“Care about what other people think, and you will always be their prisoner.” – Lao Tzu
They say that what people think of you is none of your business. But to expand your business, you need to create opportunities with people.
So, whether you like it or not, you have to make it your business to know what people think of you.
That’s my two cents anyway. Being a freelancer, I had plans to tap into my high school friends’ network.
But recently, I found out that they had broken ties with me. They ignored me during functions and gatherings, and left me out of WhatsApp chat groups.
They also spread gossip of me being a homewrecker.
Here’s what happened.
We had our first high school reunion in 2012. Since then, my friends and I have been keeping in touch.
The reunion was a great opportunity to catch up. It was nice knowing who became hotshots, who got married, who had kids, and so forth.
From then on, a bunch of us would meet up regularly for coffee chats, movie nights, and pampering sessions.
Especially the mothers – whenever they could spend time away from their families, they’d spend it with the group.
I was single at the time and heard a lot about their marriages, husbands, wives, kids, etc. Some of these women were still stuck in their so-called ‘prime’.
You know, the time when these women were in high school and belonged to the ‘in’ and popular group. A time when boys used to swarm over them (or so they claimed).
To me, it was a load of shenanigans and needless drama.
The guys would still act as if they were 17 instead of almost 40. Some were still that Romeo from high school, flirting like nobody’s business.
These were married men with kids in tow, by the way.
They didn’t seem to mind that age didn’t treat them well. Clearly, they weren’t as good-looking as they were in high school. Most of them have ‘expanded’ sideways, not to mention their receding hairlines.
Suffice to say, they weren’t studs anymore.
Don’t get me wrong though. This is not a judgement on how they look – I’m just annoyed by their attitude.
Most are them are okay and were willing to help spread the word about my writing and marketing services. Though I’ve never spoken to them during high school, they warmed up to me and we became good friends, if not acquaintances.
In fact, it was because of them that I managed to get quite a few clients.
Things changed when I started to date my now husband. He was a divorcee, and it turned out that we had many mutual friends among my high school friends. They knew his ex-wife well, and some of them used to hang out and have play dates with their children.
A few of them texted me personally, asking about it – they shared what the others were saying about me. It was nice to be in the know, but then again, you know what they say – those who gossip to you will gossip about you.
Rumours about me and The Hubba having an affair spread like wildfire. A lot of them shared loaded Facebook status on homewreckers, affairs in marriages, repercussions on broken families, and so forth.
Slowly, one by one, they started to cast me out.
I found myself being left out of gatherings and coffee outings. I only knew about it because I saw pictures of it being posted on social media afterwards. Ironically, they were still friends with me on Facebook and Instagram – but I suspected only to spy on how The Hubba and I were doing.
When the big day came, only a few turned up at our wedding, though we extended the invite to all of them.
Not that I really minded though – the day was for us anyway (plus, less mouths to feed).
Recently, The Hubba was playing in a football match at a sports carnival. Many of our so-called ‘friends’ were there too.
Most of them didn’t greet me. Those who did merely nodded and gave me a weak smile as I caught their eyes.
I saw that they took a lot of pictures among themselves, but none with me. I told The Hubba about it, and he told me:
“A wolf doesn’t lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.”
I was determined to brush them off.
After the match, one of them called me. “Just wanting to do a bit of catching up,” she said.
She asked if I’d heard anything about myself and The Hubba. I contemplated telling her that I was feeling left out by our group, but decided to keep mum about it.
I know too well that ‘anyone who will gossip to you, will gossip about you.’
She then revealed that a lot of those high school friends felt that I was a slut (for the lack of a better word), and that I destroyed The Hubba’s marriage.
Apparently, the gossip by his ex-wife was that I heartlessly stole her husband, even after she pleaded for me not to wreck their family.
The cherry on top? She told them that she even suggested for me to become the second wife. Apparently I turned her offer down mercilessly after laughing at her face for suggesting it!
Wow. Just wow!
I knew she had a penchant for being dramatic, but that was just too much!
That alone was enough for many of my (so-called) friends to side with her. The women were appalled that I would do such a thing, while the guys just refused to be associated with me for fear of their wives’ wrath.
“Well, they feel that if you could do that do another woman’s husband, what’s stopping you to do the same to them?” my friend said.
“Oh, and they decided you shouldn’t be on their friends’ list.”
“It’s about who has been there for you, not who you’ve known the longest” – J.B
Oh well, I suppose it’s their loss, not mine.
For more articles on bad friends, read You Shouldn’t Lend Money to Friends and Family, and Here’s Why, and 4 Signs You’re in a Toxic Friendship (And Why You Need to Leave).