Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Sometimes the Answer Is No

I was recently approached by a friend who had burned all of her bridges with me.

Actually, that's not entirely true.

I was recently approached by a friend who had doused all of her bridges with gasoline, threw grenades at them, laughed while they burned, scooped up the ashes, and then tap-danced on them.

It was ... harsh. Harsh and life-changing and slightly damaging. I learned a lot from it, but it was a slow lesson and a significantly difficult one. Still, I got through it and to somewhere else.

And then, suddenly, there she was.

Asking if we could be friends again.

The request startled me not a little. I mean -- bridges, flame, smoke, burning? Was I the only one who remembered that?

I started to ask how she thought she'd changed in the years between then and now.

I thought, maybe the right thing to do is to say, it's okay, we can be friends again.

Then I thought, no.

I don't wish her ill. I wish her all of the best. I hope her life is better and that she is on a well-lit path, surrounded by people who love her. I want that for her.

But I can't be one of those people. It wouldn't be good for her and it wouldn't be good for me. I would always be waiting for her to strike a match and set the whole thing ablaze again, and there's nothing fair about that for either of us.

It was brave of her to ask, and I think that, maybe, it was brave for me to say no. I like to make people happy and I hate to hurt anyone's feelings, so it would have been easy to say yes. Easy, but dishonest because we won't be friends again.

Not being friends doesn't mean being enemies, though. So I did -- and do -- send positive thoughts her way. I really do hope everything works out for her.

Sometimes you can rebuild a bridge. When you can? You should try.

Sometimes you can't, and you need to honor that as well.

Sometimes the answer is no.

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