I had an interesting encounter Saturday night. I ran into friend of mine that I was once closer to, but had long since told me that they didn't have enough time to still be my friend. This person was at an alumni event.
When I saw her, I came up to her, gave her a big hug and asked about her life and what she was up to and shared my stories. She had broken up with a boyfriend and I told her that she'd meet the right person someday.
At one point, she stopped me and said, "Why are you being so nice to me?"
She knew she ditched me as a friend and she couldn't figure out why I was bothering to see how she was. I just said simply, "What would be the point of being any other way?"
I wound up driving her and her friend back to Queens... it was a beautiful night and I had the top down. She was pretty worse for wear by the end of the night and I really didn't want our mutual friend to have to deal with dragging her around the subway. Turns out that she lost her keys and I even had to turn around after driving 8 blocks away to help her look for them in the car and make sure she was ok.
Why bother? Why not just ignore this person and let any negative feelings I had for them just fester...
And incredibly smart person summed this up better than I could:
"I just don't see the point in wasting time or energy on
maintaining -- actively nurturing, in most cases -- sustained negativity
toward someone or about something. It mostly harms YOU, makes YOU less
happy, makes YOUR whole emotional world smaller, narrower, less enjoyable...
and it definitely doesn't, as you point out, do anything to inspire better
treatment from others either."
The fact that this former friend probably woke up maybe realizing that she had lost a good guy as a friend and probably didn't deserve the concern I showed her as a friend the night before is surely much more effective than whatever reaction she might have had to a dirty look or me telling her off.
And frankly, it felt very good to be the good person. Not the bigger person, but just the good person all around.