Like five years ago, my neighbor, my little sister and I used to be really close. Then [our neighbor friend] grew up, went to school, got girly and met this really mean girl who moved to the neighborhood. We tried to get along with her, but she was nothing but trouble. The “mean girl” quickly became an enemy, forcing us to give up our neighbor friend. They are [still] best friends, and my sister and I quickly became invisible. To this day, nothing much has changed. We don’t go over to our neighbor’s and hang out as often as we did years ago.
But last night, my family was invited to go hang out [at our neighbor’s] for a small party. My little sister and I figured the “mean girl” would be there because she and our neighbor are so close. My sister decided she and my little brother were going to hang out by the pond for the night. I, on the other hand, was more interested in observing the “mean girl” and my neighbor friend to see what they were up to. We three had fun. Just relaxing, talking…nothing out of the ordinary. As the oldest, I’m supposed to have my guard up ALWAYS, especially against my sister’s enemy. But that night, my tendency to spill personal information got the best of me. … I said one thing. One small little thing that was (I didn’t realize ’til later) embarrassing to my sister. They laughed really hard and I didn’t think much of it ’til the damage was done.
I got home later and my sister calmly told me that what I said was “personal and embarrassing,” even if it wasn’t a biggie. I’ve only done something like this one other time. But I was young. I stopped everything and thought “Oh my gosh, what have I done? I tore the tight bond only me and my sister have. She’s the only thing close to a true friend I have, and I betrayed her by handing out personal data to her worst enemy.” … I got in huge trouble with my whole family. Floods of shame wash over me repeatedly. I’ve been choking back tears all night and morning … feeling like I’m going to throw up any minute. I’m a horrible big sister for doing what I did. … What am I supposed to do?
Hey girl! I feel your pain! Seriously!
I’m guessing what happened here was that you wanted to hang with these girls, and in an attempt to impress them and make them like you, you got lost in the moment and threw your sister under the bus. Am I right? And your sister was not just embarrassed, but hurt and humiliated by your actions. That’s definitely not a situation anyone wants to be in, but it does happen. Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone unintentionally hurts someone they really care about.
Forgiveness is an amazing thing. You can’t take back hurting someone, but you can ask for forgiveness. And this is the first thing you should do, if you haven’t already.
I get that the guilt is eating at you, but in a way that’s a good sign. It means that you recognize that what you did was wrong. It also means that you have a conscience! These are great qualities. But once you are forgiven for something that you did, you need to let it go. Just use the experience as a lesson for what not to do in the future and the whole situation won’t be in vain.
Integrity is such an important quality. And when you possess integrity, it means that nothing will steer you away from your beliefs. It’s not an easy quality to maintain, but if you are known for your integrity, people will trust you. This is not just in regard to your relationship with your sister and others close to you, but also to God, whom you should hold the closest to you. Your relationship with Him will be equally tested, so instilling a sense of loyalty and integrity within you now will help you beat temptation as you get older.
Friendship is just a great gift, and if you find it with your sister, girl, that’s something you don’t want to ruin. But like I stated earlier, you recognize the value of the relationship you have with her, so I have no doubt that the two of you can go back to the strong and trusting relationship that you had before.
So this is what I think you should do:
- Apologize to your sister, if you haven’t already, and explain your actions. Tell her how important she is to you, and ask her to forgive you. If she gets that you’re sorry, she’ll forgive you and you guys can resume your close relationship.
- Understand that sometimes when you hurt someone, you can lose their trust. And in doing so, it may take time to earn that trust back.
- Realize that popularity—or simply the desire to be liked—is overrated. And if it means hurting those close to you or steering away from your values, it’s just not worth it.
- Pray that God helps you remain loyal to those who are important to you and that you are no longer tempted by the desire to be popular or liked. Ask that He also instill a sense of integrity within you that will strengthen all your relationships, especially the one you have with Him.
Good luck and God bless!
Need some advice? Ask your relationship questions in the Ask Olivia Girl Talk forum or in the comments below and I might answer them in a future article!