One can never tell how situations change your mind, go against what you’re used to, or discover your limits. Just like someone who is suddenly able to carry a fridge out of his/her house while his/her house burns down, quick decisions need to be made.
I was raised to avoid conflict though I know it was already stepping on people’s rights, sometimes mine. Sure, I’ve learned the art of writing a straightforward business email message, yet getting swift results. But putting people in their places is something relatively new to me. And did it make me value self-respect at new heights!
So, what if it’s an actual confrontation? It depends. Why? How? What for? How long? With whom? What’s the significance? Will it help anyone? How? Today, I rushed to the defense of my ultimate protector, the woman who’s seen me weakest and strongest, the woman who got more upset at people who hurt me more than I did, the woman who showed me what friendship ought to be.
Who did I confront? The person she used to love, cherish, and protect; the same person who maligned her as proven by witnesses and hard evidence; the person who my best friend tried to confront so it wouldn’t have to reach people not involved; the person who successfully convinced people around her to defend her by attempting to intimidate my best friend when she was around, throwing nasty looks at her, even blocking her way, getting the guard to eye her maliciously; the person who made a scene at a hotel and kept cursing and yelling at my best friend (with hotel staff as witnesses); and the person who physically hurt my best friend.
What prompted it? The girl kept saying, “So unclassy… so palengkera… (rolls her eyes). Tones, you never taught me to be like that”. “Classy” is a term thrown around without full understanding of it. Well, I’ve proven time and again that comprehension can never fully be developed by some. See, when the person who protected and “nurtured” you with her whole heart:
1. is obviously in a heated argument with someone who keeps pointing her finger at her in a highly demeaning manner, yelling, arms flailing about, snatching her reading glasses away;
2. with passersby and guards looking on with concern;
3. having full knowledge that the person’s blood pressure shoots up easily and she forgot to bring her meds (which isn’t unusual and which led me to follow her);
4. and that your best friend has a tendency to allow people to vent first and/or abuse her before reacting;
You step in. I acknowledge that this embarrassed my best friend and for that I apologize. But to her and only TO HER. I will never apologize for defending her. I will not justify my actions by saying it’s right or wrong. Never mind that I got my own witnesses (again!) to testify that she maligned me in numerous ways (complete with my name, showing my photos and videos). At that moment, with the guard hesitating to intervene, I needed to do it; ’cause with just a snap of a finger, my best friend can get hurt and I will make sure that that doesn’t happen AGAIN.
How did it happen? I approached my best friend already turning red, and asked her to come and leave with me and told the girl what she should have done ages ago: confront, clarify, correct and go straight to the source — “If you have a problem with me, you tell me!” And now she uttered one lie after another (something she’s grown skilled at). I wasn’t going to let her think her lies won again. The whole point isn’t that a mutual friend betrayed both of us but that she told SO many people who don’t know me about what I allegedly said about her. And guess who I told? The two people involved (yes, that’s how you gossip). While I stayed as private as I’ve ever been, I gathered testaments and testaments of her maligning me for years. And there she was, addressing my best friend as rudely as she could. That did it for me. Uh-uh! Not by physically harming her, of course. It was a verbal confrontation — and definitely not harassment or an attack just like she hysterically puts it (Good heavens, sensationalism at work again!) — as regards what she did to me. Seeing how desperately she proved her innocence to a person she’s supposed to NOT know already showed how guilty she was.
But, hey, that’s as far as I needed to go! It was a one-woman-show, even with the uninvolved, misinformed, misled friends who were inconveniently thrown onto the battleground (the yawning, bored look, confused faces, nervous laughter, frowning). That’s how you get sympathy, get those with a little clue about the whole story and bury all the details. Even so, my best friend is a brave, intellectual woman. And she never sides with people. She sides with facts.
And this girl may say how she got “attacked” (pretty easy predicting her next steps), adding a few things here and there, saying how much of a victim she REALLY was. She never had witnesses to support her claim (that’s what I told her). But we always did. We don’t need an audience, we just need the guilty put in her place.
And they all agreed, “Let’s not teach people what to think; but how to think.”
In the end, we all know who triumphs.