Tag Archives: relationships

Post-mortem of a friendship

2014-06-07 21.49.38

I saw you the other day. You were with your husband, whom I barely know, and your child, whom I’ve never met. I saw you, and I was filled with the usual mix of hope and dread. Hope, that you would come over and say hi. Dread, because if you did, I wouldn’t have a clue what to say. But you didn’t, and I left, experiencing the usual mix of relief and sorrow. Relief that I wouldn’t have to find the words to cover the years and spaces between us. Sorrow over the death of a friendship.

If someone had asked me when the sickness in our friendship began, I would have said it was when we stopped living in the same place, but, on reflection, I can see now that the symptoms were there long before. You see, both of us assumed that we would be friends forever, and so both of us took the other for granted. Perhaps you more than me; because I realised one day that I was losing you, and I didn’t want to let that happen. But by the time I realised it was already almost too late.

So I fought. I fought hard. I wrote and emailed, texted (I didn’t call. I don’t like unplanned phone calls). And I received some responses, but it always seemed that they were half-hearted promises, never fulfilled or too late to make a difference.

You have to understand that I don’t blame you, because in the end, I gave up. I couldn’t keep fighting because it hurt too much.

I recognise, too, that the last missed opportunity was my fault. We had actually made plans. I was meant to drive over to see you. But then the day came and I was sick. And as I am being honest, I need to tell you that part of the sickness was out of fear. My life was a mess at that time, and as much as I wanted to see you, I didn’t want to have to explain, and I didn’t have the strength to hide all the stuff I was dealing with. So I cancelled, and you were lovely about it. You said we’d try again soon, that we’d meet in the middle, both make a trip to cover the distance between us. And this meant so much to me, because all I’d ever wanted was for you to meet me halfway.

And that was the last time I heard from you.

It was your birthday a few weeks ago. Social media reminded me. Even if it hadn’t, I would have known. The date is etched into my mental calendar. And again, I faced the dilemma – do I acknowledge it or not? I tried to remember if you had acknowledged mine. In the end, I let it pass. Once again, I was at a loss for what to say.

Maybe I’m a coward. Because the truth is, I have no idea how to fix this, and I’m scared it’s too broken, and I know I can’t do it on my own, and I’m scared that if I try, I’ll get hurt again if you don’t make the effort. Sadly, it becomes easier not to try.

And I’m sorry, I’m sorry that in the end, history and shared experience have not been enough. I’m sorry that I’ve given up, sorry that maybe you didn’t even notice I had. Sorry for any awkwardness if you should come over to chat next time.

Who knows, maybe one day this will all be forgotten. Maybe there’s a chance it will be like old times again.

So you must know, I forgive you. And I hope you can forgive me.

Book Review: Scary Close by Donald Miller

2015-04-26 22.50.13

Greetings friends!

Apologies for the extended absence – between work and studying I haven’t felt like I’ve had the headspace for writing anything other than coursework. But I’m back now and promise to continue to post infrequently until the end of June, when my course finishes for the summer. After that I will have lots more time for writing for fun and you may see a bit more of me… until the autumn when I will have to start studying again…

But that’s future Ceri’s problem. For now I bring you…. a book review!

Scary Close by Donald Miller

I read this book a few weeks ago whilst on holiday. It was a pleasant tonic to my usual diet of fiction, which can get a bit heavy and fantastical sometimes.

Donald Miller is easily one of my favourite non-fiction writers. Reading his books feels like you’re sitting down to a chat with him over coffee (or tea in my case). He is charming, calming and conversational as an author. It never feels like he is lecturing you, like he is an expert with knowledge to impart. He writes as someone struggling with the journey of life who wants to share the wisdom he has picked up along the way. This is the most personal of his books that I’ve read, which makes sense as it is about being more real with the people around you to build strong and deep relationships.

I needed to read this book. One of my words for this year is ‘relate’, and I am really trying to invest in my friendships. I drank this book up, I had to force myself to put it down a number of times so I could reflect on what I had just read. A number of times I was moved to read that someone else had felt and experienced similar things to me and could share them so openly and humbly. Other times I thought, ‘Huh. That’s why people act that way’ or ‘Maybe that’s why I do that too’. It was challenging and comforting all at the same time.

My only real criticism of the book is that I like narrative, and I sometimes struggled to identify the timeline of the events in the book – the chapters jump back and forth in Don’s life and it wasn’t always easy to work out how the different incidents fitted together. But I think that that was partly the nature of the book as a memoir and it didn’t detract from the book’s message.

I’ve browsed through some of the reviews on Amazon and Goodreads and was surprised to see a common criticism was Don’s supposed ‘name-dropping’. Throughout the book he mentions conversations with different people who had given him advice on his journey, some of them I had heard of, more of them I hadn’t. This didn’t bother me because each of these friends gave good and helpful advice that furthered the message of the book. I saw it as a man thanking his friends for the wisdom they had shared with him.

One of my favourite things about the book, I must admit, is the accompanying soundtrack which can be downloaded for free from the scaryclose.com website (I’m not sure if you have to have bought the book to get the soundtrack but I expect that this is the case). Some of the songs are referenced in the book and it is helpful to be able to listen to them as Don explains why they meant something to him at that point in his life. There isn’t a song on the album I don’t like and some of them are fast becoming favourites.

If you ever feel like you are hiding your true self and want to be more real with people, read this book. If you are in a cycle of bad relationships, read this book. If you just want to be a better friend, read this book. You will be encouraged. You are good at relationships.