Back-biting backfires via text

Published 11:48 am Monday, January 29, 2024

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Dear Aunty Pam,


Help!! I totally screwed up and have really hurt my long-time friend.

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I was texting back and forth with a different friend, ‘Sally,’ who asked about my now ex-friend, ‘Patty.’ We all work together and Patty has been out of the office, sick.

The thing is, Patty isn’t that sick— it’s not like she has Covid, or flu or anything, just a 48-hour bug, but she does tend to make mountains out of molehills about a lot of things. Anyway, I meant to reply to Sally and texted, ‘She’s fine, but you know Patty she’s such a drama queen,’ but I sent it to Patty instead!! I could have died. Patty immediately texted me back and asked what this was all about. I told her I had just been kidding back-and-forth with Sally, but she wasn’t buying that and told me she couldn’t believe I could be such a ‘Backstabber’, especially when she was sick.

Obviously, I feel just terrible and desperately want to make things right but she’s not answering my texts or my phone calls. Work has been super awkward because she won’t even look at me.

What can I do?



Big mouth


Dear BM,


Your letter has made me pull that cringing, ‘ewww’ face that Lucy Ricardo used to make when Ricky told her she had some ‘S’plaining’ to do. Awwwwkwaaaard!

As Patty refuses your texts and emails, or even making eye contact at work, brace yourself for the possibility that your friendship has been irretrievably broken.

To be perfectly honest, your text wasn’t that bad in that it wasn’t overtly vicious or particularly cruel, but it certainly triggered something devastating to Patty. Or, maybe she’s just a drama queen?

As it’s clear that you do cherish the friendship you have with her, not to mention trying to clear the air in your shared workspace, Aunty Pam feels it’s worth approaching Patty again with a sincere countenance of mea culpa and a double Mojito. Perhaps enlist Sally to help you. Hopefully, you saved the text exchange and can show Patty that Sally was actually asking about her welfare and you were the one who made the jokey retort that you desperately wish you hadn’t. That it hadn’t been a mean, back-and-forth conversation about her. Apologize and ask her, point blank, if there is anything you can do to salvage your friendship.

And if she says no, you’ve learned your lesson: always use the phone if you’re going to talk trash about someone.


Cheers, dears!