My very good friend Carlos and I never tested our friendship.
Many mornings we worked together serving coffee and discussing what we would do once our shifts ended.
Often our conversations involved advising one another about intimate relationships, money and career ambitions.
When my birthday rolled around in February 2008, everything changed.
I threw a birthday party (which coincided with a move to the West Coast to pursue my acting dreams) and he never showed up.
My immediate response to slights has typically been one of withdrawal and punishment.
I was angry for months and refused to return his calls or address the pain that this caused.
After months of trying to reach me, I finally spoke with him and we were honest about our disappointment and our commitment to our relationship.
Carlos was a no show at my party because his wife was having challenges with her soon- to- be born first child.
It’s amazing that after four years of honest communication, we allowed a misunderstanding to limit our trust and interaction with one another.
During our conversation, it occurred to me that our friendship was deeper than we imagined and had not been solidified until this moment.
I was informed that it was important that we heal our relationship because I was one of three people that my friend trusted with his child.
Hearing this vulnerable and honest response allowed me to share the emotional investment I had made in our friendship and request that we vow to be honest with one another about our needs and disappointments.
This was the day I gave up “ emotional stonewalling”.
I allowed myself to share my upset and disappointment in a real and obvious way.
Men are notorious for denying pain and disappointment.
I want men to share their bashed hopes and injured feelings.
It is important that we acknowledge hurt and not punish, diminish or refuse to hear others points of view even if it means being uncomfortable, confused or unsure as to what needs to be done.
We don’t need to fix it all or have relentless solutions for every problem.
Please know that connection and just being there is often more than enough.