27 October 2016Last updated

Features | People

Ask the expert: should I patch up with my ex-best friend?

From your question I can tell you’re still hurting and angry

Russell Hemmings.
15 Jan 2016 | 12:00 am

I had a bitter fight with my best friend many years ago. Since then we’ve moved on to different cities and have not kept in touch. Recently, after all these years, I got a friend request from him on Facebook. I don’t want to accept it as I’ve still not forgiven him for what happened. Am I being petty?

From your question I can tell you’re still hurting and angry. The term best friend is particularly important here, as the deeper we allow people into our lives, the potential fallout is all the greater when they then move out of our lives.

I don’t know the nature or reason for your fight, but it happened and it must have been serious.

First off, it’s really not healthy to carry around negative feelings. This is widely called emotional baggage. I’m not a fan of the term, but it serves the purpose. I much prefer to teach that bad experiences from our past are lessons to be learned from and not to be absorbed by.

Assuming this is the first contact from him after the fight, I suspect this former friend doesn’t feel as strongly as you. People do tend to hide behind the anonymous face of social media, as they believe it somehow distances them from genuine connections.

He might also have a brusque and socially robust character for whom fights and fallouts are commonplace, and hence he feels it’s acceptable to attempt to re-friend you.

Alternatively, reconciliation might be on the cards for him, and this is the only way he can start the process. Which leads me to my key advice to you.

It’s all about choice – your choice. You can decide on your own terms in your own time whether to be friends with him or not. However, if you decide to open up the communication lines, make it for the right reasons – remember real friends don’t click and forget! It’s a big world out there with numerous like-minded, interesting and dynamic people eager to know you. Think carefully about the benefits of being friends with him versus not. Again, it is your choice.

Finally, please don’t allow yourself to believe that making any decision is in any way petty. It’s not; it’s a big and important deal for you.

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Russell Hemmings.

Russell Hemmings

Life coach, and clinical and cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist. More info: / 04 4273627 / 055 2867275.