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Hyacinth
08-26-2013, 10:09 AM
I am close friends with a girl named Jennifer that I have known since kindergarten. We attended a private Catholic school in a small town. Most of the students in the school were from upper middle class families. I was one of the few kids who was poor and came from a single-parent household. (This is the 1970s and there weren't a lot of single-parent families at the time.)

Anyway, my experience at the school was mixed. The rigorous schooling laid a strong foundation for future academic success, which I eventually took advantage of. On the other hand, stressful school social dynamics affected that success. I was picked on quite a bit from second through sixth grades. It was never quite clear what started it (too big, too poor?), but I knew early on I wasn't accepted by the majority of kids there. It eventually came down to me being teased about a particular embarrassing incident for many years (by kids on the schoolbus of all ages), spending many recesses alone, and having to be assigned a partner in gym class because nobody wanted to be mine.

Seventh and eighth grade weren't too bad, and then by ninth we all scattered to either the private Catholic school or the much larger public school. I went to the public school, and thankfully the social dynamics changed for almost all of us. I was happy to be anonymous, and chuckled when a popular kid wasn't getting the kind of attention he was used to. During this time, Jennifer became pretty good friends and remain that way today. We've never talked about the teasing. She was part of the private-school popular group, but never was one to tease others.

The other day, she let me know she found one of our classmates, Kimmie, on facebook. She was very excited, and probably expecting me to be thrilled. Kimmie was one of the kids who brings back bad memories for me. I pretended like I didn't quite remember her, confusing her with another girl who had a similar name. Jennifer pointed out her awesome blog and photos because she now lives in Paris. Normally, I would be all over that, but I glanced at her page and made a comment that I didn't recognize her, but she's pretty and looks like a cousin of Jennifer's.

I basically figure those people are not worth remembering, so if prompted I pretend to struggle to remember who they are. I haven't forgotten them and I don't like to lie, but I don't feel like saying "yeah, she insulted me every day for a time." I'm surprised that this incident brought me right back to those days and the awful feeling of not belonging and wondering when you're going to be picked on next. That was a daily feeling for me for several of my childhood years. Ick! I am so glad that reality was temporary and feel like I have moved on. I am also sure it was one of several factors contributing to my 20 years of adulthood obesity.

Anybody else have experiences like this? How have you handled when someone prompts you to reconnect with someone who previously shunned you?


Mozzy
08-26-2013, 11:00 AM
No advice, just hugs!

belovedspirit
08-26-2013, 11:36 AM
I'm not sure... but what I really want to say is how much I admire your response to this whole situation for how mature and strong it is. I'm also sorry to hear you were bullied. I understand completely how this still brings up memories for you, and I hope your friend shows you understanding if you do decide to share your feelings with her. Either way, I wish you well and I hope these feelings find resolution and peace. Feel good. :hug:


alaskanlaughter
08-26-2013, 01:15 PM
I haven't had the opportunity to choose to be reconnected with the mean girls from childhood....if I had the chance and wasn't comfortable doing so I would probably say nicely that "you were pretty mean when we were growing up and I'm just not comfortable with (insert idea - lunch, facebook friends, whatever)"....

on the other hand there was a boy in high school who was horribly mean to me...at least I thought so at the time....he would sit by me on the school bus, share a seat with me, lean real close to me, ruffle my hair and generally make me extremely uncomfortable....now that I think back, he never called me names or made fun of my weight...I reconnected with him over the internet a few years back and it turns out that he had a huge crush on me all through high school....and I thought he only went to all my sports games to bother me at the time lol

Vex
08-26-2013, 02:30 PM
I've had that happen recently. I'm 43 so high school was some time ago, yet all these people from high school started wanting to friend me. It was a very small school, so of course I knew them all...but...

...99% of them ignored me or worse. I ended up defriending them all. Why on earth should I care now for people i haven't seen in 30 years that didn't care for me then? Are people that petty that they just HAVE to know how you turned out? Are they really still comparing lives so long after high school? I'm afraid the answer is yes.

Just because you know someone or recognize their name doesn't mean you have to fb friend them.

doingmybest
08-26-2013, 05:37 PM
I was horribly bullied as a kid by classmates and family. It had such a very bad effect on me. I had the chance to reconnect with family from the past, and chose to move on.

The events that I went through were not one time incidents. These were things that happened over years. The people who did this to me were old enough to know better. In fact, some of them were adults.

I decided that the very best thing for me to do was to let go and move on. I put my energy into people I value and who value me.
I doubt that I will ever forgive, but I have tried to accept what happened and move on. Now I have terrific people in my life.

