Few months ago, I lost a friend. A friend I really appreciated. He did not die, we just stopped talking each other. We did not agree on something, he upset me, I had bad words, he answered briefly, and over. And I always had regrets. I always had the feeling I made something wrong.I felt sad and guilty. The other day, I was thinking about that story, in a taxi. I love taxi. This is one of the situation where someone else knows where we go and it gives me freedom to think in peace. And I got a serie of revelations.
Disapointment. The reason why I had bad words with that friend, is because I felt disapointed. Which is obviously driven by the fact that I expected something he could not give me, I expected too much. That person was not a magician. I got that clearly, in a second.
About the mirror. I realized that this person was not a magician. But neither was I. Just like he was not ready to suffer my behavior or opinion, I was not. I could not make the magic of being absolutely intuitive, sensitive and good, the magic to read his mind, the magic of respecting desires or avoiding scars, the magic of being perfect. I am not a magician. (Note that the worst resides in the fact that having an under-estimated image of myself, I did not even imagine that he could expect something like magic from me, and that I could disappoint him – no comment, thanks, I’ll keep this one for later and further thoughts).
So, we were equally not magicians. I stopped thinking about that lost friendship and gained some altitude. Okay. So. We are not magicians. No one is a magician. That was a shock. This seemed like a very bad news in that taxi. A kind of hurting “welcome back on earth, honey”. I breathed, looked for my optimism and thought. Well, if there is no magician at all, will the world loose all its glitter ? No. Because. The good news is that we have something which is much more powerfull then any magic wand. This is named words.
Words. We can make crazy things with words, such as writing love letter or, in case of problem, ask “are you okay with the situation ?”. We can warn when something goes wrong, when gaps and frictions start to appear. This is much less sexy then magic wand. Yes, I agree. But at least, we can express feeling, discomfort, anxiety, anything that can help the other to understand us and our (probably too high) expectations.
Words. Yes. But. The words used in this kind of border or tricky situation have to be true words. Not half words, not words to be guessed between the lines, not jokes or heard in. I discovered recently that there is a nice tool that can help, it is called assertive communication. The assertive communication concept is : you express your own perception of a situation or feeling, exposing the facts supporting your perception. Sentences like ‘I have the feeling that….’. And you invite the other to answer, comment, share his own vision. And the exchange can start. It can be quite interesting because you are removing from the communication all the noise of attacks, judgement, guess… In addition it is lead by respect, because you can not challenge the feeling of the other, you can not pretent he is not affraid, sad, sorry or confused, if he is expressing it (because this would be like denying his intimacy, his own personality). I’ll definitely keep on using that one.
But magic words can only happen in special cases. Off course, this kind of communication works if and only if: i) trust is a background, and ii) willingness is in the air. Willingness to listen and participate to the discussion, willingness to understand and be understood. With trust and willingness, you can make magic and glitter back in the world. Realizing the existence of those ingredients made me peacefull. Magic does not exist but with words, we can stay on the light side of the life.
Note : And what about this special friendship ? I realized that willingness and trust were not part of our friendship when our disagreement appeared. Magic words were unusable, nothing could have saved us. I am still very sad for this friendship I lost, but I dont feel guilty anymore.