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Axe Wielding Acquaintance May Hatchet The Friendship

This is both a submission and a request for advice, because I’ve not had much experience with situations like this, and I want to avoid making this any worse (also sorry for the long entry).

I recently went on a camping trip with my boyfriend, G. We were invited by our mutual good friends, married couple B and M (M and I describe ourselves as best friends). M has a friend, whom she reconnected with after a few years of little contact, named P, and he was also invited. I’ve hung out with M, B, and P before, and P has always been obnoxious. Arrogant, hostile, refuses to be wrong, and is still young enough to think that getting black-out drunk is a form of entertainment rather than embarrassment. We’re all about the same age (22-23, G is 25), but P and I have no similarities. Although I wasn’t fond of him, I didn’t want to monopolize M’s guest list, so I said I was ok with him being invited (M asked me because, I quote, “Some people don’t like him coming along”).

On Friday night, the first night of the camping trip, we’re sitting around the fire, and I was questioning P about his dog. I have never had dogs and although I volunteered with the Humane Society for almost 6 months, I really don’t know much about them. My question of why P’s dog is so small even though she is over three years old is met with the eloquent response, “She’s a small breed dog. What kind of f*cking question is that?” Now this is not the etiquette dilemma. This is just an example I am trying to provide to give you and other readers an idea of P’s general attitude. He was not like that because he was tired, or cold, or he didn’t get the amount of s’mores he wanted. That is the way he is. All the time. He was rude, unnecessarily sarcastic (I’m sarcastic quite often, but not downright mean), and insulting the whole night, and the next day.

P was also rude and insulting to B and M the whole weekend, who, due to P being unemployed, were allowing him to sleep on their couch while he was trying to find another job. I don’t blame P for needing assistance, especially in this economy, but he would make comments like “shut up”, or “no sh*t”, to the people who were helping him out, when they had no obligation.

But the actual incident was on Saturday evening. P and B had both purchased axes to chop wood, and decided that when they weren’t using them for their intended purpose, they would practice throwing them at this tree stump in our campsite (are you swooning from their impressive masculinity?! Me neither). M was preparing dessert and I was talking with her, so I didn’t see exactly what happened. But out of my peripheral I see G talking to B and P, and P advancing towards G. Suddenly G is holding his hand and screaming at P that he cut him. G was cut towards the outside of his hand, nothing serious damaged, but he did bleed quite a bit. Like running down his hand. The cut was about and inch and a half long, and a quarter inch deep at it’s deepest part. After M put a clean bandage on G, he tells me that P was “spinning” the axes, and cut his hand with one of them. P did offer to bandage G up, but G was so mad at the time that he refused, which I didn’t think was unreasonable. P’s apology was him looking at his own hand (because he had cut himself as well), and saying meekly, “Sorry, I didn’t mean for that to happen.”

G and I went for a walk because he was very upset, and he didn’t want to see P because he was afraid he might lose his temper. When we returned B, M, and P were sitting around the campfire talking about P and M’s time together in middle school. We were both upset that B and M had not said anything admonishing P at the time he cut G about how stupid and careless he had been, and that apparently that conversation had not occurred when we were gone. So G and I left. M helped me pack, and she and B assured us P was very sorry. But other than his feeble mumbling when M was bandaging G, he made no attempt to apologize further as he saw us packing up.

He then sent G a long apology text the next day. However, he said “sh*t happens”, in regards to hitting G with the axe, and then he went on to claim G overreacted by wanting to leave the trip and not wanting to see P again. I for one do not think it is “sh*t happens” when people play with weapons. P is ignorant if he doesn’t realize that rules such as “don’t play with guns” and “don’t run with scissors” were invented for a reason. “Sh*t happens” does not describe completely preventable accidents. He’s also ignorant of the fact that if his aim had been a little bit different, or if G had moved ever so slightly to the left or right, P could have caused serious, life-threatening damage to G. And guess who would have to pay those expensive hospital bills. He is also ignorant of the fact that the main reason G and I decided to leave was P cutting G with the axe was the last straw. P had been horrible the entire time we were there, making everyone uncomfortable, creating tension, and making jokes at everyone’s expense but his own. I, nor G, could take any more of him.

G and I are angry and disgusted with P, but we are upset with B and M. I am especially close with M, however neither of us feel like we are being treated like friends by either one of them. So my question is this; do I discontinue my friendship with B and M? Would that be overly dramatic and cause more problems? I really love M, I’ve been friends with her for so long, but I am beginning to think this is not a reciprocal relationship, and it might never be.

