I used to carry a camera around me wherever I go, and I always loved to capture moments. I’m not a photographer and I’m not a great poser, but I always love taking pictures with friends. You know, for the sake of memory. My favorite was always group pictures; there just had to be a fun group picture for almost every occasion.
Lately though, my camera has been sitting comfortably (at least I hope it’s comfortable) in my bag. I still carry it around wherever I go, but most of the time it stays there in the bag. Because lately, I’m starting to wonder what’s the point of taking a group picture if the same people who are smiling and hugging each other in this picture won’t be even saying hello to each other in a few months or years? What’s the point of taking a group picture if the group, or part of the group, will eventually fall apart?
I think we all have friends who at some point stopped talking to each other and decided to leave the friendship behind over a fight or a misunderstanding or an accumulation of misunderstandings. And while in some cases, the friendship really isn’t meant to be (we’ve all had so-called friends who only brought negativity to our life and never deserved our friendship in the first place), the reason why most of the time the friendship isn’t restored is that, sadly enough, we have become self-centered and self-absorbed creatures.
Fighting and arguing is normal and it happens all the time. We’ve all fought with people we love many times in our life. We’ve all lost our temper, said hurtful words in the heat of the moment, done something to upset the other person, or been hurt by the other person, and taken a stand against someone close to us.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a firm believer that life is too short to be on bad terms with anyone. So when a friendship or relationship becomes bumpy, I always try to make things work, to patch things up again. Because in most times, I do care about the relationship and I don’t want to lose it over one argument. And because I believe in communication and in dealing with issues, rather than running away and building up anger. I’d rather focus on the positive and eliminate the negative. I don’t think it makes me weak, or naive, or too nice. It just makes me the bigger person. After all, making the first step to break the silence doesn’t mean that you’re wrong and the other person is right. It just means that you value the relationship more than your ego.
I know that after a fight, we all need our own space. And there is nothing wrong with taking a bit of space and a bit of time apart. Time to contemplate. Time to evaluate. Time to cool off. Time to think things through. But eventually, you will have to face the person and deal with the situation. Don’t just run away from the problem by avoiding that person or waiting for them to take the first step, or to apologize. Not talking to them only makes you a coward, or a stubborn little kid. And why? Because you don’t want to be the first to say sorry? Because your pride won’t allow it? Because you think the other person should make the step first because they are the one that hurt you after all?
Let me tell you one thing. In every argument or fight, there are TWO people to blame. Yes, TWO. Not one. You think the other person owes you an apology? Guess what, so do you. Their hot temper and angry words didn’t come out of nowhere. They probably came from something that you did. Something that bothered them. And although this doesn’t justify their reaction, recognizing and admitting that you too were wrong and partly to blame, makes you the bigger person.
What if no one says sorry first? What if no one makes the first step and calls up to talk about the issue? What if days, months, and years go by and no one decides to be the bigger person? Then you just decide to let the friendship die? Because of pride? Because you weren’t mature enough to deal with issues? Or because you’re scared your apology won’t be accepted? That you’ll get a negative reaction and that your initiative won’t be welcomed?
I am not asking you to forget. I am not asking you to tolerate behaviors and attitudes that are demeaning to you. And I am not asking you to go back completely to the way things used to be. I am asking you not to have a harsh heart. I am asking you to let go of your stubbornness and have a more open heart. Being on good terms doesn’t mean being best friends all over again. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean being naive and allowing that person to hurt you again.
Do put limits. Do create a distance if you feel it’s needed. Do talk about what hurt you. But please, please, please, do not ignore the issue and let time completely kill the relationship. Do not put yourself in a situation where if you bump into each other in the supermarket, you turn around without even saying hello. Or if you’re invited to the same party, you cancel just because that person will be there. Do not make that person your enemy. Who needs enemies in life? Who needs an extra person to be on bad terms with? Trust me, life is already too stressful without that.
Now, you may argue with me and tell me who needs bad friends? But I am not talking about bad friends. I am talking about the good friends that screwed up. Because we all screw up at some time, don’t we? And we all deserve a second chance.
So be the bigger person. Let go of the anger inside you and let go of your pride. Communicate and give that person a second chance. And remember to always love your relationships more than your ego.