friendships

Friendships can add so much to our lives. But let’s not fall for the Hollywood vision of BFFs, always there for each other, spending their lives in coffee shops, and living round the corner. The reality is that friendship can be difficult, and friends have busy lives, often miles away from where we are. Here, we look at all the aspects of friendship, from making friends, through keeping them, to letting them go.

This Friendship is Over. So Why Isn’t It?

Your Question
I met my boyfriend through a friend 3 years ago, we had only been friends for 6 months. Since dating him she excludes me from everything, makes sure I feel unwelcome, has had nasty comments aimed at me, in a sneeky manner not greeting, inviting everyone but me for gatherings, I accompany with my boyfriend anyways.

After 2 and a half years of taking it and being quiet, I got angry, trying to talk to my boyfriend, she denied all of it, and eventually it got to the point where I started doing the same back to her, her older sister (the oldest) saw this, and decided she will stick up for her lil sister, and told me to eff off, and I left it, at the next gathering, I wasnt invited, as usual, and told my boyfriend to go without me, which he didnt go, and the oldest called me the C word, and i called her the C word in return.

3 months later I saw her and without warning, she attacked me. We are at the point where they are banned from our place, and each other, we are planning our wedding, and we have plans for a kid in the future, but I’m worried on how this will all pan out or blow up some day, what are the routes this could take? How long am I safe from them? Was I right to stand up and cut them out?

Pandora's Box
the advicist

Sounds like this friendship has run its course. What else is going on here that you can’t just stop seeing this friend like you would anyone else who you no longer got on with?

I don’t really understand the dilemma. You were friends, you’re not now, la-di-da, life goes on. Why did you even put up with this crap for 2 and a half years? She’s your friend, not your mother.

Tell. me. more.

photo credit: laverrue via photopin cc


Lonely at College

Your Question
I’m a first year student at a small college and I’m having social issues. I was really focused on academics in high school and even though I had friends and a boyfriend in high school, I mostly stayed in on weekends and was never social.

Now I’m in college and I want to try new things and party, but I never get invited anywhere. I’ve been friendly and fun as far as I can tell, and tried to be the one making plans, but I feel so clearly behind the party scene and so awkward somehow that it never works out. I feel really lonely and bored, now. Advice?

Lonely at College

the advicist

 

Firstly, points for self-awareness in checking that you aren’t the problem. You’ve been friendly, and you’ve tried initiating plans. That’s a great start.

My advice would be to try other ways to be social that aren’t partying. It sounds like that’s not a good fit for you really. Maybe it will be, down the road, but if it’s not working out now, no need to focus on it. There are plenty of other ways to make friends and enjoy people’s company, especially at college.

Have you looked at joining any groups or societies? I was very active in a few, and met lots of people. The ones I was involved with that had a charitable focus also included a disproportionate number of people with, let’s say, lower than average social skills, so if you feel more comfortable when surrounded by awkwardness, that might be a good option. [and shout out to all my slightly awkward friends from that era, I hope you don’t mind my verbalising what we all know to be true :) ]

Clubs, societies, sports teams, the campus newspaper… there must be something that piques your interest? Knitting? Basketball? I don’t know how big your college is, but even at smaller ones, students are a social group with more free time than most, and shared facilities readily available at a low cost, so I find they have one of the most active social scenes of any community.

Also, I’ve written a couple of posts about making friends as you get older – they don’t necessarily apply to your exact situation, but the step-by-step may be of some use:

Making Friends After College (1)

Making Friends After College (2)

Turning Acquantainces to Friends

Those people who you have already met – in your classes, or at your accomodation, why not try socialising with them during the day? This would quell the loneliness and not involve the rejection you fear with partying events (work up to it though!).

I usually found very willling coffee or lunch dates because most people were trying to procrastinate and avoid writing essays too!

A job is also a good way to meet people, with the advantages of cash and experience. Do your due diligence though.

What I’m saying is, look farther afield than just the partying scene. Once you find a few good friends you will be much more likely to be invited along, or will have a partner in crime to invite along to evening events yourself. Best of luck. Any other readers have tips for our letter writer?

photo credit: Allio via photopin cc

On Visitors Who Take Advantage

Your Question
We live in an easily accessible ski resort town that is a desirable place to visit. We have three young children.

We have a large home with guest rooms and therefore get a lot of requests from friends, and even mere acquaintances, asking to stay with us. Our saying yes the first time has now turned in to repeat requests, sometimes several times each season, or once a year at the least. This has also resulted in repeat visitors asking if they can leave their skis, boots, and other ski gear in our garage or mudroom.

