Every once in a while, people tell me I need to lighten up and get a sense of humor. I use to believe that, but the truth often is the person who says that is also the perpetrator of a joke that absolutely was not funny. A couple of months ago, someone I thought was a friend of mine made some hurtful jokes about me to me.
My friend Tamika‘s post on confrontation addresses how some bigger problems could have been averted if they were confronted sooner instead of later. I am on the other side of this issue since I’m not fond of confrontation (unpleasant business) and if I did confront someone right away, I wouldn’t be very nice. In this situation, I wanted to tell my friend to shut the fuck up or to go fuck himself when he was making those jokes. However, easier said than done.
We were doing one of those large turnout annual walk-runs that go to a good cause when this friend decided to make incessant jokes about my wieght. Several times on the route, he pointed to a group of bears and said I should join up with them. If that wasn’t enough, he went up to a mutual friend’s five year old son of a and tried to get him to say that I was “curvaceous.” His mother was shocked and asked my friend what he was trying to do with her son. Fortunately for him, she didn’t bitch him out (which some parents would).
I know I would not have accomplished anything by going off on him, especially in front of someone and her children. I did say a few times that I wanted to kill him, but this came off more as a frustrated attempt to make a joke of dealing with it. Easier said than done, I could have told him to stop his jokes and that they weren’t funny. Instead, I waited to calm down so that I could peacefully confont him.
I chose to address the issue a week later when he called me on the phone. Despite calmly bringing up the issue, he was offended that I waited this long and then he lost his temper. He then tried to bring up an issue with me and went on about it until the conversation was over. By the time I hung up, I decided I didn’t want to talk to him at all.
I didn’t want to go through the hypocrisy of pretending all is OK, so I just avoided a whole group of people just so I I wouldn’t have to say hello and act chummy with him. I could have met them in the social context without acknowledging him but it took too much energy to do so. I wound up losing out because I avoided people who had nothing to do with my issues with him.
Sorry about the vagueness of the post. It would be easier to be more specific. Recently, I decided to stop avoiding the social context (which is more than social), and decided to make nice with the friend. He invited me out to coffee and the whole conversation was small talk, skirting the issues that drove us apart in the first place. Towards the end, I told him I thought I’d never talk to him again. When I detected this could have turned into a repeat of the phone conversation a month and half before, I thanked him for extending the olive branch. With that said and done, I’m not sure if I could ever hang out with him like we use to. I don’t want to be in a situation where he thinks he can be comfortable enough to insult me again.