I won't go backwards.

I think people underestimate how destructive bullying really is. I am very sorry that you went through that.

Sending you hugs. :hug:

PatLib
08-26-2013, 06:01 PM
I actually think this was a "good" lie. Trust me if you bring up the bad stuff most likely Jennifer will be a good friend but will nicely tell you to get over it. But not in a mean way but people who weren't really teased just don't get it.

AwShucks
08-26-2013, 07:35 PM
I actually think this was a "good" lie. Trust me if you bring up the bad stuff most likely Jennifer will be a good friend but will nicely tell you to get over it. But not in a mean way but people who weren't really teased just don't get it.

I agree with this remark. You're showing a lot of emotional strength in how you're handling this. I'm sorry that the feelings come right back - I know they do - but you're strong, and you don't have to let it affect you, now.

Kimmie is just the flavor of the week for your friend.... this too shall pass and you can go back to concentrating on people you really like.

Hyacinth
08-26-2013, 07:56 PM
Thanks for your responses. It's actually kind of hard to talk about, because I don't want pity and it feels somewhat shameful.

Vex, I am in my early 40s too, which is why I was surprised to have felt so strongly against someone I haven't thought about since middle school!

I also am discovering that part of my overeating is caused by social anxiety, and social anxiety came from somewhere, like maybe elementary school teasing.

Previously, Jennifer and I had a similar experience where Jennifer reconnected with Lisa. Lisa had been slightly snotty to me, but for a long time prior to that was friendly. I did mention not having positive memories of Lisa to Jennifer, and Jennifer rationalized that we are all different than how we were when we were tweens and did urge me to get over it. In that case, I was OK reconnecting with Lisa. I don't have that same level of comfort with Kimmie, which is why I don't regret saying I didn't really remember her. Jennifer was a little puzzled and pushed it, saying I must remember, and going on about summer of sixth grade. I tried to keep it positive and change the subject. I think she sensed something was up, because my usual openness wasn't there.

Patlib, I agree, she is not likely to understand how crippling being stigmatized can be.

I absolutely agree with being stingy about accepting facebook friend requests, and about having a strong BS detector and not having a problem eradicating jerks from my life! So, go me. Ha ha.

Thanks again for listening!

patchworkpenguin
08-26-2013, 07:58 PM
I was teased/bullied all though grade and HS by various people. I don't feel I should waste my time trying to reconnect with people I didn't like then. Odds are I won't like them now, either.

I think you are making the right choice for yourself. No sense in dragging up the past, especially to someone you feel won't understand your side.

JohnP
08-26-2013, 08:21 PM
What would I do? I would start by not lying to my friend.

I am not a psychologist but I think you need to see one because it sounds to me like your emotional growth as a human is being stunted. I'm not kidding or trying to be a jerk. There is no reason to live another day with this kind of thinking. Get some help.

You can't be honest with your friend Jennifer. You're lying to your friend by prentending to not remember someone you harbour resentment towards.

You don't need to be friends with anyone on Facebook you don't want to be but if Jennifer is actually your friend you should be able to be honest with her. You clearly have not moved past this childhood trama so at minimum you should read some self help books and try to get beyond it.

PatLib
08-26-2013, 08:39 PM
What would I do? I would start by not lying to my friend.

I am not a psychologist but I think you need to see one because it sounds to me like your emotional growth as a human is being stunted. I'm not kidding or trying to be a jerk. There is no reason to live another day with this kind of thinking. Get some help.

You can't be honest with your friend Jennifer. You're lying to your friend by prentending to not remember someone you harbour resentment towards.

You don't need to be friends with anyone on Facebook you don't want to be but if Jennifer is actually your friend you should be able to be honest with her. You clearly have not moved past this childhood trama so at minimum you should read some self help books and try to get beyond it.



The idea of complete honesty is is actually very counterproductive in most relationships. Sometimes withholding for the sake of someones feelings or to keep the peace typically makes for stronger relationship than the ones where you fight to be "right."

Also, the poster told us that she hasn't thought of this situation in years, being human sometimes you have no idea something is bothering you until it smacks you in the face. Regrettably, the poster is getting smack and I think she did the right thing by first telling a white lie and then venting here. Not every issue needs therapy just venting and a little support. :D

JohnP
08-26-2013, 08:58 PM
The idea of complete honesty is is actually very counterproductive in most relationships. Sometimes withholding for the sake of someones feelings or to keep the peace typically makes for stronger relationship than the ones where you fight to be "right."

