I Hurt My Friend Today

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NaBloPoMo 2018:  What I’m Learning

Bummer, it’s no longer November 8.  Well, that’s the humbling kind of week it’s been.

I sat in a meeting with a friend today.  I expressed a perception and opinion about an issue on which she and I have divergent perspectives.  It was early morning (not my best time of day), and I was still emotionally hung over from yesterday.  I spoke up more and louder than usual and may have been a bit aggressive—not toward her or anyone personally, but about my opinion.

Afterward I asked her, “Was I too bitchy?”  I was querying her impressions of how my words and expressions landed on others.  Turns out I had really hurt her personally, and I had no idea.  The fantastic news is this friend shares my values of honesty, empathy, and open communication, so we talked it through in the afternoon.  Even though we had discussed the issue before, today we took more time.  We each listened hard and heard, more clearly than before, details about how decisions were made and how messages were received and perceived.  We dug deeper into underlying snags in relationships between groups, the culture and mindset of team members, and the dynamics that basically hamstrung everybody’s best efforts in the situation.

In the end we agreed that we’re all doing the best we can, and we also have a lot to learn from one another.  We acknowledged that there is room for everybody to own their shit a little more, and that calling a ‘my bad’ and ‘do-over’ of some parts may be the best way to make amends and move forward with more trust and cohesion.  We agreed that we could all benefit from more conversation, acknowledgement, transparency, empathy, attention to people’s feelings and mindset, and mutual understanding.  We brainstormed about what that all might look like; I got kinda excited.

At the end of the conversation we congratulated ourselves on both our courage to give each other some hard feedback, and how we were able to listen with love and generosity of spirit.  Maybe it was easier because we are friends.  But it’s the practice when it’s easy that prepares us for when it’s hard, right?  I’m so proud of us; we really lived into our best relationship potential today.  We walked our talk.  Nobody witnessed it, but we know what we did.  [fist bump, high five emojis]

Here’s to friends holding each other accountable for the consequences of our words and actions, and upholding each other to be our best selves. I wish you all more friends like this.

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