Also, P clearly did not learn his lesson about waving sharp objects around unsuspecting people. Should G press assault charges (we are from Southern California), or would that make this situation any worse? Also, have I done anything wrong? And if so, how can I make it better? I appreciate any advice, thank you! 0722-14

Your intention were honorable and selfless when you lied to M about P coming to the camping trip.   But in this case, the hostess gave you a wide open door to comment on the inclusion of P on the camping trip making it clear that she knew some people would (and obviously have) preferred to not spend a precious weekend in P’s company.   So, you have confused your best friend who trusts that you are a person of your word and on that alone you need to have a heart to heart talk with her.

It’s hard to tell whether P is one of those people who acts hard, nasty and ugly because they are themselves miserable people with miserable lives  (people who routinely get rip snorting drunk are not intrinsically happy people, imo) or he’s just a diabolically evil person.  Since he is not a close friend of yours, I suggest avoiding him because he is not your responsibility to fix.   M and B may feel that obligation but they can deal with the consequences of having that association with P.  It appears that M is aware that other friends besides you are not particularly enamored of P so it’s not as if you are the oddball.



Comments on this entry are closed.

  • OP July 24, 2014, 12:47 am

    OP here! I would like to update everyone and thank the admin and all the commenters for your advice! I must admit I was rather upset when I wrote this entry, and probably being a bit of a brat.

    I have since spoken with M and we have come to the conclusion that we can each have our friends but we do not have to like said friends. P is very important to M for her own reasons, but she respects G and mine (my?) request to not be around him anymore.

    I now realize I was expecting my friend to pick sides and while G and I might have been hurt and upset, M and B weren’t too comfortable with their friends getting all mad at each other!

    • The Elf July 24, 2014, 6:46 am

      I think that is about the best solution you can hope for.

      I know someone similar to P. Not so rude, but with definite mooching tendencies and only a passing acquantance with safety. Anyway, My P has ended up on more than a few couches and spare bedrooms while being between jobs too. I’ve noticed that when he moved out of those situations, the people he roomed with were not only happy to see him go but pretty much cut contact with him. Not entirely – but they definitely were not as close as before. You may find the same happens here. After P moves out (possibly after he’s forced out), M won’t have to defend him quite so much. A few P-less weeks and M might start to wonder why they were friends so long. This issue with P might just resolve itself with time.

      • ImJustSaying July 26, 2014, 2:01 pm

        I’m sorry but your use of the Designation letter P was quite humorous to me …I am a five year old today.
        ~Anyway, My P has ended up on more than a few couches and spare bedrooms…..~

        • The Elf July 29, 2014, 3:17 pm

          That’s hilarious.

    • Kimstu July 24, 2014, 3:26 pm

      Well said, OP. Props to you for stepping back and taking a calmer view, and I think you and G are doing exactly the right thing by avoiding P (who sounds like a major pain in the neck even WITHOUT his irresponsible handling of sharp objects) without getting M and B caught in the middle.

  • David July 24, 2014, 2:13 am

    OP, I am willing to bet that this is the first time that P decided swinging sharp objects as he approached people was a great idea, otherwise I know you would have asked M not to invite him. Like you, I can handle a certain amount of rude and obnoxious if that is what it takes to hang out with some friends.

    I hope that G took his hand wound to be checked by a doctor. It’s always good to be careful.

    Honestly, I think the best thing you could have done was to leave the campsite and go home. It would have rewarded P if you had stayed and who knows what other attention grabbing technique he would have tried next.

    As far as your friendship with M, I would try and have a heart to heart with her about why you won’t be doing anything if P is involved in any way. But I wouldn’t expect her to apologize for P’s behavior. He seems to be more of a friend to her husband B if they were off throwing axes together.

  • Margo July 24, 2014, 5:44 am

    That’s odd – I commented yesterday but it doesn;t seen to be showing up.

    However – I agree with those PPs who have said that it isn’t reasonable to expect M&B to ‘admonish’ P. e’s an adult, not their minor child. His behaviour to you/G is a matter for you and G.

    If you feel his apology wasn’t adequate you can make that clear to him. And in future, since you don’t like him, don’t accept invitations when he is going to be there, and if asked whether you are OK with him being invited, say that you don’t wish to spend time with him, and will decline the invite of M&B decide they want him there.

  • Twik July 24, 2014, 3:49 pm

    What exactly does spinning an axe entail? I can’t visualize how this happened.

