PSA: how to handle the grapevine after reaching adulthood

17 06 2008

it’s very simple, really. when, as an adult, not a teenager, or a college-student still emotionally a teenager, or a preteen who thinks he/she is a teenager, you hear something distasteful (shocking, appalling, [insert your favorite adjective for stuff you don’t like here] etc.) about someone you like, or think you like, or sort-of like, or barely know but you see with some regularity, etc., you should do one of two things.

option 1
if the thing you heard does not directly pertain to you, or to aspects of the person’s life and/or character that have some genuine bearing on your interactions with that person anyway, you ignore it. people talk smack. there’s dirt out there. nobody’s actual track record is spotless, and even the white-winged among us don’t look white-winged in everybody’s view, so you’re gonna hear some crap, sooner or later, about everybody. hearing it doesn’t mean you have to care.

option 2
if, on the other hand, the thing you heard does directly pertain to you and/or to aspects of the person’s life and/or character that have genuine bearing on your life, and you decide that you really do care, you seek out the person you heard the thing about and find out what actually happened, was said, was done, etc.. because see above re: smack, dirt, etc.; until you have consulted with the actual person about whom the thing was said, you have no idea what you’re talking about. you don’t know what actually happened–you don’t actually know that anything happened. anything you do, think, or decide about that person whilst in such a state of ignorance is thus automatically groundless.

just in case you’re wondering, no, nothing happened to me today to spark this. nothing’s happened along these crappy lines to me in months, actually; this is just some brewing that’s been ongoing finally being posted when it’s safe to say because nothing’s happened that’s likely to cause anyone to think i’m talking about him/her & start chucking heavy objects at my house, car, or person. & also because i know it has some bearing on some things some people close to me have also been dealing with their fair share of, in various far-flung locales. but one of my friends has been telling me over and over, when reflection about related topics occurs, that anybody who would cut a friend out of their lives on account of some crap they heard and never ever verified wasn’t a friend worth having, or, really, a friend at all, and that’s just finally really sunk in.

concerning things that have happened to me relative to this matter, i’ve kinda been running the numbers, and while i’m not posting here any head-counts of the people who have stopped speaking to me on account of things i said or did, things they think i said or did, or things i think they think i said or did, i can, without qualms, post the number of those people who consulted with me about any of things things actually or allegedly done or said, because it’s a whopping 1. & so given the definition above, that changes my math a bit. because i’d been thinking about that headcount i’m not posting as a number of friends i’d lost. but it turns out those numbers correlate: anybody who cared enough to drop me but didn’t care enough to talk to me didn’t care. the number of friends lost is still 1. (& as disappointing as that loss was & continues to be, i still feel privileged to be able to award said ex-friend a mental merit-badge in adult grapevine)

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12 responses

18 06 2008
donnickcottage

Screw em. I know. Profound. It’s a gift:)

18 06 2008
donnickcottage

Screw em. I know. Profound. It’s a gift:)

18 06 2008
pictsy

I think it’s reasonable to cut out an acquaintance, though, based on the testimony of a friend.

18 06 2008
tyra

i’ll grant that there’s definitely room in the above for gradations of friendship and acquaintanceship to play into how/when what is applied, and there are times when cutting someone you don’t really know out of your life-periphery b/c people you do know and trust have told you enough about them to make your deciding not to get to know them any better perfectly justifiable. the way circles overlap & some acquaintances end up spending a lot of time around each other whether they’d call each other friends or not, though, i can see skipping the talking-step still being a problem.
like: if what it translated into in action was you just ceasing to speak to (and making i’m-not-speaking-to-you faces at) someone you see all the time, & that person having no idea what the hell your problem was, & weird interactions ensuing for everyone in your radius… (can you hear personal experience creeping in here again?)
i guess this is just a complicated way of adding a clause about how adult grapevine also demands that the hearer of rumors take into consideration the impact of his/her chosen strategy on the other people he/she and the object of the rumor interact with when deciding how to proceed. if cutting out a non-friend indelicately would hurt actual-friends, more delicacy than the non-friend individually warrants might be necessary for others’ sakes.

18 06 2008
tyra

i’ll grant that there’s definitely room in the above for gradations of friendship and acquaintanceship to play into how/when what is applied, and there are times when cutting someone you don’t really know out of your life-periphery b/c people you do know and trust have told you enough about them to make your deciding not to get to know them any better perfectly justifiable. the way circles overlap & some acquaintances end up spending a lot of time around each other whether they’d call each other friends or not, though, i can see skipping the talking-step still being a problem.
like: if what it translated into in action was you just ceasing to speak to (and making i’m-not-speaking-to-you faces at) someone you see all the time, & that person having no idea what the hell your problem was, & weird interactions ensuing for everyone in your radius… (can you hear personal experience creeping in here again?)
i guess this is just a complicated way of adding a clause about how adult grapevine also demands that the hearer of rumors take into consideration the impact of his/her chosen strategy on the other people he/she and the object of the rumor interact with when deciding how to proceed. if cutting out a non-friend indelicately would hurt actual-friends, more delicacy than the non-friend individually warrants might be necessary for others’ sakes.

18 06 2008
l_stboy

You should definitely stand by friends over all else. In extreme cases, even some measure of social gymnastics are alright. But having one side of a heavy story shouldn’t keep you from being social, should circles overlap from time to time.

18 06 2008
pictsy

I think it should. Fortunately I have lots of circles.

18 06 2008
pictsy

I think it should. Fortunately I have lots of circles.

18 06 2008
l_stboy

You should definitely stand by friends over all else. In extreme cases, even some measure of social gymnastics are alright. But having one side of a heavy story shouldn’t keep you from being social, should circles overlap from time to time.

18 06 2008
pictsy

I think it’s reasonable to cut out an acquaintance, though, based on the testimony of a friend.

19 06 2008
candle

Just a pithy little example of how silly we can be… At the end of 8th grade, my best friend at the time had a crush on a girl. Someone told her that he was interested, somehow I got blamed (completely untrue), and based on that he completely cut off our friendship. Ah, adolescence…

19 06 2008
candle

Just a pithy little example of how silly we can be… At the end of 8th grade, my best friend at the time had a crush on a girl. Someone told her that he was interested, somehow I got blamed (completely untrue), and based on that he completely cut off our friendship. Ah, adolescence…

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