Scallywag

Laughter would be bereaved if snobbery died.

~ Peter Ustinov ~

Having Words With Friends

January 3rd, 2013 ~ Est. reading time: 1 min, 48 secs

Having words with friends isn’t the end. Far from it.

It’s a funny expression “having words with friends”. I mean, what kind of words? The phrase doesn’t say. But we know its code for a dispute. Having words with anyone isn’t good.

Or is it? Having had words with friends about an issue can get you all upset and cause a lot of angst. Yet, as unappealing as it is, such conflict isn’t always bad. Sometimes, the effect is something like a thunderclap and resultant storm. Once it passes, the air is clear and fresh again, for having spoken truthfully.

The term “getting things off your chest” says it well when it comes to having words with friends or family. As polite dishonesty builds up over time, it gathers weight until it feels hard to be at ease together. When friends unburden themselves of their feelings, the effect is at once traumatic and cathartic.

Mind you, conflict is one thing, and outright fighting is another. You can agree to disagree and feel upset over a difference of opinion. But that’s a world away from name calling hostilities and getting aggressive. Words with friends are always the better for at least being civilized.

But, because life is never neat and we aren’t always on our best behavior, things go awry and we can say some very unpleasant things. Just as we have the capacity to inspire, we also have the ability to be horrible and nasty. Meaning spiteful words with friends can be terribly destructive, even to the point where you feel like parting company.

But I can’t help believing this is a mistake because the longer you maintain a relationship, the more you should work to preserve it. Words with friends that end up in bitter hostility need never be an endpoint. Far from it.

For when hot heads cool and common sense returns there is always space for forgiveness, forgetting, loving, and apologies. That’s normal in any long-term relationship. Except perhaps for the odd “words free friendship” which, as pleasant as it seems, leaves me wondering whether it really stretches friends enough.

A thicker hide and greater perseverance can sort out just about everything friendships dish up. It’s when we prevent the possibility of having words with friends (and they us) and then walk away haughty that we stunt relationship growth. Nobody wants unpleasantness. But good friends need to hear each other out and accept the normality of conflict. No matter how messy it gets, good friends stick it out, come what may.

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