Has this ever happened to you?
I had a rather strange situation happen to me yesterday. A friend, lets call her Erica, sent me a rather long venting email. In it she described, more or less, an emotional bullet point account of some instances in which she claims I made her feel, "stupid and emotionally deflated'. Now, I take no responsibility whatsoever in how my words make someone feel unless I am being verbally abusive, overly cynical or just plain mean, which I was not. In instances cited, she mentioned asking my opinion on something, "Do you like this?", "No," I said as matter of factly as I could. No venom or spite in my tone, just a 'no'. I get that people are not used to hearing no anymore, but I don't see it as a curse word. And just because I say no does not make your opinion any less valid. I don't have or want that type of control over you. I would also think any other person in the world would be strong enough to know that.
I asked Erica many, many times to call so we could discuss this verbally, but she ignored my queries. In her letter she cited other instances which were pretty much the same type of thing. Erica went on to say that I had a choice. I could 1) Tell her to fuck off, or 2) I could 'tone it down' and then we could remain friends.
Although you are only getting my perspective on this, I'm sure you can understand my silly logical brain. Really? (which is another word she criticized me on using) You and only you get to form the premise on which our friendship continues? You get to set up an ultimatum? That genuinely shocked me. I've never had a friend in my entire life do that. I guess what was also shocking was this glib expectation that this was perfectly reasonable and that I would just fall right into line with it all. It was the most blatantly one sided friendship situation I've ever encountered, and I was offended by that.
So I wrote her back (in hindsight I should have insisted on a call) not using choice one or two, but saying what I wanted to say, which I felt was sharing whatever blame in this imaginary situation there was, and being amazingly encouraging. Didn't matter, I didn't use choice one or two, so whatever I wrote was void upon sending.
Apparently she needs a brake from me.
Did you get that phrasing? She needs a brake from me.
In all the reactions I could of had, that actually made me laugh. I think it's more the arrogance of it than anything else. I am not going to begin to justify myself or my ways as a person to anyone, and never in my life have I had to. Looking back on the year plus that we were in each other's company, I think one thing she didn't like was me asking her to explain things. "What's the reason you don't like it?" or, "Why do you think that's ugly, I don't." Gathering information to understand someone isn't the same as being confrontational or thinking they are 'stupid'. I suppose she cared not to differentiate.
I understand everyone has their quirks, myself included, and believe me, I've dealt with quite a few from Erica, and understanding a person's quirks, letting them know about them and saying you accept them (in whatever form) or do not, to me is different than saying 'change yourself or we cant be friends'. Does that make sense?
I'm not mad at Erica. To be mad means you care, and at this point I have no emotion invested in this at all. In any account I think I'm done with this whole thing. I wasted an entire day thinking about this and I think that's a lot of time. I'm just one friend short today. I'm fine with that. Well, I actually did hang out with someone fun yesterday and they seemed kind of cool, so maybe I'm braking even on this whole thing. Thats encouraging to think!
Has anyone been in a similar situation with a 'friend'? Please share :)