I’m a woman, 44, who’s just had a harrowing visit with a woman, 43, whom I thought was a friend.
We’d only communicated online during the pandemic but when people started loosening up, she invited me over for a socially-distanced cup of coffee and a chat.
I went because, while she’s not one of my closest women friends, I’d declined her invitation to a small gathering before Christmas.
I was too busy then with family obligations, and sent appropriate thanks and “regrets.”
This recent invitation was her payback. The minute I sat down she bombarded me about my being a terrible friend and a huge disappointment to her.
I was stunned and could barely respond. I even let her go on for a half hour, to prove that I’m not that horrible person she described.
When I left, I mumbled an apology for hurting her, and she said nothing in return.
I now feel furious about the whole incident and don’t care if I never see her again. What do you think I should’ve done?
You were blindsided by a master at ranting, a woman who still uses the “mean girls” approach from early high school, of instilling guilt when you’d done nothing wrong.
Erase her from your contact list. You’ll never be comfortable with her again.
Now, here’s what to do if you ever face a nasty verbal confrontation with anyone else in future: Don’t engage. You’re not an underling, even if an incident occurs at your workplace.
Ask for a written account of the negative claims, and don’t consider responding until you’ve seen them.
If you’re being further maligned publicly and feel it can affect your reputation in the community/workplace/your relationship, get a lawyer’s advice.
Regarding the “coffee” exchange: As soon as she attacked, you should’ve stood up, briefly said you’re sorry she was upset that you couldn’t attend, but you will not stand for her bullying.
There should be no “next time” with that person.
I’m a father of University-age twins (a male and a female). I work in the medical field.
My kids returned home for the lockdown from their schools (one in the US, the other in Quebec) and finished their studies online.
Both had formed significant relationships, practically living together. Their partners are Americans.
They want to visit them during the summer.
However, I’m very unimpressed with how many States are dealing with the virus, causing surges in infection rates. But my 22-your-old offspring can get flights there, and each has enough money from past summer jobs to pay their own way.
My saying “No,” would disappoint them greatly but I don’t think it’d stop them.
How should I handle this?
Extremely Nervous Dad
Look to respected authorities other than yourself.
It’s understandable for any parent to be worried about their children being in places where COVID-19 is surging, where people had been encouraged to not wear protective masks, and where many of the “opened” settings from beaches to malls, created huge crowd scenes.
But don’t try be both their father and medical expert (even if you are one).
Tell your adult children to do what they’ve learned in University – Research: the virus facts where they’re going and related to what they’ll be doing.
Say that you can’t stop them, but each needs to make an informed decision with experts’ input based on science and data. And then you’ll trust their choice.
FEEDBACK Regarding your response to a wife who felt her husband was “stolen” by another woman: “No woman or man actually steals another's partner” (June 25):
Reader – “Are you referring to motivation? Even if so, you raise more questions than you answer because the factual situation is that one is deprived of a partner whether the word “stolen” need apply or not. It equals the same thing.”
Ellie – Not to the wife who feels she was “robbed.”
I was responding to her and by extension to others including men, who feel similarly “victimized” by an outsider, instead of, more accurately, cheated upon by a willing spouse.
The reasons for straying may be stress, disaffection, or the mate who left was a player. Or – hardest to accept - they’d grown apart and he/she had fallen in love with someone else.
Remaining a “victim” is just self-defeat. Instead, move on and seek a full, satisfying life.
Tip of the day:
Don’t stand for bullying through a verbal attack. IF you did something wrong, apologize. Then walk away.