My family and I were preparing for dinner one night, when a friend called and asked to come and join us. I’ve always enjoyed sharing good meals with the people in my life, so I said, “Sure! Come eat with us!” They did and everything was great, until the meal actually began.
Have you ever sat at a dinner table with someone who spent more time on their cell phone than engaged in conversation with you? If so, then you know how I felt that particular night. I could feel the anger welling up inside of me as I wondered why this friend even wanted to come over. It’s not like we were sharing quality time together.
A couple days later, I set up a call with my friend and explained how I had felt, totally clearing the air about how angry I was. The response? Complete and total understanding. In fact, we are closer now than before.
Many people worry about “confrontation,” about going face-to-face with someone who has hurt them because they fear that it will create a rift that cannot be repaired. But, in my experience, 99.9% of the time it brings us closer together instead of driving us further apart.
In the end, it’s all about communication. It’s about sitting down together and having a candid, adult conversation when we feel the other person has done something that makes us sad, angry, or frustrated. It might help reframing it. Instead of a confrontation, think of it as an honest conversation.
I could’ve spoken to a million people and talked badly about my friend, and the reality is that many people might have agreed with me because they know what it’s like to be ignored by someone who is preoccupied with a cell phone. Instead, I chose to deal with it in a healthier way, a way that actually allowed us to move past the issue. A way that didn’t involve building resentment that ultimately could have really hurt, if not totally destroyed our relationship.
Admittedly, it isn’t always easy to have this type of conversation, especially if you find it difficult to say when you feel you’ve been wronged or if you have a hard time expressing how you feel. And if you fear that the person you want to speak to won’t take it too kindly, it can often be enough to just bury how you feel.
When you do this though, the only person it hurts is you. Pretty soon, you become so filled with anger and resentment that you eventually get to the point where there’s no way to save the relationship because it has become too tainted for too long. The loving, caring relationship you once shared feels almost gone.
If someone you love has done something that has rubbed you the wrong way, has hurt your feelings or somehow made you feel “less than,” use it as an opportunity to help you grow closer by sharing how you feel. It may feel uncomfortable at first, especially if you’ve never done it before, but it will also likely feel very freeing because, instead of holding it all in, you are finally able to let it go. Doing so, will only bring the two of you closer together.