A Blast from the Past and a Lesson Learned

imageA single post on Facebook shared by a friend yesterday has meant that I’ve had a very unusual day.

I discovered the filtered messages on Facebook Messenger (for those of you who are unsure about this, I’ll do a post later).

Intrigued, I followed the instructions, and discovered a whole plethora of messages, mainly group conversations about organising events that I hadn’t attended. Oops.

And then, there was a message from a name that made my heart sink, that had been sent two years ago.

‘Saw your beautiful blog – hope you will accept my fb friend request X’

I had seen her friend request several years ago, and immediately declined it at the time. This was a girl from university that I wasn’t particularly keen on. We spent a lot of time together, but we were more friends by association – we were very different people individually, but we had a couple of mutual friends that we cared about, and I think we put up with each other’s company because neither of us wanted to miss out.

The last few years of university were not a good time for me, mainly due to the sociopath that I became involved in a relationship with. However, it was also at this point that this girl started to make it more and more obvious that she utterly disliked me and started repeatedly throwing some rather mean girl behaviour in my direction, and I was left feeling hurt and confused at what I had done to deserve the treatment I received from her. I wasn’t strong enough in my early twenties to truly confront her about it (although the thirty-four year-old version of myself would have no problem in doing so) and after graduation I never spoke to her again. In fact, I never spoke to any of them – I was still with the ex at the time and desperately trying to find a way to get out, so I was dealing with enough drama in my life at that point.

I must admit, seeing her message initially gave me mixed feelings. I wasn’t sure that I had anything to say to her, but a little part of me was slightly intrigued to find out why she had messaged me in the first place. I replied:

‘You’re probably not going to believe this, but I’ve only just found your message as I discovered the filtered messages on Facebook Messenger. Hope you’re doing ok – must admit I was a bit surprised you wanted to add me?’

It didn’t take long for her to respond, and what followed was an intensely heartfelt apology from her, and a rather deep and meaningful conversation about what had caused her to behave towards me in the way she had (the psycho ex had a lot to do with it rather than anything I had specifically or intentionally done). We then discussed what we went through while we were at university that neither of us really knew about.

It was enlightening and therapeutic, but in a way it made me rather sad. It turns out, we weren’t so different after all – we were going through very similar experiences in our personal lives, and if we had only taken the time to sit down and actually talk, we could have provided each other with more support than any of the friends we so desperately craved attention from, as we would have understood how the other was feeling. Even talking today, we had similar views on how we felt about the subject we studied, and we’ve ended up doing fairly similar jobs. More importantly, we’re now both in good places, and while we’ll probably not have another conversation again, I was grateful that we’d been able to resolve something, even if it bears no impact on our everyday lives.

Yet again, another reminder to walk in someone else’s shoes before making a judgment… Things are typically never as they initially appear.

What about you guys? Have you ever reconnected with someone from your past, only to discover things about them from a different perspective?

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57 thoughts on “A Blast from the Past and a Lesson Learned

  1. There’s a reason next to nobody I went to school with is on my FB page anymore. It isn’t that we don’t agree on things, it’s the way they attack others. Very much like school, actually, just ‘grown up’ topics now.

    • Absolutely! I witnessed former school mates bullying the same person the did when we were at school all those years ago online recently, except this time it the object of their cruel comments wasn’t part of the conversation… It’s rare that people can change, but I’m grateful for the chance to talk today…

  2. Great story. I’ll have to go on facebook and see if anyone has left me any filtered messages.

  3. None of us can truly know what others lives are like, what they may be going through, can we? Glad that was cleared up. I believe that every single thing that happens to us is fora reason and is tied to their areas of our lives in ways we will never know.

    • I like that idea John – I don’t think that we’ll be keeping in contact, but my memories of that time are now much more positive, and I’m grateful for that!

  4. Oh, that is an odd day, but I can understand how you feel. Sometimes I think people are sent back into our lives for a reason, and so perhaps it was so you could both get past what sounded like a fairly bad experience.

    And omg I just discovered the filtered messages on my FB! What the what? How do they decide which ones to filter? Nothing too bad but a few messages I would have responded to, if I’d seen them at the time.