Just because we have a large home we do not want a revolving door of house guests who have come to expect that they are always welcome. Please advise: What is the best way to politely handle this situation? How do we politely refuse these requests without coming across as rude or stingy?

What would have been the best way to have handled these requests in the beginning, so as not to have gotten in to this situation in the first place? What would your response to someone asking if they can stay with you be? Thank you.

skiing paradise hosting hell
the advicist
Firstly, I don’t think you could or should have done things differently in the beginning. You were right to welcome friends; you weren’t to know they were going to take advantage of you. Doing something once, willingly, doesn’t mean that forever after you are obliged to do the same again even if you don’t want to.

Going forward, I think you have to be a bit more upfront (and brutal). When an acquantaince asks, you have to say, “I’m sorry, as you can imagine, living here, we get so many requests, we can’t possibly say yes to everyone”. Hopefully they will leave it at that.

If they try to pressure you further remember that if they can’t take no for an answer now, they will make horrible house-guests. Do not be persuaded by them, instead concentrate on the fact that they are trying to pressure you into it as a reason stand firm in your ‘no’.

You’ll just have to pick a phrase, “I’m sorry we aren’t able to host you” and stick to it. Don’t make false promises about ‘next year’, or ‘another time’, false hope will lead to more requests. Just stick to the line.

As for people who have been before, and you still want to host occasionally, I would implement a policy of one trip per season. So if people call and ask, say, “Jim, we would love to have you. We are getting so many requests this year we are asking people to visit just the once. So would you prefer to come now, or in January?”

If they push their luck with a, “Now and January, ha ha!”, stand firm: “I’m sorry, we can’t do both”.

Another option is to become a B & B. I’m not sure if you’d be interested in the extra work running a business would entail, but since you’re changing the linen anyway, insurance, taxes and admin aren’t much on top. This would have two advantages:

  1. You could make some money.
  2. You could tell people you really don’t want to visit you are ‘Booked up’.

You don’t even have to advertise the business. Just put word out that you’ve decided your house is large enough, and the next time someone asks to stay, tell them you are now a B & B and you have availabilty for x week for y dollars. Many will run for the hills. Job done.

Others will still want to come, and in return you get some extra money for your budget. You don’t have to charge a fortune. You don’t have to open your home up to strangers (don’t list it online or in directories).

If that’s not your thing, but you still want to host occasionally, I think you need some clearer rules – especially concerning kit. If people are coming to ski, and you have agreed to host them, you can’t expect them not to have skis poles and boots. Though I totally understand why that’s frustrating. So since the house is large, I would allocate an area, show them where it is, and say, “We ask all guests to keep all kit in this room / closet / nook”. Again, you’ll have to be firm about reminding people of the area if their stuff strays.

 

Basically, if you want your home back, you’re going to have to enforce some boundaries. Some people find that harder than others. If you’re a people-pleaser, this is going to be hell. But it’s the only way things are going to change.

photo credit: larsjuh via photopin cc

My friend always wants to sit next to me how do I let her down easy?

Your Question  My friend always wants to sit next to me. How do I let her down easy?

But I don't want to sit with you

the advicist Two options, depending on what you’re doing currently:

If you ALWAYS sit together

If you always end up sitting next to her, even though you don’t want to, I think you need to start standing up for yourself. Perhaps simply saying, ‘Actually, I was going to sit with so-and-so today’, and then sitting elsewhere. I guess the easy (coward’s?) way out would be to wait until she’s already sat down herself, and then sitting somewhere else.

It’s nice that you want to be gentle with her, but this is one of those situations where, however you sugar-coat the rejection, it’s still a rejection. Best just to be straight-forward, no lies or excuses or under-handedness.

If you DON’T always sit together

If, on the other hand, sometimes you sit with her, and sometimes you sit with other people, and you’re just bothered by her constantly wanting to sit with you, and you want to tell her to quit it because it annoys you, I say: don’t.

You’re getting what you want – to sit with other people – anyway. Why make a big deal out of  it? To tell her, outright, just seems… kind of cruel. It would be verbalising something that she already knows, by the very fact that you don’t always sit with her.

She’s just being friendly. There’s no need to knock that. Having too many, or too keen, friends, whilst occasionally annoying, is, in the grand scheme of things, one of the nicer problems to have.

