I’m getting some great responses to my request for “the worst thing you’ve ever done.” What I’m interested in exploring is not just the act itself, but the aftermath and the impact. Why does it seem like the worst? Why does it stick in your head?
A reader reports the following:
I was in a serious relationship for over a year when my significant other had to move across the county due to a family emergency. They didn’t know anyone there aside from family and decided to use social media to reach out.
Okay, sounds harmless. A family emergency? Who wouldn’t need a little social comfort?
By social media I mean they created a dating profile but insisted it was just for meeting new people and nothing else.
Hmm. I could see where this could cause some problems. A dating profile just for meeting new people? I would expect suspicion. Maybe jealousy. Maybe a complete lack of trust. On the other hand, this is someone dealing with a family emergency! A little slack seems to be in order.
How does one handle this? Our reader handled it this way:
Me, half way across the county alone and feeling insecure decided to test this idea of befriending on a social network. I created a fake account (using pictures I found online) and befriend my “significant other” and by befriended, I mean seduced. They didn’t give in, though their conversation was definitely questionable.
Oh no! It’s finding out your worst fears coming true…it’s awful, awful, awful when that happens. And then?
I stopped going on the site after a few months, it became difficult to balance as my partner often talked about their “new friend” and the guilt because overwhelming as I realized they really did have pure intentions.
Oh man, this is so painful! It’s those last nine words that kill me. That’s the dagger to the heart. I can just imagine how horrible that must have felt! We’ve all been there, right? Obsessed to the point of reckless behavior?
A friend of mine once called a girl and let the phone ring a few hundred times (this was an era when some phones didn’t have voice mail or answering machines), thinking that she would get home, hear the phone ringing, and pick up immediately. He wanted to talk to her as soon as possible! Later he learned that she and her friends were sitting outside at the pool, listening to the phone ring and wondering what kind of creepy idiot would let the phone ring for that long. She recounted the story to him and he sat there pretending to be shocked, terrified that somehow she’d trace it back to him.
Back to our confession! Here’s the reader’s self-analysis:
I think about this often because it refers to a state of mind I never want to find myself in again. The amount of insecurity I possessed at the time is sickening and the things I did because of the insecurities is inexcusable.
In case you’re wondering, at some point I did tell my significant other that I was in fact, their long lost friend. It didn’t go over too well…
That must have been terrible! On the other hand, it was probably the right thing to do. It was certainly brave. I admire the reader for confessing, which I’m not sure I could have done. My phone-calling friend certainly never did.
This topic fascinates me. I’m planning to devote the next episode of my podcast to it – what we choose as the worst things we’ve ever done, and why we choose them. I’m not looking for horrible crimes here. I’m looking for things that even normal, healthy, law-abiding citizens carry around in their minds, thinking back on their behavior and cringing.
So let’s hear it, people! Tell us your secrets, either in the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Anonymity – and a sympathetic ear – are guaranteed.
Special thank you to the reader who submitted this entry. I found the story brimming with tenderness and humanity and courage. Take heart: what you did is perfectly understandable, you learned from the experience, and it sounds like you’re in a much better place now. Life is hard, and being a human being is often a terrible ordeal. Together we all make it through (somehow)!