A friend request on Facebook has spawned this post. At my last "corporate" job, I became chums with a co-worker. We had lunch together, we sat together on the plane as we flew to and from a 2 week training session in another province, we helped each other learn new things and I bailed her out a few times when she was struggling with new concepts.
And then she screwed me royally to our boss. To cover her own mistakes, she sent an e-mail claiming that I was refusing to assist her with something (she had refused the offer of help until it was a huge mess) and that I was "rude and unapproachable" when she had come to me seeking assistance. She then put on an Academy Award worthy performance in a meeting she orchestrated to make me look even worse in the eyes of the bosses. The "rude and unapproachable" tag followed me the rest of my years in that department, became a performance issue, and eventually, one of the justifications for firing me in a restructuring. Many of the people who claimed I was unapproachable had never tried. They were just going by word of mouth.
I am many things. I can be rude, especially if I'm in the middle of a train of thought and get interrupted and the train derails. I'm a helper and a fixer by nature. Unapproachable? Not even close.
And then she added me as a friend on Facebook this weekend.
I was dumbfounded. Seriously? Seriously! Just seeing her name sent me back to a very dark place in my work history. My then boyfriend, now husband washed mascara out of his shirt a great deal during that time. He was the only boyfriend I ever had with whom I felt safe to cry. I don't cry often, or easily. It was a measure of the man that he is.
I've had to suck up and get over a great many things in my life. Sometimes, circumstances dictate you put up and shut up. It's that whole "forgive and forget" thing. With very few exceptions, I try not to hold a grudge because life is too short.
But this was different. I moved on. We continued to work together for several years and I managed to keep up a good appearance and played nice. However, I don't HAVE to play nice any more. I don't HAVE to pretend that everything is gone and forgotten. It may be gone, but if my visceral reaction to just seeing the name is any indication, it is definitely not forgotten.
I can finally take a small measure of control back.I don't have to put up and shut up. I ignored the friend request, and blocked her. Blocking her was petty. But it felt good. This time, I'm choosing to be unapproachable for all the right reasons.