Does that cover all eventualities? I know I usually miss something, so do chime in if you’ve spotted today’s missed scenario, or got any other suggestions.

photo credit: naosuke ii via photopin cc

Open Question: Housemates and Vetoing Visitors

This is a first. I have received a question I cannot answer. (Not a question I decided not to answer, I get those all the time.) But a question about which I cannot make up my mind. 

Who would have thought it? Two years of non-stop opinions, and finally, you lot have me stumped!

So, I’m going to open it up to the floor. Please read the dilemma, and then in the comments give our reader your best advice. Please help her, and me, out here! 

Your Question I just moved into this lovely new apartment with two women that I really like and have been friends with for three years or so. We have moved to a new city in a new state and we were all really happy for the fresh start.

All through college, Sarah has had this awful toxic on-off relationship with a boy she knew in high school. He is a drug addict who is hooked on basically any pills he can get his hands on and once stole some of Sarah’s prescription pain killers, not to mention his occasional cocaine habit. He recently went to rehab for a grand total of two weeks for a lifelong drug addiction and Sarah believes that he’s “really changed”.

I haven’t seen him since rehab but as long as I have had contact with him he has been a real jerk who constantly belittles Jess, me and all of Sarah’s friends who are “pulling Sarah away from him” by moving with her to a new city so she can go to MED SCHOOL here because she’s incredibly smart. He also tells racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic jokes constantly and then brushes it off because he’s “just joking”.

All this to preface, this weekend Sarah is going home for her sister’s wedding and decided without consulting me or Jess, our third roommate, that she was going to bring him back with her and he would stay in our apartment for an entire week. She can’t understand why we’re so upset and I finally sent her this text message (because she won’t call/answer because she knows I will be mad about it):

“Sarah, You need to call me. This is OUR shared space and any one of us has the right to veto houseguests if they invade or threaten our space. Zac makes Jess and me highly uncomfortable and unhappy. You cannot bring him here. It is NOT OKAY especially because you didn’t bother asking which was rude and presumptuous.”

So now she’s ignoring me and not responding and she won’t talk to Jess either. If she actually brings Zac back with her, what should I do? I want to be as adult as possible about the situation, but Jess and I also cannot handle him in our apartment (we’ve talked about it several times) and Sarah won’t talk to me about it so I think she’s going to just show up with him at our door and expect me to drop it.

apartment living who has veto rights
the advicist Wow. This is a mess. It was a mess before the text, but now you’re in a real pickle.

Because you’ve told her, unequivocally, that it’s unacceptable. And yet you think she’s going to do it anyway. So you’ve kind of got nowhere else to go.

Do you have the right to veto a houseguest? Have you explicitly talked about this, and agreed to it?

I’m trying to think if I would say any single housemate has veto rights on another housemates’ guests.

Obviously there are situations when it is entirely unacceptable for someone to be brought into your home. Someone known to be violent, for example. But actually, do you have the right to veto that person visiting? Unless you have legal cause (eg. a restraining order), perhaps it would be up to you to leave.

But it’s your home. You have a right to feel comfortable there.

But it’s someone else’s home, and they have a right to have people visit them there, for reasonable stretches of time, if no laws are being broken.

You guys, I’ve gone round and round on this, and I can’t decide whose rights trump whose. When you live somewhere do you get automatic veto power on all guests? And if you lived with someone, would you want them to have that power over you?

Leaving aside who is right, and who is wrong, you think she is going to turn up with him, and expect you to drop it. As I see it, you have two options:

  1. She turns up with him. You drop it. Maybe you give him the silent treatment, but he stays. The problem with this is you said it was unacceptable. if you accept it, going forward, your words, and your threats, do not mean much. 
  2. She turns up with him, you say he is unwelcome, and won’t let him stay there. This leaves huge potential for a big scene, anger, fallings-out, and the ending of friendships.

So I don’t really know what to advise. You’ve boxed yourself into a corner by laying down a law that you were not sure you could enforce. Either you relent, or it’s gonna get ugly. And neither outcome is what you want.

PSA: This is why I advise against ultimatums, or threats. If you’re going to say something is unacceptable, you need to be prepared to back that up with your actions. And you need to know what those actions will be.

I also feels that he deserves credit for attending rehab. Two weeks doesn’t sound like long, but if it’s the longest stretch you’ve ever gone without using, I’m sure it feels like a lifetime. He may have changed. He may not. But at least allow him the chance to try, without prejudging his failure.

So, my dear readers, can you help our friend out? I hate to leave her in the lurch, but I really don’t know where I stand on this. Thank you!

