The longer relationships go, in trust, the more they grow; the confidence of rapport. There will be misunderstandings. This is the point; how else is trust to be forged? Good relationships are characterised by the forgiveness of misunderstandings.
First, let’s look at the nature of misunderstanding.
In the mix of some great interactions there are pieces (literally bits) of messages that are misunderstood, whether not communicated, heard or replied well (or a combination of these). This highlights the mystery of communication, and the limits of the conscious human mind, together with the individual motives and reason that shift focus from where it’s meant to be.
Good Friends – Good Humour
Isn’t it a feature of strong friendships that parties to them can laugh off ‘senior’ and forgettable moments? This is feature of the high trust that’s been earned both ways over time. It’s grace for sure and certain. Grace understands that communication errors will happen.
But there’s more... let’s not forget the forgettable blunders.
Somehow there’s also a generous allowance for mistakes of intention to be made—those due to moral failures, like a lack of loyalty. Everyone should know that to be disloyal, a vice in example, is to be human.
Child Psychology – Applications to Friendship
The difference between good friends and those with fractured relations is summed up in the typical child’s response. In reaction to relationship situations, according to the Transactional Analysis model, children are either fun-loving or hurt.
It’s easy to take that child analogy into adult communication, for no matter how mature we become we’re only an instant away from reacting like children again. It’s the higher mind—the higher thinking processes—that, of course, protects us from going there.
The Recipe for Success
It is easy to envy people who have maintained their ‘best friends forever’ relationships all their lives. These have occurred through no mistake. Forgiveness must necessarily have played its part.
When there is conflict in any relationship—and it will occur (always does)—both parties have their choice of response. Will it be the practice of humour to issue grace (so long as that grace is not taken advantage of) or will it be hurt feelings that characterises the mood? The former is sustaining the relationship; the latter straining it.
It depends on each person to determine how important the relationship is.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.