Unintentionally hurt someone. Should I feel responsible?

I hurt somebody's feelings without intent, it happens. I don't want my close friends taking sides and splitting us up, so I thought I'd get some advice from some strangers on the Internet. It all boils down to a poor choice of words.

Basically, there's this friend of mine, he invited me to his Birthday, as he had for the fifth (?) year in a row. I told him I'd rather not go a week beforehand, because of a hostile experience with his angry mother over the phone. As you can tell, we've had our problems in the past.
Anyway, I ended the conversation to consider my approach more to find a way to cause as little harm as possible while still telling the truth, above all.
He was going to have 3 friends round. Me and 2 other guys, normally it was just 2. But the recent addition to the roster gets along with him REALLY well, whereas I really haven't been recently, neither of us have been that good quality company for each other, above all. But, unfortunately this guy had to go to Scotland, so he couldn't attend. And 1 guest is hardly a party. He didn't postpone it by the way, for whatever reason. Seemed illogical not to.
Basically I was dreading the conversation I was going to have, so I left it to the night before (with lots of warning) and wrote the most self-deprecating, apologetic, inoffensive, but honest several paragraph message which I spent 45 minutes typing and re-typing. My downfall was the use of one word to describe our current relationship. An acquaintanceship.

"One's slight knowledge or friendship of someone."

I have a few points in my defence.
1. Acquaintance is synonymous with companion/partner/friend. Which is what I intended and makes sense in context.
2. Was a passing comment, not particularly danced around or anything as part of a very long message. Oddly specific.
3. By default meaning, ludicrous, just wrong, impossible way to describe our friendship considering length, etc.
4. I advised that his birthday be postponed (twice) so he would properly enjoy it and stated several times that my timing as awful and that Ruining his birthday was not my intent.
5. While a message has a highly inoffensive, "I don't want to hurt anybody" kind of context, is a reader justified in taking something in an offensive way?

I don't really care if the guy ever speaks to me again, he just makes school life awkward with the way he's been behaving since this happened and I don't want to spend my final 4 weeks in a sea of uncomfortableness. Basically he's kind of chosen to forget my existence. I kind of wish this happened at a better time (I'm preparing for exams, I'm not playing video games or enjoying myself for the next 2 months). Then it would be easier to handle. I'd try making these arguments to the individual, but I think he only has capacity for hate at the minute...

Anyway, yeah, it's due to my error that this happened. Should I feel sorry for shitting on one of my closest friends or should I just apologise for an irresponsible choice of words?

Sorry I don't have the message, I forgot to save it and he's blocked me, so I can't access it.

It sounds like you committed a pratfall. I'm good at those. <.<

You say in one sentence that you don't really care if the guy never speaks to you again and then say you're sorry for shitting on one of your 'closest friends'.

Um...

I suggest you apologize and see how it turns out. Friends are the ones who put up with our faults and inconsistencies when other people don't, after all.

image

So, he's one of your closest friends but you don't really care if he speaks to you again?
You're really not the most considerate person, are you?

It was this guys birthday, his birthday, and you didn't want to go because you had a fight with him Mom over the phone. Fine, whatever, that could be awkward but why didn't you tell him you just couldn't make it?
Then you knew only one person was going and you still wouldn't get over yourself to make him feel better.
Then, to twist the knife in the wound, you referred to him as an acquaintance, knowing full well it does not mean friend.

I'm just going from what you've posted but I doubt you were as sensitive as you think you were and you come across as very selfish and self-centred.
You don't even seem to care that you upset him, just how him being upset affects you.

Copper Zen:
It sounds like you committed a pratfall. I'm good at those. <.<

You say in one sentence that you don't really care if the guy never speaks to you again and then say you're sorry for shitting on one of your 'closest friends'.

Um...

I suggest you apologize and see how it turns out. Friends are the ones who put up with our faults and inconsistencies when other people don't, after all.

image

I say that because at the end of the day, he's not a bad guy. He's very honourable and unique. We're 2 sides of the same coin, interests remain the same, personalities, starkly different. It's just he's also egotistical, stubborn, uptight and a bit of a show-off. But I'm hardly in the position to toss insults, am I? It's a complicated situation where you appreciate someone, but they can also make life a lot more difficult than it needs to be, just because of who they are.

Colour-Scientist:
So, he's one of your closest friends but you don't really care if he speaks to you again?
You're really not the most considerate person, are you?

It was this guys birthday, his birthday, and you didn't want to go because you had a fight with him Mom over the phone. Fine, whatever, that could be awkward but why didn't you tell him you just couldn't make it?
Then you knew only one person was going and you still wouldn't get over yourself to make him feel better.
Then, to twist the knife in the wound, you referred to him as an acquaintance, knowing full well it does not mean friend.

I'm just going from what you've posted but I doubt you were as sensitive as you think you were and you come across as very selfish and self-centred.
You don't even seem to care that you upset him, just how him being upset affects you.

He WAS, one of my closest and most valued friends. The only one. I just matured, and became less....passive. And less able to cope with his personality. And started to be more of a dick. Meanwhile I noticed he'd made a friend perfectly suited to himself in both personality AND interest, and he would succeed where I had failed.

I didn't want to go because I wasn't a good friend of his anymore. I'd usurp the position.

I wasn't aware the basic meaning of acquaintance was so inappropriate.

Mistakes made, I made it my goal not to offend. And failed. Your "knife" metaphor makes me seem very vindictive. I dislike that.

