Making the First Move

10 Nov

wisdom-vs-pride-quoteMy friends mean a great deal to me. I don’t have very many of them, but the ones I do have are incredible people. My loyalty runs deep.

I recently got into a fight with one of my oldest and dearest friends. This is someone who knows me better than I know myself sometimes. He has been a listening ear over the years, and supported me when things in my life were falling apart.

Our bond is so tight that our friendship is like an extension of myself.

Our argument wasn’t explosive. Neither of us said anything hateful to the other, nor did anyone utter the words, “You’re dead to me.” It was simply one of those conversations where you realize you’ve reached an impasse with another person.

In the days following, I realized how much I missed him. We have the type of friendship that permeates all aspects of life: in a song, in a meal, in a television show, in a book, in a photograph. Our friendship is everywhere.

And yet, I didn’t reach out. I didn’t want to make the first move.

Anything in excess is a bad thing, and pride is no exception. I don’t like to be vulnerable. I don’t like to appear weak. I don’t like risking looking foolish. Humility be damned.

These aren’t the behaviors of someone who has life figured out. These are the behaviors of someone who cares more about self-preservation and rightness than about fixing a problem.

Ego has no place in interpersonal relationships (or in life for that matter.) You can’t show up in any kind of relationship and expect that it’ll always go your way. It takes two to tango, and sometimes that means toes will be stepped on.

It is my belief that people aren’t all good or all bad. I only realized this after struggling for years with trying to make things black and white in a very grey world. We aren’t sound bites; we are full-length films.

My friend and I are no exception to this. Neither of us meant to hurt the other. We are two people learning how to navigate the murky waters of our own emotions, and just happened to be navigating blindly at the exact same time.

So I wrote to him. I apologized, and told him how much I missed our friendship. I spoke openly about my feelings which is something I almost never do. I had removed my ego, and wouldn’t you know, the risk of looking foolish disappeared right along with it.

He wrote back.

I am getting my friend back, and for the first time, I’m the right kind of proud.

65 Responses to “Making the First Move”

  1. elinwaldal 11/11/2013 at 11:53 pm #

    Not much to add other than I loved this post.

  2. daniheart21 11/11/2013 at 3:20 pm #

    Go Jen! That’s awesome! I wish it were that simple with the friend I lost. In my case it wasn’t something that happened between me and said friend… it happened between said friend and my wife. šŸ˜¦ The balls not in my court…but I still lose. Great post. Love it!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/12/2013 at 5:59 pm #

      Ouch, that sucks. I hope that they are someday able to resolve their differences.

  3. habitsofthought 11/11/2013 at 6:56 am #

    It can be very hard to lay down your pride and be the bigger person. Kudos for your strength!

  4. Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher 11/11/2013 at 6:06 am #

    Making the first step is the hardest – kudos, Jen! Friends are hard to come by – it’s good you waited until you cooled down to write something good rather than something scathing and regretful, too!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/11/2013 at 11:21 am #

      I often write dickhead letters to people I’m mad at, but I never ever send them. I wait until I’ve got my head on straight and think about what I really want to say. I told my friend exactly how I felt, and it’s going to work out. Good friends ARE hard to come by.

  5. javaj240 11/11/2013 at 5:56 am #

    P.S. That was, possibly, two too many smiley face emoticons so early on a Monday morning. Sorry. I just soooooo loved the post — both what it had to say and how you said it. (Almost put another smile there, stopped myself just in the nick of time.)

    • Jen and Tonic 11/11/2013 at 11:20 am #

      You smile as much as you want. THIS IS SMILE COUNTRY.

      • javaj240 11/11/2013 at 11:30 am #


  6. javaj240 11/11/2013 at 5:54 am #

    I think that someone ought to write a movie about how weirdly parallel our lives seem to be. Freaky. Our stories are not exactly the same, but often they are thematically similar. You’re much younger than I am, though, so kudos to you for getting your shit together way, way sooner than I have šŸ™‚

    There’s no better feeling than reconciliation, by the way. šŸ™‚

    • Jen and Tonic 11/11/2013 at 11:19 am #

      We do live parallel lives, don’t we? Perhaps there are many of us living such similar stories, but we don’t know because we’re too afraid of exposing ourselves. That’s why blogging is awesome.

