Monica And Ciara: What We Can Learn From A Friendship Gone Awry
“She and I did have a disagreement. We both had issues with each other. When you have been friends for a long time, almost two decades, and you let things fester, and you don’t talk about them, it can cause a breakdown that other people may not understand.”
So stated singer Monica in a recent interview with Atlanta radio station Streetz 94.5 about the cessation of her near 20-year friendship with fellow singer Ciara. Without giving specific details, but dismissing a few unsubstantiated rumors, Monica expressed the love, respect and admiration she still has for the woman she referred to as a sister. In the classiest way possible, Monica gave voice to the power of feminine bonds and to the unfortunate consequences of failing to communicate your true feelings in a relationship of any kind. There’s an obvious lesson we can all learn from her story: speak up before it’s too late.
We may never know what really went down between Monica and Ciara, and we don’t have to in order to glean that their friendship was worth salvaging. But Monica’s testimony of how quickly two people can go from friends to dang near strangers is something I’ve witnessed firsthand. The details are convoluted at this point, which tends to happen when enough time has passed, and you have two people with different points of view. But two good friends of mine who were very much like sisters no longer talk after having a heated dispute. One that erupted after years of frustration, at least on behalf of one of the ladies. That argument was her breaking point.
Knowing both these women very well, it was difficult to place the blame on either one of them when both played a role in the events that led to the argument and eventual degradation of a friendship I still hope they’ll recover. Neither crossed any lines that shouldn’t have been crossed nor did they break any of the golden rules of friendship. I fully understood where they were both coming from and didn’t want to get in between whatever they needed to go through individually and collectively to heal and move on. That point, unfortunately, has yet to come. In trying to rekindle their friendship, one wanted a clean slate, and the other still wanted to discuss what had happened. They never saw eye to eye on how to proceed.
This situation is not unique to my friends, or to Monica and Ciara. Sometimes two people have an argument or fight that they never recover from. Feelings are hurt. You take time away from each other and before long, too much time has passed. Fear starts to creep in. What if it’s too late? What could we possibly have to say to each other after all this time? The ego doesn’t help much, either. You start to wonder why your friend didn’t know better in the first place. Why would she act that way? Or you ponder why your friend didn’t do what you expected of them, or what you would have done if your roles were reversed. Anger turns to resentment. And like all the unspoken issues, concerns and grievances you’ve withheld from your friend out of fear or not wanting to upset or disappoint them, big and small, these questions can create an even larger gap in your bond. Left unaddressed, especially the seemingly petty but obviously real concerns, all of this can do significant damage. It might take hard work, some sincere honesty and a little time, but the damage is repairable if you sincerely want to continue the friendship.
Sometimes, however, no matter how close you think you are to someone, they’re in your life for a season. A set amount of time. You can do your best to keep things going after an argument or boiling point has been reached. However, if the other party isn’t willing or interested in salvaging the relationship, you have to accept their position. If that’s the case, like any breakup, you mourn the loss and hopefully learn from the mistakes you made so that you don’t repeat them with another person. Take a page out of Monica’s book and move on with your head held high and with well wishes for your former friend. No need to trash talk, throw her under the bus or give her shade of any degree. That will only dig a deeper hole, allowing negativity to fester and seep its way into your other relationships.