There’s a big stigma surrounding “petty” today.
If you’re upset at someone for a reason you just don’t want to admit, you find yourself prefacing it with “I don’t want to be petty, but…” But sometimes, it really isn’t petty. Your feelings are legitimate.
I know what you’re thinking — where is she going with this? Is she about to be petty? Is she going to qualify why she’s being petty?
I’m sharing this story because I want anyone reading this to know that you’re allowed to be sad and hurt by a situation…and it doesn’t make you “petty.” The situation may or may not change as a result of your expressing your feelings, and that’s okay — sometimes expressing how you feel is enough. And I’ve kept these feelings to myself for a few months now.
Over the course of your lives, millennials, I’m sure that someone who cares about you deeply — a parent, another family member, a workplace mentor even – has expressed to you that the friends you have when you’re young won’t necessarily be the friends you have when you’re older.
I’m willing to guess that you told that well-intentioned adultier adult how that won’t happen to you and your friends… and then, before you know it, it has. Sometimes it’s just a result of falling out of touch and it is, as they say, “no one’s fault.” And then there are other times when you can’t imagine why it happened.
Recently I found out that that I’m not as close to a childhood friend of mine as I thought I was.
We’ve shared a great deal over the course of our lives. As we went through middle school we did everything together. We were in and out of each other’s lives during our college years, but we were good at picking up where we had left off. Sure, we’d both changed as people and developed different circles of friends, as we had differing interests and went to college in different places, but there were still jokes that never grew old. I believed that we’d truly be “those” friends forever.
Through a series of events, it became clear to me that we were not the friends we once were. I’ve talked about it with a few of those well-intentioned adultier adults in my life who were just as shocked as I was over the aforementioned events.
These feelings may seem petty to you, but I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t hurt and truly, deeply saddened by not only the situation but also by what it represents. First off, I want to know if I did something wrong, or did we just grow further apart than I’d realized? And then I found myself wondering if there was something “wrong” with me — why doesn’t she want me in her life?
I thought about our friendship over the years and wondered if there were clues. Had she been fooling me this whole time? Was I a chore to her? Had I just become too “weird” for her taste? There were stupid fights we’d had when we were younger, but none that would lead me to believe that she wanted to drop me like a hot potato when we were adults.
I’ve tried to act like “everything is okay.” But despite my best efforts, I have so many questions that I need answers to. I understand that people have “worse problems” and I take things personally, sometimes even when I shouldn’t. But after taking the denial route, I am admitting that I am hurt and scared that our friendship is either over, superficial or just plain not what I thought. And I don’t want that. I don’t want any of that.
Regardless of what the outcome is, I want you to know, millennials, that it’s okay to be sad and hurt with situations. Friendships are meant to be taken seriously, and if you’ve invested a lot in a friend, it’s normal that you’ll wonder what you’ve done, and you’ll want things to go back to how they used to be. And it’s okay to long for another time.
I’m not even going to sit here and claim to be over this whole situation… but I knew that I couldn’t hold my feelings in any longer.
And I don’t think that’s petty.