I know that the title of this post refers to romantic love but I want to ask the question; have you ever been in a friendship where you liked them more than they liked you?
When I was seventeen I met my friend who, like me was doing art, had just recently became a christian and had an equally unusual name as myself. We had a sweet bond and together we felt like we were going to conquer the world. We would pray together and for our friends, we would sing together, we loved each other.
After a couple of years my friend changed as she wasn’t able to cope with things in her life and returned to her life of drugs. This is when I first experienced outright rejection from a friend and as we were bonded through Christ the pain seemed more damaging. Although the heart ached, it was a lesson for me in love and forgiveness.
After some years she returned to the Lord, went to another church and our friendship was rekindled, yet it was never the same but at least she would talk to me. I really don’t think she realised the pain that she caused me and I don’t think she could see the wound of a broken connection that I strongly felt within my heart.
I did have an opportunity to express how it did break my heart when she “back slid” as is the christian term for one who walks away from the Lord. I explained how perhaps I had put her on a pedestal and I couldn’t cope with the disappointment of our broken friendship. I was pleased at how that conversation mended something in me….or so I thought.
Over the years I felt as though I was the one always chasing her, although I didn’t admit it to myself until a few years back. One day I phoned her to see if I could call in for a visit as I was going to be in her neighbourhood. She told me to drop in on the following Monday in which I had, however, when I had arrived she wasn’t there. When I rang her mobile she gave me some lame excuse about not being able to contact me.
I drove home furious and fed up. The reality was starting to wash over me at last.
Six months after that moment I had an opportunity to go and chat to her, however as it was my first birthday without my mum I felt fragile and said to myself “Just this once, I am not going out of my way to talk to her. She can just F#^k off, my mum is dead!” And therefore I did accordingly, I ignored her.
You know, ignoring her made me feel good for that moment but it didn’t make me feel free. Thankfully about six months later, I had another opportunity to connect with her. I approached her with a hug and asked her to forgive the contempt that I had for her. I told her how I was tired of her rejection and said “Over the years I think that I may have like you more than you liked me”.
She told me that I was brave and I told her that I am no longer angry with her. For me it was like letting her out of my angry cage where she can fly wherever she liked. I had redefined what our friendship was and decided that I no longer shall feel rejection or inferior, I shall indeed just love her for who she is and keep on moving with my own life.
A number of years later I had got word that she was separated from her husband. Although this had saddened me deeply, it came no surprise to me. I later heard that her life was a mess, while her husband is now blooming for the first time ever.
When all of this was revealed to me I couldn’t believe how many years that I had wasted mulling over unrequited love. How could I be so self absorbent about this rejection when she was hurting the most important people in her life, her family.
What is the lesson here?
Her rejection of me was never about me!!!!
As a human being it is normal to personalise rejection and make it about oneself, however when you know in your heart that you have done nothing to provoke rejection then move on.
When I am now confronted by a persons inability to communicate well, then it’s not my fault. When someone shows contempt for me, it’s not my problem. If someone is embarrassed by me, then they need to have a rethink about what’s important to them. If a person has a problem with me then the problem is theirs!
This is a great life lesson to learn and I shall not waste another minute worrying about the lost time. It did indeed take me a long time to figure this one out but better late than never.