Mom May Not Mind The Stains, But What About Fido?

, , , , , | Friendly | July 15, 2020

It is my mother’s fiftieth birthday and she has invited not only her friends but also my best friend of twenty-two years and her four-year-old daughter who I consider my niece.

Despite our long friendship, my friend hasn’t been around my mom since becoming a mom herself and still worries if things are “okay or not,” despite my assurances that the toddler is welcome. 

In this case, we are all sitting on a patio surrounded by woodchips and rocks enjoying lunch. My niece is playing with a number of toys provided by my mom and decides to grab a nearby towel from another corner of the patio, bring it over, and sit on it while she eats strawberries.

My friend sees that the towel is white and blue.

Friend: “Oh, gosh, she might stain that! Should I move her?”

I turn to my mother and speak in a deadpan tone.

Me: “Hey, Mom, [Niece] is on the towel eating strawberries; should [Friend] move her to prevent stains?

Mom: *To my friend* “It’s fine; just leave her. I’ve survived four kids, two grandsons—”

Me: “—running two daycares—”

Mom: “—and there is nothing that child could do or destroy that can’t be fixed or replaced. She’s absolutely fine doing what she’s doing.”

Friend: *Realizing she is not kidding* “Oh, okay, thank you.”

Mom: “Besides, that towel is usually for keeping the dogs from burning their feet on the cement. It’ll see worse.”

That made my friend laugh and visibly relax for the rest of the day as she finally accepted that, in my mother’s house, we really do live by the motto, “Things can be replaced and kids bounce, so it’s all good.”

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When You Fail To Plan, You Plan To Fail

, , , , | Friendly | July 14, 2020

My friend sends out a group text to several people, me included.

Friend #1: “Hey! Hike Saturday? Maybe we can camp overnight.”

Friend #2: “I’m in!”

Friend #3: “Depends where we go. I have to work Sunday so I can’t stay overnight.”

Me: “Same, I can’t stay, but I can go out and come back with [Friend #3].”

Friend #1: “Where do you want to go?”

[Friend #2] sends a link with several local hiking trails.

Friend #2: “We could do any of these.”

Friend #1: “Okay.”

Nothing is said for several hours.

Friend #3: “So, what’s the plan?

Friend #1: “[Friend #2] sent a map.”

Me: “Which trail?”

Friend #2: “Doesn’t matter to me.”

Me: “Since [Friend #1] wants to hike, he can pick.”

Friend #1: “Okay.”

A full day goes by with nothing said. It’s now Friday night and I’m getting annoyed at the lack of planning.

Me: “Where are we going tomorrow?”

Friend #1: “I don’t care.”

Friend #2: “You were supposed to pick a trail.”

Friend #1: “Why? We’re all going.”

Friend #3: “Because it’s your idea!”

Friend #1: “Okay!”

Nothing more was ever said about going out, so we didn’t get to go hiking. I don’t understand why you would try to plan an outing and then not plan anything at all!

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Coworker Relations Can Give You Whiplash

, , , , , | Working | July 12, 2020

Years ago, I had a temp job working alongside another guy and he and I hit it off extremely well. We were direct coworkers for three months and I was certain I had made a new lifetime friend. Each day was filled with tons of laughing, both of us saying, “Me, too!” a lot, and great moral and professional support when it came to the job at hand. I even indirectly caused him to meet the woman that would become his wife — a fact he pointed out and thanked me for more than once.

After the three months of that temp job, we each moved to different roles in the same large company and kept in moderately-frequent contact, like instant message chats once or twice a week and lunch roughly once a month. But when I tried to “take the next step” and move the friendship outside of the workplace, like drinks after work or inviting him and his then-girlfriend over for dinner with my wife and me, he would always have something in the way, or would agree under only specific conditions that didn’t work for me, and when I would mention that, he’d respond, “Some other time, then!”

It was around then that I started to notice that our lunches and chats were almost always ones that he initiated. Most of the time when I’d come to him, I would get silence or an odd and awkward coldness. 

After a little over a year of this, he moved on to a different company and, save seeing him pop up in my newsfeed on The Social Network once in a while — normal stuff, for the record; hanging out with friends, “liking” a funny video, his destination wedding — I expected to have no contact with him ever again. 

However, almost two years after he left, I saw him in a restaurant when I was out to lunch. I was still working for the same company. I expected the encounter to be a cordial “Nice to see you! How is the wife?”, to tell him about me having had a kid a year ago, and then to go our separate ways. But he was super excited to see me, gave me a huge guy hug, and was exploding with excitement when I told him about my kid. It was odd, given the history we had, but it was still nice to have that kind of interaction with someone.

He’d taken a new position with my company, so it would be easy to be in contact again, but I was already long past thinking this would be a long-term, meaningful friendship. I stayed friendly with him but kept from reaching out to him too much, since I’d learned before that wasn’t a preferred move. Every once in a while, we’d chat in instant messaging, and we maybe even had lunch once or twice, but after about six months, he found another job and was gone, and it was back to zero contact again.

Another year went by and I’d been laid off from my job a month after my second child was born. As you may imagine, it was a stressful and scary time. I would be unemployed a total of four and a half months, but about two months into it, I was at a job fair and ran into his wife who was running a booth! We said hello, I asked about him, and I told her about my growing family. She was as friendly as could be, was happy for me, and let me know that her husband was working for a company that I had unsuccessfully interviewed with several years earlier. I was still interested in that company, and she encouraged me to reach out to him on [job-focused social media website] about open positions there. So I did.

