I Call Bravo Sierra

Common sense isn't very common.

On Friendship – Part 5

Posted by Keen Observer on July 24, 2015

Well, I seem to be returning to Part 1, though not completely.  This one has nothing to do with my former best friend, but it does have to do with the other friend mentioned therein:  a co-worker with whom I used to have a very close working relationship.  We were a very effective team.  However, I made the mistake of believing that our work rapport could transfer to the personal sphere, and asked her out a couple of weeks after I posted that blog entry.  She rejected that respectful advance very completely, though politely, and it took some time—as it does for me—to recover emotionally from it.

But we were able to keep working together pretty well, including going to an industry convention.  And then about a year or so ago, some professional misunderstandings occurred…mostly my fault, though she never challenged me on my behaviour…which resulted in both personal and professional distance growing between us.  A professional disagreement became intensely personal for her, far out of proportion to the offence.  She blocked me on Facebook, though somehow she still seems to skew my “mutual friends” lists with some people, and we stopped talking to each other.

Then a few months ago, some time after having connected on LinkedIn, I brought up the space between us, and we talked about it.  I apologised, and she seemed to accept it, and I promised to do better.  We moved forward, I thought, and after a conversation last week, it seemed like it might be possible to renew and try to rebuild the friendship we had of old.  The response I got from my attempt to make full peace with a friend I had missed?  Well, I got nuked from orbit.  She doesn’t want to be friends at all and keep only a professional working relationship between us.  Which is fine, except for the mixed signals she gave me last week (sharing confidential plans and opinions of hers, as well as discussing having personal conversations away from work and similar things).  What I can’t figure from this is how she can utterly reject an attempt to restore our friendship and claim that “it’s nothing personal.”  I guess she has completely different concepts of both “personal” and “friendship” than I do.  And how much my perception of that friendship contributed to our effectiveness as a team.

I don’t know her reasons, and I don’t particularly care to.  They’re hers, and they ultimately don’t matter.  But whatever they are, I’m down another friend.  Which, based on this interaction, is probably going to be a good thing.  I’d rather be told this than labour under any delusions.  It’s important to know who your friends really are.  It’s important to treat your friends well and not cavalierly.  It’s important to be truthful with your friends and never betray a trust.  It’s important to be available.  It’s important never to play emotional games or act capriciously.  It’s important to agree on limits and boundaries (if any).  It’s important to be honest with them and yourself.  If these things don’t exist, what value the friendship?

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