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Wedding Woes

You've created quite the narrative, LW.

Dear Prudence,

I had a very close friend in high school, “Patrick,” who I lost touch with after graduation. Sometime during grad school (still in the days of landlines), I was overjoyed to receive a call from him. He was visiting my city, and we made plans to get together. After I hung up, my female roommate, who was always making lewd remarks about my male friends and trying to hit on them, asked if he was cute. I didn’t want my roommate to treat Patrick like her latest conquest, so I replied, “He has a lot of acne, or at least he did when I last saw him. And I think he’s gay.” These things were true. I hoped that mentioning the acne would make him less appealing to my roommate and that my genuine belief that he was gay would make him unavailable. I picked up the phone to make another call and heard no dial tone. I hadn’t placed the phone properly in the cradle and there was a good chance that Patrick had heard every word.

I was horrified. He did not call the next day, which seemed proof enough. But a few days later, he called to apologize, saying that something had come up and he hadn’t been able to meet me. “Are you mad at me?” I asked, hoping he would confront me. Instead, he replied, “No, why would I be mad at you?” I couldn’t bring myself to apologize, then or later, because if he hadn’t heard, I’d be forced to tell him what I said. Instead, I let the friendship lapse out of guilt and accepted its loss as the price of my being a jerk. He also never contacted me again until recently, when I received a friend request from him on social media. We have exchanged basic catching-up messages, and it’s stirred up these feelings of guilt and loss again. He meant so much to me, and I ruined it. Maybe his contacting me is his unspoken forgiveness! Or maybe he thinks he’s the one who ruined it by flaking out on me that day! Or maybe he assumes we just naturally lost touch. I’m all for owning up to my mistake, but I don’t want to create unnecessary pain. Should I confess?

—Still Hung Up

Re: You've created quite the narrative, LW.

  • If this happened still in the days of landlines vs. cell phones, I'm assuming this was like 10-15 years ago. And LW is just now writing to Prudie? Jesus. Either let it go or pour your heart on the table to Patrick, but pick a path and go with it versus letting this eat you from the inside out.

  • I think there’s no way Patrick heard this 
  • Ro041Ro041 member
    Sixth Anniversary 1000 Comments 500 Love Its First Answer
    Girl, let it go....

  • LondonLisaLondonLisa London, UK member
    Seventh Anniversary 2500 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers
    I am exhausted just thinking about this. I cannot believe she has been hanging on to this for at least 15 years. I think the LW has a fair bit of social anxiety. 

    And also, shame on you for letting your embarrassment get in the way of a friendship. It is why one of my biggest pet hates is people who use "hating confrontation" to just hide away and not handle their business.  Patrick could never have been that good of a friend to you if you would skulk away and ghost him. 

  • Although the situation really seems pretty silly, I have to admit, I can understand where the LW is coming from.  I've also had situations where I've really overanalyzed things.  And even the smallest maybe slight to another person will occasionally haunt me.

    But the LW needs to let this go.  Maybe he heard the rude comments.  Maybe he didn't.  Even if he did, he may have no memory of them anymore, anyway.  Just pick up on the friendship, where it is now, and go from there.  Perhaps heartfelt words along the lines of "I'm so glad we're back in touch"..."I've missed your (good qualities about Patrick)."

    I also suspect, although Patrick "meant so much" to the LW, perhaps the feeling has never been as strongly mutual.  And Patrick only sees the LW as a person from their past who is now just a casual acquaintance.   

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