  5. There are many things I love about Facebook – reconnecting with old (childhood) friends and family members who have been scattered across the globe being chief among them. There are quite a few with whom I agree to disagree when it comes to religion and politics. Unfortunately, I have discovered that some of the people I was excited to “friend” have become Truly Ugly since I knew them. It’s not that I expected them to be just like me – it’s just that I wonder what could have happened to make them be so hateful.

    then again, that’s what “unfriend” is for. I have no doubt that they are just as relieved as I am πŸ˜‰

    • It’s one of the many reasons why I dislike Facebook… I have so many friend requests from people that i used to know (many of whom I never really liked to begin with), and I can never quite understand why they wish to reconnect – we drifted away from each other for a reason…

  6. I went through a simarly-ish experience. I also craved attention from certain friends but somehow I always managed to be the odd one out. This particular friend was a friend of a friend so we were often in the same circle but never close. I didn’t think we had anything i common. To me she seemed stuck up and one of those beauty queens (in my mind). This was also back in my university years – 5 years ago. I was going through a rough time, especially after a miscarriage. So I decided after a while that I was sick and tired of chasing people who apparently didn’t value me or my friendship. This particular friend got also excluded.
    Past forward close to a year – we found ourselves outsiders, so we connected. It turned out we had alot in common and shared similar values, opinions and interests. And most importantly, this “stuck up beauty queen” had her own battles, fears and insecurities – as we all do. Today, she’s one of my dearest friend!
    So we shouldn’t always judge a book by its cover.

  7. I left this post halfway through for about 10 minutes only to discover my filtered messages were boring. Glad you got closure with that girl though πŸ™‚

  8. Oh yes. Guy at Uni, utter tosswat or so I thought came back into my life when he joined the rugby club I played for. Heart sinks, dodge the bullet fir a few weeks and then we talk. And we laugh and shortly fess up to feeling the other disliked is not sure why – I was being polite, he definitely was a tosswat, But in truth he was ok and for a couple of years we rubbed along ok before he moved to New York. It happens

  9. Beautiful post. And yes, I have. I had two lessons. One was that I judged too quick. The other lesson (the other case) was that I was right. I thought I was wrong with my “judgment” and accepted the apology only to be kicked in the gut again. I still think though, that you need to consider what’s going on in the other person’s life, if you can see the shoes and the path they walked in and on. But you also have to stay true to yourself. And always listen to your gut feeling…

  10. I have been judgemental, jealous, intolerant… well you name an evil negative feeling, thought, deed… and I’ve been there. What I have never been until very recently is truly understanding, accepting, and loving. It’s amazing how much better I, (and everyone else), feel now that I am prepared to walk a few miles in another persons shoes… Such a great post. Thak you Suzie.

    • I totally agree Jack – I was an angry bunny for a long time, and then realised that the only person that I was actually hurting was myself. Once I got over that I was so much happier!

  11. This is a great story of not passing judgment on others until you know their story. I’m glad you were able to reconnect with this woman, Suzie. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Wow, that’s so lovely that you got that closure – sorry to sound so American. I think when everyone is young they form views on people from very little information and then that sort of sticks almost by mistake. I met up with my best friend from junior school when we were around 18 and she was incredibly outgoing and well spoken and had done so many things and had had 3 marriage proposals. I felt so common and so young in comparison!

  13. I can’t say that I’ve had this experience, but reading about yours was a sheer pleasure. It’s a great testament of forgiveness and learning to refrain from judgments, to try to view things from multiple perspectives. Beautifully done, Suzie!!

  14. Great post, Susie. My story is sort of in reverse to yours. It’s a friend I’ve had for many years who let me down when I needed her the most – I’m on the tentative road of distancing myself from her now. I saw a perfect quote on FB which fit my situation perfectly. ‘Some people aren’t loyal to you…they are loyal to their need of you…once their needs change, so does their loyalty.’ Friendships are funny things!

    • I absolutely love this quote, and it’s so true. I always compare this to the band aid scenario – you rip it off in one go or deal with the slow pain of peeling it off tentatively…

  15. Reblogged this on Traces In Time and commented:
    We make judgements about people so off-handedly – but if we could only walk in their shoes, our relationships might have turned out so differently. Suzie illustrates this with a personal example…

  16. Suzie, you took away an important message that many people never get, no matter what their age, and you’re a better person for it. It’s one of the things I love about – you’re willing to admit mistakes, to say you’re sorry, to forgive others, and to move on. If it had taken an entire lifetime to learn what you’ve gotten in a decade and a half, you’d still be doing well. I wish I had your noble heart.

  17. I know this feeling totally. I had a heartfelt apology from an ex who was physically abusive to me mAny years ago, he came through on fb filtered messages, we talked deeply and I forgave him and told him I hope has a genuinely happy life, it was good for both of us I think….I really do hope he is happy too

    • That’s unbelievably gracious of you Athena, and kudos to you! I don’t think I would be as nice if my abusive ex-boyfriend got in touch… I don’t think he’d dare to be fair, I’ve got too much on him.

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