Today I found out that a co-worker who I had once considered a close enough friend to be invited to our wedding didn’t invite us to his annual birthday bash that was held this past weekend. And judging by the look that crossed my friend’s face after she mentioned the party in conversation this morning, after realizing that I had previously known nothing about it, I think it was an intentional snub, not a mere oversight.
Even though I’ve seen this moment coming for the last eighteen months or so, I have to admit that it still stung for a moment. But then I realized that all the reasons why I saw this coming were the same reasons why I shouldn’t waste too much time mourning the loss of this particular relationship. True friends are the ones that are there for you when you’re going through a tough time. They back you up and set the record straight when other people gossip and spread lies about you. True friends try to make a difficult situation better for you rather than stir the pot for their own amusement. This guy did none of the above when the moment called for it. Instead he said that he was “going to stay neutral.”
According to Merriam-Webster:
1: not engaged on either side
In this guy’s world however, neutral apparently meant developing a deeper friendship with the Lying Gossiper and abandoning our friendship entirely. His version of staying neutral apparently also includes perpetuating the myth that Lying Gossiper and I can’t ever be in the presence of each other without some sort of Armageddon occurring. This is the perhaps the part I find most offensive.
I am an adult. I am a professional. I am polite. In other words, I am capable of handling myself in a social situation where I may encounter someone I don’t particularly like. The fact that this co-worker doesn’t seem to think so and continues to fuel a battle long forgotten (on my part at least), that didn’t even involve him directly, speaks many more volumes about his lack of maturity, not mine.
I have made some good friends through working at The Agency. But experiences like this one make me want to re-examine some of those bonds. The co-worker in question didn’t invite me to his party (which I realize is his prerogative), but other mutual friends kept completely silent about it even in discussions about weekend plans. I hate to think that I need to detach from certain people, but what else can you do when a friend turns out not to be one after all?