You deserve friends who make you laugh, feel loved, comfort you when you need comforting, accept your limitations and quickly work out any problems with you when they see you are unhappy. You deserve friends who always give you the benefit of the doubt, who accept when they’ve hurt you and always do their best to make amends and not let you sit in pain. You deserve friends who return your best efforts at kindness and friendship with their own best efforts. We all deserve that. We are lucky when we find real friendship and should remember to be grateful for every day of it. Friendship should never be taken for granted, it is mortal, just like us.
The hard part of friendship is when you are deeply hurt by a friend who then feels defensive and needs to feel understood themself about why they hurt you, tells you why you shouldn’t have been so hurt, why they couldn’t respond to you any differently, why what you needed by way of honest acknowledgment of what happened was impossible for them for a list of perfectly valid reasons — and, perhaps most importantly, how hurt they were by you saying they hurt you. Your emotional emergency, they might explain, does not make it their emotional emergency, since they are very busy with many responsibilities and loved ones to take care of. It can sit, until there’s time, until people are not under stress, until everyone is nice and calm. That period of silence will give the hurt party time to heal, presumably, and then cooler heads will prevail and everything that is bothering everybody can be left in the past as the simple human mistake that it was.
The hardest part about friendship is the expectation that, no matter what, you need to take our undying love as beyond question or doubt, to understand things we can never explain, acknowledge or stop justifying. We all have reasons for our actions and inaction, we all believe we are justified in what we do or don’t do, that we are not emotionally volatile assholes who hold in a lifetime of painful feelings and simply lash out in frustration and misplaced anger sometimes.
“OK, fine, you want to blame us for your pain, your childish need to be the eternal victim? Yes, we could have behaved better, we could have listened, we could have responded, we could have reached out after you reached out to us, but we didn’t, so just get over it, either accept our understandable human limitations, and our love (which you obviously don’t know how to return) or be on your miserable way. Our life is good, and full, and fulfilling and we can’t really help you with your immense reservoir of pain, anger and need to blame others for your own problems.”
If we are filled with infinite love, patience, wisdom and compassion we may be able to understand that position as a somewhat defensive expression of true, deep friendship, in spite of its seemingly harsh nature. If not, we remain hurt, locked in a childish feeling of being unloved and ready to lash out even when our old friend drives hours after a day of work to prove his friendship by being there, even if unable to offer any actual comfort, to absorb a final, typical, angry outburst or two. Push an asshole far enough emotionally, et, voila, they revert to their sickeningly aggressive, threatening, childish type.
“Nobody wants to hear your justifications for why you felt entitled not to continue to hold your pain and frustration in, after way less than a year of simply not being heard. It’s just sad that you need to weaponize a few months of innocent, perfectly understandable silence. Friends don’t make you sad, friends help you.”