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Been There, Done That: Let Someone Down

This weekend, I really messed up. I really wanted to help out with Mountain Stage for my friend who stood by my side when everyone else gave up on me. I wanted to help my friend who gave me a great job opportunity and gave me an opportunity to get involved on campus and feel appreciated. I wanted to be there for a friend who has always been there for me when I needed her. Sunday night, she needed me, and I let her down in a big way.

If I sit and just think, for not even a minute, there are so many people I have let down because something else came up or I was irresponsible or I just didn’t want to be there enough. I gave them my word and then I goofed.

I think about what I could have done differently.
● I could have got my homework done earlier in the weekend so I could have enjoyed my weekend, still gone to dinner with my family (my grandmother had been in town, and I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to see her as much as I wanted to be), and then made it back in time to get to the event and help out my friend.
● I could have stayed in Saturday night and got my homework done so I could have enjoyed my day Sunday, still gone to dinner with my family, and then made it back in time to get to the event and help out my friend.
● I could have backed out of my trip to Cooper’s Rock on Saturday, been responsible, and got my homework done during the day, gone to my events on Saturday evening, gone to dinner with my family Sunday, and still made it back in time to help out my friend.
Those are just three ways I could have changed the way I handled this past weekend so I wasn’t in this situation where I hurt my friend. I am almost to tears right now because of what I have done.

What do you do when you have hurt a friend by not being there when they needed you to be? Did you lose them? Did you make the first move? Did you hide?

I’m no stranger, as you can see, to letting people down, so here’s some things I have done in the past:
● Give it Time. Give the person a little bit of space so they can cool down. Don’t give them too much space, because then that makes it seem like you are refusing to take responsibility for how you have disappointed them and you don’t consider it a big deal.
● During this time, Weigh Out What You Will Say. By no means do you need to stretch the truth. If you are honest about everything, they are more likely to forgive you than if you make up some elaborate story about being attacked by a lion in a Canadian zoo while chasing down a Mongoose you’ve been using for your English paper (now, if you’re doing research on a Mongoose for an English paper, I do apologize… and if you had to chase it through a Canadian zoo, you have my sympathy. Also, I do applaud you. That’s dedication!)
● Apologize. Just do it.
● Accept the Consequences. It’s probably not going to turn out peachy. They’re going to be upset. They’ve had time to sit and stew on how you let them down. You will most likely have to rebuild that trust and dependency that you have broken with them.
● Learn from Your Mistakes and FIX IT. What was the real reason you let them down? FIX IT. Don’t let it happen again. Identify the problem and fix it. If it was procrastination, STOP IT. If it was you didn’t want to do it, don’t commit to doing something like that again. Whatever it was, identify it and don’t let it happen again. Actions speak louder than words, as we all know.

What was a recent time that you let down a friend, and what did you do to make it better? Did you try any of these tips I suggested? Share with us!

2015 graduate, and part of the founding HerCampus WVWC team, Stephanie now works as a Technical Writer for a technology contractor in Bridgeport, WV. Stephanie married her husband, JR, in October 2014, and together they have one toddler girl who is stealing their hearts and sanity one day and one dumped bowl of crackers at a time.
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