(If you’re reading this in a reader or by e-mail click the link to the original post below to come over to the site and leave a comment with your advice.)

photo credit: Edward Dalmulder via photopincc

Why Did My Friend Dump Me?

Your Question  Morning Ladies! hope you had a good weekend! I have a personal question and wanted to know if any of you have gone or going through a similar situation.

I have a close friend of mine that I’ve knows for 20 years. We always had the same likes, interests, plenty of things in common, in fact, we attempted to start our own handmade greeting card / invitation business about 15 years ago. That fell through due to change of interest etc – but what stuck in my mind was that she backed out 2 months after because she thought our friendship would change, which I didn’t understand.

ANYWAYS – now that I feel that I have FINALLY found my niche running a VR business, I’ve noticed she NEVER really commented or even became a ‘fan’ of my page…

I didn’t really think anything of it until this weekend – she hasn’t been really responsive to ‘anything’. I mean I dont have any expectations from anybody, I am the most humble, supportive person I can be – I naturally encourage my friends to strive for their dreams etc etc..

So, with that being said do you think she is just jealous of the ‘success’ – even though i am not even UP THERE YET? oooh gosh – I talked to my husband about it and he says it is but that’s human nature and to let it go..

I can’t seem to let it go – esp since we been friends for half our lives.

why did my friend dump me

the advicist Well, first, a quick correction. I am a lady, yes, but actually, around 15% of our readers are men. And that’s pretty high for a blog, from what I see. So, good morning, everyone, and a special shout out to all the men.

That aside.

I’m glad you found your niche. I’m afraid I have no idea what a VR business is, but I suppose it’s not important to the substance of your question. (Do feel free to enlighten me in the comments though, I’m curious!)

She didn’t like your page. And? I do not, I cannot, I will not understand why you all get so upset about what people do and don’t do on Facebook.

Seriously, why are you analysing it so closely? And don’t say, ‘Oh, it’s my business, I have to know what’s going on!’, because, erm, guess who around here runs an online business?

Through backend admin panel of this blog, I see people come, I see people go. No, I am not offended by each one who passes through who doesn’t subscribe, or hit ‘like’ or whatever. I’m not going to be for everyone.

As for my friends? Well, none of them know this is me. But even if they did, I would not expect them to ‘like’ my page.

You said “I mean I don’t have any expectations from anybody”, but that sounds like exactly what you have. You expected her to like your page, she didn’t, now you’re upset.

Even if you try to kid yourself that you weren’t ‘expecting anything’ your disappointment that she didn’t do it gives you away, and proves you were expecting something.

And I get that you are upset about it, and feel that it makes her an unsupportive friend. But,

  1. Are you sure she knows about the page? We’ve talked before about how Facebook shows different things to different people; just because you get all of her updates doesn’t mean she gets all of yours. 
  2. Maybe she just isn’t into Facebook. Perhaps she shows her support in other ways. I can think of many friends who’s facebook business pages I have never liked, but for whom I’ve cooked many a decent meal. Which really shows support? Both? Neither? One more than the other?

Your basic question is ‘Is she jealous of my success’? I have to say, I think always assuming all bad feeling comes from jealousy is silly. Why can’t she just be upset with you without it having to be jealousy?

Could you have done something to upset her? Even inadvertently? Are there any lingering ill-feelings over your failed joint business venture?

Sometimes people just don’t like people, or don’t like their product, or whatever. It doesn’t mean that they are jealous. They may just not like it. (It also doesn’t mean that they are not jealous. They may be. Or they may be both).

The ‘jealousy’ argument doesn’t stack up for me in most cases though – unless you have some more evidence to prove to the contrary? It is perfectly possible to be critical of successful people’s choices, without that criticism coming from a place of jealousy. I don’t think politicians should cheat and lie. Am I just jealous I don’t have their power? No. I just don’t think they should do it.

The end of a friendship (if that is what it is) is hard. Really. It’s a loss like the end of any relationship, only there isn’t usually the tearful breakups, the ‘shall we try to make it work‘s, and there isn’t the immediate understanding from friends and family that, for a little while, you’ll have a broken heart.

It sucks that things have come to this. But I don’t think trying to blame her will help. It sounds as though you just grew apart, and no-one’s at fault.

And it does sound like you are trying to apportion blame. Unfortunately, often in this situation I see people going on the attack, because that’s the best way to defend themselves from accusations (even internal ones) of wrongdoing.

Are you faultless in all of this? Really? Deep deep down?

