Friday, January 23, 2015

Friendly Friday: what a wonderful word hello

Credit for the delightful montage above goes to:

A few important things have happened for me this week regarding friends and acquaintances. If anyone is just tuning in, I have a firm resolution to say hello to people this year and a larger on-going goal to deepen some friendships that I have neglected.

While I have been craving deeper connections, I still have many friends and am often invited out. A fun "girls" night happened earlier this week and it gave me the perfect chance to practice what I have been preaching about saying hello to people first. The moment I walked in, I spotted my old boss seated at the table next to my group. My relationship with her ended on a very sour note. She did a fabulous thing in founding a not-for-profit legal services organization. Nobody can deny that; it exists helping people today. At times she was a brilliant mentor to me and at times she was undeniably cruel. Having nothing to do with her "management" style, she left her position at the helm without much fanfare in a scandal complete with a legal defense for all of us lawyers. Being a very smart and capable person, I hear she has once again risen to a high and powerful position now in the for-profit world. My guess is she experienced a lot a pain and shame.

I also guess that she was far more uncomfortable seeing me walking in than I was. I thought about it for a split second and then walked right up to her before even stopping at my table. In case she had forgotten me in the past seven years, I stated my name as I walked over. Of course she remembered. Before I knew it I was not only saying hello but hugging her hello. Our interaction was very brief, pleasant, and not at all meaningful, but what a gift to us both! Had I averted my eyes both of us would have had horrible nights and not been able to concentrate on our dinner companions wondering when the shoe would drop. I am so glad I just did it. On her way out she stopped and thanked me. Not in the usual way, but in a way that I thought symbolically said "thanks for remembering the good parts of me." That, in turn, made me remember the good parts of me too!

Later in the week I was on a phone call with a friend I used to talk to every single day. Now we talk to every few weeks. There was an organic moment where referenced that I have been feeling removed from her and our close-knit group. Its easy to express remorse that you rarely talk to your college sorority sisters two states away. It is entirely different to tell someone a mile away that you feel distant. I literally had to take a deep breath first and will the words to come out. It was so scary. The second of dead air before her reply felt like an eternity. She responded in a kind way--just one sentenced that subtly acknowledged she had noticed it too while moving the talk in a positive direction. I am so glad its out there. I am glad there is a chance to make it better even if it isn't set right just yet.

As if reading my mind Kelly at Kelly's Korner had a post that spoke to me so much yesterday--so close to what I have been working through. After reading it, I have an idea in the works about something nice I can do for a friend. I will keep you posted!

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