Recently, a friend and I got to talking about a health-related issue that I was going through. I tried to make some dietary changes but ended up having dizzy spells and I suspected it was because of the dietary changes. (Unfortunately, the dizzy spells have happened many times before and usually when I tried to do this very thing. Sigh!) Somewhere along our conversation, though, I think she got confused about something, because she got something wrong about what I was saying. I don’t know where that came from or how that happened, but there it was.
After I realized she had made this mistake, I was trying to figure out how it had happened. I really couldn’t figure that out, but I realized, you know, this was just a misunderstanding. You know the saying, “What we have here is a failure to communicate”? I think that might have happened here. Maybe I was not communicating with her effectively.
In any event, I knew I had to clear the air with her and let her know that she had gotten something about our conversation wrong. She had misunderstood what I said, I think. Or maybe she later interpreted it wrong. Who knows! (Everybody’s perspective is different and there are SO MANY times people have taken things I have said the wrong way or taken mistakes I have made and twisted them around to make me look like I intentionally made that mistake or am an evil person. There was one time a friend and I had just one such misunderstanding and she really let me have it via text messaging. Later, after we had both cooled off, we both cleared the air, I was able to explain my side of the story and she explained her side of the story and we realized it was a misunderstanding and made up. We are still friends!)
So, yeah. I realized I had to clear the air with my friend. She IS my friend and I want to keep my friendship with her. And it was not a good idea to allow her to continue thinking that this wrong interpretation of our conversation was the RIGHT one. I had to let her know she’d made a mistake!
But….I didn’t want to. I knew if I said something, she might be embarrassed or feel stupid. She might take my pointing out the mistake the wrong way.
But it’s not like I was doing anything bad by pointing out the mistake! Like I said, it was a bad idea to allow her to continue thinking this particular thing when it was not the CORRECT particular thing! I had to let her know that was not true!
So, finally, at one point, I just did a mental about-face and told myself, “You have to SAY something!”
I had to let my friend know that there was a misunderstanding. I had to GENTLY let her know that what she thought I was saying was NOT what I was saying. That she had somehow misunderstood me. And that’s exactly what I said in my email to her this morning: “I think there has been a misunderstanding."
I did clear the air with her, but I didn’t do it in a way that was blatant or harsh. I gently let her know that what she thought I said was NOT what I had said. (And before we go into psychological debates, let me just say that I did not need to review my conversation with her to let her know that that was not what I had said – unlike that OTHER mistake that is going to be hanging over my head for the rest of my natural life!!!!!)
After I sent that email off, I actually felt better that I had cleared the air with my friend. I was relieved to have finally tackled this issue and get the truth out into the open. And if she really is my friend, she would understand. She would know that I was not trying to be condescending and I was not trying to make her look bad. We have never fought (though that COULD happen someday because that is the true test of friendship – if we forgive each other, we really ARE friends!) and we basically get along well. I love her, really. She’s an awesome friend and I hope to keep my friendship with her. And if the friendship is sound, this would not be a deal-breaker with her. (I have never known her to act all high and mighty about what she perceives or what she thinks, so I don’t think it will be.) But the bottom line is, I felt a huge weight lift off of me after I sent that email. A problem had come up between us and I finally took action with it. I was really nervous about doing so, but I couldn’t just let that SIT THERE! I had to clear the air with her, and I did.
And you know what? Getting THAT particular thing resolved and taken care of helped me to feel a little bit better about being able to tackle OTHER sticky issues with my friend, should any of that stuff come up.