Am I in the wrong here?

Postby applejacks » Tue Nov 17, 2020 9:19 pm

Hello, everyone. I hope you are well. This story has been a long and complicated path that seems to finally be winding to a close, but I can't seem to get it off my mind. I was hoping for someone who would be willing to look at this story from an objective point of view and let me know where I could have done better and how much of this is really my fault. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this and thinking about how the other side must be feeling, and I can't help but try to justify to myself what happened. I guess I just want to know if I'm making excuses for myself or if I was actually justified. I want to be a better friend, but I don't want to compromise taking care of myself either. I will do my best to provide an account of what happened that is true to both sides. This is a long story, so I'll try to keep it to the main points, but please bear with me. Thank you to anyone who reads this.

This all started when my country shut down due to the pandemic. I am a university student who has lived with the same people, Friend A and Friend B for my entire career there. Before this year, I think I would have considered them my best friends to some degree. For some context, they are the kind of people who respond to a text message immediately after receiving it. I don't. There's no logical reason for it. Socializing is exhausting for me, and sometimes I just don't have the energy to respond to a text message. Sometimes I just don't want to talk to anyone, and it's not because I hate anyone. I just feel so tired sometimes, and scrolling through social media is easier than maintaining a conversation. I also am the kind of person who will say something if I have something I want to say. The recipient can respond when or if they want to - I don't mind. I'm not owed a response. However, Friend A and B have different views on this. They won't initiate a conversation even if they want to talk if they feel like the other person doesn't initiate conversations with them in return. I think this might stem from insecurity in some sense. They think that they are putting in more effort into the friendship than the other person and want the other person to show that they like them too, which is natural. I can't relate, but I think I can understand. Friend A has been upset with me about this, and I believe that they think I'm not putting in enough effort to keep in touch with them since we all went home. Friend A is the kind of person who doesn't tell people when they want something from them because they say it's different when someone does something for you because they want to than if they did something for you because you told them to. And until now, this has been fine. I can normally get a sense about how someone is feeling and then use clues to guess what they want. This hasn't been working recently because we all went home to live with our families when everything shut down earlier this year. Friend A eventually reached out to say that they were unsatisfied with how much contact I was keeping with them, and I explained what I said above about not having the energy. I offered to schedule some virtual hang outs to spend more time together, but they refused. from what I know about Friend A, I think it was just a matter of pride, so I scheduled some things that they begrudgingly agreed to. It was fun, and I think they thought so too. Looking back, outside of those events, I still didn't text very much, so I can see why they thought I was making an empty promise just to please them. I also spent some time with Friend B in the meantime, and I learned afterward that B also thought that I wasn't texting enough but was happy to accept whatever I was willing to give. On top of that, Friend A and Friend B were still hosting parties within their closed circle of friends (I declined to go because of pandemic reasons. I know that they were staying safe, but it wasn't in my comfort zone to go out), and Friend A would often show me pictures of these events. It made me uncomfortable, so I requested that they don't send me these kinds of pictures, and Friend A later explained that it seemed like I was saying that they weren't allowed to talk to me. Friend A is the kind of person who, in my shoes, would have wanted to see these pictures to stay in the know and was likely doing for me what they would have wanted in return. However, if they're having fun without me, I just prefer to stay ignorant about it. Maybe this is immature of me. I think to Friend A, they just wanted to share their happy moments with a loved one, but that loved one didn't want to hear about it. I think I can understand why A was upset, and maybe I shouldn't have made such a big deal of it.

