If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from the childhood game ‘Chinese Whispers’ – it’s that you can always rely on hearsay for accurate information. There is simply no chance of information getting misconstrued; the only reason e-mail is so prolific in today’s society is because there has been no way to digitise the annoyingly human activity of Chinese Whispers. Always get your information from someone with a dramatic flair and bad short term memory, it will always work out.
The above paragraph is a lie. In 1992 Chinese Whispers was digitised into an unsucessful online game (citation needed). Also a lie is the claim that you can rely on word-of-mouth for accurate transmission of information. Word-of-mouth is the worst. It is perhaps enhanced in ‘worst’-ness when it comes to me being the middle-man of information. I will inevitably screw up the delivery.
In my effort to reconcile two friends I divulged the fact that Friend A was a little distant from Friend b for reason X (Am I overloading you with specifics? Sorry, I’m working on cutting down). Reason X was news to Friend B, perhaps I hadn’t explained it right? I tried again, what was it that they said again? Wait…
Eventually I could have said something like ‘It’s not so much that you’re like Hitler..’ and it would have probably been less offensive than how it ended up. All I know is that I had brought up an underlying cold tension and shoved it in the faces of the concerned parties; an underlying issue kind of so minor that it probably would have blown over without my interference. I began thinking that I was probably too much of a fixer, except I wasn’t terribly good at it. Kind of like a tradie that shows up with a toolkit full of those brightly colored hollow tools a 3 year old might play with to mash Play-Doh – Cute intentions but overall pretty useless.
I’ve had many cold wars between frenemies in the past. Perhaps the most regrettable was with Rasta. Rasta was a friend of a friend who I became close friends with. I have no idea what happened, but suddenly after a trip away we weren’t talking, I was never sure quite what happened but figured that if she didn’t want to hang out anymore that was okay, I was just so confused why. I asked our mutual friend what was going on, I can’t really remember what she said (see how I’d be really good at this game?) but it was something about how I had been giving attitude. I’ll be the first to declare I often have the attitude and personality of a wet brick. I just couldn’t understand what she meant, and of course this meant that I would completely cut this person off.
It’s easy to be on the defensive when awkward news is delivered via a 3rd person. Quite often its easy for the second person to miss a detail or say something wrong. Suddenly ‘I was upset how you did this’ turns into ‘I’m planning to rape your family, murder your future children and turn your pets into coats’. Throughout the whole time I was kind of confused, but didn’t want Rasta to know that she had got to me, I was willing to see this cold war through.
Eventually though, we ended up at a party together and in a drunken haze we just sort of caught each others eye and mouthed ‘WTF?’ and we were friends again. The whole thing was that we were able to figure it out between the two of us. No middleman. No confusion. No purple monkey dishwashers. She’s again one of my good friends who I am kind of glad I was forced to see face to face and honestly I’m kind of embarrassed I let it go on for as long as it did.
So the resolution I’ve made for myself is just to not talk ever. Because horrible things happen when I talk. All the horrible you things you see on the news? My fault. But also issues between two people are never better facilitated by a bumbling third (aka me). Oh and also Rachel slept with Brad and totes has herpes and she’s mad cause she’s pregnant, but you didn’t hear it from me.