A friend of mine was offended at me last summer when I drive into town and had not seen her. She had expected me to call, and I had- only to be directed to a ringing sight that left no opportunity to leave a voice mail. A friend tried too, with the same result. She finally reached me in the car on my way home, where I pulled over to speak to her. She did not believe me, since she said her phone was always on, and I had not known what had happened. My cell was in the car charger. I tried calling her back to verify that the number was right, and she answered but hung up on me. I felt peaceful, in that I had made my own resolution not long before:
If someone does not believe me and gets offended, then that person is likely not a good friend for me, because I will not repeatedly beg anyone to be my friend, and lead myself into an attitude of giving that person too much power over me as a result. I will wait for her to decide to accept what I have told her, and if not, I will know that I have tried, and have left the door open, but I will not beat myself up over this.
My resolution was hard-fought, and came partly from decades of having done the wrong thing- begging people to forgive me immediately when it was not even my error but they thought it was, being terrified that someone would not be my friend anymore, and the like. I have experienced the fear that comes with that- fear that, for me, was unregulated by the system that regulates the fear of typical people- that went from 9 to 10 on a scale from 0 to 10 in a matter of seconds, and stayed at that level till it was straightened. Prayer helped me have peace this time. I felt it would be all right.
Yesterday, my friend called me. She was able to come to her own realization that it was not worth being offended at anyone, and she wanted to make things be all right by forgiving me and letting me forgive her if I had been offended. She had reasons for thinking that it had been she who had offended me, and that I was playing a game here. I was so blessed! Her early resolution to forgive everyone she could before the new year really saved our relationship! I was able to explain to her that even though her phone may have been on, mine had the problem that it had been cutting off when not attached to to the car charger, so I now had a new phone. Even though it did not matter to her on one level that this was so, it helped her to see that what she had been thinking was not part of this.
My friend is non-Spectrum, and in ways, is extreme NT. She is the first person who carefully told me about watching people's eyes to see the direction that they looked, so that I could look there too, and we could share what we were seeing with one another. She speaks in feelings exclusively when she is excited, and she is the person who really helped me to learn to try to talk in feelings a bit, so that she could follow me- and to be really careful with any statement at all that the feelings track had the same meaning I want to convey factually, because if they mean different things, then she will not get this. I know that it was very hard for her to reach out to me, and that means a great deal. I am learning to speak fluent NT partly by speaking to her, because she cannot speak very much of my native language (thinking in pictures and facts and logic and color and equations and touch and taste and smell and ... -- well, I use words, but think in other things first).
It is an answer to prayer that we are acting and feeling like friends with one another now. I had sent her a card, hoping by faith that it would be received and that she was no longer feeling hurt. When we spoke, she talked of her pride and her need to lay it aside, and that this kind of pride was not a good thing to have. Her example is a great one to all of us, Spectrum or typical (or otherwise), since we can all decide that we want to hold onto hurt or hold onto being right when it means killing an otherwise deep relationship. I think people are more important than being right. So does she.