Deep down inside, despite our best efforts, everyone knows that no one and nothing is perfect.
Friends sometimes see sides of us we don’t like and maybe don’t want to see. Sometimes those parts of our personality can come out and bite both of you.
They give each other the experience of being seen, and provide the safety and space to be vulnerable and accountable.
If you do something you know was hurtful to your friend, take responsibility for it.
If there is enough value in the friendship, the offended person should be able to forgive you, unless the offensive act pushes someone to the point of no return. Theft, perhaps, is one example. An adulterous affair is another. Actions like these are not only personal violations; they’re also acts of deception.
Deception is hard to forgive. It can be done, but it requires an enormous amount of effort, sincerity and willingness to endure the process of rebuilding trust from both people involved.
If you’ve been deeply hurt by a friend and are struggling to forgive him/her, the ability to do so may lay in your overall assessment of them as individuals.
Aside from the hurt they caused, ask yourself: does this person bring something positive to your life? Is the offensive act something that can be worked through? Is there a possibility the two of you can grow stronger together and independently by working through the feelings that came up because of the hurtful act?
If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, leaning towards forgiving and working through the challenge can have a profound impact and deepen both of you.
The decision to forgive must be made carefully. However, if you do forgive, be generous about it. Forgive fully. And if you can’t forgive all at once, do it in stages and be transparent about it. You can say to yourself and to the other, I’m still hurting. This isn’t over. But I’m working on moving things forward and I need you to know that…allowing the other person to know where you stand and potentially talk more about what’s happening.