Dear Aunt Babz,
I have a girlfriend that I've been friend with for over 5 years. During our friendship, I've acted like a mentor as she was trying to break in a field that I was already in. I was there to give her advice and help for just about everything she needed..
Her daughter, which she had at 14, is getting married. And before I embarked on my professional career, I had a floral design business. When she informed me that she and her family were going to prepare the flowers because she could not afford to hire a designer. I offered to do the flowers for her. She showed me some pictures of what she wanted and I told her that I would go ahead and complete the both the wedding and reception so she could spend time with her daughter during her wedding day.
Yesterday, I went to visit her and found out that she had taken up running. I knew I hadn't gotten her anything for her birthday, so I asked her to go with me to the running store so I could look at a few things. Instead of me trying on things, I tricked her into trying on some shoes, which I bought as a gift.
Today, my friend informed me that she took the shoes back and that she was sending me a gift certificate for the return of the shoes. She told me that she was very angry that I had insisted on getting her the shoes because she didn't want them. She told me that while she didn't think I was doing anything bad, she just didn't want the shoes.
Then she informed me that she decided that she didn't want me to do the flowers because she no longer trusts me. She told me that her daughter’s wedding is important to her and that she doesn't trust that I will do what she says. I told her that I would only do what she requested and go by the pictures she provided. She informed me that she did not trust me and that she would not want me to do any of the flowers because I purchased the shoes for her birthday against her wishes.
I was very hurt by this. I feel embarrassed and I don't even want to go to the wedding. How should I take this. How can someone say they are my friend, but at the same time tell you they don't trust you. When I asked if there was anything I had ever done in the past to make her feel like this, she told me no. I'm not sure what to make of this! Please help!
Well my friend, you've just been hit with an Ego Whip. Not very pleasant, I must say but it is the weapon of choice in retaliation for a bruised ego. Yes, it stings like hell, doesn't it?
It's a damn shame because you and I both know you meant absolutely no harm but I'm afraid there's no turning back from this one. Unfortunately, I can't find any resolve here. I'd thought that maybe writing her a letter or sending a card might do the trick. But what would you say? I mean, you could apologize till you turn blue. You could assure her that by no means would you ever vary from the formula she's got in mind concerning the flowers. Hell, you could even offer her the opportunity to watch you do it. None of this or any other excuse or manner of application is gonna do here.
What has happened here has nothing to do with you, you personally, nor does it really have anything to do with trust or her concerns that you might not do her flowers as specified.
What has happened and I rely on my good ol' Intuitions to guide me here; you bruised her ego with your gift.
Now, it may seem harmless and given out of the goodness of your heart. But you pushed the wrong button and you've crossed a boundary, an invisible one but a line non the less, that she's had drawn and up for many years.
She'll never in a million years admit it but when you snuck the sneakers to her, she felt a bit of shame, a feeling of pity on your part. She's the kinda gal that you know accepts no handout from anyone in any way shape or form. No commiserate gesture will every sit well with her. Yep, it's a clear cut case of pride.
This is not the first time she's felt this way concerning you. Quite often because you have a giving spirit whether it be advice or in your role as her mentor, you've stepped on her toes. This is not by any means mentioned to make you feel bad, that is not my intention but all this was the last straw for her and I don't believe there's any turning back.
Let me make it real clear to you that this is not your fault nor is it your problem. No, you keep on keepin' on, never vary from the good and kind person that you are. This is her issue and not a nice scenario at that. Pride is and can be her downfall. Eventually, I hope she will see that her pride has caused such strife and at the very least, she has lost one of the best friends she'll ever have.
Marie, I really have no answer here except to assure you that you did nothing wrong. Furthermore, I think you should dust yourself off, ruffle your tail feathers, apply a fresh application of lipstick and continue to smile. Let this be a life lesson that I do hope you'll soon recover from. Leave the door to your heart open as there's someone who's coming along that could really use a true blue, warm and giving friend. This new friend went to Kindergarten and learned early on about giving and sharing, receiving and the joy of friendship.
Keeping It Real,