Jewish Journal

Friendship Hiatus

by  Merissa Nathan Gerson

July 5, 2010 | 8:54 pm

Life without a friend you love can feel flat.

Dear Yenta,

So I moved here and started to live with a friend, who I have been close with for 5 years but we have grown apart. Having both just gotten evicted, I decided I didn’t want to live with her again. It has created a rift in our friendship now. Question: I would like to repair this rift, but at the same time feel like if we are to be in each other’s lives we have to be able to communicate about important things. How can I do that?

-Missing My Friend

Dear MMF,

Time heals true friendships. If you just had a falling out, perhaps be patient and let the conflict breathe. Then, figure out what you want from this friend, how you want the friendship to evolve, as it seems like you have, and go from there.

Be the strong and bold woman that you are and swallow a bit of pride, approaching this friend with love. If you want honesty and boundaries, set the stage for honesty and boundaries. You know how you function best with this friend, perhaps in a group, perhaps one on one. Invite her on a hike or to coffee and try and make conversation, objective easy conversation, until it feels as if you have a banter going, evoking the feelings that brought you together in the first place.

Once things seem a bit less tense, then bring up anything you need to address. You can ask about the rift, or you can choose not to mention it at all, jumping into the next phase of friendship which is patching up the holes and walking the new direction you want to head in. If you want to communicate about important things, begin to do so, and perhaps suggest that you meet once a month/week for another hike or cup.

If you carve out a sacred space for your friendship, chances are it will be filled. If you want to connect on a deeper level, make that cradle for depth and be brave and show you trust your friend by opening up. Just remember, there are many faces of honesty. It is not dishonest to use discretion with your words, rather mature and kind. I learned this the hard way.

Communicate with this friend as you wish, just be cautious that the space between the two of you is equipped to hold that which you wish to share. Don’t go dumping giant secrets, comments or judgments if her heart can’t handle them. Always test the waters first, and be sure she is in a place to hear you. And if she can’t handle the intimacy you seek, don’t be angry. What we want and what we get don’t always line up, be open to the evolution of this friendship.

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With more than 10 years of talk therapy under her belt, Merissa has waded through life’s dilemmas with a constant reflective therapeutic bird on her shoulder. Add a few...

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