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A friendship broken, like the wooden chair in the trash

Friendships can break

The wooden chair was sitting beside the garbage can. The back rungs had become unglued. It would be easy to fix the chair. Sand the end of the rungs, put glue on them and put it back together. After the glue dries the chair would be fixed.

I walked past the chair and didn’t take it home.

The chair was thrown away because it was broken. No one wanted to take the time to repair it.

The chair is like a friendship that is discarded because of a misunderstanding. Calls not returned. Meeting at a pot- luck dinner and the friend walking the other way. Where there were once hugs and smiles,  there are now cold stares and avoidance.

Phone calls not returned. Letters addressed, “Return to sender.”

One friend moved away. Letters not send. Birthdays forgotten. Maybe the friend was sick. Or forgetful.

Friendships can feel like broken chairs.

Two persons cannot long be friends if they cannot forgive each other’s little failings.
― Jean de La Bruyère

I walked past the chair.

But, when I am the chair I want someone to sand the chair rungs and glue me back together. I don’t want to be thrown away in the trash. A friendship thrown away.

And, if I have offended you. Please tell me. Please tell me when I offend you. Perhaps I didn’t know.

Please let me come over with my bottle of glue.

Chairs are easy to fix. But it does take time. You have to buy the glue and the sandpaper.  You have to set aside time in your day to sand the chair. The chair will not get repaired by just thinking about it. The chair will never get fixed if you avoid it. And it will take time for the glue to dry.

Friendships can be easy to fix. But both people have to want to be glued back together. It will take time. You need time to talk and listen. The friendship, like the chair, won’t get repaired by just thinking about it. And your frienship won’t get healed if you avoid it. As the glue takes time to dry, it will take time for the hurt feelings to fade. It will take time to trust again.

Have you ever felt like the chair I saw in the trash?

Please tell me in the comments. I would love to chat.

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P.S. I have found a few good resources about how to make safe friends.

And, sometimes it is best to walk away from a broken chair. Not all people are safe.

Dr. Cloud and Townsend have written a book that will help you pick people you can trust. I bought the first when it was first printed. There was a woman I met in my neighborhood in Illinois who was not safe. She didn’t respect my boundaries and treated me unkindly. I bought the book to help me learn how to be gracious and set boundaries.

Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t

 

Dr. Irene S. Levine – PHD has written a book. Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend.


Dr. Levine also has a blog:  the friendship blog: Advice for navigating Friendships at every stage of life. I met her when we were both on Huffington Post Live talking about making friends. The Loner Lifestyle- Living With No Friends.
Here are a few posts from her blog. I hope you find them helpful. Broken chairs in our life can be painful.

Why Would Someone Have No Friends

Dealing With An Unreliable Friend

P.S.

Some of these are affiliate links. The pennies Amazon pays me helps to buy kitty litter. I have four cats and seven litter boxes.
xo
Pamela

About Pamela Hodges

My name is Pamela Hodges. I am a writer and an artist. I write to encourage and to bring laughter. I paint cats, draw cartoons and write books for children and grown ups.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • linnietea

    I’m now 62,’m retired military,coming home with a medical discharge.Unfortunately for me,military doctors don’t really take necessary time to investigate. If it looks like a duck,walks like a duck it must be a duck. For 38 yrs. I was considered mental,not because I was but because no one listened.now,after being alone most of mylife,the Same diagnosis my childhood doctor told me upon arriving home,in 2011,the Dr reiterated was the true diagnosis. I’ve been ostracized by family,the few friends I thought were real and to hear my neighbors talk as though I’m not present…. I hate no one,but I was even told I wasn’t good enough for the church I’d been a member of 15 yrs.
    No one sees me,as though I’m a ghost walker. It would be different if people wouldn’t assume,but talk to me and realize,I have feelings too.
    I’m an artist,used to be a medical professional. Two puppies.
    My daughter,grandchildren…make a joke of me.my siblings are ashamed of me,they don’t know I was delayed,misdiagnosed.I have Graves disease.
    Any suggestions.
    People always promise to do lunch always the same,they are uncomfortable being seen with me.
    I have come to believe I’m not meant to interact,although life gets very lonely.I don’t know what it’s like to have a hug or hear “I love you”

    • linnietea,
      My heart breaks for your feelings of being alone, and feeling lonely. You asked me for suggestions.
      There are so many people who need a friend. Perhaps you could volunteer with Meals on Wheels and deliver food to shut-ins. Or volunteer at your local SPCA? I saw that you had puppies, they will always love unconditionally.
      I looked up Graves disease, I am not that familiar with it. It appears that people are not seeing the kind person you are, but the effects of Graves disease.
      I hope you can find a place where you are appreciated, respected and loved.
      Perhaps you can find a place to volunteer where they will value your military experience and your heart.
      All my best,
      xo
      Love Pamela

