Monday, March 07, 2011

Do you ever do dumb stuff?

do. I think I've inadvertently done something which may have ended up hurting a friend. Why do I do these things? (Thanks to all those who helpfully answered, "Because you're a dork, Sooz." Yes, I'm aware of that.)

I don't have many friends, in part because I don't have good friend-making skills. There's a story behind this lack, of course. When I was in middle school, a new family with many children moved into our neighborhood. They had a girl my age, and I was thrilled at the thought that perhaps she and I could be friends. I came to her home, introduced myself, showed her around the neighborhood and took her to visit my home, lent her my favorite books -- in short, everything I could think of to make her feel comfortable. At the end of all this, she turned to me and said, without a trace of rancor, "You know, Sooz, I just don't think I like you." And she walked home alone.

From that point on, I made very little effort to acquire or cultivate friendships, feeling it wasn't worth the danger of rejection. Even as an adult, it's difficult for me to go beyond polite cordiality with strangers. Generally speaking, the people I've known who have been my closest friends are those who chose to approach me first, who decided to make the effort themselves. For this reason, the friends I do have are of great worth to me and I don't want to hurt or alienate them, either with thoughtless words or stupid actions. And believe me, I seem to have a facility for doing both.

There's no need to be more specific, but if you're a friend of mine and I've said or done anything to cause you hurt or offense, I am sincerely sorry and I hope you'll give me another chance.


Gretel said...

Lummy. I'm not really the best person to offer advice on friends, but if it's someone specific, maybe you could send them a card with a little bunch of flowers or gift, not necessarily with a specific apology, but it would hopefully come across as that? Or simply write an email expressing your concern that you might have inadvertantly said something? Tricky.

Soozcat said...

Thanks. I'm hard pressed to know exactly what to do. Will maybe sleep on it.

D. Cootey said...

As one who has made a life's work out of putting my foot in my mouth, I have become very good at The Apology. There is an art to it. You can't debase yourself too much, yet you need to sound sincere. I also found wearing a clown suit had the opposite effect that I wanted.

Basically, you can do nothing but apologize and hope they forgive you. For some people, that is easy. For others, they will never trust you ever again for as long as they live, then come back to haunt you after they pass on. I have found my truest friends forgive me. Those that don't were generally never friends to begin with, but I am glad I did the right thing and apologized.

That being said, I have found that treating a friend to a movie or meal often smoothes things over easier. A small gift—targeted to a personal interest of theirs—can display sincerity and help them over the barriers within their heart. We did, after all, hurt them. It is too much to expect them to get over that quickly.

Good luck. You're a good person. I am sure your friend knows that and will come around.

Wendy Jean said...

This is why I a so glad I found you! You are no only brilliant and funny you are thoughtful and caring...

Rachel said...

Sooz, your story as a kid is touching and sad. It makes me want to go to your past so we could become wonderful friends who would share our love of reading, playing games, being geeks, etc. *hugs*

Rachel said...

I'm leaving this comment so I can check the "Email follow-up comments" to myself since I never think to visit posts I've commented on.