  7. Irenne Tjokrodinata 11/11/2013 at 3:13 am #

    Good for you to have that courage!

  8. rarasaur 11/10/2013 at 10:32 pm #

    “The right kind of proud” is a great expression and I’m stealing it for life-uses. šŸ™‚ This was a wonderful read, and a great reminder to everyone– imagine how awesome the world would be if we all made the first move towards friendship? šŸ™‚

    • Jen and Tonic 11/11/2013 at 11:18 am #

      The world would be a better place if people could remove their own doubt/fear/whatever else is stopping them from the equation. We’d all be significantly happier.

  9. Paul 11/10/2013 at 6:13 pm #

    This was such a wonderful read Jen, and I know that won’t have been easy to write. I’ve been so blessed by your friendship for the last 3 years and I’m SO happy that you’ve taken a leap into the dark and landed safely.
    Living in my head, analysing to the point of inertia and crippling self doubt have been long time companions of mine. After reading this and seeing it’s sometimes just neceessary to jump gives me hope that those companions don’t necessarily have to accompany me for life. Love as always buddy šŸ™‚

    • Jen and Tonic 11/11/2013 at 11:17 am #

      I know we share so many of the same problems: over analyzing, self-doubt, worry, anxiety. The truth is, you kind of have to run off the edge of a cliff and hope the parachute appears. There really isn’t any other way around growth.

      Always good to see you here šŸ™‚

  10. speaker7 11/10/2013 at 4:56 pm #

    Being right sometimes ain’t all it’s cracked up to be.

  11. teresa 11/10/2013 at 3:29 pm #

    I am going through something similar. I’m going to need the name of the store where you got your big girl panties so I can get some and write a hard letter! Good read.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/11/2013 at 11:15 am #

      I get mine at the Dollar Store. I wouldn’t recommend that.

      I’d say write the letter, and expect nothing to come of it. It’s only when we tie the outcome to the value of something that we get disappointed and hurt. Just know you’re doing the right thing for you, and everything else will fall into place.

  12. tbree1 11/10/2013 at 3:05 pm #

    I liked this post – it was a nice little snippet of a little bit of our own lives – when we let our ego run things. Well written!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/11/2013 at 11:14 am #

      I definitely think everyone faces this from time to time. The ego is a willful bastard.

  13. Chowderhead 11/10/2013 at 12:23 pm #

    Jen, there is not a single level of awesome that you have not already achieved.

  14. stephrogers 11/10/2013 at 12:15 pm #

    It’s so hard to make that first move. For me it’s the paralysing fear of rejection. Well done. That was brave. I hope you are rewarded with a deeper bond and a better relationship.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/10/2013 at 1:09 pm #

      It’s all about that rejection, isn’t it? I told him that I was putting myself out there, knowing he could completely ignore me, but that I hoped it proved how much I wanted our friendship back. Oddly, once I sent it, I didn’t feel the fear I thought I would. I was confident and proud of how I handled it, and I think that’s why there wasn’t any risk.

  15. Nichole 11/10/2013 at 11:18 am #

    Good for you! It’s so hard to apologize.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/10/2013 at 12:12 pm #

      I’ve never had a problem apologizing, but I have felt like I’m doing the other person a favor. That’s not the right attitude to have.

  16. omtatjuan 11/10/2013 at 11:08 am #

    The Ego never wants us to be wrong… It always is our biggest enemy.. Great news you made the first step!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/10/2013 at 12:12 pm #

      It NEVER wants us to be wrong. It’s like that little devil who sits on your shoulder and whispers bad advice in your ear.

      • omtatjuan 11/10/2013 at 12:13 pm #


  17. Aussa Lorens 11/10/2013 at 10:39 am #

    Pride kills relationships, this was an awesome thing to read. It’s weird how a little thing can grow and become an all-consuming big thing if you don’t check your pride. I’m glad you two patched things up.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/10/2013 at 12:11 pm #

      It makes you wonder how many “big things” are actually little things that gained too much momentum. I’m glad we patched things up too. Life isn’t as fun without your friends.

