Him, You and Me: That’s Gossip: 9 December 2020

Two girls in the background gossip about the girl in the foreground

I have to admit, I’m not very good about checking my Facebook Messenger messages. My big fat fingers hate typing on the phone and would take a good keyboard attached to a computer over that any day of the week. So I’m even worse at checking the “Message Request” messages. You know the ones; someone who isn’t necessarily connected to you on Facebook sends you a message, and it’s sent to a special purgatory-type inbox buried under 13 menus and options.

After my group interview for Hagley Writers’ Institute last Saturday, in a great mood and feeling something positive emotion-wise lingering for hours instead of mere moments, I somehow stumbled upon the “Message Request” messages in Facebook Messenger. Oh, there was a new one.

Two sentences from someone I vaguely remember from some level of compulsory schooling:

So-and-so has talked horribly about you since grade school. They’re a backstabber.

My immediate thought was: Why is there always some asshole trying to rain on my parade?

I didn’t get mad or anxious or sad or feel anything other than pity for this person messaging me.

I’m in my mid-40s. This messenger is about the same age.

This is how we behaved when we were 13. You know, like 30 years ago.

I thought over how I would respond, or even if I should respond. I mean, it was pretty pathetic, and did that even deserve a response?

The messenger is someone I’ve had little to no interaction with throughout my life. I only vaguely recognize them in their photos.

The “backstabber” is someone I’ve had extremely limited interaction with since we were in high school.

Did I really care about something that might have been said 30-odd years ago?


Did I really care about what someone I really haven’t been friends with or spoken with at length other than at a very shallow social level when we bumped into each other every million years after high school? The person who tried to ingratiate themselves back into my orbit while we were both in university (not the same one) because my cousin married someone famous they were aching to meet so they could brag about it to all their friends?

No. No, not really.

I came to the decision it needed a reply so I could move on from it.

I wrote, with little revision:

Hi, thanks for your message, I think.

I really haven’t been friends with [the person in question] since high school as I started hanging out with an amazing group of people who are my good friends to this day, so I’m not really too worried about what [the person in question] says or doesn’t say about me.

I have a great life and have done and experienced some amazing things, so I am happy, and that’s all I can control.

[The person in question] can live their life however they want; it really has no impact on me.

People who know me know the real me, warts and all, and they love me no matter what. That’s all I can ask for.

I hope this message finds you well and thanks for reaching out.

I didn’t and don’t expect a response back because I don’t think that’s the sort of message the messenger wanted back. I don’t think that’s the response they desired.

Having dealt with thousands of students and people throughout my career, I think the messenger was wronged by the “backstabber” for whatever reason, and the way they thought they could wreak havoc was by either making something up or bringing the long-submerged truth to the surface.

But I’d already figured it out and paddled away from the “backstabber” and the long-submerged truth now on the surface had no gravitational pull on me or my emotions.

Man, some people can be pretty freaking weird though.