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Not So Old Fashioned Advice; What Did I Do Wrong?

January 22, 2010

The question pulled for this week’s column really resonates with me, and I imagine it will for a lot of you, too.

I’ll post my advice, but I’d love to see you guys add your thoughts, experiences, and advice to mine to help this teen out. And if you’d like to ask a question for a future column, just leave it in the Comments section of this post.

Remember; If you list yourself as Anonymous, no one will know who you are!

😀

Dear MZ,

I have a good friend who suddenly stopped talking to me a few months ago. I had no idea why but recently I heard that it’s because someone else told her I said something about her that I didn’t say. I’ve tried talking to her, but she just blows me off. Part of me wants to keep trying to talk to her about it but part of me is mad that she assumed the thing she heard is true. I feel like if she cared about our friendship she’d at least ask me if it was true before throwing away our friendship. What do you think I should do?

Baffled

Oh, man… I feel for you, Baffled. I really do. And I admit, I’ve been on both sides of this coin. I’ve had people give me the cold shoulder for no apparent reason (though, unlike you, I’m usually oblivious that anyone’s even been talking smack) and, in my less mature moments (before I came to my senses), have been so angry at something I HEARD someone had said about me that I’ve given THEM the cold-shoulder.

I’m alwasy torn about confronting the cold-shoulder bearer in these cases. I despise drama, so my instinct is to say nothing and assume they’ll either pull their head out of their @#$ and realize, “Oh, yeah! I’m totally blowing someone off based on something I heard second-hand” or at least come talk to me about it to clear the air. To me, these things are preferable to saying, “I heard that you heard that I said something that I didn’t say.” Because that’s just kind of like, “WTF?”

But it sounds like you’re ahead of me on this one, since you’ve already tried talking to your friend, and if she is still blowing you off, the only thing I can think of it to write a letter in a last-ditch effort to straighten things out.

Hey, what can I say? I’m a WRITER. I tend to think writing can pretty much solve all my problems. 😀

Seriously, though. If you’re still not ready to let the matter drop, I’d try writing a really heartfelt letter explaining what you heard was said versus what REALLY happened (or didn’t). Let your friend know how much her friendship means to you and how hurt you are that she isn’t willing to talk the matter through with you.

But here’s the thing; if your friend STILL isn’t willing to have an honest conversation with you about it, you’re going to have to let it go. It’ll hurt, and if you’re like me, the injustice of it will feel like it’s going to KILL you. But it won’t. You’ll move on and you’ll continue to make new friends. And in your heart of hearts, you’ll know what happened. That’s what counts.

Good luck, Sweets! I wish you a life full of friendship.

MZ

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. ShortHairedNewGirl permalink
    January 22, 2010 6:14 pm

    I just started a new school, and I have been having an ANNOYING problem! See, I am tomboy and have short hair… (long hair annoys me)

    Well, EVERYBODY thinks I am a boy!!! (except some new friends)

    On top of that there is this girl who is an absolute b… Female dog!!!

    Everbody hates her because she thinks she is the boss of the school and throws out horrible comments about the others. I have been called ugly, fat, and that I look like a boy to her! I don’t take it personaly… But I am worried that others will! I am kind of the shy girl so I don’t have the courage to tell a teacher…

    I need advice on how to look more feminine while still not going 100% girly girl and how I can defend others (and myself) from that one girl!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Thanks!

  2. January 22, 2010 5:28 pm

    I’d just advise you to make sure that in that letter that you write (if you choose to do so) that you place emphasis on the way YOU are feeling because of the situation instead of the things your friend has done. When you share your feelings, they become indisputable, and a lot of the time people haven’t realized that their behavior has resulted in hurting your feelings. Statements like, “I feel _________ because I __________.” are most effective. Don’t blame your friend for her reaction if you truly want to reconcile. Make sure you voice your feelings and include a statement of the truth of what was said and what wasn’t said… it’ll go a lot farther than, “You hurt me when ___________.”

    And in the future, you’ll want to remember how this has made you feel, and open up channels of communication with people who you’ve heard have said things. It never hurts to confront a person who has allegedly said something with the rumor you’ve heard. Most of the time they’ll clarify what they meant and feel awful…

    I wish you the best and hope that you get to a good place with your friend!

  3. Lily LeBlanc permalink
    January 22, 2010 5:22 pm

    Hello Baffled..

    Maybe because I’m more of a straight forward person, I’d be truly upset. If someone didn’t even have the decency to talk to me before throwing out a friendship, they obviously aren’t a very good friend. What I would do? Confront them and just say everything you need to say, and not even expect a reply. Just so long as they’ve heard the truth, that’s all I would want. Whether they come gushing up to you, apologizing, or still blow you off, whatever- you did your part. Drama is immensely immature, and yet it seems to creep up on us at every age. If this person doesn’t trust you over someone else’s voice, then I would drop them as a friend. It’s a shame, yes, but you must have some self- respect. Trust is the basis or every and any relationship, and if you don’t have that..you’re screwed. This sucks, and I wish you the best of luck!<3

    • Jessica permalink
      January 22, 2010 6:26 pm

      I’m with Lily. You’ve already tried. If you’re not ready to let it go, the straight forward approach is the best thing you can do. You don’t have to be confrontational, just matter-of-fact. Find a time when you know your friend is going to be alone, walk up to hear and tell her the truth. You don’t need to preface it by asking if you can talk to her. Just walk up, say, “I didn’t say ABC. What I said was XYZ (or if the statement was never even made, tell her so). It’s your choice if you want to believe me, but it’s the truth. OK?” And leave it at that. It’s your friend’s loss if she chooses to believe second hand information over you.

      Good luck. 🙂

  4. January 22, 2010 5:08 pm

    Hey Baffled
    I think this has happened to everyone at some point in their lives, and it sucks. I think the best friendships are based on understanding and trust. If I was told that my friend had said something untoward about me, I wouldn’t freeze her out or ignore her, I’d go to her first, I’d be able to trust her enough to tell me the truth. The fact that she believed it straightaway no questions asked without speaking to you, maybe means she’s not a good a friend as you thought. It would really hurt me to think my friend didn’t speak to me about a problem I was included in. You don’t need friends that won’t give you the respect and time to listen to what you have to say.

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