Michael and I had been friends for several years (13 total). We dated but it didn’t work out. Looking back I think I stayed in longer than I should have because he was a nice guy and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. He was a bit socially awkward but very sweet.
I got married three years after Michael and I first met. We were still friends and hung out, e-mailed, talked on the phone, etc. It was a platonic friendship and I hoped he would one day find a nice girl. He met Ursula online and I was hesitant about online dating but didn’t want to discourage Michael.
One day a mutual friend told me that there were some suspicious things about Ursula. There were concerns that Ursula wasn’t being completely honest about who she was and I became concerned. I worried that Michael was more in love with the idea of having someone there rather than in love with Ursula. I lived over a thousand miles away so there was little that I could do except be there for Michael no matter what.
I then received devastating news that I had cancer. Fortunately I was in the early stages so the survival rate was good. I flew back home to tell loved ones in person. Coincidentally, Ursula was visiting Michael so there was no way to tell Michael alone. I met Ursula and told Michael and Ursula about my diagnosis. Ursula was very kind and I apologized for the awkward “Nice meeting you, I have cancer.” visit.
A few days later Michael and Ursula were engaged. I had started treatments and was sicker than I thought I would be but managed to send a congratulation message. Michael seemed to pull away a bit but I felt that I had neglected our friendship a bit being sick and all so I didn’t think much of it.
I had completed treatments and Michael would send me updates about his big day. Meanwhile, our mutual friend died suddenly. We were very close and, years later, it’s still hard to write about it. Some family members found some reports and asked me about them. Turns out the mutual friend hired a private investigator to check Ursula out. There were a lot of skeletons in Ursula’s closet but I didn’t know if Michael knew about them or if our mutual friend had told him. I talked to Michael and he assured me all was fine and that Ursula was on a different path now. I expressed my concerns but told him I would support him no matter what.
One day, Michael told me that the wedding venue only held a limited number of people so only family and wedding party were invited. He was upset about it but I told him that I would not be able to attend anyway because of the distance. I still felt that things were awkward ever since my diagnosis. I asked where they were registered and got a $200 gift certificate to their store. I asked Michael for their mailing address and promised I’d send it ASAP.
After the wedding, Michael asked me for my address to send me a scrapbook of pictures from their wedding. I thought it was sweet that he wanted to include me. Soon after, I fell very ill.
My days became consumed with blood tests, MRIs, Ultrasounds and more trying to figure out what was going on with my body. The cancer wasn’t back, but I was seriously ill. Sending Michael and Ursula’s gift card was put on the back burner. Michael sent me well wishes, etc and I promised I would get the gift card to them as soon as I was well.
Finally the doctor’s figured out what was wrong with me and I got better quickly. It was just in time for my husband’s job transfer over a thousand miles away. The gift card went in my suitcase with the plans to mail it as soon as we got settled in our new home.
Almost immediately after we arrived at our new home we found out we were expecting triplets! It was a rough time physically and emotionally and I, the terrible friend, didn’t get the card sent. Triplets arrive, life resumes a somewhat normal pace (as normal as triplets allow). I had full time help so that was a blessing!
I had to go home on business and contacted Michael about me taking him and Ursula to dinner. I wanted to pay for dinner and give them the gift card. I was hoping for a nice, fun visit. Michael acted a bit weird about it but I didn’t catch on why immediately. Again, things were awkward after my diagnosis (but I had been in remission for a while at that point).
I noticed that a lot of friends didn’t know how to act or what to say when I was sick so I didn’t take it personally. I’m friends with at least 90% of the people I was friends with before my diagnosis and that was after I moved away! I think a lot of them were worried and didn’t want to burden me with their grief they felt seeing me so sick. I thought this would give Michael and Ursula a chance to see me for the first time since my diagnosis AND to let them see I was back to my active self!
A couple of days before my trip Michael calls me. He was very emotional and said he didn’t think we should talk anymore. I asked him why and he seemed to have a hard time talking I then hear Ursula say “give me the phone” and she takes the phone. Ursula then proceeds to tell me that she hates me. She calls me some hateful names. I am completely dumbfounded about it all. She tells me that Michael is too nice to tell me but he really doesn’t like me either and no one else we mutually know likes me and that I need to stop calling and bothering him.
Turns out that Michael was ordered, by Ursula, to stop being my friend after our first meeting. However, Michael kept in touch behind Ursula’s back. This wasn’t hard to hide since I lived far away now so he would call and e-mail without her knowing about it. I had NO idea he was sneaking around. I also had no idea that people we mutually knew hated me as well.
Turns out the friends did NOT feel this way. Apparently Michael has had to rid himself of attractive female friends or male friends with attractive wives! Michael’s and my relationship was purely platonic. I’m happily married and wanted nothing more. One friend wrote me a letter about a year later telling me how Michael’s cell phone bills are scrutinized, his e-mails are read and his religion has changed.Ursula has made him a new man. His friends are now Ursula’s friends. There is even talk of a career change for Michael.
The best part? When Ursula found out that I was bringing the $200 gift card, she wanted me to give it to them anyway!!! Her logic was that I bought it before I was told we weren’t friends. Needless to say, THAT didn’t happen. I do feel sorry for Michael but there is nothing I can do. I also realized that Michael was awkward not because of my diagnosis but because he was ordered not to be my friend after I told him of my diagnosis.
So, cast me into Etiquette Hell for sitting on the gift card for too long. Cast Michael for putting me in the awkward position of not knowing we were sneaking around (which I would have never agreed to!) . Finally, cast Ursula for being greedy and wanting the gift card despite the way she treated me. 1004-09