously. Once you are a friend of ours, we will gladly walk to the ends of the earth for you. In fact, we have, on many occasions, gone out of our way for this couple while refraining from telling them the trouble we went through. I could not ask my family to continue investing our hearts in this friendship if this couple was regularly backstabbing us. It would also be hypocritical of us to carry on being their friends when every fibre of our being would be on high alert and suspicious, when we had to consider every word and every action to see whether it would give them cause for painting me black.

So I did the next best thing. I decided to end the “friendship” unilaterally and quietly. Richard had no hesitation in telling me it was the right thing to do. He was just waiting for me to come to terms with the inevitable. In our hearts, we wished things could be different but our heads told us that things would never change with them. So we resolved to cut them out of our lives. We quietly walked out and away. We wish this couple the very best in their life. We're just not going to be part of it anymore.

And yes, I have put a record of it here. So that my children will understand that, inasmuch as Richard and I hope that they will grow up with kindness and generosity in their hearts, free of prejudice, with an open mind and a clear head, ready to forgive and forget, we want them also to realise a few other things.

- That words have power, words can hurt. That you must not only act responsibly, you must also speak responsibly. There are always consequences.

- That kindness and consideration to others encompass what you say about them, both in their presence and when they're not with you.

- That what you say about others, tells more about you and the person you are.

- That you should walk away from friendships that are unreal. Life is short - surround yourself with genuine, sincere and honest people.

- That friends don’t go around talking behind your back, trying to turn people against you, using untruths and unfair assumptions.

- That loyalty is a big part of friendship.

- That every friendship and every relationship has to have an equal balance of goodwill. That you need to give AND receive goodwill.

- That you should never, ever, let others make you feel embarrassed about your successes. Nobody should make you feel that you don’t deserve all that you worked honestly to achieve. A person who cares about you will cheer for you instead of undermine you. Don't sell yourself short.

- That you need to stand up for yourself, and be fair, honest and honourable in the process.

- That the truth will always emerge, so make sure that you are always on the right side of it.

It is unpleasant to end a friendship, even one that is unreal. The best we can do is to make sure that we handle it in the best way possible and learn what we can from the experience.

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