UPDATE: To Friend or Not To Friend
Don’t you hate it when you get sucked into a juicy story and for whatever reason you don’t get to finish it? It might be a movie, an “accidental” eavesdropped conversation or an article in your dentist’s waiting room. You’re left thinking, I wonder what happened?
Well, never fear. I won’t do that to you. This post is an update to one I wrote a few posts ago about the “problematic” Facebook friend request I received.
I asked for advice on how to handle it and got one of three responses from everyone who commented:
- Don’t accept it; you don’t need that kind of friend.
- Accept it, but keep your guard up and un-friend if necessary.
- Do what you want, but know that the person probably has a different memory of that time.
And the winner was…none of the above. At least initially.
A day or two after my post went up, the friend request came down (or I was technologically inept enough that I couldn’t find it anymore).
I’ll admit I breathed a (cowardly) sigh of relief. I hate loose ends, and I thought this end was tied off as tight as the suture knot Kelli Landers uses when de-nutting stray cats in Tawna Fenske’s Fiancée for Hire. (Hot, hilarious book by the way, “fuzz nuggets” included!)
In my senior year of high school when my friend told me god and her were homies, and I couldn’t have her without him, I took it for what I thought it was—the big belief brush-off.
So I couldn’t imagine why she’d casually toss a friend request over the wireless wall at me, and loosen that knot in the process.
When her friend request disappeared, I was glad I didn’t have to decide what to do. But I was also stumped—I couldn’t understand what brought her back around to my block after all that time.
Like I said in my first post about this conundrum, while I don’t overtly advertise my religious beliefs (or lack thereof) online, people could figure it out by reading through a blog post or two. Everything I put online is public. She could have seen that nothing had changed with me, spiritually speaking, which also appeared to be the case for her from what I could glean from her Facebook page.
What could she possibly think we’d have in common after all that…yucky stuff?
Apparently a lot more than me. And, as I found out, for a very good reason.
A day or two after the friend request disappeared I found a message in that mysterious “Other” file in my Facebook messages folder. I had just read another author’s Facebook post about checking that folder occasionally and what a creepy experience it can be. I was in the mood for a bit of creepy so I checked.
And there sat a message from my high school friend.
It wasn’t creepy.
It wasn’t what I expected.
And that, my friends, ended up being the most wonderful thing of all.
I hate to be wrong. Ask my husband.
What I found from reading my friend’s message is that neither she nor I were right…we simply had different memories of that time.
First of all, she said she’d read my blog post, and felt totally surprised and horrible. Her memories of our friendship involved lots of laughing and fun, and almost nothing to do with her church. She barely remembered me coming there and thought it was only for a short time. She didn’t remember me leaving the church abruptly or why, and she didn’t remember cutting off our friendship.
She thought we just drifted apart after high school when she moved away for college and I went to Australia, and she was sad about that.
Her timeline was even different from mine—she remembered us continuing to be friends after I stopped attending her church. All my recollections of our friendship came before that.
She apologized for anything she may have said back then that gave the impression we couldn’t be friends.
I told her it appeared we had two different experiences of our senior-year friendship, which of course we would—we’re two different people who looked back at the world through two different pairs of eighteen-year-old eyes.
I told her I had an idea of how she might be feeling, being suckered punched by my singular walk down memory lane. I told her that I had a co-worker/friend who sprung something similar on me a few months ago.
“Diane” told me about a comment I’d made to her when we first worked together ten years earlier that had crushed her. I told my high school friend that like her, I had no recollection of that comment, and I felt horrible that what I’d said had affected “Diane” in that way—and that she’d carried it around all those years.
“Diane” and I often had lunch together, we’d hang out at each others’ houses and our kids played together. And to think “Diane” had this awful memory of me in the back of her mind…
I told my high school friend I thought “Diane” was incredibly brave for telling me. Granted “Diane” didn’t write a blog post about it, so the mortification factor was kept between the two of us…
It was through the retelling of that lunch with “Diane,” that reminder of how horrible we can feel when we have no realization that we did anything to feel horrible about, that made me toss a friend request back over the wireless wall to my high school friend.
And I accepted that even with a rift as wide and ragged as the one I perceived between us, we could put our differences, and our different memories, aside and be friends. Again.
So, what about you? Can you think of any of your relationships that were built or broken by a difference of perspective? What would you have done if you were me, now that you know the rest of the story? Do you agree with the Marcus Aurelius quote? Or have you had an experience where you’d argue that there most certainly was a “truth”?