Resolving conflicts can be difficult
Editor's note: Mary Jean Rivera shares a process that could help resolve miscommunications and disagreements between friends.
Friendship has flowers and weeds in it.
A long-standing friend and I are having a falling-out. I said something that must have offended her and now she is not texting or talking to me. I am sorry about that. I miss interacting with her. So what do I do about that? I am not even sure what actually offended her.
I think I had the best instruction in how to rectify a fractured relationship years ago, from Basic Youth Conflicts (BYC) lectures. (BYC is part of Bill Gothard's Institute of Basic Life Principals. Realizing that youth and parents would have to live with the consequences of their decisions, Gothard dedicated his life to helping teenagers and their parents make wise choices. The program is meant to encourage families in a deep study of Christian Biblical scriptures).
First, I have to accept that she may be 90% wrong, and me only 10% wrong, but I have to take care of that 10%. So I need to clear my own conscience first, with some self-searching of the incident. (I really said too much, so I am not sure. She's pretty sensitive).
I have to actually ask her what exactly I did that offended her. When I know, then I can apologize effectively, in person, or second best on the phone, but not in writing, which would leave no room for immediate relief to the situation.
Next step now for me is to be sincerely contrite. That might be hard, too! I have to just focus on my 10%.
BYC said you have to say "I was wrong when I ...." And then, "Will you forgive me?"
She might say "No." And I have to accept that, but I can ask "What can I do to make it up to you?" Other words are not true apologies, words like "If I was wrong ..." or "If you were offended ..." or statements that start with "You ...." Dang!
Her turn again.
My part is to listen carefully to discern the true offense. And then do what she asks of me.
She felt attacked.
"The only person you have the power to make happy is yourself." That's the wisdom today for me from inspirational author Alan Cohen. I want to be happy with myself, so I will apologize very carefully, as soon as I am able.
Which isn't today. But maybe tomorrow I can say,"I was wrong to unleash my discontent on you. I am sorry you felt attacked in any way. Please forgive me."
n n n
The lunch menu at the West Linn Adult Community Center this week features lasagna, garlic bread, corn and chocolate cookies Friday, May 10; pot roast, mashed potatoes, vegetable medley and chocolate cream pie Monday, May 13 and black bean soup, chicken salad sandwiches and vanilla cupcakes Wednesday, May 15.
The West Linn Adult Community Center is located at 1180 Rosemont Road, West Linn. All are welcome to attend programs.
Mary Jean Rivera is a volunteer at the West Linn Adult Community Center.