The Secret Life of Summer Seasons – How Hearsay Can Ruin Friendships

By Summer Seasons

When I was 25 or so I met and befriended a guy who for this story I’ll call John.  John was an older gentleman who I’d met in a chat room and had become very close with in a very short period of time. Both of us being single I’d often end up being his plus one to many events. He’d taken me to a Steely Dan concert, a few local dinner parties — and then came the opportunity of a lifetime. He had won in a school auction a stay for two in Jamaica and he asked me if I wanted to go.

I remember thinking at the time it might not be appropriate for me to go with him, because what if he wanted more than what I was prepared to offer. I had made it very clear to him that we were to be nothing more than friends and I felt good about the way he had reacted to it too. So we began planning the trip.

That summer before we went, we spent many a day on Lake Oswego, water skiing, getting to know each other and becoming very good friends. The kind of friend you felt comfortable telling anything to. It was pretty clear that friends were all we were gonna be so I felt reassured right before leaving for our trip. We had everything packed and ready to go and we were off to paradise.  

Whenever I travel to someplace new, I have little to no expectations of what to do or see — I always ask around and see what the locals recommend. It’s always been my thinking that they know the good spots so it helps to make your trip better. This kind of actions immediately started to cause a rift between John and me. He wanted to sit on the poolside chairs at night and have drinks delivered while I wanted to go into town to Margaritaville and party with everyone.

I’ve never been afraid to venture out on my own, mostly because when I was younger I closed myself off to so many people so if I wanted to have fun I had to make sure I did things for myself. I went to Margaritaville that first night and had an absolute blast. I finished a bottle during the shot contest, rode down the slide into the pool there and danced with really cute guys and girls. I came back excited for him to wake up the next morning and hear of my ventures.

At around noon the next day he came barging in the door screaming at the top of his lungs, saying that he was furious with me. With a hangover from hell, I was struggling to understand what he could possibly be mad about. He proceeded to tell me that he’d run into some guys last night that said I had been talking shit about him. He said that I said, he was my sugar daddy, that he was an old fuddy duddy, and that I was just along because I was beautiful arm candy. I absolutely know that none of that could’ve been true, because even though I had had a lot to drink the night before I was sure of the fact that I wouldn’t say these things about him. No matter how much I tried to convince him he wouldn’t believe me.

I found the alleged people he’d claimed had said those things and they swore up and down that he had to be making it all up, because they had never said them. At this point I was unsure of who to trust. I can trust the guy I’ve known for 7 months whom I’d become very close to, or these brand new friends who also had no reason to lie, but I didn’t know them. So I chose to believe him.

A few nights later he woke up with the same allegations after I’d been out at the club all night and this time I demanded we talk to everyone all at once. These gentleman wouldn’t admit that they made it up and he chose to believe them over me. A friend who had been there for him and helped him do so many things over the past few months. A little later I learned that those guys had figured out that if they made him mad at me they could become his sugar babies, and he fell for it hook line and sinker.

John pretty much told me that day that our friendship was over, that once we were back to Portland we were through. I was crushed. I hadn’t done anything wrong and here I was being blamed for it and my friend chose complete strangers over me. To this day, I will not listen to hearsay from ANYONE without confronting the person it involves. It hurts people when you spread lies about them and it ruins friendships. We should all be a little kinder to folks and that’s gonna start with me.