Sunday, November 1, 2009

Requesting a Friend

I've written and said often how much I'm enjoying using social media to reconnect with old friends and classmates. Sadly, one re-connection just isn't going to happen.

On FB this morning, I found someone. As I was growing up he was my neighbor, a friend, and a classmate. I fondly remember hanging out with him with our neighborhood group, playing kick-the-can and putting on shows. Anticipating the opportunity of reminiscing about our younger days, I sent a friend request, and got back this:

"wow. Are u f***ing kiding me. You are a total ****. Do you remeber how you treated me. Think about you white trash w**** NOW"

OMG! I'm shocked.

I've always thought that I was a good person, I give back to the community and to others. I'm a nice person. This is not self-proclaimed - many people have told me so, sometimes so much so that "nice" doesn't always seem like a compliment. I know "kids will be kids" and kids are mean to each other, but for those of you that knew me then, I think you'll agree that I really was a nice kid. Brown-nose, teacher's pet, straight-A student, Girl Scout even through high school, respectful, accepting, straight-laced - heck, I was the kid that got picked on and made fun of! So this scathing response I received from my friend request came as a surprise.

I don't know what I did to him. I don't know why he still has such vehement hatred toward me, and at this point I don't think it matters. It troubles me to think I could have been so mean to someone that they carry such indignation to warrant such a diatribe decades later. And I'll admit it gives me pause to think: could there be others that I offended and I have no recollection?

So first of all, I'd like to thank him for his honesty (I really do try to see the good in everyone, there is something to be learned even from our harshest critics). And second, I'd like to apologize to anyone that I ever offended or hurt in some way. I assure you it was unintentional, I meant no ill-will toward you.

I don't expect to be friends with everyone I've ever met. And I'm sure I'll be more selective before I click on "Add as Friend" on FB in the future. I do hope he will somehow find some peace and let go of his resentment towards me and his childhood.

I still look back on our neighborhood childhood with fondness, and I would still call him my friend. I hope when I leave the world one day that the majority of the people I've ever met will remember that I am a nice person.

7 comments:

Libby Gierach said...

How unfortunate to receive a response that you did. He might be in a completely different place right now and perhaps lashed out at you due to his own current cirumstances, not from what you may have or not have done to him. How fortunate that you have great friends now and in the past who respect you for what you do and have done. Well done, my friend!

Anonymous said...

That guy had to have some one else in mind. You are the best! I know it will bother you that someone says such terrible things but I can assure you that he has a problem not you!
Mom

Lori said...

If he didn't want to accept your friend request he should have just ignored it. His response was totally inappropriate. I don't know you but you certainly seem like a kind person and I'm sure you were a kind person back then too.

Cat said...

I can't imagine he is remembering the right person. Seriously? I would totally crumble if I got such a response!

Cycho Librarian said...

Something similar happened to Jessica as she was trying to reconnect with old friends. She found a good friend who had lived next door to her for years, but there was some sort of spat over a boy when they were in their early teens. When Jessica tried to connect with her she told her to leave her alone and blocked her. I figure that if someone feels that way all these years later there's something else wrong and it's not your fault anymore.

largesse said...

Wow, that's nuts! I'm sure you would never intentionally treat anyone badly. I agree, the problem is his, not yours.

Allison said...

Netter,

Found your blog after reading your guest post on The Life of Jimmer. (I'm guessing from his introduction of you, the "honey" reference means you're his wife? You both are clearly good people, and if you're not married, well by golly, why not!?) ;)

When I read this post and what this person wrote to you, I immediately related to everything you felt and how you responded (right down to the wanting to apologize to anyone you're ever hurt or offended). It's something to see yourself in someone (as your heart and thoughts are so similar to mine here) and take a different perspective.

What I mean is, as an outsider, I can see the situation so clearly. And I immediately feel protective of you. But if I were you, I'd feel the way you did and have written a post like you wrote. But since I AM looking from this angle out here, let me tell you what screams loud and clear through those words you received on Facebook: a very, very angry, bitter, sad soul. It is SO not about you. SO, SO, SOOOOOOOOOOO not about you. What's going on there, behind that computer screen of that guy and in his head is a world obviously full of hatred. You were just an outlet for the vitriol that already existed. Your friend request was just a prick in the balloon, allowing the hot air a channel to gush out.

You may know this in your head, but if you're like me (which I think you are), you're quick to internalize this stuff that is not about you. Even if you had done something horrible that you can't remember, no mentally and emotionally healthy/happy person would spew that kind of venom at you this many years later. That guy's soul is just shriveling up in anger and misery...and it's not about you.

On a brighter note, I'm so glad I found you! I'll be keeping up with your blog now. I love your writing! (And the heart and mind that shine through it!) :)

Take care,
Allison