Of course I agree with these statements but we're not talking about a topic that is controversial or based on faith. I have no idea how these statements fits into the context of this particular situation. We're talking about a grown woman who has to lie to her friend because she can't admit she has no interest in reuniting with someone from 30 years prior.

I agree that therapy may be over kill but from the sound of the OP ... it seems like a little self help could go a long way to improving all the realtionships she has.

Josiee
08-27-2013, 07:04 PM
I'm pretty direct and would just say it and have done just that. I also realize that for the sake of the person from the past that I am not hurtful in my comments either as I realize time can change people and situations (even though I am not talking directly to them the comments can get back to them). I tend to leave the past in the past and give the benefit of the doubt and actually have reconnected with people that may not have been the best to me in the past.

meowforce
08-27-2013, 09:20 PM
It's hard to say what to do in such a situation. I would probably respond with something like "oh, that's nice" and change the topic to something else. You're under no obligation to friend her.

I have a bit of a similar situation....my high school bully found my fb awhile back, and when I got the friend request, my stomach dropped. He was a former friend who suddenly decided to bully me nonstop because of my weight. One of my friends once said "maybe he did it because he liked you, and his friends gave him a hard time about it." I doubt it, but to this day the request is still sitting in my inbox because I have no idea what to do. I checked his list and he doesn't have many people from school friended. I don't understand why he added me and I'm afraid to find out.

Sorry to ramble, it just brought back a lot of memories and I feel stuck.

shcirerf
08-28-2013, 12:16 AM
I've gotten a few FB requests lately from folks from the past that just weren't nice, and never got any better, so I always remember the following old joke.

Two nicely dressed ladies happen to start up a conversation during an endless wait in the LAX airport. The first lady was an arrogant California woman married to a wealthy man. The second was a well mannered elderly woman from the South. When the conversation centered on whether they had any children the California woman started by saying, "When my first child was born, my husband built a beautiful mansion for me." The lady from the South commented, "Well, isn't that precious?" The first woman continued, "When my second child was born, my husband bought me a beautiful Mercedes-Benz." Again, the lady from the South commented, "Well, isn't that precious?" The first woman continued boasting, "Then, when my third child was born, my husband bought me this exquisite diamond bracelet." Yet again, the Southern lady commented, "Well, isn't that precious?" The first woman then asked her companion, "What did your husband buy for you when you had your first child?" "My husband sent me to charm school," declared the Southern lady. "Charm school?" the first woman cried, "Oh my God! What on earth for?" The Southern lady responded, "Well for example, instead of saying 'Who gives a sh*t' I learned to say, 'Well, isn't that precious'!" :D

We are adults, we can choose, if you don't want to be friends with or reconnect with people who made you miserable, don't!

A few years ago, I ended up running into my old high school bully. Except the shoe was on the other foot. She was catering for us! She tried to start a convo. Stuck my nose in the air and so ignored her!:D

Actually this brings back all kinds of memories of bullying before it was a popular subject.

This woman and her friends, did mechanical damage to my car, more than once, trashed my car with rotten pumpkins and eggs, put mean signs on my HS locker, they went so far as to try to exclude me from pictures for the honor of having poetry published, while in high school.

There is no love lost for me for those people.

Ok, I kinda got off on a rant!:dizzy: Brought back some things I had not thought about for a long time.

So, we are grown ups, if you don't want to be friends, don't.

PatLib
08-28-2013, 06:07 PM
Of course I agree with these statements but we're not talking about a topic that is controversial or based on faith. I have no idea how these statements fits into the context of this particular situation. We're talking about a grown woman who has to lie to her friend because she can't admit she has no interest in reuniting with someone from 30 years prior.

I agree that therapy may be over kill but from the sound of the OP ... it seems like a little self help could go a long way to improving all the realtionships she has.

The OP dislikes Jennifer's friend. Not much different then say a husband disliking his mother-in-law and keeping his mouth shut about it. Technically the husband isn't being truthful but he does it for the for the sake of peace.

To me this isn't any different. Relationships are about balance. If the OP had to see this woman everyday and then I would agree that saying something would be important but this woman lives in Paris and most likely the OP will never see her. Or if she does it will be in rare social situations. What would the point of being honest except making Jennifer uncomfortable?

JohnP
08-29-2013, 01:21 PM
The OP dislikes Jennifer's friend. Not much different then say a husband disliking his mother-in-law and keeping his mouth shut about it. Technically the husband isn't being truthful but he does it for the for the sake of peace.

