A few months ago, I received a message Facebook from a colleague. It read:
“Hi. Have we ever dated?”
“Excuse me? ” I wrote back. That was the weirdest question anyone has ever asked me.
“Well, I was just wondering if we had dated before,” he wrote back.
This was probably our first personal chat. Most of the times, we mostly discussed Scrabble. I was that irritating Facebook friend who sends game requests to everyone on her friends list. He was the only response I got from the thousand Scrabble requests I sent out. Which was great. It meant I had a new partner to play with.
He sent me his first message asking me to teach him how to play the game. How cool was that? I had a new partner I could actually beat. And since we started playing scrabble, we stuck to that. By that I mean, we were complete strangers on the street. Just staring blankly at each other whenever we crossed paths in the university halls.
“I am sure you’d know if we had dated. Is this supposed to be a trick question? Or are you trying to tell me something?” I was still confused.
“Well, I thought I had probably missed that part of my life, lol, ” he replied, “Glad to know I didn’t.”
“Aha…” I had to think very carefully about the next thing I was going to say, “I have no idea what you are talking about. But I am glad I cleared that up for you.”
“You did, thank you. Because I have been hearing rumours about us being a couple. Everyone on the campus is talking about us.”
Hmm, I thought, Shallow move. Was he seriously trying to ask me out with that stupid line? A thought I didn’t share, by the way.
“I am sure you haven’t asked every single person on campus about this. Therefore you can’t possibly know everyone is talking about us. Are we really that important? Or is every one extremely bored?” I asked sincerely.
Unlike most people, I do not believe people talk about me behind my back. If they did, I’d hear about it, right? I mean, what are the chances I wouldn’t? But seeing that I haven’t heard any rumours about me (most probably because of the clique I roll with) it’s safe to assume I am not an interesting topic for any conversation.
“Well, my sources are very reliable. One of your friends is spreading those rumours.”
This guy was ridiculously persistent on stupid things, I thought. But he had my attention. I was about to learn which of my friends had zero creativity skills. I mean, spread rumours I was dating this guy!?
“Lol. Whoever is spreading those rumours is not my friend, ” I wrote back to the guy, “Unless if it’s someone claiming to be my friend, but isn’t. Of the three of us, am the only one I know bored enough to spread rumours. And believe me, this particular one, I have not told.”
“Well, Nancy has been spreading those rumours!” I sensed he was getting agitated. I suppose I was not reacting the way he wanted me to.
“And you heard her with your own two ears? Well, those rumours don’t bother me. But if they bother you, you should talk to her about it,” I replied back.
“They don’t bother you?!”
“No, they don’t. Because I know it’s not possible.”
“Are you accusing me of lying?”
“Yes, because you are accusing my friend of being a gossip. I am not sure what this is about. But I know Nancy doesn’t spread rumours about me.”
“What makes you so sure?”
Really, dude? Am I really having this conversation right now? I rolled my eyes.
“I know her for three years and I am with her for most of the my day. We are room mates, class mates and best friends. We go to the same parties, hang out with the same people, go shopping together. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt over you. Any day. I don’t even know your first name! It’s a simple calculation, really… It’s been great chatting with you. I will let Nancy read this conversation and maybe she can un-tell the rumour (if that’s possible).”
Between you and me, Nancy never read that conversation. I found out later though, that Nancy and this guy had an argument a few years back. They couldn’t resolve it. Nancy didn’t like him very much.
I was very happy I took her side. And this is what I learnt from that experience:
- The most obvious one: DON’T LISTEN TO GOSSIP.
- Give your loved ones the benefit of the doubt, against the word of a stranger.
- Don’t dig deeper into the gossip as soon as you hear about it. It is simply the wrong time to search for something fishy. Your mind is already mobilised to find something. Therefore your judgement will be clouded. Should you not find anything, you’ll make up something just to satisfy that curiosity.
- If your relationship is great, don’t allow a third party to destroy it. If there is anything wrong with your relationship you will know about it. You don’t need another person to find out something is amiss.
- It is better to find out on your own, that something is wrong with your relationship. Information is distorted all the time. People make up stories to sabotage others. If you claim to love someone, protect them from those people. Take their side, especially when you don’t know what happened.
In seven years of our friendship, Nancy and I share many secrets. If she ever wants to sabotage me, she doesn’t have to make up rumours about me. She has enough information to destroy my life with one email to the right person. Why would she resort to making up a lie when she has juicer, more factual stories to tell?