Sent a message to a close friend today. No response. Sent a message to his wife a few days ago. No response. My crime? Not agreeing with them on an issue neither of us have anything to do with. The issue itself is irrelevant to this post. The friends, however, are incredibly relevant.
We did college together. This year is our 25-year college reunion. There’s too much history to suddenly not be friends. That is the heart of this post. Sharing it just because I think somebody needs to read this.
Will we be okay? We better be. Not sure how they’ll explain to their daughters why “Uncle Dennis” isn’t part of the family anymore.
I’m a no-drama guy so that helps me take this in stride. Some things I will not be doing:
- Posting on social media about how ______ (fill in the blank) some people can be
- Trying to get our mutual friends to choose sides
- “Ghosting them” when they do choose to get back in contact
Some things I will be doing:
- Resting with confidence they will be back when they’re ready… but it may be a few years… hopefully not because of a tragedy – that tends to bring people back together
- Writing a post on my blog – honestly, this is probably more for my own thought process than to help you with your own disagreements
- Using a cute picture of puppies for the header, rather than finding an image for conflict, just because I “really” don’t like conflict.
Here’s the hard thing about conflict:
- Humans are built for relationships
- The older I get, the harder relationships are to create because people already have their own worlds they’re immersed in. It’s not like I (or they) would be wise to suddenly cut off a friendship.
- I’m a people-pleaser so it’s unnatural for me to be at odds with anybody. I thrive on being on people’s good side.
If this happened 25 years ago, it might be more difficult. That’s what this blog post is about… perspective about conflict.
Even though I haven’t had a lot of conflict in my day, I’ve seen quite a bit in the relationships of people I care about… and even helped resolve some of them. I even wrote a chapter called “Conflict” in my book. It has some great observations I’ve made and tactics I’ve used to help resolve issues in healthy ways.
Here’s my perspective:
- Our disagreement is about something neither of us can fix. To “fix” the conflict, I guess one of us would have to lie and say we agree with the other one – or – (and I think this is what will happen) they will come to a decision our friendship is strong enough to allow a disagreement. (That’s how I already feel – I’m just waiting for them to decide that, too.)
- We will regret time lost between the time I was disowned and when we decide to put the disagreement behind us. I hope that would be measured in weeks or months, rather than years.
- We will be friends again. People, being made for relationships, don’t typically shrug friends off too easily. There will be a day of reuniting. I’m looking forward to that day.
- For my part, since I am not mad at them, I will continue to send birthday wishes and holiday greetings. I know these will act as a path back when my friends are ready.
Are you, or is somebody you know, in a conflict you would like to resolve, but can’t? Hopefully, a little perspective will help you have the patience needed to give them space. Time doesn’t necessarily heal wounds, but neither does refusing to give people space they need to cool down and get over their issues.