  • The Hurt One

    I had a best friend for like 3 months it was the best I had never connected with a female like that but we had a little disagreement and it hasn’t been the same since. She would still be around but distant at the same time. Like she would call me to hang out and pick me up but at school at the end of the day she would walk past me with her first bff like I didn’t exist. I was literally depressed for about a week I had lost someone who I opened up to and trusted and she took that and dumped it in the trash. I’m just not starting to get over everything, its hard when I see her frequently. The crazy thing is we had been just school friends for about 1 year then she started to reach out to me to ask me if I wanted to hang out. The crazy thing is she would always want to hang out with me but when I wanted to hang out she was always busy. She even said i was suffocating her bc i wanted to hang out, but yet when she called me to hanging out it wasnt suffocating.
    I pray God helps me get over this quickly. ..this hurts so much.

    • Dear Hurt One,
      I am so sorry you had a disagreement with your friend. How are you doing now?
      Does it still hurt as much?
      I hope you are well.
      xo
      Pamela

  • Wendy Darasz

    Sadly some friendships, like some chairs, are beyond repair. How many times does a person need to have a chair collapse before she realizes the chair isn’t doing its part? Sometimes a person needs to pay attention to just how often she ends up on her derrière.

    • Wendy,
      Your analogy of a chair collapsing is very strong. I have thought of your comment all day.
      You are right, some chairs do keep collapsing. And it time to let the chair go.
      I hope all of your chair friends are firm and strong today.

      • Wendy Darasz

        The good news is I have a lot of other sturdy, dependable chairs in my life.

  • Christa Sterken

    Well spoken wisdom here Pamela, friendship is too valuable to toss aside. Sometimes we blow it and what a shame looking back on ended friendships that were over petty stuff. So grateful for today’s friends and my life, it is good to learn from our past relationships. Too many people perhaps skip that part

    • Thank you Christa. Yes, even an old chair has value. I am grateful too for my friends.
      We have moved so many times some of my friends get put in the back of the garage in storage. Perhaps I need to dust them off more often and say hello.
      Not broken, but neglected.

  • I made a terrible mistake, i was supposed to call a friend to join an outing and I just forgot, then we posted a photo to Facebook. The friendship has never been the same. I took my friend tomatoes last week and saw her at a work function, where we had a little time to talk and catch up. I really believe in friendship and I hope this relationship can be healed.

    • Christa Sterken

      oh Kathleen, I hope so

    • Oh dear. How unfortunate. Hopefully she will understand that you were just forgetful and not mean. I will pray your friendship can be healed.

      Some chairs may need more glue and more time to dry.

  • Pamela Hand

    Thanks for this post. I have a friend from long ago that wants to renew her friendship with me. However, I have been physically depleted and I am especially careful right now to be around persons that at least want to have a reciprocal friendship. Not one where I do most of the relational input. I have told this person in the past to stop gossiping about others around me. I have been told by a third party that she has a tendency to gossip. Recently, after a gap in the time I could give to the relationship, I found pretty strong evidence that she has been gossiping about me. I don’t think I will work toward gluing this chair together. At least not right now.

    • Pamela,
      You are very discerning about what chairs to glue back together. I pray God will surround you with friends who can appreciate you for the kind hearted woman God made you to be.
      Gossip is hurtful and separates close friends.

  • Pamela – anyone who has ever been hurt by a friend (or has hurt a friend, even though unintentional) should read this. My best friend from high school went into the Air Force shortly after graduation. She returned to this area a few years later and lived here a few months. We had kept in contact through her time away and visited several times while she was here. I went on vacation, and promised to call her when I returned. A few days passed (busyness, getting back to work, etc.). When I called, her telephone had been disconnected. I didn’t know where she went until it came time for our ten year class reunion. She didn’t attend, but someone had her address in California. I wrote a long letter, and never received a reply. It wasn’t returned, either, so she must have received it. I often wonder if I did something to offend her. Maybe someday we’ll meet up again.

    Thank you for a beautiful post!

    • Joan,
      I hope someday you will meet up with her again. Perhaps she wasn’t offended but something hard was going on in her life.

      Losing a friend and not knowing why can be hard. Especially a best friend.

      I will pray for healing in your friendship. And, you are welcome!