If the friendship just ran its course, that’s okay. If one or other of you caused it to end, maybe that’s for the best too.

photo credit: VinothChandar via photopin cc

Snappy Comebaks to ‘Whatever’

Question: What’s a snappy comeback to ‘whatever’?

whatever

my honest answer: Firstly, and I AM GETTING SO SICK OF THIS DISCLAIMER, so I know you are too, but generally I don’t think snappy comebacks are the answer to anything (except a cycle of bitterness any misery).

That being said, today, I might make an exception. Because anyone over the age of 16 who actually says ‘Whatever’?

They deserve it.

I can only thing of a sarcastic, and equally high-school-ish ‘Totes!’

It diffuses what they are saying by agreeing with them (ouch, that’s annoying, when you’re rudely dismissing someone, and they’re all, ‘yep, you’re right!’). Plus, there’s nothing really left to say after that.

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em?

Anyone else got any good ones? And do you still say ‘Whatever’? (Even as I type this, I want to make the Clueless sign on my forehead).

No photo credit today… just me and photoshop to thank for that one.

How to Reply to Unwanted Advice

Question: How should I reply to unwanted advice?

how about a cup of shut the hell up

Wall sign found on Etsy. I love it.

my honest answer: First, be careful you’re not inviting the advice by complaining all the time.

There are some people who cannot hear a complaint without trying to solve it for you (hmmmm, remind you of anyone?). These people can be annoying, they can also be the people who invent the solutions to small problems that hugely improve our quality of life.

(I’m thinking of this little widget that keeps power cords on the table, not down the back of it. To most people an annoyance, to one person, a problem that needed solving).

Start to recognise those people in your life, who, at the first sign of a complaint, will chime in with, ‘What about?’, or, Have you tried’, or the dreaded, ‘Yeah, but…’. And then, either stop complaining to them, or be prepared for unwanted advice.

And rememeber, sometimes you will think you are just commenting on life, when actually it comes across as a complaint or problem you want to solve.

You say, ‘Ugh, gas is so expensive these days!’, meaning, that sucks for everyone. They hear, ‘My vehicle costs a lot to run. Do you know of any more fuel efficient models?’.

Limiting complaining is often the first step to eliminating unwanted advice.

If you are guilty of moaning you should also stop because no-one likes a whinger. Seriously. I used to be one, until a colleague said those exact words to me, and boy, was he ever right.

And I never really said thank you, even though that was some of the best (unsolicited) advice I’ve ever received in my whole life.

Anyway. If complaining isn’t the issue, then your best tactic is just to smile, and carry on as before.

They can offer advice. You don’t have to take it. If you need to say something, I’d go for, ‘Thanks, I’ll bear that in mind!’.

Then, CHANGE THE SUBJECT. Quick.

Any other tips for shutting down life’s problem solvers? Or should you always hear them out, because they might have good ideas?

 

My Friend Left Me For Someone Nicer

Question: I have this friend who I’ve been really close with for about a year and half.

We originally got close while some of her best friends were abroad and when they came back, she tried to initiate me into that friend group, but we just didn’t mix well.

They all super, super genuinely nice and I’m more a sarcastic type so my presence often fell flat with them despite my friend’s best efforts. So, she started hanging out with me less and less and there was a lot of tension between us because of it.

In turn, I started sleeping with this guy who I had met over the summer and she really disapproved of the relationship. So in the rare instances where I would get to hang out with her just the two of us, she would rail about what a bad choice it was to even hang out with him at all and it really bugged me.

When I finally told her to stop ragging on him him so much because it was ultimately my choice to sleep with him, she just stopped talking to me altogether and now we haven’t spoken in about 2 months.

Whenever I see her, I really don’t even know how to talk to her anymore because my pride is still pretty injured over the whole thing (I know, I know), but I don’t think she has any right to tell me who to sleep with even if she thinks it’s a “bad idea” and before that, I was already hurt that she couldn’t make time for me because all her other friends were home.

I’m sure she has plenty of reasons why she doesn’t want to talk either, but I don’t know how to approach the situation anymore.

my honest answer: Honestly, I think this friendship has just run its course. It’s sad, but it happens.

It sounds like you still see her around, so say ‘hi’, be polite, ask how she is. But you don’t have to make it any more than that.

And you don’t have to feel bad about the friendship ending. I think we have this ridiculous idea (thanks again, TV) that once you’re friends with someone, you have to be friends forever. 

It just doesn’t work like that in real life. You don’t buy a purse, and then feel like you’re cheating on it forever more when you get a new one. When you realise the wall colour you chose for the living room isn’t your thing anymore, you don’t beat yourself up over it, you chose a new colour and you repaint.

