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Is this letter helpful or hurtful? I don't want to seem judgmental...

friend358

Registered Member
My friend and I have had a spat that's lasted way too long and gotten blown way out of proportion... My friend has told me that she doesn't know how to be a good friend and that she's never had any real friends. She is afraid of anything that's not perfect and even cries when she is told some things she does come across as hurtful... She tells me I hurt her, but I dont know why. She is scared to even talk about things. She just wants them to go away so we can be friends again. That's her personality, but I don't believe in sweeping things under the rug. We unintentionally hurt each other, and there seems to be a huge misunderstanding. She says I hurt her by saying she's a bad friend, but i've never said that. I've only tried to tell her of certain things that have hurt my feelings. She is very insecure and I want our friendship to work out... I'm thinking of giving her this letter. I need opinions... The last thing I want to sound like is a judgmental friend, but there are things she needs to know. I just want to help her and to finally get things back to how they used to be, even if I have to swallow my own pride...

<I know you’ve never intended to hurt me. Remember when you said you “don’t know how to be a good friend“? I’ve never believed that to be true. That’s what I meant when I said I believe in your best. But you seem to want me to believe that you don’t know how to be a good friend. I love you too much to settle for that. I know that you know how. I don’t understand why you even say things like that. It seems to alarm you that someone actually wants to try & understand you. If you truly believe you do your best, I will accept that. I love you for who you already are. If there’s a way to be better friends to one another, we have to talk. It IS a learning process for us BOTH. I strive to improve myself; to feel good about myself & how I treat other people, but how do people improve at anything if they only settle for what they know? The solution is having an opportunity for questions to be asked & answered. You say I hurt you, but I honestly don’t know what I’ve done to make you feel that way. I’ve never intended to hurt you either. I don’t deny your feelings & I WANT to understand why you’ve felt hurt & I WANT to do what I can, to NOT make you feel that way anymore. I also want you to understand why things make me feel the way they do, so things CAN get better. It’s not to attack you. If anything, it may help you realize why YOU feel you just “don’t know how to be a good friend”. You are a good friend, but sometimes things come across the wrong way to me. There’s no way for you to know these things unless you’re willing to hear me out. I don‘t want you telling yourself you‘re not a good friend. I realize that nothing and no one is ever perfect, and you need to realize this as well. I’m not perfect, nor do I expect you to be. If there is going to be any kind of friendship here, it has to be a little give & take between the BOTH of us.

I understand that you avoid or disregard certain things because you’re uncomfortable or afraid. And it’s OK… But if we can have the courage to deal with things that aren’t always perfect, we’re able to learn from it, have a new outlook & move on better than before. You seem to be emotionally withdrawn or in denial of something, and it only hinders your ability to connect with people. I don’t know why you continue to hold back. You don’t have to have a “hardened heart” or portray an armored or shielded façade around me. I know you better than that. I don’t know what you’re afraid of, but I’m here to help you, not to hurt you. I’m here to work with you, not against you. I’m not trying to be your psychologist, but you’ve said you were never taught the skills to have genuine bonds with people. I’m here to help you if you want me to be here. If you’re content with just having acquaintances & not any “real” friendships, that’s ok. It’s your life & I accept you for who you are. I will never hold anything against you. I’d like to understand why you’ve said I hurt your feelings by telling you my feelings have been hurt. I haven’t told you my feelings have been hurt to attack you or make you feel bad. Since it’s never your intention to hurt me, I’d like to know why things have come across the way they have. I WANT to understand you. And since it’s never my intention to hurt you either, I want you to understand me. I need to know what I’ve done or said so it can be rectified or explained. I don’t deny you the right to feel hurt, but I want to know what I can do so you don’t have to feel that way. The only thing that’s going to work is communicating WITHOUT assumptions, accusations or anger. We both have a right to feel the way we do, but if things have come across the wrong way for us both, then we should be able to find a “rhyme to the reason”, so to speak. I want to find a way to rectify these misunderstandings. There are things that you may not have meant to be hurtful… but the fact of the matter is, they have come across as being hurtful. You’ve criticized me, tried to make me feel guilty & denied me the right to even have my own feelings when I try to understand your actions and tell you I‘ve been hurt. You get mad at me for being hurt by you & quite frankly, the truth is that you’ve not been concerned with how I feel. That’s just not acceptable to me. It’s not friendly behavior to disregard how your friend feels about something. Apparently, I’ve done or said some things that have come across hurtful towards you. Sometimes people unintentionally hurt each other. Like I said, we have the right to feel a certain way when we see things from our own point of view. However, if we’re able to consider one another’s perspectives, we’ll be able to finally move forward. I’m sorry for anything I’ve said or done that has been hurtful to you. I WANT to hear your perspective but I want you to be willing to hear mine as well. We CAN communicate without attacking one another.

