How do I rebuild this friendship?
I have a friend/colleague who has helped me through a traumatic experience, however in that process I was unable to be a good friend/colleague to them. As a result, I have hurt them and they have hurt me as well. In trying to let the person know that “they do not realize how much they have hurt me”, I feel that statement has made them shut me out. I feel the person has done a lot for me and probably doesn’t understand how they could hurt me.
I feel I need to respect their feeling by giving them space and respecting things they have told me in the past to show that I am a different person and that was then. My question is “how do I rebuild this friendship if the person does not wish to communicate”? signed, 786000, age 43
Dear 78600, So many friendships are destroyed because the people involved would rather be “right” than be happy and salvage the friendship. Here is my advice for you to consider.
1. Write an apology letter to this friend/colleague. Only put in the letter your apology and make no mention of how they have hurt you. Own the wrong that you have done and make no excuses for it. Just apologize and ask for their forgiveness.
2. Mail this letter with no return address so they will be more inclined to open it.
3. Expect nothing in return. The goal is to own you part of the hurt caused and don’t ask for anything else in return other than their forgiveness.
We have a great article on Forgive and go Free that you may find helpful. Also when and if you do get to talk to this person after they receive the letter and they open up communication then we have a great article that can help you Express and Own Your Feelings.
Remember you are only responsible for yourself and your actions, You cannot control or force someone to respond if they don’t wish too. Write a sincere apology, mail it and then move forward with no expectations and observe what happens over time. If the recipient has a forgiving heart and an open mind they may respond in kind as long as your letter does not point any finger at them in anyway.
Please understand you have free will. This advice is given only in the realm of personal growth and self-help. This is not to be considered a substitute for therapy or professional counseling. We wish you well.