  18. Katie 11/10/2013 at 9:33 am #

    Good for you for being the bigger person. It’s never easy, but it’s always worth it.

  19. mytwistedroad 11/10/2013 at 8:38 am #

    Ahhh yes, that dreaded pride. Great you got your friend back!!

    But, here’s a question for you, regarding thearguement, was it something that big to begin with? And will you continuously be able to accept that you have differences?

    Now that you are back to friends please make a mental game plan on how you will deal with that and make sure you understand where your feelings came from as well as his. When you get there, you will both be able to “agree to disagree”. šŸ™‚

    • Jen and Tonic 11/10/2013 at 12:06 pm #

      It wasn’t anything huge, no. It was more that we’re both still learning how to express ourselves emotionally so there was a lot of misunderstandings along the way. He and I do have some fundamental differences, but nothing that can’t be overcome.

      And yes, once we hash everything out I’m sure we’ll make more of an effort to express how we’re feeling rather than letting it all just come to a head.

      • mytwistedroad 11/10/2013 at 3:34 pm #

        Sh**! I had a response and it didn’t post.
        Abridged version of what i’ve learned: (OK, it’s damn long. I have a lot to say)
        1. It won’t be the first or last arguement. So you are right. Communication is key. Just never get to the point of yelling or typing this !!! at the end of your sentences. :)) The closer you get the more “discussions” you’ll have, that just means you got to a point where you trust them more to talk the usual Blah, blah, blah!
        2. Being the “Bigger Person” is only for people you don’t like. Be you!
        3. Don’t assume you know what’s going on in their head. You’ll flat out look like an ass.
        4. I know what I’m talking aboit because my hair is grey! šŸ™‚ Well, some of it is!

        You’ve got a good head in those shoulders girl!

  20. Cathy Ulrich 11/10/2013 at 8:03 am #

    Yes, Jen, Good for you! As one of my teachers once said: “Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?” Thanks for sharing here.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/10/2013 at 12:04 pm #

      Love that question. It’s funny because I used to think rightness felt good, but it’s actually very isolating. I don’t want to be isolated anymore.

  21. Elyse 11/10/2013 at 7:17 am #

    Good for you. Such good friends are hard to find because you have to build the friendship together over time.

    • Jen and Tonic 11/10/2013 at 12:03 pm #

      Exactly! It is two people investing in each other, and I’d hate to give up on that because I got in my own way.

  22. superwomanseven 11/10/2013 at 6:58 am #

    Oh I am so glad you made the first move, dropped the ego and went with your heart. Unfortunately for so many of us we live in our heads for too much of our lives…. But what always feels right is right behind the chest plate and is where all the good feeling live! Thanks for sharing šŸ™‚

    • Jen and Tonic 11/10/2013 at 11:59 am #

      I am the CLASSIC “living in my own head” person. I analyze how much I analyze things. “What always feels right is right behind the chest plate” – so true. I love that.

  23. Michelle Longo 11/10/2013 at 6:58 am #

    It is so hard to make that first move. Glad you were able to do it!

    • Jen and Tonic 11/10/2013 at 11:58 am #

      The first time you try anything you’re not good at it’s hard. This was hard for me, but I see now there’s nothing to really be afraid of.

  24. shreejacob 11/10/2013 at 6:34 am #

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m happy to hear that you are getting your friend back and that this whole thing gave you an opportunity to ..I don’t know, change your perspective about being too guarded, because that is how it felt to me , and it tells me that it’s okay to “let go” in these situations. That the fear of hurt is the ego feeling afraid for us and trying to protect us when at times there may really be no need for that! šŸ™‚

    • Jen and Tonic 11/10/2013 at 11:57 am #

      “Letting go” is something I’ve struggled with for a long time. I never realized how much dormant anger was underneath the surface until I started learning to stop pointing the finger and gain some perspective.

      That fear is definitely the ego talking over us. We’ve got to learn how to shut it up.

  25. girlseule 11/10/2013 at 6:10 am #

    I think it takes a strong person to make the first move. A good friendship is definitely worth swallowing some pride for.

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