Thursday, September 11, 2008


Oh joy, how did this happen? I hurt someone's feelings yesterday. I asked her to do something. I was supposed to say, "What do you think about this idea?"

I think people take offence to easily. Why did such a little thing bother this woman and that she came to my house to tell me so. She must be really, really peeved at me.

What should I do?

I've apologized. Twice. The second apology is in a letter that will be mailed tomorrow. I talked to Phil about it and he gave me some words of comfort. The next person I need to talk to is Heavenly Father. I hope she was comforted too but I worry.

And I'll tell you what else. I'm weary of people taking offence when none was given. I can't tell you the amount of times I have decided that relationships were more important than supposed offence. I've learned that a thick skin is a desirable fashion statement.

It took me a while to come to this position. When I was a teenager I took offence easily and was the one who was hurt in the long run. I'll give you one example--I could give you another one but it still hurts, my stupidity was overwhelming and I never made it right. A relationship was lost. In fact, because one relationship was lost, more were lost, too. It was my fault and I have no way of undoing it. I think of this person often and wish we were still friends.

Here's the one I will tell you about. I was corresponding with a girl who lived in Alaska. She was older than me, so articulate, had beautiful penmanship, was funny and wise and was all things that I was not. One day she said something like, "I've overspent. Do you want to make me a loan?" I took it personally, thinking she was really asking me for money, which, of course, wasn't true. I quit writing. What on earth was the matter with me?

She wrote and asked if she had offended me. I was so petty I wouldn't answer her letters.

I have missed her friendship all these years. I have grieved over this loss, too. I've tried to find her but so much time has gone by that I can't even remember her name. I remember her sister's name--Janet. They had relatives in Annabella, I can't remember who the relative was--I'm thinking it might have been her grandma.

So, if you know someone who grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, who has a sister named Janet and has ties to Annabella, Utah please tell her I'm sorry I was such a thin-skinned fool and that I've missed her.

And then I'm going to go lick today's wounds and try to do better.


TeamGornold said...

here's what you do:
Make a list of everything you have ever done, related to church or not
Ask her if she has done even half of those things
When she says "no" and believe me she will,
Give off a satisfied "hmph"
Get up walk out of her home with a slam to the door
And skip to your car or all the way home
That ought to solve everything
Sorry that this is happening to you. I love you very much and you can do no wrong in my book!

Teresa said...

Oh, boy...this must be going around this week! My poor husband has had two instances of this happening this week! He told me today "this is why I usually keep my mouth shut!" Soooo frustrating!!!

Colette Amelia said...

I could be wrong and most of the time I am but it seems to me that this woman is feeling under appreciated for all the things she does whatever they are.

And that is a ongoing problem with employees, volunteers and me.

but I could be wrong...but not about me.

Tierney said...

I empathize, dear Lynne. It feels so bad to have offended someone when you were not trying to. I always take it very personally and think I must be a very bad and mean lady. But I don't think this is necessarily true. People hear things through their own unique set of ears, and sometimes one person's innocent, information gathering question can be an other person's insult. You aren't responsible for her misinterpretation. All you really need to do is what you have done, which is apologize and convey that you did not intend to offend.

I know it is oh-so-hard, but try to let it go, if you can. You have done what you can to rectify the unfortunate situation, and that is all you can do. If you do any more, perhaps it will just add fuel to her sad little fire :).



Cindy said...

Awe, Lynne, that is one of the challenges of life.

I love Elder Bednar's talk from Oct. 2006. Here is part of what he said, "it ultimately is impossible for another person to offend you or to offend me. Indeed, believing that another person offended us is fundamentally false. To be offended is a choice we make; it is not a condition inflicted or imposed upon us by someone or something else."

I think it is great that you have apologized, so now just let it go. I know that is not easy, but I know you can do it!!

Lisa said...

This just happened to me, and I still don't know what to do! I've apologize, twice and I can tell she's still offended. (and it wasn't meant at all--in fact, I still don't know why she's offended--she won't tell me--all I know is it was "something I said" and I talk a lot, so that doesn't help!) And now, instead of feeling bad about it, I'm MAD!

I like what Elder Bednar says. I'm going with that. Good luck to the both of us~

Lynne's Somewhat Invented Life said...

Dear friends,

Thank you for your words of sympathy and understanding. After reading Colette's comment I tore up the letter and wrote a better one, telling this woman how much I DO appreciate her. Good call, Colette.

And Cindy, you were inspired to send Elder Bednar's words. You helped Lisa too, who, by the way, is a WONDERFUL person who does talk a lot and I LOVE IT. She is so fun and honest and would never intentionally hurt anyone's feelings. You are in my prayers tonight. ALL OF YOU ARE IN MY PRAYERS TONIGHT. I have the best Internet friends. You are unbelievable.

And Shirt, get down here so I can give you a bear hug. I miss you so much.