I’m not trying to make friends sound as expendable as accessories and decor choices. Of course not, THEY’RE PEOPLE.

I’m just saying the decision to be friends with them isn’t irrevocable. There’s no need to discard them, be rude about them, or dislike them. It’s just that, at one time, you were close, now, that’s not the right thing for the two of you anymore. No-one’s to blame, no-one’s at fault.

I understand it sucks to be ‘dumped’ though, and I’m sorry for that.

Maybe it’s not as much of a loss as you think though? Because 1) We both know people who don’t get sarcasm, are, like, pointless. And 2) Telling you who you can sleep with? Not cool.

But… I’m going to do it anyway. I have to ask: are you dating a jerk? Because, really? If you are I’m so defeated I don’t even have it in me to be sarcastic.

 

How To Forgive

Question: How do I forgive someone who has wronged me?

my honest answer: Wow. Forgiveness. This is a big topic. There are whole religions based on it. And if you’re looking for that kind of answer, you might be in the wrong place.

I heard a radio piece on forgiveness a few months ago. I’m afraid I can’t remember who it was by (although he was a minister of some description within the Church of England, if I recall).

And he pointed out something very obvious, which I had never thought of before.

Nothing is ‘unforgiveable’.

(I don’t mean that in a relative way, hear me out).

If you forgive someone for something, then that thing was clearly ‘forgivable’. And therefore, you haven’t really forgiven them, because they thing that they did did not require forgiveness.

So anything that you ‘forgive’ someone for, has to have been, in essence, unforgiveable. They wouldn’t need your forgiveness unless they had done something that, ordinarily, you wouldn’t just forgive anyway.

Gosh, does that make any sense? The other guy was much clearer and more eloquent.

Anyway, the scene I’m trying to set is that forgiveness should be hard, or else it isn’t really forgiveness, it’s just getting on with life.

But, even if we agree it’s hard, how can we find it in ourselves to forgive someone?

Empathy

I guess one of the easiest methods to try to forgive someone is to empathise. Put yourself in their shoes.

Could you, perhaps, in similar circumstances (or even wildly different ones) ever have committed the same transgression? Can you imagine a scenario in which you might have done the same thing?

Or do you remember a time when you have done something that you much regretted, and you recall how painfully awful that was?

Try to put yourself in their shoes.

This technique works best when you believe that they are genuinely sorry, and understand what they did to cause the rift.

Understanding

You can also try to remind yourself that even though they did you wrong, they’ve probably been wronged themselves too. Is there anything in their life that can help you understand why they did what they did?

Or even if there isn’t, recognise that you don’t know their story. Even if you think you do, there is some part of each of us that is hidden (even from ourselves).

Making Amends

When answering a question about how to get forgiveness, I asked the questioner whether they had done everything they could to put things right. That seems like an important step in asking for forgiveness to me.

So, has this person tried to put things right? Have they apologised? Have they replaced anything that can be replaced (and I know most things, including feelings, can’t)?

If they haven’t made an effort to put things right, and you are struggling with forgiving them, it might be worth telling them what they can do to make you feel better. This is, of course, assuming that they want your forgiveness. If you have gone your seperate ways, and you are just trying to find it within yourself to forgive, this isn’t relevant. Don’t go opening old wounds by seeking them out.

But if it is someone who is still in your life, and they want your forgiveness, and you want to give it to them, but you’re finding it hard, explaining why you are so upset, and asking for a proper apology might be helpful.

Put it in Context

Another technique for forgiving people is to ask yourself how big a deal it really is.

Will you still remember this incident in five years? In ten years? In thirty years?

Don’t hold on to anger just have something ‘over’ someone. Forgiving them will free you too – because you won’t have to hold onto the bitterness.

Think of life in its grand scheme. Compared to the tragedies that  may befall us, how important is this incident, really? (I understand it may have caused one of life’s tragedies, so this might not help).

If you’re not going to see this event as a major turning point in your life, when you look back on it from the armchair of your nursing home, why fuss over it now? It’s easier for everyone just to put it down to experience, and move on.

 

I hope that some of these suggestions might help. I really feel I haven’t gotten to the bottom of this question though, and it’s been in my drafts folder for longer than I care to mention. So, having admitted I have nothing more to say on the subject (wow, right?!), but feeling there is much more to be said, I’d like to open it up to the floor. Please chime in with any suggestions, ideas, or thoughts you might have on how to forgive.

As always, you can comment totally anonymously, neither a name nor e-mail address is required to comment here.