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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Friday, April 27, 2007

It'll be tough. But I'll try

This weekend I will be doing the moral equivalent to brain surgery. I will try to lose a grudge.

This is difficult. You can laugh, but among my many flaws, I have a hard time letting go of anger at people I feel have slighted me in the past.

It's very easy for me to say or write that we should let bygones be bygones and not to sweat the small stuff. But when the small stuff and the bygones are the fruit of personal interactions they're tougher to forget. What I mean is I can forget the words of a dead horse, AKA a talk radio host, 'cause I don't know that dude. But if you slighted me one on one? I will hold onto that like the worst movie stereotype of a Sicilian gangster.

I say all that 'cause Mrs. B has a friend, or former friend, or something - not sure what to call her, who used to hate me. It's possible she still does. But I won't flatter myself. I'm sure she has better stuff to think about these days. But I swear, in the beginning of our (mine and Mrs. B's) relationship, this woman bashed me mercilessly. She called me things that would have bruised the ego of just about any man with a pulse. To be fair she thought at one time that I had done the same to her. But she was wrong, the unfortunate victim of a gossiper who had led her astray. If she'd come directly to me way back then she would have figured out that the gossiper was a jealous loser and that I wouldn't have talked about her, 'cause I don't do gossip. Gossip is like chronic lying. Difficult, I've heard. A headache. You have to keep your stories up and remember which one you told last. You have to constantly insert red herrings so that the subject of the gossip doesn't trace it back to you. It's like playing telephone. And I hate telephone.

So anyway, a few days ago James-hater reached out to Mrs. B. And over the past few days or so they have been reuniting, smoothing out old bumps in their relationship, reconciling, etc. And you might think I'd be angry or pouty about it, but I'm not. Old friendships should not be destroyed over a fit of temper or two. Not worth it. They were friends for a really long time. And being here in Florida, Mrs. B doesn't see a lot of her old friends from the home state very often. Making peace with one of them is a good thing, I say.

And I'll earn good (this includes compassionate and understanding) husband points by encouraging this reunion...unless, of course, this ends up turning into a Thelma & Louise thing.

It is inevitable as the weekend progresses that I will grab the house phone without looking at the caller ID and it'll be the friend on the other line. Or I'll see Mrs. B's cell phone ringing and I'll yell out to her that her phone is ringing and should I get it. She'll say yes. And it'll be the friend on the other line. I will have to talk to this woman.

And when I do, I'm gonna keep it friendly...I think. I mean, I will. I'm pretty sure. Maybe.

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  • Hmmm, so long as it is NOT a Selma and Louise type of thing, you'll be alright.

    Reminds me of the time I spoke to my ex-girlfriend's therapist on the phone, the one who was always advising the woman to leave me. AWKWARD!

    By Blogger Matt, at 12:16 PM  

  • Be a big man and let the past slide, champ. You got your wife despite her friend's bullshit. It's like staying mad at the ref after you won the championship. Who cares, right?

    But I would also never forget what she is and let her get close. She is a sniping harpy and probably has no clue that is who she is. She can't help it much in the same way that scorpions can't help but stinging. You just need to keep that in mind when your wife wants you to spend your precious time with her friend.

    If your wife really has respect for you, she'll understand that her friend should not be as important to her as you are. If you have to remind her of that, then that may have been the root of your trouble with harpy in the first place. Not the fact that she didn't like you, but that your wife thought her friendship was more important to keep around at your expense.

    If you are having doubts or really can't be friends with this person, I'd confront it with the wife sooner rather than later. The longer you let it go on, the more eruptive you'll be when it comes to a head and the less rational you'll seem, especially to your wife. She's too caught up in her own head and her own selfish motives for company to see how having to spend your time dealing with this woman may completely enrage you. Be frank, honest and emphatic about how far you're willing to go on your wife's quest for keeping old friends who hate her husband around.

    Or just cuss the bitch out the next time she calls and get it over with.

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 12:30 PM  

  • Matt, that does sound like an awkward conversation.

    BD, I appreciate the sentiment. But it ain't that deep. Truth is she and Mrs. B haven't spoken for several years. She sought out the wife, not the other way around. And the assumption on the part of Mrs. B is that this woman has changed. Who knows? Maybe she has. I hope she has. I know I've changed - mostly for the better, I think. But your last sentence is certainly an outside option still ;-)

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 1:33 PM  

  • Don't sweat it. You're bigger than this and you know it. Be Mr Politeness, and move on. And then if she tweaks you again, sell her to gypsies.

    By Anonymous og, at 2:02 PM  

  • well, if not actually friendly, you probably will have enough patience available to keep it neutral..?

    By Blogger dennis, at 2:16 PM  

  • Og, I'll be nice. You're right. To not be would be petty on my part.

    And Dennis, I'm setting neutral as a minimum. Hopefully I'll ratchet things up to downright nice and friendly.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 2:48 PM  

  • Wow, Big Daddy has got some serious opinions about a girl he hasn't met!

    Me? I think you're awesome for having an open mind. That's 3548573948 good hubby points to you!

    By Blogger Lee, at 4:46 PM  

  • I am the worst when it comes to grudge holding. I've been known to say, "I never forgive, and I never forget." I don't feel I'm proud of it - it's just the way I am. Maybe one day I'll have more self respect because the people I begrudge probably don't even remember the "slight."

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 7:25 PM  

  • I hold a grudge until I do or say something really awful to that person. Then, I feel better, but it's their turn to hold a grudge.

    This practice has some flaws.

    By Blogger mist1, at 9:25 PM  

  • I have a hard time letting go too.
    I can't remember who is the author, but, a favorite quote is:

    Unforgiveness is like taking poison, and then waiting for the other person to die.

    By Blogger Pamela, at 1:10 AM  

  • That's a great quote from Pamela.

    I think that as long as your wife shuts her friend down at the first sign of a slur directed at you, the ugly situation shouldn't crop up in the future.

    As for your having to talk to her, yeah, awkward and unpleasant. But you'll get points for doing it for your wife.

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, at 3:07 PM  

  • I'm sorta the opposite in this regard. I seldom hold a grudge, though must admit that certain pains never go away... though I try to pretend they're not there.

    By Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy, at 9:11 PM  

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