Ok, so in the last few posts we have explored reading between the lines only to discover that you are not on the same page as your friend at all. It only seems the logical next step is to figure out how to get back on the same page as your friend, rather than let go of the friendship altogether, if you want to, that is.
I don’t write this blog because I know the answers, I write it because I wish to know them and develop a greater understanding as to how things go wrong, with the hope of learning both how to be a better friend, and how to have better friends. When I first started contemplating this blog, I was under the assumption that my sexuality was a big part of the reason I struggled to maintain stable platonic relationships with women… but this blog has helped me identify that friendships are just that – intimate platonic relationships, and sometimes, most times in fact, relationships end, and regardless of sexuality, this is ok!
If you come to a point where you are able to recognize that you are no longer on the same page as your friend, the first question you have to ask yourself is if you actually want to be on the same page. What I mean to say, is do you want to save the friendship? Can you see a way in which you could be on the same page again? (For a great many, the answer may be no.) There will be some friendships that will offer relief when they end, some where you will feel a level of indifference about it, some where it will feel extremely painful but necessary, and some where you will feel like far from being on the same page, that you aren’t even reading the same book and you never were! If you don’t want to fix the friendship, you are not a bad person, and nor is your friend. Perhaps your chapter in each other’s lives have come to a close. For now anyway. Sometimes you may be written back in later. How often do people in soap opera’s come back from the dead? It’s a little bit like that, even if the idea of it seems just as laughable! Lol
A few friendships though, you may feel are too special to not at least try and repair. Some friendships you desperately want to get on the same page again… so how could you achieve this? It seems reasonable that the first thing you need to do is carefully consider your friends circumstance. The worst thing you could do is consider her circumstances a rejection of you personally. If you can look at things objectively, and I know from experience how hard this can be, can you acknowledge that her time is largely taken up by other responsibilities, leaving her little social time? I know, I know, she needs to MAKE time, right? I hear you… but have you clearly asked her to make more time for you? Let’s try and focus on what you can control, as you cannot force your friend to do or say anything.
The next thing to consider is convenience. We all have this annoying tendency to want our friends to be available to us when it is convenient for us. As agreeable as this is when it works, if you want your friend to make time for you when it’s not the most convenient for her, consider if you’d be willing to do the same. If you have some pretty non-negotiable times where you cannot spend time with her, it is only reasonable to allow her the same courtesy. The thing is – you don’t get to judge what is and isn’t non-negotiable for her. She gets to decide that for herself. That might mean that while you would willingly miss your “me time” to spend some social time with her, she may value that “me time” too highly and would not rather sacrifice it. That has to be ok.
If there isn’t many time slots available to you both that would be convenient for spending time together, you have to accept this. The key is to keep communicating. So much of female friendships is determined by who knows what… and who knows first. No matter how busy your friend is, if your friendship is important to you and you want to keep it alive, make sure your friend stays on the “first to know list.” Maybe she isn’t literally first, but don’t let her be last, and don’t let her find out from someone else. This becomes tricky, because sending such communications of important news can be filled with expectations of not only a response, but a particular response.
However you decide to share your news, try very hard to let go of expectation. How and when your friend responds to your news is outside of your control, but in reaching out and sharing, you have played your part. Another way you can play your part, if communicating with a very busy friend – is to be respectful of her time. If you usually stay on the phone with her for at least an hour, you can expect your calls to go unanswered unless she happens to have an hour free at the time you call. Failing that, regardless of if you call or send long winded messages, you may expect responses such as “I’m just a bit busy at the moment, but I’ll get back to you later.” Again it is important to take this at face value and trust that your friend intends to do this. Remind yourself of all the times you have been super busy and meant to get around to something and kept forgetting, even if it was important. Be forgiving if she forgets, and know it is ok to send an update on your situation even if you didn’t get the response you were hoping for. Alternatively you could also send a gentle reminder such as “This situation is still upsetting me. I know how busy you are and I don’t mean to add to your plate, but I’d really love it if you could make some time to talk to me about this sometime soon.” You have clearly expressed what you want and need, and kept it simple and to the point.
I know, and you’ll know too – by the annoying tendency of my posts to be too long… lol, that I tend to overwhelm busy people with long messages. They may want to reply, but it takes time, (and may turn into a conversation they also don’t have time for!) so I need to respect that they will reply when they have time, and that may be in a month, or they may not even read it until they have time, which can also take a while. If something is important, try to keep it to the point, and then give people time to process what you have said and respond in their own time.
Also remember not to let the friendship get too one sided, always make sure you are checking in on her and what’s been happening in her life no matter what is happening in yours, and check your own responses. Be aware of her needs and how you are meeting them, even if that means respecting her need for more space than you’d prefer.
As I spoke to someone I greatly admire recently, and she spoke of a friend, I asked her if she had not felt let down. She simply replied “My friend does not need that from me, what she needs is love, and I love her.” Perhaps the key, when in a situation where you are not on the same page as your friend, is to love her more, even if you feel she deserves it less, because your friendship needs it. Patience is a virtue! If your friend seems to need an unspoken “leave of absence” from your life, grant it, and be there to willingly welcome her back when she returns. If you are too busy by then, it will be her turn to wait. Just don’t expect her to wait forever. Outside of death, not much in this life is permanent, not relationships, not friendships, not feelings, not beginnings and not endings. Endure them all with an open heart and mind, the future may surprise you if you are open to it. Make the effort to first accept she's not on your page, and then try to get on hers.
Your Best Friend ForNever
The rules to friendship are pretty simple at the end of the day: