DAME’s Friendkeeper helps a woman understand her ire and tells another how to deal with an old pal on Facebook who should’ve stayed disconnected.
There’s a friend I’ve grown up with and we are in many ways like sisters. We’ve been in and out of each other’s lives since we were kids. Currently she and her husband are living in the same town as me, so I see her for lunch and we shop and we usually have fun. But recently we were hanging out and she told me that a friend of hers, who I only know vaguely, “doesn’t like” me. I was stunned, not because the friend doesn’t like me (I assume a lot of people don’t—ha!) but because of the fact that she told me. It felt so hurtful and stupid. I said, “Are we back in high school? How can she not like me? She doesn’t know me. More to the point, if she doesn’t like me then it’s because of something you’ve said to her. There’s no other connection I have with her.” My friend said something dismissive and we dropped the subject. I don’t care whether or not she likes me, but I think there’s something wrong. Ever since then, I don’t want to spend any time with my old friend. She knows she put her foot in it, because now she’s been inviting me to lunch and offering to pay. Obviously she senses that I’m pissed! I don’t know if I can move past this, though. Am I being too harsh? What should I do?
That is a strange and hostile thing to say. You did call her on it (What are we in high school?), but you haven’t really talked about it, and she hasn’t really apologized. When people say something like that, I think of it as a frog. A frog can jump out of someone’s mouth for one of two reasons. First, perhaps she blurted something by mistake. This happens—you just find yourself saying something incredibly stupid and insensitive and it’s so striking even to your own self that you want to pretend it didn’t happen. (It’s like a possession. I used to get possessed as a child whenever I raced anyone—suddenly I was stricken down right before I lost.) It’s harder to do this as an adult. I would like to give you an example of a time that a frog jumped out of my mouth, but I think I prefer to leave those stories to wake me up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat, thank you. The other reason a frog might jump out is because a person is not in touch with their anger toward you. I know sometimes I can say something bordering on unkind to someone close to me when I’m mad about something else. Either one of those things could be the case here, but the bottom line is you have to get to it. You’re like sisters; ask her why she said it. I doubt it was a premeditated barb. It was more likely one of the other scenarios. The fact that it’s bothering you this much means it can’t be dropped and you can’t be bought off (though she can buy your lunch while you’re talking if you like, a lobster roll if you want my order). You don’t give a crap about this other person but you want your friend to have your back, not stab it.
I recently found an old friend of mine on Facebook, one that I hadn’t seen in 32 years. But when we were teenagers we were extremely close. Thanks to the magic of the Internet we reconnected and she and her son came for a visit. But it wasn’t a reunion full of warm fuzzy recollections and loving nostalgia. Everything nightmarish that could happen did: She insulted my neighbors, she got stinking drunk at a street party that we went to, she revealed that she and her son had lived with her last boyfriend strictly for money, the list goes on. I was so enraged and upset by the end of her visit that I wanted to scream, “What the fuck happened to you?!?” But I didn’t. Now I’m just wondering what to do. Should I reach out to her and let her know how upset I am and how worried I am for her son? Should I tell her that I think she needs to go to AA immediately? Or do I block her on FB, where we found each other to begin with, and move on with my life?
Bad Blast from the Past
An interesting thing happens to people over 32 years. They change—sometimes for the good and sometimes for the stinky. Your friend falls in the latter category. I would even say supremely stinky.
Finding an old friend can be like finding a lost treasure. You see the chest with the glittery slash marks coming out of it and your mind fills with the great possibilities of all the good to come. Remember Al Capone’s vault? Remember how pissed Geraldo was when he opened it up and there was nothing there? Sure, but at least the vault wasn’t drunk and insulting him (though hello good TV, amiright?). But the truth is, you met her one time. She may have drank too much and been obnoxious because she was nervous. Or maybe she’s got a problem, but you really don’t have enough data from that one day to perform an intervention.
I think if you want to, you certainly can write her a note and tell her how the reunion made you feel, what you’d hoped for, and what you experienced. She may apologize or she may tell you to go fuck yourself, but you really have nothing to lose at this point. You can always save the block button for later.
Got a platonic problem of your own that could use the Friendkeeper’s advice? Fire away: [email protected]. No situation is too uncomfortable or too small and all details are kept confidential.
It’s not just about the stories. Journalism is also about who is telling them.
Become a member at DAME today to help us support our independent, fearless reporting so we can continue to shine a light on the stories that need to be told, from perspectives that aren’t heard enough. Every dollar we receive from readers goes directly into funding our journalism. Become a supporter today.
AN INDEPENDENT FREE PRESS HAS
NEVER BEEN MORE IMPORTANT.
Your financial support helps us continue to cover the critical policies, politics and social changes impacting women and their allies.