To me this isn't any different. Relationships are about balance. If the OP had to see this woman everyday and then I would agree that saying something would be important but this woman lives in Paris and most likely the OP will never see her. Or if she does it will be in rare social situations. What would the point of being honest except making Jennifer uncomfortable?

Apparently we'll have to agree to disagree.

What is the point of being honest? That question shows how far apart we are on this issue. I'd rather have a few friends where we can be honest with each other even if we don't agree on everything than many superficial relationships.

kaplods
08-29-2013, 02:17 PM
There's also a big difference between keeping your mouth shut and lying. Lying is more likely to weaken a relationship than strengthen it. It also tends to complicate matters.

Case in point, OP having to repeatedly pretend to have no memory, which means Jennifer isn't buying the lies. Admitting that her memories of person x weren't pleasant and she really didn't want to initiate a friendship (matter-of-factly, without drama) would likely have ended the matter, but the lie (as lies tend to do) to be maintained, requires more lies, which breeds more lies.

Even a simple, "I remember her, but would rather not talk about it," would maintain the privacy without resorting to a lie that needs to be maintained.

What if OP one day needs to talk about these incidents with someone. She can't confide in Jennifer without admitting her initial dishonesty. Just on a practical level, honesty, even if it's "I'd rather not talk about it," means never having to tell a friend you've been dishonest because you didn't trust or respect them with the truth.

When someone lies directly to my face, whether I can tell (which I usually can) or whether I find out later, it affects my perception of the person's trustworthiness and their respect and trust of me.. And a friend I can't trust, who doesn't trust me, isn't a friend.

If op wants to be and stay close friends, then I think she should stop lying to Jennifer, and should find a tactful way to refuse to discuss uncomfortable subjects. Heck, I think "mind your own gd business" would be less damaging to the friendship than pretending not to remember.

Hyacinth
08-29-2013, 02:25 PM
Wow, thank you all for your stories and comments. Janelle, I love the joke!

To those who are concerned about a lie: If you re-read, I said I do not like to lie, not I LIED. What I specifically said to Jennifer was in a facebook chat. She was particularly chatty and I was not, and she was typing about six chat lines to my one. She told me she found Kimmie, gave some details. I said "Cool, I remember the name, not much else." [Omission of the fact that the "much else" memory is negative is not a lie, but simply being polite, or not very chatty that day.] Jennifer went on, gave about three or four examples to help jog my memory, and sent me to her facebook page to look at photos. I went to the page, came back, and said, Cool, she looks like Maria (Jennifer's cousin). Jennifer gave three or four more details about Kimmie, and I changed the subject to asking Jennifer if she was still planning to go to a particular event this weekend.

Rest assured, I can be as honest as I want or need to be with my friend Jennifer. If Kimmie lived nearby and Jennifer started actively inviting us to reconnect, I would explain my disinterest more.

PatLib
08-29-2013, 04:57 PM
Wow, thank you all for your stories and comments. Janelle, I love the joke!

To those who are concerned about a lie: If you re-read, I said I do not like to lie, not I LIED. What I specifically said to Jennifer was in a facebook chat. She was particularly chatty and I was not, and she was typing about six chat lines to my one. She told me she found Kimmie, gave some details. I said "Cool, I remember the name, not much else." [Omission of the fact that the "much else" memory is negative is not a lie, but simply being polite, or not very chatty that day.] Jennifer went on, gave about three or four examples to help jog my memory, and sent me to her facebook page to look at photos. I went to the page, came back, and said, Cool, she looks like Maria (Jennifer's cousin). Jennifer gave three or four more details about Kimmie, and I changed the subject to asking Jennifer if she was still planning to go to a particular event this weekend.

Rest assured, I can be as honest as I want or need to be with my friend Jennifer. If Kimmie lived nearby and Jennifer started actively inviting us to reconnect, I would explain my disinterest more.

I agree with what you did. Just because you do not tell your friend every negative feeling you have about everything doesn't mean the relationship is superficial. I hate my best friend's mother (she has made passive aggressive comments about my weight) but they are really close and since I am never around her mother except about twice a year for two hours tops I just don't say anything about it and I think our friendship is stronger for it. And I complain to my sister about Jennifer's mother so it really works out just fine! :)

JohnP
08-29-2013, 06:29 PM
I agree with what you did. Just because you do not tell your friend every negative feeling you have about everything doesn't mean the relationship is superficial. I hate my best friend's mother (she has made passive aggressive comments about my weight) but they are really close and since I am never around her mother except about twice a year for two hours tops I just don't say anything about it and I think our friendship is stronger for it. And I complain to my sister about Jennifer's mother so it really works out just fine! :)

I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way because I'm not trying to pick on you here I'm just trying to understand a few things. Such as why do you hate someone you only see a couple times a year because of a few off hand comments?

