Do you ever f*ck something up so badly that it’s seared into your mind forevermore as a “DON’T EVER DO THIS AGAIN” moment?
And it’s not really about the fallout to me.
It’s usually about how badly I realized I’ve misstepped.
In one case, about how I totally did everything the opposite of how I usually do it, and how I’ve taught other people to do it.
And I’m here to tell you about it, in case you might learn from my mistake.
I was on the phone with a guy. Let’s call him M. Not his real name, not his real initial.
He and I had gotten friendly. His wife and and and my Pet were spending time together, and had enjoyed some wonderful laughs.
Then he mentioned a mutual acquaintance, R. Again not a real name, not a real initial.
He and R had apparently been flirting.
Which is not a problem. However, it shocked me.
You see, I was having some bad feelings overall about R.
I’d engaged with R maybe two months before and introduced them to people in my tribe. And then R had gone about systematically attaching themselves to people I knew, and pumping them for information about me, forming relationships, and behaving in ways that really upset them.
I was beginning to distance myself from R as I sorted out my thoughts on everything that was going down. Honestly, it felt stalker-ish, and gross, and I was regretting brining them to my people.
And not even three weeks before, R had said how much they were disgusted by M.
But now it seemed like the pattern of befriending was happening again.
And so, I blurted out a warning to M.
And quite likely made him feel like I was saying that he was only desirable for his proximity to me—NOT my intention at all.
Anyway, it was poorly done.
And as he got more upset, I got more flustered, and our friendship ended that day.
Because I didn’t get consent.
Well, I believe that consent applies to more than sex. And int his case, it applies to what people may be open to hearing that might be negative.
I’ve written about this before, in “What Is The Best Way To Warn Others About A Predator Without Drama?”
I could (and should) have said:
“I have negative information about R from some personal experiences I’ve been having recently that I’m willing to share with you. Would you like to hear it?”
And then moved forward from there based on M’s reply.
And in not doing so, I fucked up.
I ruined a new friendship, yes.
More, though, I violated one of my personal closely held beliefs.
And that is what really stings.