But weeks later I found out second hand that Annie had been kind of offended at my "I hate painting" comment as "helping friends isn't about doing what you like."
If that's really what she said, then I think she was offended by your reason for not wanting to help out. If you had said you had obligations at home or being short notice didn't work for you (not dressed for it), you might have been fine. But your stated reason implies that you pick and choose to help people based on how much you like the activity rather than if you can help your friend or not.
So yeah I can see why she'd be insulted. And I don't think JADEing is an issue here unless she's known to be someone who tramples boundaries when asking for help.
I think I'm with O'Dell. If you'd said, "no, I wish I could help, but I've got to get home," you wouldn't have the issue.
Now, I don't think Annie is right to get all terribly bent out of shape about it. But I can see why it might hit her wrong.
It's 9pm for HER too, and she's been painting, etc., all day. And so SHE is going to react more strongly than normal. Cut her some slack.
And really, all the REST of the people Annie knows need to stop repeating all the gossip she says, because THAT is making it worse.
In fact, I'm wondering how seriously p.o.'d/offended Annie is. Maybe this is not a terribly big deal to her, but that it did hit her wrong. And now OTHER people are running around repeating it to you, as if it IS a big honking deal.
For all you know, this was a casual observation--I can see me making it to someone, in a "wow, I felt upset and couldn't figure out why, but now I have, and that wording really hit wrong" way. And never in a million years imagining that the person I'm musing to would run around and tell other people--let alone tell the person I am *momentarily* and *minorly* miffed at.
Since when did people forget the idea that you don't REPEAT gossip to people?
Let it lie. Let it be a small thing. Pretend you never heard it.
You were fine--I'm sure none of them were really asking you to help paint, and your joking response was not all that rude. It just happened to hit wrong in a small way.