• Keeping Friends

Friendship and forgiveness

Published: January 27, 2008 | Last Updated: May 17, 2020 By | Reply Continue Reading

All female friendships, even very close ones, hold the potential for disappointment and hurt. It is common for unexpected and unfortunate lapses to occur (as opposed to consistent patterns of toxic behaviors—which also occur!).

A friend may have been insensitive to your feelings, forgotten your special birthday, failed to be there when you needed her, or put you at a distance without an explanation.

Both girls and women tend to have such high expectations of their female friends—believing that those friendships will last forever—so even relatively minor snubs or transgressions can make them feel like they’ve been punched in the stomach.

Eventually the pain subsides but it still is hard to forgive or forget. If you are like me, you’ll obsess about what happened, replaying the hurt without getting over it. Yet, it is in our best self-interest to practice forgiveness.

A recent issue of the Mayo Clinic Women’s Healthsource, focused on the topic of “Finding Forgiveness.” The newsletter suggested that it is healthier, both physically and emotionally, to forgive rather than to harbor grudges. Remaining angry can wreak havoc on your heart and nervous system, leaving you feeling anxious, tense, and depressed.

Forgiving usually doesn’t occur spontaneously. To pave the way, you need to be honest with yourself.

  • Replay the event in your mind and admit you feel hurt.
  • Consciously decide that you want to forgive—you might even
    write it down or say it aloud.
  • Try to understand what happened from her perspective. Instead
    of thinking that the infraction was purposeful, reframe it as having to do with
    her rather than you.

Practiced well, forgiveness improves physical health, provides a sense of emotional relief and closure, and has the social effect of teaching us to be more compassionate and empathetic with others. If the transgression was a serious one, your friendship may not survive but forgiving will allow you to move forward feeling more whole.


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