“Jonathan and David became close friends. Jonathan loved David just as he loved himself.” 1 Samuel 18:1 NIRV
WOULDN’T IT BE NICE if that’s how friendship always worked.
Here’s the sad fact of life: having a close friend is not always an uplifting experience.
A friend can suck the life force right out of you.
Consider two best friends I know, sixth-grade girls. I’m going to let you read an authentic letter that one girl wrote to the other, but I’m going to change their names since I want to live.
Here’s the background. The letter writer, whom I’ll sardonically call Frieda Holler, has invited her girlfriend Anna to attend a sleep-over birthday party with about half a dozen other preteen girls. Anna, however, has already accepted a previous invitation to the sleep-over of another friend, Gloria Hummel.
Anna has never spent the night at Gloria’s home, has been looking forward to the party for weeks, and has resisted pressure from both Frieda and Frieda’s mother to bow out of the other party. Frieda has even reminded Anna that it’s Frieda’s mom, not Gloria’s, who often drives both girls to school so they won’t have to ride the overcrowded school bus. To no avail.
Resigned to Anna’s decision, or maybe in a last desperate attempt at persuasion, Frieda writes this letter. I haven’t corrected any misspellings or the bizarre punctuation because this letter is a masterpiece of authenticity and emotion. And I’m not touching it.
You and I’s friendship is over! Your not invited to my birthday party! By the way I wasn’t trying to break you and Gloria Hummel up. I don’t know what I did to you for me to deserve this! You don’t know how much you hurt me! I wasn’t trying to do anything to hurt you! You and I weren’t meant to be friends. You need to start to get your own ride to school, even if that means you riding the bus! Gloria Hummel is nice, but she considers me as a snob! She’s not one of my best friends, she’s not really even my friend, but sometimes I wish she were! I’m sorry! (but I think you need to start to respect me for who I am!) I’m really not trying to be rude! But if you think I am I’m not! I’m just trying to make a point! I don’t like the way you are treating me! I know you don’t know what I’m talking about but if you do, you know where I’m coming from! Please don’t takes this badley!! I’m sorry but it’s not going to work out! Good Bye!
Your ex-best friend, Frieda Holler.
P.S. Please, we may not make up, but until we do, you will not hear from me and please don’t call!
Though the postscript seems to strip away all possibility of restoring the friendship, Anna is a smart little cookie who wasn’t about to lose her friend, let alone her ride to school with winter approaching.
The two worked out a compromise. Anna spent the early evening feasting and frolicking with Frieda and friends, then Anna’s mom shuttled her to Gloria’s bash. Happy ending. And happy birthday Frieda.
Compromise is what it takes to be a friend, at least friends for the long haul.
Adapted from How to Live in the Moment.