Rebuilding And Reconciling Relationships Through Coffee And Forgiveness

12 min read MAR 04, 2024

Have you ever experienced hurt in a relationship?

Have you ever caused hurt in a relationship?

Of course you have…on both accounts.

We’re all human, and that means we’re all imperfect.

Those imperfections sometimes get the best of us, and those imperfections can also get the best of others.

The result? Hurt feelings, misunderstandings, marred relationships, bitterness, anger, sadness, and ultimately, or commonly, burnt bridges and broken fences.

Whether we’re ready to admit it or not, I’m going to boldly claim that every person has both experienced and caused hurt within their family, circle of friends, work relationships, etc.

And, on that note, I’ll also boldly claim that every person has, at some point, struggled with admitting wrong or dealing with hurt so that such relationships may be reconciled.

Now, I will say that reconciliation can look different for each relationship, depending on the prior connection and the severity of the offense, but at the end of the day, a lack of reconciliation can have devastating effects…even on your health.

We’ll discuss those effects today, but we’d also like to offer a proven means through which such reconciliation can begin.

Oftentimes, it’s the first step of reconciliation, sending that text, letter, or making a call, that seems to be the most difficult, but something as simple as an offer to share a cup of coffee truly serves as a warm invitation to set aside differences, mend misunderstandings, and begin again.

The Power And Importance Of Forgiveness

It seems to be a common thing, to be tempted to think that hindered or broken relationships don’t have a lasting impact on our lives.

But, the reality is, these marred friendships and familial ties keep us up at night, with even workplace disagreements occupying time in our hearts and minds.

However, despite knowing these things to be true, we often fail to see how harboring anger or simply refusing to forgive others, can damage us physically, mentally, and emotionally.

And, whether we allow ourselves to see the reality of such situations or not, the truth is, a refusal to forgive can act as a disease, destroying far more than our relationships.

Forgiveness can mean different things to different people, but overall, this needed element in reconciliation boils down to an intentional decision to let go of resentment, anger, and bitterness, instead inviting hope and peace, even change, into those relationships which have been hindered through hurt.

When we feel we’ve been wronged by someone we know, like, love, or trust, it’s easy to dwell on such an offense, and this causes our hurt to multiply, which festers into increased anger, then settling into our hearts as bitterness and resentment.

Of course, these things are easy to type out as mere words, but when you’re in the throes of disappointment, hurt, and sometimes a broken heart, forgiveness isn’t exactly easy.

And, this is why forgiveness is often described as a process.

Forgiveness involves honest evaluation or introspection.

Forgiveness also involves grace and mercy, as well as a desire for positivity in all our relationships, whenever possible.

And, should we be tempted to think a lack of forgiveness solely affects individual relationships, consider the spreading nature of such a disease:

- Experts agree that bitterness and anger in one damaged, or even severed, relationship can transfer over to those same emotions in new relationships and experiences.

- The hurt and resentment we experience in even one relationship, if not properly dealt with, can cause us to lack enjoyment and fulfillment in our present (positive) circumstances.

- Holding onto resentment and resisting or refusing forgiveness can lead to depression, anxiety, and an overall irritability across multiple circumstances and situations in our lives.

- When we struggle to forgive others, we can often miss out on valuable experiences and connections in other relationships as well.

Then, aside from our present state, circumstances, and other relationships, a lack of forgiveness also takes a toll on our health.

When we refuse to forgive or reconcile, we can easily harbor those negative emotions we mentioned above, namely anger, bitterness, sorrow, and resentment. And, these emotions essentially accumulate in our bodies.

Chronic anger, for instance, can put your body in a perpetual state of fight or flight, and when your body is in this mode, your heart rate becomes unstable, your blood pressure increases, and your immune system takes a massive hit.

Those changes alone have monumental negative health effects, including an increased risk of depression, heart disease, diabetes, and even a greater susceptibility to lesser illnesses.

Harboring anger and resentment also decreases your quality of sleep, and this has unspeakable implications as quality sleep is needed for healthy aging, fighting disease, hormone regulation, and so much more.

To make matters worse, the negative effects of refusing forgiveness are amplified as we age.

Thankfully, the reverse side of this coin, the side which makes a conscious effort to work through feelings of anger and resentment, admitting wrong or showing empathy in less than optimal circumstances, and offering forgiveness, this person can flip those negative effects, reaping not only the fruits of reconciled relationships but incredible benefits to their health as well.