He and I corresponded in messages on social media. He was very enthusiastic to hear from me, I caught him up some on my personal life and my situation, and when I told him what open roles I’d seen at his company that seemed interesting to me, he actually encouraged me to apply for a specific one because it was connected to his role and he thought it would be a good fit for me. 

Excited about this opportunity that presented itself, I asked if I could use him as a reference and also asked if he’d be willing to look over my resume and cover letter when I got them done to offer any feedback. 

He didn’t reply. 

I chose to hold off for a day to hear from him and got my resume and cover letter ready in the meantime. When I didn’t hear back in over twenty-four hours, I tried messaging again, not wanting to wait too long to get my resume in for consideration. A third day came, and by the latter half of the day, I’d still not heard back from him. I messaged a third time, trying not to panic, dropping the “Can you review my resume?” request and focusing on the reference piece only.

He replied within an hour this time, and said, “Hey, [My Name]. Look, I have a job to do and I can’t spend all day chatting with you on [Website]. You can apply to that position if you really want to but please don’t mention my name. I’ve stuck my neck out too many times for people and it has come around to burn me.”

I felt my stomach drop through the floor as I watched an amazing prospective opportunity crumble right in front of me. The refusal of a reference was certainly a death sentence for application with this company, but the thing that stung the most was the insinuation that I was trying to “chat with him all day” on social media and not respect that he had a job to do. I can handle a lot of things, but being accused of being unprofessional when I’d done everything in my power to remain professional just dug at me.

I submitted my application so it would count toward my job search requirements for unemployment benefits but expected to hear nothing and did hear nothing — even after trying to reach out to HR to confirm receipt of my paperwork. The posting for the job on their website disappeared two days later. 

I made no further attempts in the last two years to make any contact with him and even went so far as to unfriend him on social media. I ended up getting a job a couple of months later that I’ve been at since.

I look on the whole experience now with bewilderment because of how contradictory his behavior was and I’m honestly a tiny bit nervous about running into him again in the future, because I feel it’d be pretty awkward as he’d likely approach me with the enthusiasm of a long-lost friend, and I’d probably just play along to get through it.

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Friendship Has Healing Powers

, , , , , | Friendly | July 12, 2020

I was waiting for the bus and started chatting with the guy sitting next to me. He was an elderly man and he explained how he grew up in the neighbourhood but moved to a village about twenty-five kilometers further away upon retirement.

As he missed his mates, he made the trip almost daily by bicycle just to play pool, have a beer with his old friends, and chat. One fateful day, about six months ago, it all went wrong and he collided with a car. I can’t remember whose fault it was but it had dire consequences for him. 

The helmet he wore saved his life but he still had a severe concussion — the helmet was a throwaway due to the damages — and some broken ribs and limbs. He was in a coma for a while and, due to him being almost eighty, doctors had given him up. However, he pulled through and had a successful recovery, stunning the doctors.

He had to accept the fact that he probably would never ride a bike again, unless it was an electric-powered one, and for now, he had to be content to take the bus to and from, but he simply wasn’t done with life as yet.

I was in awe and I hope that when I’m his age I can dismiss such an adversity stating that I’m not done with life as yet.

This story is included in our Feel-Good roundup for July 2020!

Read the next Feel-Good Story here!

Read the July 2020 Feel-Good roundup!

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In The Doghouse Before You Even Get Together

, , , , , , , , | Romantic | July 9, 2020

This happens when I am in high school. There is this guy flirting with me. He makes his intention clear, but honestly, I am just trying to get to know him at this point. 

One day, after school, we walk together on our way to our respective homes. 

Guy: “Hey, let’s go by there; I’ve got to show you something.”

Me: “Okay.”

It gets me closer to my place, so why not?

Guy: “See, this house over here—” 

He points at the house on the other side of the street.

Guy: “—they have f****** huge dogs!”

We cross the street, and I wait on the sidewalk as he goes near the wood fence — about six feet tall — where I can see that there are, indeed, larger breed dogs. 

Guy: “There are three of these beasts in there!”

He’s getting closer to the fence, trying to boast and show off how courageous he is. He is about to touch the fence but can’t find a way to stick his hand in. He’s frozen there acting all, “Whoa, scary!” He’s being dramatic, I guess.

I join him, stick my hand inside the fence, and… get licked. There’s lots of licking and tails wagging, and one even does this little “happy dance,” tapping its front paws up and down.

Me: “Hi, [Dog #1]! Hi, [Dog #2]! Hi, [Dog #3]!”

Guy: *Completely white and deflated* “Uh… you know them?”

Me: “Yes, this is my home. These are our family dogs. They are big but not evil, violent, or whatnot. I don’t recommend coming in uninvited, but you can stick your hand in and pet them; the worst you’ll get is licked, maybe some fur fluffing off and sticking to you.”

Guy: *Eyes bugging out* “Uh…”

Me: “Yeah, so, next time, maybe you should make sure to not come to a girl’s house and imply that her pets are some scary monsters.”

I was less than impressed with him. My giant forever puppies got extra cuddles that day. 

I won’t tell the exact breeds — all different anyway — because it does not matter; breeds are not a behavior. Be cautious with dogs you don’t know, but don’t tag them as good or bad from their size, color, breed, etc.

This story is part of our July 2020 Roundup – the best stories of the month!

Read the next July 2020 Roundup story!

Read the July 2020 Roundup!

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