September 11, 2000
An Unfriendly Letter
A few years ago someone who had been a client of one of the non-profit agencies for which I worked decided we were friends.
I didn't think so, mainly because I just flat didn't like her very much. I did my best to keep my guard up around her, and gave only minimal, polite answers to her unending stream of get-to-know-you questions. Apparently she didn't notice that I didn't ask her much of anything, by the way.
As I said, I didn't consider us to be friends. I was utterly sure we weren't when I got a letter from her after she had moved away from the area. In this letter, she made a list of all sorts of things she thought I should improve about myself, in terms of appearance.
She kept pointing out, with each new suggestion (hair, shoes, clothes), that if she didn't truly care about me, and want me to have a wonderful life, she wouldn't be making her suggestions. She went on to say she thought my clothing choices indicated that I really didn't like myself.
Perhaps the most bizarre (to me) statememt she made was that I was dressing too old for my age. I, on the other hand, had just asked several friends if I were dressing too young. Go figure!
Oh--you want to know how I responded? I clenched my teeth and wrote back, reminding her that she rarely saw me outside the workplace, where I "matched" my coworkers in terms of formality of appearance. I went on to say that I did indeed like myself.
No, I didn't bother to address her arrogance and bad manners in writing such a letter to me. I didn't think it would accomplish anything, and I wanted my answer to be a voice of calm, cold reason.I mailed my reply. Afterward, I took her letter and tore it into teeny, tiny, confetti-like pieces, which I threw in the nearest trashcan.
Mercifully, I have not heard from her again. I believe she wrote me off as a lost cause.
Which was the kindest thing she could ever do for me!