May 18, 2009
“Oh, that’s really funny. I always thought you were the kind of person who’d choose really ugly dresses for her bridesmaids, so they couldn’t compete with you.”
She probably doesn’t even remember saying it. But it stands out in my head as one of the most hurtful things anyone has ever said about me, ever. I still considered her a friend, at the time. We’d lived together for a semester, spent tons of time watching our mutual favorite TV shows and getting ready to go out together. I thought she’d actually gotten to know me – me, who’d just as soon go to City Hall.
I tried to shrug it off, tried to find a way to blame it on the ex of mine she’d been dating. But the truth was, that even if he’d been uttering nothing but slander during the time they’d spent together, she’s the one who’d chosen to believe it – to not get my side of the story, to swallow it whole. To believe that I was that kind of person. We’d been friends for a while, and there she was, willing to think the worst of me just because somebody said. The fact that the somebody was obviously biased, was just another drop of lemon juice into the cut.
It’s another interesting aspect of trust – one that doesn’t get examined very often. When we allow ourselves to believe that someone is a friend, we trust them to give us the benefit of the doubt – at least long enough for them to hear our side of the story. And if/when they fail to do so, it seems as though the friendship didn’t matter nearly as much as one might have hoped, that the person didn’t deserve the faith implicit in that friendship.
**Edit: A male friend of mine wrote and asked what the big deal was – why did this bother me so much? And I think what I could have conveyed better is that it wasn’t so much that she thought I’d be neurotic about my wedding – it’s that she thought I was the kind of person who needed to put others down, in order to feel better about myself. It seemed to speak to a more fundamental aspect of my character… and that’s why I still kind of want to kick her ass whenever I think about it.