Open com­mu­ni­ca­tion can help

The Commercial Appeal - - Viewpoint -

My friend “Bri­anna” and I re­cently got into a fight via text mes­sag­ing. She was try­ing to plan a sur­prise girls trip for our friend’s 30th birth­day. She was tex­ting a cou­ple of other friends and me sug­ges­tions of places we might go, with links to va­ca­tion rentals. The places she was sug­gest­ing were out of my price range, though, and I po­litely said so. We went back and forth on this point for a bit, and then she said, “Well, are you sure you should even go on this trip if it’s just not in your bud­get?”

I couldn’t believe she’d be so rude as to say some­thing like that in front of our other friends. At that point, I just went off and told her she was be­ing self­ish. Even­tu­ally the text con­ver­sa­tion ended for the night. The next day, I felt anx­ious and re­gret­ted the fight. I still wanted to go on this trip, and for the sake of smooth­ing things over, I sent her a pri­vate mes­sage apol­o­giz­ing. To my amaze­ment, all she said was, “It’s OK.”

Ev­ery­one ended up set­tling on a lo­cal place to cel­e­brate our friend’s birth­day, and it turns out I can af­ford to go — but now I’m so an­gry with Bri­anna that I don’t even want to. Who was wrong?

Dear Annie: Dear Sorry Not Sorry: — Sorry Not Sorry

You’re both wrong for not pick­ing up the phone and call­ing the sec­ond things got tense. But your false apol­ogy takes you down an­other peg. “Sorry” is like “I love you”; you should never say it just to hear it back. It’s emo­tion­ally ma­nip­u­la­tive. It’s also prone to back­fir­ing. Just look at your predica­ment. I say swal­low your pride on this one and di­gest the les­son.

This is in re­sponse to the let­ter from “Un­sure in Ithaca.” The loss of “Un­sure’s” sis­ter’s un­born child is very real. Yes, she wants to move on. How­ever, the pain is real, and she is hurt­ing. My sis­ter mis­car­ried a child. From her ex­pe­ri­ence, here’s what not to say. (Believe it or not, these things were said to her.) “It was a bless­ing the baby died.” “You can try again and have an­other.” (They al­ready had hopes, dreams and as­pi­ra­tions for the baby they lost. A new baby isn’t a re­place­ment.) “The baby was de­formed.” “There was some­thing wrong with the baby, and it’s bet­ter off dead.” “You didn’t de­serve that baby, so God took it.” As far as ways to cope, my sis­ter bought a fairly large an­gel cen­ter­piece for her din­ing room ta­ble. It’s her re­minder that she has her own an­gel in heaven. It’s there for all the big cel­e­bra­tions. She also bought an an­gel Christ­mas tree or­na­ment. It is hung every year, along with “baby’s first Christ­mas” or­na­ments.

Dear Annie: Dear Big Sis­ter: — Big Sis­ter

Thank you for shar­ing.

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