Why do you think your relationship with your friend is stronger because you don't stand up for yourself when a hurtful comment is made? Do you honestly think that your relationship with your friend would be damaged if you communicated with the mother about how those comments made you feel? If so - it's not much of a friendship. Heck you might find out the reason the monther is a nice person and now you have two friends instead of one friend and one person you hate.

As for the OP - no one is suggesting she tell every negative feeling to her friend. I'm merely suggesting that she not lie to her friend. Surely you can see these are two different things.

PatLib
08-29-2013, 07:35 PM
I hope this doesn't come across the wrong way because I'm not trying to pick on you here I'm just trying to understand a few things. Such as why do you hate someone you only see a couple times a year because of a few off hand comments?

Why do you think your relationship with your friend is stronger because you don't stand up for yourself when a hurtful comment is made? Do you honestly think that your relationship with your friend would be damaged if you communicated with the mother about how those comments made you feel? If so - it's not much of a friendship. Heck you might find out the reason the monther is a nice person and now you have two friends instead of one friend and one person you hate.

As for the OP - no one is suggesting she tell every negative feeling to her friend. I'm merely suggesting that she not lie to her friend. Surely you can see these are two different things.

Honestly, not to pick on you by why aren't people allowed to be hurt or have moments of weakness? Also, I am allowed to dislike or hate anyone I want. You don't know me or are the in room when I am with this person so why do feel that you can judge me or the OP's situation?

Also, I didn't want to get into it but my friend's mother is extremely critical of just not me but of my friend. She loves her mother deeply but her mom criticizes her weight non stop in what I consider cruel ways but my friend sees it as love but I don't. Quite frankly, I am not going to bother my friend about twice a year issue when she deals with it everyday of her life. I feel that I should support my friend because I love her. I communicate a lot of my problems to her just not this one and I don't feel the need to stand up to her mother. I don't respect her or expect her to change, she isn't worth my time.

No offense JohnP but you make A LOT of assumptions on a few snippets of posts but you don't know the full story or the background of any us. Most of us post here to rant or get support and not hear "get over it" or "see a therapist" for every frustration or annoyance or rant we have.

Sorry for being a ***** but on this issue I really can't control myself. So I won't respond or comment on this thread again! :) Sorry again.

JohnP
08-29-2013, 11:34 PM
Well - it's a primary difference between guys and gals. Us guys always want to solve problems even when someone is not looking for a solution.

Given the additional information about your friend, it seems like an extremely poor comparsion to the OP's situation so I'm not sure why you used it. Just my opinion. I'm sure you had a reason you felt it was a good comparsion.

I'm not trying to win an argument here. It's clear we have extremely different perspectives on interpersonal relationships. I can't phathom lying to a friend to spare her feelings on a friend from 30 years ago, while you think it's a good idea. You hate your friend's monther because she is a negative person. I wouldn't give that kind of person a second thought.

Here ... watch this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Of2HU3LGdbo). We can just agree to disagree.

Hyacinth
08-30-2013, 08:33 AM
JohnP, you chased Pat out of this thread?

A few times in this thread, you've said "I'm not trying to be a jerk" or something of that nature. Usually what happens, at least in my mind, is as soon as I read that, I am already associating the word JERK with you. If you have to qualify your words with a phrase like that, maybe you should think about saying things a little less abrasively?

And then you go on to say Patlib used a poor example and not sure why she used it. "Just your opinion" is being used for you to qualify insulting someone.

You sound like you are down on people lying, but I would say all of the following statements have more than a glint of dishonesty to them: "I'm not trying to win an argument here." "I'm not trying to pick on you" "I'm not trying to be a jerk."

I think I am going to bail on this thread, too. The original intent has been lost. Thanks to everybody who contributed.

kaplods
08-30-2013, 10:58 AM
I can relate to JohnP's posts and his dilemma, because I too have a "solve it" personality. It is a stereotypical "male" response. My husband once told me that I was the least feminine woman, he'd ever met (and he meant it as a compliment).

When someone asks, "What would you do?" I think they actually want to know and are prepared to receive a wide range of responses, not just "exactly what you did."

Silly me.