Later, when the new semester was due to start, I decided that I wanted to try living with A and B again and enjoy university life. We spent a lot of time looking for a place because all three of us wanted different things. I was willing to go with what they wanted, and Friend B made sure to check in with me a lot and make sure I was okay with everything. I expressed my unease, and Friend B suggested ways to alleviate my anxieties. We even discussed pandemic rules, and they seemed annoyed but willing to go with my stricter rules. Things seemed to be fine up until the day before we were signing the contract, when I got cold feet after hearing about the worsening pandemic. I knew I could trust them to follow the rules, but I also knew that accidents couldn't be avoided. When you're seeing a friend, it is very hard to maintain the 2 meter distance, and it's only natural to want to get closer. I also knew that they didn't like the rules I was requesting, and so I messaged them saying that I didn't want to limit their desired lifestyle and that I was willing to find somewhere else to live if needed. Understandably, they were really upset with me for mentioning this at the last minute and said that I need to communicate more and that they'd do anything to live with me again. I still felt uneasy, but I knew it would be wrong to back out so late, so I agreed and eventually moved in with them. Not even a week later, I caught both of them breaking our pandemic rules, and they apparently found out that the new apartment didn't have some features that I specifically requested and didn't tell me. I hate confrontation, so I kept quiet about it. Maybe I should have brought it up right away, but I didn't. It felt like things between us were fine on the surface, but just beneath that were so many unresolved issues and tensions, some of them problems that lingered from previous years. None of us are confrontational, so nothing ever really gets solved so much as brushed under the rug. I feel that I am normally a very forgiving and accommodating person, but when I was there, every small thing got under my skin even when it was nothing, and I was generally uneasy while living there. Eventually, we all went home to see our families for a weekend, and I felt so amazing at home. I was more comfortable and happier there than with A and B, and I regretted moving out. However, I knew that A and B would be upset at me for leaving again, and I spent a lot of time thinking about how to tell them that I didn't want to return, and stayed longer than planned. While I was thinking, I didn't communicate with them, and B began asking if I ever planned on going back. I honestly replied, saying that I wasn't sure yet and needed some time, which was true at that point. Eventually, A started asking as well. I decided to just be honest and say that I wanted to stay home because I am happier here and that I will continue to pay my share of the rent. A didn't seem to think this was good enough and said that if I was going to make a decision that impacts them so much, I need to have a better reason. So, I said that I felt like they didn't respect me and mentioned some of the issues I talked about earlier. I said that I know they do respect me, but their actions were making me uncomfortable and that I just wanted to stay home. A apologized, and I apologized for the mess. Then B reached out to apologize as well, and I apologized in return. I thought it was over then, but A reached out again to say that they really wanted me to come back and that we couldn't be friends anymore if I didn't go back. I asked why A thought this, and A cited how I respond slowly, making it difficult to stay in touch with me. A said that I was running away from our problems and that it was destroying our friendship and that I made a decision without asking them first. A also said that I normally like to listen and consider dissenting opinions and didn't understand why I was being so unusually stubborn about this. I regret to say that I lost my patience after this and let my irritation show in my next message. I said that me going home was a decision about my life and my happiness, and dissenting opinions didn't apply here because only I know what will make me happy. What's worse is that I wanted to find a way to relate this to an experience A went though so that A could understand where I'm coming from. I chose breakups and said that in a breakup, a person doesn't need a reason to leave if they don't want to be in the relationship anymore and said that I was using a similar line of logic here. Then, A stopped responding for a long time. At first, I thought A was upset that I used harsh words, so I sent an apology. Then, A responded saying that if that's what I really thought, they would give me another chance to prove myself. Not knowing that A was upset about my breakup comment, I said that it seemed over the line to ask me to beg for forgiveness for just losing my temper a little. Then A was even more upset and said that I always misunderstand them and that it's like I do it on purpose and that nothing gets through to me. Then, A revealed that they felt like I was taking their pain from their past breakup and throwing it back in their face just to hurt them. I realized then that my wording was extremely poor and apologized, saying that I should have considered A's feelings more and I never said anything with the sole intention of hurting them. It was just a misunderstanding. And looking back on it, I think the issue wasn't that A didn't respect me. I think A respected me too much and held me to a very high standard. I came to this conclusion when I realized that over the years of being friends, when I said something meant as a compliment that A misinterpreted as an insult, I apologized, and it was my fault for being unclear. But when I misinterpret what A says to me, A says it's my fault for not understanding their intent. Normally, I just accept the blame for everything so that the people around me can feel better, but recently, I have realized that it's not healthy, so I've tried standing up for myself more, but I feel like I always go about it the wrong way. Or, the other person is confused that I'm not taking all the blame even though I apologized. Either way, I think I handled everything in the worst way possible. Friend A eventually accepted my apology and agreed for things to go back to normal, even if things didn't feel the same. We continued talking for a bit afterward. Friend B also reached out to me soon after to say that they felt like I only cared about A because I was only discussing the conflict and apologizing to A. I guess I became too focused on solving the conflict with A and didn't think to check up on B, so B said that I made things worse with B as well because I didn't talk to them enough. I apologized for not considering B's feelings and acknowledged that they made a point to reach out to me when I was anxious about our housing, but I didn't reach out to B after I decided to stay home for good. I genuinely didn't think about it, but that just sounds like a lame excuse. More recently, I wanted to send a funny story to A and found that A unfriended me on all social media. It stung a little, but I decided to respect A's privacy. If they don't want to talk to me, then I want to respect that. I've been hesitating to ask A about this. A part of me wonders if they unfriended me to see how long it would take me to notice or to make me realize that I lost them for good, but I think A is just trying to take care of their mental health now, so I should just leave them alone. I've been talking to B in the interim, but I get this sense that B is still upset with me too.