Scientists have actually studied the notion of forgiveness and research has proven that the act of true reconciliation can:

  • improve sleep quality
  • lower or improve blood pressure levels
  • improve cholesterol levels
  • reduce the risk of heart attack
  • reduce stress
  • improve pain levels
  • decrease the risk of depression and anxiety
  • improve immune health
  • lower mortality rates

Even in those cases where relationships prove (upon openly trying) to be past the point of mending, if you honestly and fully do the personal work of forgiveness in your own heart and mind, these benefits can still be realized and experienced.

So then, once hurt, affected, and offended, how do you practically get to a place of full, true forgiveness, for the health of your relationships as well as your body, mind, and spirit?

First, most experts describe forgiveness as a commitment, and this is because true hurt takes time to fully heal.

So, forgiveness is more of a process than a single act.

However, this process does often start with a single decision, the choice to forgive.

For some, this decision comes quite easily. For others though, this decision is a difficult one.

When forgiveness doesn’t come naturally, you may need to first evaluate the value of such an act.

Think about the negative impacts a lack of forgiveness has, had, and can have on your life and health.

Then, realize the value of forgiveness, both in your own life and in your relationships - be it work or job relationships, family dynamics, and in friendships.

Forgiveness also involves acknowledging the emotions you’ve felt due to hurt you’ve caused or experienced.

Upon acknowledging these emotions, you can see the implications of such feelings and work to release them.

And, when the process of forgiveness proves to be overly difficult, remember to consider empathy.

  • Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes.
  • Reflect on times when someone has shown forgiveness to you.
  • Talk to a professional or trusted friend who can help you work through your feelings.
  • Practice meditation or even keep a journal to help you sort through and heal from the hurt you’ve encountered, all in an attempt to release the grip unforgiveness can have on your heart, mind, and body.

Then, as you’re ready, take the physical step or initiative of reaching out in an effort to reconcile.

Of course, these steps in the process of forgiveness and reconciliation inevitably involve humility as well as a healthy dose of vulnerability, but as you do the personal work of releasing these feelings, working towards forgiveness, you will reap the reward of peace.

Rebuilding Relationships Over Coffee

We’ve just detailed the devastating ramifications a lack of forgiveness can have on our lives, our happiness, and our health.

But, have you ever stopped to consider coffee’s role in alleviating this lack?

In other words, have you ever considered the role coffee can play in reconciliation?

I mean, that almost sounds absurd, until you truly ponder this notion.

Think about it, more than nearly any other beverage or meal, coffee ultimately serves as a means for connection.

I’ve yet to see cafes or shops solely dedicated to serving energy drinks, soft drinks, or sparkling waters, especially those set up in a manner conducive to kind, calm, and meaningful interaction.

But, coffeehouses and cafes, on the other hand, are continually filled with friendly meetings, co-worker connections, and more.

Sitting down over a cup of coffee, whether in such a cafe or simply in one’s home, provides a starting point, a setting and time for not only connection, but the first steps of mending those bridges and fences damaged by hurt, bitterness, and a lack of forgiveness.

Taking the first step in reconciling a broken or burdened relationship can be awkward and even downright difficult.

However, something as simple as an invitation to enjoy a cup of coffee acts as a defining action, one needed to build or rebuild the pathway to a healthy relationship.

I think of this as a stone pathway being built, in real time.

Whatever has happened in a hindered or severed relationship, one worthy of mending, has caused a large space between you and another.

Stepping towards that person can potentially mean wading through obstacles that may cause you to sink in the mud which fills that space between the two of you.

So first, taking the time to examine your own heart, with a willingness and desire to reconcile, lays a cement stone in front of you to establish a real, tangible path to forgiveness and healing.

Then, though sometimes difficult, making that first call, text, letter, or email, offering an invitation to sit down together over something as simple as a cup of coffee, places the next stone down in front of the first.
On the other side of the space between the offended parties, an acceptance of such an invitation also places a stone on this path towards reconciliation.

Following through and joining one another for a cup, this places an added stone in front of each individual on this path.

And, with each sip of coffee, sitting before one another, as conversation ensues and forgiveness is expressed and granted, more and more stones are placed to forge a completed path enabling each party a second chance at a happy, peaceful, and fulfilling relationship.