But maybe you're right and I'm a dick. You know, truth stinks. I should lie more. He suggested "do you just not want to come". I should've gone with that.

I agree with the Scientist chick: it sounds like you don't really give a shit about this guy. Which is the root of the issue. Not the specific words you used to express that sentiment.

If you do actually care about the friendship, maybe you should try harder to assure him of that.

Headsprouter:

He WAS, one of my closest and most valued friends. The only one. I just matured, and became less....passive. And less able to cope with his personality. And started to be more of a dick. Meanwhile I noticed he'd made a friend perfectly suited to himself in both personality AND interest, and he would succeed where I had failed.

I didn't want to go because I wasn't a good friend of his anymore. I'd usurp the position.

You seem to have a very high opinion of yourself anyway.

I wasn't aware the basic meaning of acquaintance was so inappropriate.

Mistakes made, I made it my goal not to offend. And failed. Your "knife" metaphor makes me seem very vindictive. I dislike that.

But maybe you're right and I'm a dick. You know, truth stinks. I should lie more. He suggested "do you just not want to come". I should've gone with that.

Why could you not just say you had other plans or something? Why did have to be "I don't want to go"?

Look, dude, I'm going by what your saying and it sounds like you decided you're too good to be friends with this guy, saw an opportune moment to ditch him, said intentionally what you said to offend him but now you don't want other people to think you're an asshole.

James Joseph Emerald:
I agree with the Scientist chick: it sounds like you don't really give a shit about this guy. Which is the root of the issue. Not the specific words you used to express that sentiment.

If you do actually care about the friendship, maybe you should try harder to assure him of that.

It really just fell to bits a while ago. I'd been evaluating it since Summer of last year. I'm just frustrated that by deliberately going out not to offend, I failed out of the meaning of a word. We used to have heated arguments over stupid shit like that. It was awful.

Maybe phrasing things just really isn't your strong suit.

Headsprouter:

It really just fell to bits a while ago. I'd been evaluating it since Summer of last year. I'm just frustrated that by deliberately going out not to offend, I failed out of the meaning of a word. We used to have heated arguments over stupid shit like that. It was awful.

If you don't like the guy any more, it's going to show through no matter how much you try to sugar-coat it or dress it up with meticulous word choice.

You can try to patch the rift, or go your separate way, but don't think you can bullshit your way through it. That's just insulting to people's intelligence.

Colour-Scientist:

Headsprouter:

He WAS, one of my closest and most valued friends. The only one. I just matured, and became less....passive. And less able to cope with his personality. And started to be more of a dick. Meanwhile I noticed he'd made a friend perfectly suited to himself in both personality AND interest, and he would succeed where I had failed.

I didn't want to go because I wasn't a good friend of his anymore. I'd usurp the position.

You seem to have a very high opinion of yourself anyway.

I wasn't aware the basic meaning of acquaintance was so inappropriate.

Mistakes made, I made it my goal not to offend. And failed. Your "knife" metaphor makes me seem very vindictive. I dislike that.

But maybe you're right and I'm a dick. You know, truth stinks. I should lie more. He suggested "do you just not want to come". I should've gone with that.

Why could you not just say you had other plans or something? Why did have to be "I don't want to go"?

Look, dude, I'm going by what your saying and it sounds like you decided you're too good to be friends with this guy, saw an opportune moment to ditch him, said intentionally what you said to offend him but now you don't want other people to think you're an asshole.

I literally had to keep typing and deleting and re-typing my first sentence. Huh.

I don't know myself as someone who thinks highly of myself at all.
Ditch is definitely not true. Distance is all I wanted. kind of like when people take a break from formal relationships. I didn't pick this time either. I was just too fatalistic and only saw one way. I think that's my greatest mistake, here. If I wanted to hurt someone, I think I would have been more direct about it. I've hurt his feelings before, accidentally, but that time I clearly saw and regretted what I'd implied. I don't even wanna go there.

But then again, none of my real life friends have tossed these accusations at me. That's not me challenging you, that's me searching for redemption.

Headsprouter:
snip

I think it's completely understandable for him to get annoyed by the word acquaintance, especially if you've drifted apart or fallen out or whatever. It makes it seem like you specifically opted to not use the word friendship, and whatever the dictionary send, an acquaintance usually isn't considered as close as a friend.

If you don't want to hang out with the guy anymore, just let it die.

capper42:

Headsprouter:
snip

I think it's completely understandable for him to get annoyed by the word acquaintance, especially if you've drifted apart or fallen out or whatever. It makes it seem like you specifically opted to not use the word friendship, and whatever the dictionary send, an acquaintance usually isn't considered as close as a friend.

If you don't want to hang out with the guy anymore, just let it die.

My main concern is 4 weeks of awkwardness at the minute. I don't expect forgiveness. I picked a bad time. We share the same friends, and me and him have always been a source of upset, although sometimes it's just him. Maybe I can salvage a few things so he doesn't lose what he doesn't deserve to.

Me and my group of friends have universally done way worse stuff than that and always gotten over it. I'd say you made a small slip at worst, that was misinterpreted. It seems you've tryed explaining the situation and that's all you can do. You say you're not overly arsed about seeing this guy again, I'd say there is your answer.

I'd say not your fault, you shouldn't feel responsible and not your problem. Onward and upwards, Good luck with the exams.

 

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