I can accept losing a friend, and I don't mind if they don't forgive me, but I can't stop thinking about this, and I don't want to bother my family by consulting them about it anymore. I just want to take the necessary life lessons with me, forget this, and move on. I feel like I am in the wrong on a micro level because I let my frustration get in the way of properly trying to understand where they were coming from. I was insensitive to their feelings. However, from a bird's eye view, I don't think it's my fault for making a choice that would allow me to better take care of my own happiness. Can anyone provide any insights here? Is there something I'm missing? Thank you very much
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Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:48 pm

applejacks wrote: Can anyone provide any insights here? Is there something I'm missing?

It is not about being right or wrong. It sounds like you are way, way, way overthinking the situation. Why? If I had to guess, you are currently missing a degree of self-confidence or assurance in your social interactions. That is what you are missing. You avoid confrontation and don't want to risk offending anyone, so you often find yourself analyzing and questioning your social interactions. You bend every which way and often walk on eggshells to navigate your friendships.

Now you are in a public forum asking for what? MORE ANALYSIS! And why? Because you want assurances that you were not in the wrong.


Stop trying to "make" friends. Notice, I'm not saying to stop having friends. I'm saying stop the analysis of what you are doing right or wrong. Stop worrying about if you are not being sensitive enough or if you should respond this way or that way. Stop making friends and start just having friends. It's much easier.

Know and accept who you are. Be good with yourself. Work on your self-confidence. If a person, a "friend", says you don't text back often enough...umm, okay. That is a them problem, not a you problem. Conversely, if you have a "friend" that isn't meeting your expectations, they are too busy or don't respond how you like...well that is a you problem, not a them problem.
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Postby applejacks » Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:11 pm

Thank you very much for your insightful response. I appreciate it a lot. I think you are spot on about the way I react by overthinking and how that comes from a lack of assurance. In the past I have said word-for-word some of your points and mentioned that I was tired of "walking on eggshells", but at the time, I didn't really know how to stop.

I think I will take some time to find a balance of self-reflection that's less than overthinking but doesn't also involve completely shutting down. My current thoughts are that I should work on being polite but honest when conflicts arise again in the future, and if they don't go well, then I know that I tried my best. What is currently blocking me and part of what is causing me to overthink is not knowing how to determine what lengths I should go to when something I've done has upset someone. I agree that me not texting back enough is probably a "them problem", but at what point is it a loved one pointing out my flaws so that I can improve, and at what point is it a "them problem", as you've said? I am wondering if the differentiating factor here is the speaker's intentions, but a person's intentions may require a lot of thinking to determine.

Again, thank you so much for your comment. It was very helpful to be told what I needed to hear instead of what I initially wanted to hear.
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