DEAR MISS MANNERS: A few years ago, a longtime friend sent me a private message through social media that just said, "Don had a massive heart attack and passed away."
I instantly thought it was a mutual friend I had been close with for over 20 years, but whom I'd been out of touch with for a couple years due to my move to another country. I was so upset and in tears at the news, I had to leave work early that day.
When I got home, I frantically reached out to other mutual friends only to find out that "my" Don was alive and well. Come to find out, the friend who sent me the message was referring to her ex-husband, whom she had been divorced from for many years and who rarely came up in conversation.
Still recovering from my grief and shock, I posted that it is VERY important to clarify who you are referring to when sharing bad news. I did not mention my friend, but she immediately "unfriended" me with a comment that I had "called her out" and embarrassed her, that she was struggling with her own grief and that I was selfish to post something like this "for attention."
I emailed her numerous times and apologized if I had offended her. It has been almost three years, and I still reach out to her occasionally with an olive branch by email or phone. But there is no response; it seems she has decided my offense was unforgivable, and I am now grieving the end of a 20-year friendship over a social media post.
I don't think I did anything horrible, given the circumstances, but what are your thoughts?
GENTLE READER: Your original post was a public service, Miss Manners understands. She also understands why your friend did not see it that way. Nor, come to think of it, did you, since you felt called upon to make years' worth of apologies.
The real question is: Was it so bad that you cannot be forgiven? Miss Manners is inclined to agree that your friend is overreacting -- assuming, of course, that the apology was for the post and not merely for your friend being offended by it.