    • psammead July 29, 2014, 3:09 pm

      IDK, I’m picturing P twirling it like a baton. Either that or P was attempting the finger dance in the manner of the Ironborn from Game of Thrones.

  • Anonymous July 25, 2014, 9:52 am

    Wait, P insulted and swore at the OP, repeatedly. P has a pattern of rude and nasty behaviour. P physically injured the OP’s husband by carelessly playing with an axe, and made him bleed profusely, and people are calling the OP a brat? I like that the OP worked things out with B and M, and that they’re okay with her and her husband being friends with them, but not with P anymore, but honestly, I think leaving the camping trip because of the axe incident (or, not going on the trip in the first place because of P’s general rudeness) would have been a perfectly reasonable course of action.

    Also, I find the practice of using just initials for people’s names to be a bit confusing. Maybe it would be better to use made-up names, like, say, Betty, Martin, Paul, and George. Just a thought, and they don’t have to be those specific names, but B, M, P, and G is a bit hard to follow.

  • Anonymous July 25, 2014, 9:53 am

    Oh, wait, I got the genders reversed on B and M. M is the OP’s best friend, and B is her husband. So, how about Brian, Martha, Paul, and George instead?

  • Enna July 27, 2014, 8:53 am

    I can see wy OP and G are upset and angry. Spinning an axe is not smart – compared to say accidently hitting someone with a football/basketball/cricketball/baseball/netball etc. Maybe the OP wanted M to be a bit more supportive? Not have ago at P but just say he should take more care in future. But then they might have been shocked at what had happened – maybe they even felt responsible for inviting P. I personally would not want to be arond P in the OP’s situtaion.

    I wish this story had happend two years ago I could have showed it to an ex-firend who turned out to be a psycho. She got really drunk at a weddding party and had fallen out with a mutural firend about a month before. Mutral firend had a big bread knife to cut the cake – psycho takes the knife and make stabbing motions towards her about 1 cm away from her chest. How I had wished that I had walked away from the Pyscho then and not looked back (I didn’t speak to her for awhile as we had argured about the taxi money if she had had one less drink she could have afforded her share of the fare).

    Pyscho strats talking to me that she is not a psycho and strats acting nice again. Then she tells me it was a joke and that I take life too seriously. I get up to go and she snaps at me where are you going. My response: to smile at her at her knowningly – after that I distance myself from her. She had made a right fool of herslef – lifting her skirt up that night to pull her tights up and bearing all. Everyone was shocked! The husband at the party was disgusted and the wife, a firend of mine said she had so many comments about Pyscho’s behaviour.

  • Enna July 27, 2014, 8:56 am

    P.S if Pyscho had hurt my mutural firend I would have filed a police report etc. Mutral firend distanced herself and stopped having contact with her very quickly after that.

  • Jason 44 y/o August 6, 2014, 6:52 pm

    Sounds like P is a big ol’ A. I bet he was popular in school and was looked up to by your friend because of the attitude and antics. It does not translate into adulthood. He is still childlike and defiant. His life will be spent on couches always in between jobs. Always, unless he gets help and with the help he changes. It will always be other people who are the reason for ALL of his problems. As we get older we learn to change what we can and accept that which we can’t. We can only learn from painful experience to avoid people places and things that bring grief. IF we are healthy.
    I feel bad for the young man. He may have a low IQ, learning dis., and very well have come from a seriously abusive/traumatic childhood. For he knows not what he’s done, from whence he came, and the short lifetime of reckless misery of which he is hurdling towards.

  • Ginger0630 August 13, 2014, 9:51 pm

    Ok, assault charges are a little much. I don’t think P intended to hurt G, but he definitely should have apologized until blue in the face and offer to pay for hospital bills. Yes, I know he doesn’t have a job, but an offer would still be nice. Even though it was a superficial wound, I still would have brought him to a doctor. Since they were chopping wood, there could be something on there that could cause an infection.

    I think M is in between a rock and a hard place. She and her husband are friends with P and he’s even sleeping on their couch. Maybe they’ve known him for a long time and feel like they have to help him. They probably already know what a jackass he is.

    Since you say you’re great friends with M, talk to her. Just the two of you at lunch or coffee. Be calm. Just be honest and tell her the ax incident was the last straw for you, that you want to continue being friends with her and hubby, but that you cannot tolerate P anymore. If she’s a good friend, she will respect you. You don’t have to be friends with the people your other friends are friends with (does that make sense?). Most people have several groups of friends and not all of them mingle. You don’t have to tell her to stop being friends with P, but you certainly don’t have to.