I don’t like to hear you say you “don’t know how to be a good friend”. Like I said, I don’t believe in that. I believe you can be a good friend. You’re only denying yourself the chance to be a good friend if you continue to believe you don‘t know how. I’ve never said you’re a bad friend. You’ve said it. There’s nothing wrong with you. You have no reason to be insecure or hard on yourself. I’m not accusing you of anything. I love you for who you are, but you just don’t seem to love yourself. You’ve said you’re insecure. I don’t want you to feel that way. I’m insecure too. It’s ok for us to be vulnerable, sensitive, or defensive, but it seems that we’ve been taking it out on each other instead of dealing with it. You & I have both been subject to judgmental & hurtful people. We both grew up in that type of environment. It seems that we’ve used each other as a punching bag & it‘s got to stop. You forget that I’m on YOUR side. I’m not against you. I’m your friend. I’ve always had a hard time explaining myself, but I TRY. I’ve never meant to hurt you or offend you in any way. I’m sorry if this doesn’t make sense but I‘m still trying… You can do what you want with this, but I don’t want to text back & forth about it because it needs to be an open, personable discussion. If you want to talk about it, then we can wait until you’re willing to get together. If not, that’s ok too. I love you too much to completely cut you out of my life, but I can’t maintain this friendship by myself. The rest is up to you, boo bear…>
 
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Arathald

Registered Member
That's a very heartfelt letter, and I believe it says exactly what it needs to. You explain the situation, you explain your feelings, but you don't back away from saying the hard things that need to be said. I *do* have one or two things no nitpick in the letter though.

There are things that you may not have meant to be hurtful… but the fact of the matter is, they have come across as being hurtful. You’ve criticized me, tried to make me feel guilty & denied me the right to even have my own feelings when I try to understand your actions and tell you I‘ve been hurt. You get mad at me for being hurt by you & quite frankly, the truth is that you’ve not been concerned with how I feel. That’s just not acceptable to me. It’s not friendly behavior to disregard how your friend feels about something.
No matter what you know, or think you know, about your friend and her (I assume?) feelings, I think it's a huge mistake to assume that she doesn't care about your feelings, no matter how likely this is to be true. Since you're being (correctly) frank in this letter, if would be perfectly acceptable to say that you *feel* as if she disregards your feelings, to give her an idea of what you're going through. However, saying that as a fact is, I believe, taking it a little too far, especially since you can't be sure how true it is (if she told you this directly, you need to handle it differently, but I still don't believe it's true).

I’ve never said you’re a bad friend. You’ve said it. There’s nothing wrong with you. You have no reason to be insecure or hard on yourself. I’m not accusing you of anything.
I think in this case, the 'You've said it.' is unnecessary, and sounds rather harsh. She *knows* she said it, and I believe that the several sentences around this are focused on making it clear that she *isn't* a bad friend; saying 'you've said it' brings that issue back to the surface, and, in my mind, destroys a lot of the reassuring that you're trying to accomplish in that paragraph.

Lastly, make sure you break this letter up, it's a sea of text :)
 

Wade8813

Registered Member
I agree with what Arathald said completely. Avoid accusatory statements about her intentions, and instead stick to the things that you know to be true (facts and your feelings). Your feelings are your feelings - how can she argue with that?

And yeah, I only read 2/3 of this - I wanted to help you, but I got a bit of a headache from the large paragraphs. You have good spelling/grammar, and you have paragraph breaks, but a couple more would help (and might help you get more responses here on General Forum).
 
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