Welcome to Sara Westbrook’s “My Voice Your Choice” with mindyourmind.ca - a Q&A for youth on life issues. Sara answers Q's from youth in a way that promotes life tools and that encourage them to make responsible choices, giving them the power to create an extraordinary life. Submit your question today! Learn more about Sara on her website and check out our interview with her here!
Q: I told my friend I would hang out with her. Then these really popular girls ask me to hang out with them. So I lied to her and said I forgot I had to go out with my parents. She found out and was really upset. I feel so bad that I did this. I want to apologize to her but I am scared. Any suggestions?
A: In the moment, your choice of lying to your friend in order to hang out with the 'popular group’ may have seemed like a good one. Now looking back you are realizing that this choice has caused pain for both you and your friend.
Living in the moment, but choosing to live in a way that you will be proud of for the moments to come, is so important!
People love to be accepted, especially by a group of people that are seen as 'cool'. Getting caught up in the status and image of others can became so strong that it’s easy to forget about honouring our commitments.
To help you make future choices, it’s important for you to figure out what your commitment is. Is it to status or to true, loyal friendships?
I can see that you are upset about hurting your friend. So here are some suggestions on not only apologizing, but on rebuilding and maintaining friendships.
Empathy - Being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes.
- Imagine if the tables were turned - how would you feel?
Understanding that your choices may impact other people is important to remember. Choosing to be empathic before making your choices will have you become more conscious of how other people feel.
Apologizing - Saying sorry can be scary.
- I believe saying ‘sorry’ is important because it allows us to move forward. Often times people are afraid to say sorry because they are worried what the other person will think or how they will respond.
- Sometimes we are afraid to admit we are wrong because we worry about looking weak.
- It takes a lot of strength to say sorry and admit you ‘re wrong. It takes a lot of courage to take ownership of what you did.
When you say sorry you must remember that you are not in control of how your friend will respond. She may or may not accept your apology but you can be proud knowing that you apologized and took ownership of your actions.
Communicating - Talking about what happened is important.
- Having a conversation with your friend about what happened and allowing her to share her feelings will make a big difference for both of you.
- Sharing with her how you will do things differently is a good way to clear the air. Remember that a big part of communicating is listening, so listen to what your friend is sharing with you.
If you feel you are unable to have a conversation face to face, you may want to write a letter to her including your apology.
Rebuilding Trust - Your friend is hurt from what happened.
- Her pain is real and often times when people have been hurt they fear getting hurt again.
- Even though you may have learned your lesson from this experience and you have made a choice to never lie again, it’s up to your friend to recognize your decisions in her own time.
- Rebuilding trust takes time.
Choosing to act in a way that is grateful, trustworthy, empathic and respectful will take you far in both friendships and in life!
Until next time...
This has been 'my voice' but I respect this is your life - this is 'your choice'