I had a friend for 20 years. We knew one another before we met our husbands and got married. We stayed friends on the telephone when she moved far away. One year we took a road trip around the South together and had a really good time.
The problem came because I had a blog, and I blogged about her and our road trip. I was really pretty naive and stupid, and that was where I was coming from when I blogged, used her name, said things that it turns out were misunderstandings, and showed some places we went. I really, really did a wrong thing. I did it because my blog made me some friends and got me some attention, and I craved attention.
I lost the friendship. She even spoke to lawyers about suing me for libel. To her I had done this thing deliberately and just sort of turned on her. To my mind I had done this thing fo r the sake of telling a story to anyone who cared to read, and I was...just clueless.
I know what I did lost the friendship, and I even got a little obnoxious to her in a defensive way. I didn't understand how hurtful I'd been, and I never knew she was so averse about being on the internet, and anyway I was too stupid to know to check with her first.
That was many years ago and I still hurt and try to find some way to reconcile it within myself but I think I haven't even discovered the depth of the harm I did. I still miss her all the time, and I know I'll never have that level of insensitivity again, but I'm frightened that I was capable of doing such a thing and I've let go of other friendships because I felt I might go that route again.
I write this just to tell your listeners and readers to think once, twice, three times, about speaking of someone to third parties and strangers, because it's just cheap. I know because I behaved that way.
Thanks for talking about this subject.