The key to having successful relationships is having a short memory.
I hung up the phone and immediately questioned what the hell I was thinking: Why did I just flip out?
My friend had done nothing wrong. On a perfectly sunny morning, I went after him as if he’d purposely knocked a delicious Dutch caramel waffle cookie out of my hand.
My stomach was on the floor.
Years ago, when I was in my twenties, I’d spend my mornings curled up in the fetal position berating myself about the drunk phone calls I made the night before.
Now that I’m in my forties, whenever I pick up my phone after being up all night taking care of my kids, I tend to net the same dismal results.
I don’t think before I speak. I jumble my words. I put myself into corners I had no intention of visiting.
I never would have thought that “lack-of-sleep-dialing” today would get me into just as much trouble as “drunk-dialing” did in the past.
I paced my apartment after sending an apology.
I didn’t expect a reply.
Minutes later, however, my phone made a noise: “Mike, I know you. We’ve been friends for a long time. You messed up. God, knows I have too. It’s buried.”
Tom Kuegler is a good person.
The best friends forget stuff
When thinking about the situation above, I can’t help but believe the key to all great, long-lasting relationships, is one’s ability to forget stuff.
There have been occasions when my closest friends have annoyed the hell out of me. There’s little doubt that at times I too have infuriated the hell out of them.
In hindsight, however, most of the best memories we’ve made together wouldn’t have taken place if one of us hadn’t made the decision to move on when one of us did something wrong.
We accept each other. We prioritize our positive aspects over our negative traits. The things that made us want to punch each other in the past over the years have turned into fountains of laughter.
The same holds true for the relationship I have with my wife. The morning after our first real argument, she greeted me with a smile and a warm cup of coffee. I’ll never forget that. We hugged. It reminded me of the power of patience and the importance of forgiveness.
Sometimes the greatest moments come after the bad ones. But you’ll never experience them if you allow small grievances to remain heavy.
Being there for someone after you’ve messed up is an extremely admirable quality.
My wife is a beautiful person.
I’m annoying. You’re annoying. We’re all annoying.
As long as human beings continue to be human, from time to time, they’ll do things that get under your skin or make your blood beat red.
One of the best things you can do for your relationships is to realize that you do stupid things too.
Write down all the dumb things you’ve done.
Break out your list of atrocities the next time someone does something you don’t agree with to serve as a reminder that you too aren’t perfect.
Hang up a post-it note with the words of some Stoic philosopher if it helps you to better control the things you can’t control.
Take a moment to ask yourself if there’s something going on with them that maybe you don’t know about.
It’s not our job to always understand the actions of others. It is, however, our job as a friend to ask yourselves whether what they’ve done represents them in their entirety.
We can all be annoying. We all make mistakes. Having flaws is one of the few traits that ties us all together.
Steal a line from Tom, my childhood friends, and my wife and remind yourself of this the next time someone does something you don’t agree with or they start a random fight.
Few things kill more perfectly normal relationships than holding an unnecessary grudge. Not only that, but it’s a massive thief of our time and energy.
Everywhere we turn we are reminded of the importance of who we allow into our lives.
Of equal importance, however, is the decisions we make regarding which friends we decide to keep.
Long-lasting, successful relationships are comprised of two people who are willing to put in the work.
Long-lasting, successful relationships consist of two people who demonstrate patience.
Long-lasting, successful relationships are made up of people who forget stuff.
Take a look around at the happiest people around you. Think about the positive people in your life. Just like the rest of us, they get annoyed.
The difference is, however, they choose to have a short memory.
Just because you don’t like someone doesn’t mean you have to stop loving them.