Missing My Buddy

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

I recently said something very hurtful to my best friend. I was trying
to help her solve a problem, but got overly invested in how her
problem affected our friendship and how similar it was to a former
relationship of my own. Now she’s angry and not speaking to me. I
know some of that is because of what I said, and some of that is
because she’s really upset about what she needs to do to fix the
problem. How can I get back to where we have been?

Missing My Buddy

Dear Missing:

The good news for you is that we are in the time of deep forgiveness,
of ourselves and others. The bad news is that apologizing and dealing
with deep hurt feelings is rarely pleasant. But once you are through
the worst of the anger and recriminations you will likely have a strong
friendship than you had before. It’s always had to say I screwed up,
but much much harder when you don’t understand why or how you did
it. To your credit, you have given it thought and are prepared to have
an open heart.

T’shuvah,literally “return,” is the core of the principles of the High
Holidays. It is about examining where we not lived up to our highest
standards and ideals. By practicing t’shuvah in your daily life, not just
in the synagogue or your prayers, you are really putting the deepest
mitzvot into practice. Judaism is an ethical religion that is community
based. Community includes friends and family. Being honest and open,
being willing to admit your failings is a great start. I would be shocked
if your friend does not appreciate a humble approach and apology. You
can start with a phone message or email, and invite her to a meal,
your treat, to talk things out. Restaurants are good because negative
behavior is less likely. It’s also okay to hug or cry in public, so if you
get emotional people will be forgiving. Explain where you were coming
from, and say you still have opinions she might not agree with. But
say all your actions are coming our of love and concern, and that
above all you value and cherish the friendship.