Friendly help repaid with an offensive allegation
My partner and I have been good friends with awomanwe’ve known for years.
Last summer, during her vacation, she askedmeto help repair a small item in her home. I went over and fixed the item, and alsomowed her yard as a surprise when she got back home. I even left awelcome bottle of wine on the table.
Iwas shocked to learn the next day her home had been broken into, ransacked and damaged. She called me, hysterical, and said Iwas responsible for leaving the garage door open! Iwas equally upset at her damaged home but knewin noway had I left the garage open.
My friend did not believe me. She terminated our friendship, repaired her home, and put it up for sale because she could not live in it anymore. I tormented myself trying to remember details of that day. My own partner even suggested thatmaybe Iwas preoccupied or distracted.
Our ex-friend andmy partner work together and remained on good terms, but shewould not permit him to speak ofmein her presence.
On the eve of her home sale, her adult daughter confessed that shewas the one who left the garage door open. Shewas too embarrassed to admit her mistake and letmetake the heat for it.
Ex-friend shows up at our door, bottle of wine in hand, to explain the situation and express her desire to “renewour friendship and love” and that “all is forgiven and forgotten.” I hand back the wine and express that nothing is being renewed, forgiven or forgotten.
NowI amstill the bad guy. My ex-friend is upset andmy partner thinks I ambeing unreasonable and hurtful to everyone. Hewants meto put thematter to rest to help our friend deal with the new issue of her own daughter’s integrity and character. AmI the unreasonable one?
No More Mr. Nice Guy
No. The daughter does indeed have character and integrity problems, and that isn’t a coincidence.
Had you been responsible for leaving the door open, it would have been an accident by a steadfast friend who made an error of good intentions. A mature person would have assured you it wasn’t your fault, it was the burglar’s.
Likewise, amature person would now want you to forgive this small-minded and ridiculous woman— if only because it would be good for your own well-being to do so. There would be a certain poetry to forgiving the mistake of someone who is so emotionally stunted that she can’t forgive anyone’s mistakes but her own.
Still, that same good friend also would support, not challenge, your decision not to associate with this woman again. As it did with her daughter, this incident exposed the sparkling void where your (alleged) friend’s character was supposed to be.
Which is why your real problem here is what the incident has told you about your own partner’s integrity. Couldn’t speak of you in her presence, hello? I get that professionalpersonal ties are complicated, but he seems more concerned with keeping things easy than making things right. It would be quite reasonable to ask your partner why his sympathies aren’t with you.