January 16, 2014
There is a couple in my friend circle—let’s call them Ben and Heather—who have been living together for quite some time. They are incredibly romantic and it’s like PDA is one of their favorite pastimes. If I were writing to you a few weeks ago, I would’ve been asking you how to deal with that schmoopiness. But recently, a more pressing issue has arisen: A single friend was perusing her dismal prospects on OKCupid when she saw a familiar face: Ben’s!! He had a profile just like any other unattached dude might. So, she discreetly broke the news to Heather, who confronted him about it. None of us really know what happened, but we do know he deleted his profile. And that they’re still together, and are keeping mum about whatever issues they’re working out. I’m sure they’re going to behave like we don’t know what went down, even though, of course, we all do! So how am I supposed to act the next time I hang out with them? I no longer trust Ben, and if Heather needs someone to talk to, I want to make sure she knows I’m available. But should I just pretend things are status quo? Do I have to pretend not to know forever?
The Great Pretender
Do you remember the song “Behind Closed Doors” by Charlie Rich? From 1973? You don’t? Oh, that’s right, because you aren’t 150 like me? No matter, the point is no one knows … what goes on… behind closed doors. No one knows what happens in any one else’s relationship, and you can never make judgments about it unless you see something with your own eyeballs. Is it possible this was an old profile that Ben never took down? Or perhaps they’d broken up … for five minutes? Whatever the reason, I think the fact that Heather became okay with it means you have to be okay with it. And yes, you kind of do have to act like nothing happened, because as far as you know, nothing did happen. If there was an indiscretion, it’s embarrassing to Heather and the last thing she wants is everyone circling around her and telling her their thoughts on Ben. If she comes to you, be supportive and listen to her, even if you think she should dump him, because people need to come to that on their own. I have a good friend, let’s call her Me. Me dated a mobster ex-convict and though everyone told her “ditch him” and “whatever you do don’t give him money,” Me wouldn’t listen because ultimately Me needed to figure it out on her own. And no one knew what went on behind Me’s closed doors (until Me wrote a piece about it for Glamour).
Last week, I tried to send a message to an old college friend through Facebook, when I discovered she’d unfriended me. I have been wracking my brain, trying to figure out what I did to offend her, but I can’t imagine what that could be. I haven’t seen her in person in a few years because of life circumstances—we live on opposite ends of the city, and keep different hours (she’s married with a kid, I’m not)—but we’ve been through so much together, that I basically feel like we can always pick up where we last left off. My mind is racing. I know I didn’t forget a birthday. My Facebook posts are totally innocuous, so I can’t imagine I offended her in that way. So when I ran into her at a store yesterday, she didn’t mention it, so I didn’t either. I know she’s not taking a Face break—I’ve seen her post on other friends’ pages. Oh my God, I sound like I’m in high school: Am I making too much of this? I mean, she’s someone I know in real life. What should I do? I should just ask her, right? But, won’t I sound like an idiot asking why we’re not Facebook friends anymore when we’ve been real-life friends for over a decade?
The Unfriended One
Dear Unfriended One,
You may not believe this because of my sparkling personality, but I too have been unfriended on Facebook. Actually, a few times. They were never people I knew in real life but we had interacted enough on Facebook for me to consider them my Facebook friends. One of the people actually re-friended me and apologized for the error, but then a year later it happened again and you know, once it might be a mistake. Twice … I have to think he just doesn’t like to be dazzled with my charm and wit. Maybe he’s jealous. Or hates dogs. Anywho, as I said I didn’t know him in real life so I could make the reasons be whatever I wanted, which were all flattering to me. Your sitch is different. You know this person and there is a history. The fact is, if she unfriended you on purpose that is a questionable at best way to deal with a friendship issue. That’s just not what good friends do. I think you can give the friend an out by suggesting to her that it may have happened by mistake. Because if she’s any kind of decent person she’ll be horrified that she did it accidentally or if she did it on purpose did not think you’d notice and can easily apologize and comfortably correct. If there is a real issue and this is how she chose to express it, well then she’s the one who sounds like she’s in high school. Either way you won’t be up nights wondering. You can put your time to much better use … like posting blind items that are clearly about her and her awful personal hygiene.