Yesterday, I received a message from a close friend. She advised me to stop “telling other people about my problems with her”. The message, which came by way of mobile SMS sent me into confusion and anger. Two reasons for this: first, I didn’t know what the hell she was talking about and secondly, based on the message’s tone; I don’t think she was looking for an explanation.
To tell someone off when you think they deserve it is always a good thing in my book. To tell someone off via the informal, impersonal SMS network seems a bit cowardly for my tastes. As I couldn’t just read the message and leave it at that, I decided to call her.
All hell broke loose.
Her shrill voice and everything else she said only confused me further. Apparently, at a party a month ago I had made critical remarks about her in the presence of some friends of ours. These choice words had “rubbed everyone the wrong way”. My friend, (whom we shall call E) also attended the party. E informed me that the “friends I rubbed the wrong way” (FIRTWW) were appalled that I was sweet and nice to E when she arrived because minutes ago, I was making critical remarks about her.
If the turn of events ended on that note, I wouldn’t be half as confused and mad. I would have understood the scenario: I acted like a two-faced bitch and I deserve being told off.
A week later, I found myself celebrating E’s birthday with the FIRTWW. At this point I had absolutely no idea that I rubbed everyone the wrong way. I didn’t notice anything off. The weeks rolled splendidly on. I got invitations from the FIRTWW to have drinks or party, bumped into them and chatted with them occasionally. Since nothing was out of the ordinary with how the FIRTWW treated me, I never had reasons to even suspect I offended them.
I never did inquire about the state of my friendships with them because I trusted them to be genuine, to tell me if I did anything wrong. I must admit that I was a bit naïve. But I used to always believe friends don’t just go on pretending all’s fine and dandy when things are shitty.
E kept telling me that I shouldn’t have expected that what I said wouldn’t reach her. She would know as the people I was talking to were closer to her than to me. Or in Filipino: “Bakit, akala mo hindi makakarating sa akin ang mga sinabi mo? Mas close sila sa akin kaysa sa iyo, sasabihin talaga nila sa akin yun.”
This is where the situation becomes ridiculously painful for me. I said those things about E as a matter of opinion. These opinions, which I felt safe to express among friends were taken way out of context and blown out of proportion.
Moreover, I never really had concerns about E finding out or not because I knew that in our (supposedly) close knit group, news goes round anyway. What I said wasn’t said in a secret, back-stabbing sort of way. I said those things openly because I had confidence in my audience.
Today, I wonder whether or not I did have their friendship in the month before E called. If I’ve rubbed everyone the wrong way; why didn’t anyone say anything? All the holiday cheer, the laughing, the funny messages sent, the invitations to dinner…Were all these things part of a great big farce?
I can keep on wondering. Should I even be trying to rebuild bridges I once took to be steadfast? Sometimes, it’s easier to key in “delete all.” I’ve been played a fool and clearly, I too have been rubbed the wrong way.