Then, in the case of successfully mended relationships, we’d be naive to think we will never experience hurt again. Afterall, as I mentioned in our opening, these things occur simply because we’re all imperfect humans.

So, I’d even go so far as to say coffee can also be used to keep relationships reconciled and healthy due to such meetings fostering an atmosphere of honest communication and connection.

We commonly use coffee as a means to begin relationships, reunite friends after years of life have taken place, solidify already strong friendships, and so much more. So, it only stands to reason that these same grounds for meeting would make a perfect setting for mending the same types of relationships.

An invitation to meet for coffee may seem mundane, but it’s this exact nature of such an invitation that brings comfort and calmness, especially in a relationship requiring reconciliation.

This can even be seen in small squabbles between spouses and partners, for how many times have arguments ended simply by one spouse preparing a cup of coffee for the other?

Sure, coffee is delicious. And, coffee even boasts powerful health benefits.

But, may we never forget the bridging powers behind an invitation to share a cup in an effort to overcome obstacles in our relationships.

A Personal Plea

We all fully realize the subject of reconciliation can be a very heavy one.

Personally, I believe this is due to the fact that, most often, in the case of damaged relationships there’s hurt on both sides.

So, pursuing peace commonly involves introspection, and in most circumstances, swallowing our pride.

He hurt me, and he didn’t apologize. He’s not reaching out, so why should I?

We’ve seen this internal narrative illustrated as we’ve detailed the detriments of unforgiveness today. And, while these repercussions are plain, holding on to grudges or even simply avoiding the awkwardness surrounding the confronting element of reconciliation seems to win out in damaged relationships.

And, I get it. Sometimes those damaged relationships are layered with what ifs, problems, and roadblocks…real ones.

But, as we wrap things up here, may I share my heart with you, ending this discussion with somewhat of a personal plea. 63

This plea is no doubt one some of you are very familiar with, and to those folks, I offer my warmest thoughts, a metaphorical shoulder, and shared tears.

In October of 2015, I received a devastating call, explaining that my brother, Tom, had died of a drug overdose.

I’ll obviously spare you the details and instead guess that those words likely fill in the gaps of a story riddled with misunderstandings and heartbreaking separation.

I can’t fully say that we were on “bad terms.” In fact, the last time I’d seen my brother was in January of the same year, and upon unexpectedly catching his eye across a crowded room, we both came to one another and embraced tightly.

However, due to pride and an unwillingness on my part to fully understand his circumstances, I robbed myself, both of us, of so many tight embraces, conversations, experiences, and love.

Oddly enough, despite our few encounters in adulthood, I still remember how my brother took his coffee…with an obscene amount of sugar…to which I’d appallingly apply commentary as he would just smile in response.

I remember so many little things from my time with him, but now, those are simply memories.

Those memories, his life and death, our lack of true, whole, reconciliation, it’s all given me a renewed outlook, one that prompts an unending realization of the brevity of life.

So, when I think of reconciliation, it wells up within my heart an urgent plea, for you and for me.

And, I know, this plea is a common one, but please don’t let this be something that sinks in when it’s too late…



Set aside pride, hurt, and misunderstandings.

We often hear the phrase “life is short,” so much so that I fear its meaning is often lost.

But, the fact of the matter is - life truly is but a vapor, and I pray we each live our moments and our days to the fullest, loving big and forgiving often.

There’s no amount of money, fame, power, success, or even health that I’d trade for one more moment with my brother, a moment where we could sit down, over a cup of coffee.

What I wouldn’t give to stare at him, bug-eyed, as he’d dump a seeming pound or more of sugar into his coffee, seeing him smirklingly smile back as I openly expressed shock and appall, all the while looking one another in the eye, and not only expressing forgiveness, but love, life, and happiness.

Please, don’t wait until the circumstances present themselves, your trepidation ceases, or the stars align - life truly is too short, and none of us are promised tomorrow - so, make the call, send the text, sit down over a cup of coffee, and mend any healthful fence or bridge you possibly can today.

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Headshot of Becky Livingston Vance
Becky Livingston Vance Content writer

Becky is a mother, educator, and content writer for Lifeboost Coffee. She has had three years’ experience as a writer, and in that time she has enjoyed creatively composing articles and ebooks covering the topics of coffee, health and fitness, education, recipes, and relationships.


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