Monday, August 16, 2010

Killing ‘em with kindness

I mentioned here that our neighbors are moving because we have left the church (according to their daughter). Well, their daughters have told The Girl a few times that their mom doesn’t like my pictures on Facebook that show my tattoos. This annoyed me because I only have ONE tattoo and up until a couple of weeks ago, I only had ONE picture on Facebook of me with my tattoo showing. So I decided to unfriend my neighbor on Facebook.

I did this for a few reasons. One, it was probably a passive aggressive way to express my frustration over how I perceive she has been thinking about us now. Also, we have had a couple of neighbors’ unfriend both Jett and I recently due to a discussion Jett had on Facebook over gay marriage and equal rights recently and I think I really just wanted to be the one to do the “unfriending” this time. Also, I knew I was going to put a new picture of myself on Facebook showing my tattoo, and I thought that since she doesn’t like my tattoo this might be a good time unfriend her.

I didn’t really think too much about it after that. I knew they were moving pretty soon and I assumed that once they moved we wouldn’t have any more contact. The Girl wanted to get a goodbye gift for her friend and her little sister so we picked up a gift for them on Saturday and planned to give it to them Sunday (yesterday) since The Girl’s friend had told her that Sunday would be their last day at their house.

I thought that I should also bake a treat to give to them with a little goodbye note (you can take the girl out of the church…). I debated what to write in the note. I actually wrote up something that pretty much told her exactly how I felt and kind of got out all my anger, but I never intended to give it to her. It just felt good to get it off my chest. So in the note I basically said that we are sad they are moving and we will miss them; and I really meant it. Our kids will be losing some great friends.

Jett and I decided it would be a good idea for all of us to go over and say goodbye to them as a family, so that’s what we did. They were outside when we walked over there, and the wife saw us coming and immediately came up to me and hugged me and almost started crying saying how much she will miss us and how nice it was of us to bring treats. Their kids weren’t there because they are moving in with family while their new house is being built and the kids were out of the way at their family’s house. So the husband and wife (and his sister and brother in law who were there to help move) were the only ones there. We chatted a little about how much their daughters are going to miss The Girl and how they want her to visit since they aren’t moving too far away. I was surprised about that because I didn’t think they wanted their kids around our kids, but I said that was fine with me.

We chatted a little more and then my neighbor asked me why I unfriended her on Facebook. I was surprised that she brought that up, but I told her it was because her daughters had mentioned that she didn’t like my Facebook picture that showed my tattoo. I said that I was planning on putting up another picture that shows my tattoo and I didn’t want her to be irritated when she saw it. She said that she had never said that and she doesn’t know why her girls would say that. She apologized over and over and said that sometimes kids hear things and interpret them wrong and she would never say that, etc. She cried and said that she felt so bad that I thought she had said that, and since I am a booby baby I cried too. Honestly, my feelings were hurt by the things her daughter said that she said. She asked why I didn’t ask her if she had said that and I said that I don’t like confrontations. I actually really hate confrontations! I was uncomfortable talking to her about this one issue, and I didn’t even bring up what her daughter had said about why they are moving.

Then she told me that she was impressed that we would still bring them treats and come say goodbye even though we thought she had said those things. I just told her that they have always been good neighbors and I wanted to be sure to say goodbye. So she hugged me like 10 times and said she was sorry like 20 times and I told her it was fine and if she didn’t feel that way then we can still be Facebook friends (since I gave her a chance to back out I won’t feel bad when I put up pictures of my tattoo and not worry that it will irritate her). So after visiting for a while we said goodbye and went home.

When we got home Jett told me that while I was visiting with her, her husband at one point said to Jett that he is sorry that he has been a bad neighbor. Jett said the he was fine, but the husband said he could have been a better neighbor. Then he shook Jett’s hand, said goodbye and left with his sister and her husband. I mentioned before how he never really talked to us, so maybe that’s what he was referring to. I wouldn’t say he was a bad neighbor because he didn’t do anything bad to us. He just seemed very standoffish, but I just assumed that was just the way he was and I didn’t really give it much thought. Apparently he realizes it and feels bad now. I found that very interesting.

So when we got home my mind was reeling. I wasn’t sure if I believed my neighbor when she said she didn’t say those things about my tattoo, but she apologized so I guess it really doesn’t matter. She sent me a friend request on Facebook a little later that night and I accepted. I don’t know how things will be between us now that they aren’t living across the street. I told her to call me anytime they want The Girl to get together with their girls. I guess we’ll see if that ever happens.

I’m just glad that we took the high road. I think it really surprised them and I hope they will have a hard time viewing us as “evil apostates” now; because we really are just a nice, average family. Hopefully it will help them to view other apostates differently from now on too.


  1. Facebook seems to add a new dimension to the 'coming away' process. It was kind of tough when I saw my numbers go down. I told myself all that stuff about 'real' friends, blah, blah, blah... it still hurt. I even removed some people myself once I discovered (like you did) that some of my fb 'friends' were talking about me rather unkindly behind my back. It felt like such a sham for them to still be my fb friends. It was like they were spying on me or something, pretending that we were still friends. Ugh!

    I hope your neighbour is being truthful with you. It's bad enough when some church members openly shun you, I feel that it's even worse when they pretend to be your friend. But hey, what do I know? she may be for real, I guess time will tell. As you say, you know that you gave it your best shot.

  2. Wouldn't it be great if it just turned out that your neighbour's first reaction was born of shock and now she has had time to consider she is letting her true feelings through.

    I am happy for you that the separation will now be on much nicer terms.

    One question, on the spying thing, she said she wasn't moving that far away, will she still be in the same ward? Does gossip travel between wards much? 'cause facebook stalking/spying is a whole phenomenon now. Although I do feel & hope that neighbour truly has come around and accepted her heathen friends ;)

  3. Hey Guys! Sorry it’s taken me a while to respond; I’ve been spacey.

    I agree Maureen, Facebook does make things more challenging. I feel like I have to be so careful about what I post because there because I am friends with several people in my ward. I don’t want to offend them or fit their stereotype of an “ex-Mormon”. I guess I should learn to not care.

    And to answer your question TGIAA, they are moving to a different ward, but I’m sure she will stay in contact with people from my ward, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they did gossip. Although, I don’t know that we are much to gossip about anymore. Who knows though.

  4. I've always envied Kevin Spacey's last name, I think if I change my name I will adopt Spacey for my last name ;D

    T is coaching me on the 'not caring' thing. He's an expert. For example, a good Mormon friend of mine (one of the ones who refused to give in to the pressure to dump me!) posted on fb that she had broken her toe and had conjunctivitus and felt like her body was falliing apart. Well T went and commented "Have you done something to offend God?" Now if that's not a bold comment then I don't know what is!!!

  5. You have an awesome guy there Maureen! I can always use the reminder to not care what people think.

  6. That's been the hardest thing about leaving the church for me...knowing what they're all taught to think about those of us who leave. And how wrong they are! Grrrrr. I'm trying soooo hard to let it go and not care what they think, but there are moments when i think it will literally drive me crazy. Good for you for taking the high road!

    It's funny i found your post today of all days...a former ward member of mine commented today on my facebook profile photo...which shows my ginormous tattoo. She called it "cute" which it isn't. Pttttth.

  7. Hi Sandi! I think that is one of the hardest things, knowing what the members think about us. But I have come to accept it more over time and I’m sure I’ll continue to. Just being away from that environment has helped a lot too. It's a good thing. Good luck!

  8. Thanks! I'm feeling a little better already (although i'm sure the anger will come and go in waves for a while). Reading all these great blogs helps a lot.