Dealing with Sour Thoughts towards a Friend

Apr 20, 2021 | Articles, Friendship, Friendships & Relationships

By Amber Kinloch

The other week, I shot a friend of mine (let’s call her Rita) an email.  The subject line: “10 Things I Like about You.”  My intent was to give her spirits a boost.  According to a mutual friend of ours, Rita had been struggling with handling a certain issue.  She had an idea of how she wanted things, and many disagreed with her point of view.

To be honest, I disagreed with her, too.  To be even more brutally honest, I was conscious of a lot of negative thoughts floating around in my head towards this friend.  Oh, nothing major.  Just all those nitpicky, fault-focused reflections women are so good at nourishing (and which, unchecked, can poison relationships).  The email, then, served as a reminder to myself of all of Rita’s good qualities.

Fast forward to today (as I’m writing this article)—Rita just emailed me back with 12 things she loves about me.  Oh my….

People tell me I’m a good writer.  Well, I’ve been pasted flat on my back in this “match.”

Rita’s email is so burningly sweet to read.  Sweet because her words warm my heart to its depths.  Burning because I know I don’t deserve such kindness.

It’s not that Rita wrote anything false.  The things she names are things I’ve known about myself, or could only learn about from another’s outside perspective (e.g., when Rita says she loves my laugh, the mischievous glint in my eye, etc.).  Her words are full of truth.

What got me was reading her email and realizing that those negative thoughts about her were still floating around in my head.  Ouch.  It’s like being stabbed with a spear (in a good way).

So now what?

First thing: Make a greater, concerted effort to chuck the negative thoughts.  (You’d hope.)

Two, grab coffee with Rita.  I realized it’s been a while, and that I’ve some deeper things I really need to mention to Rita because they keep nibbling away at me internally.  It’s like having debris floating around in a water pipe.  Sure, water can flow, but collect enough debris and the flow will cease and the water will grow putrid.  

The other point of talking with Rita is not just to resolve issues but also to nurture our relationship.  Friendships, I think, shouldn’t be “settled.”  You should always be diving deeper, if only in small ways.  If you don’t, you risk losing your connection with the other person.

It makes sense, doesn’t it?  After all, this is how it is with God, too.  Keep running towards Him or fall back.  There is no standing still.

Amber Kinloch

Amber Kinloch

Amber  writes from the bunker of her living room.  There she hunkers down with her laptop and a blanket while keeping an eye and ear tuned in to the activity of family life.  Music set on loop keeps her energy flowing as she muses on the deeper happenings of ordinary life and what food to restock the fridge with.


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