Raise your hand if you have been hurt by a friend before. Oh look, every arm on the Internet just went up. (Except that guy in a corner- wait, that is just a troll.) We are on the same page then. It stinks that every human has been hurt by another. Not only that, but by someone we trust.
That seems to be the hardest. To know humans betray each other is one thing, but to be wounded by a close friend just makes it a thousand times more bitter. It hurts. Having our trust broken hurts. Losing a friendship hurts. Caring about someone then being rejected hurts.
Losing a friendship is a type of grief. It is ok to feel hurt. It can be good to grieve what we have lost. When we do that in the right proportion, we can move forward to healing.
Sometimes the hurt is just over little things. The other person may truly be in the wrong, but it is a minor issue. Acknowledging the pain to ourselves can clear our heads. After dealing with the emotion of the moment we can see that it was just a small matter. Perhaps the friend did not mean to hurt us at all. If the matter is worth confronting them about, we can do that without our feelings getting in the way. Or we may smile to ourselves and realize it is not worth mentioning. (After all, it is to one’s glory to overlook an offense*.) Either way, the relationship is usually back to where it was with minimal hurt for anyone.
There are times, however, it is not that easy. There is pain that is deeper; friendships wounded worse than a simple irritation. Those situations are hard. Sifting through whether or not the relationship can be salvaged is tricky- and beyond the scope of what I will talk about here.
In that process though, we may find that a relationship can be saved, but it will not be as close as it was. We remain friends, but oh, it takes guts to trust them again. There are things that we can never trust them with anymore. It is a friendship with boundaries. Bittersweet. It is ok to mourn the friendship we once had with someone. At the same time, we cannot forget to enjoy what we still have.
“To bury a friendship is a keener grief than to bury a friend.” -Hugh Black
Then there is the friendship that is lost altogether. This is the friend who used to care about us. There was a time when we could share what was on our hearts, when we were close. Now those memories sting. This friend had a choice. Whatever happened, they rejected the friendship. Grieving a lost friendship in this case is appropriate.
The thing in every circumstance is to keep the grieving in proportion. Remember to feel pain about what truly happened. We do not need to cause more pain for ourselves by imagining our wounds to be worse than they are. Pity parties do not breed any good relationships.
Acknowledging wounds and grieving lost relationships are the first steps. They are the beginning of healing. We all have the choice of healing or reacting in our relationships. The pain of friendships is not what defines them. Our choices do.