Tell us about a time when someone had you completely fooled, where the wool was pulled right over your eyes and you got hoodwinked, but good. Was it a humorous experience or one you’d rather forget? What was the outcome?
We had just moved to a new state. We knew no one. We were still newlyweds, really, and enjoying that first couple of years of marriage. Stars in the eyes, rosy-colored glasses. You know, everybody else must be as much in love as we were, right? There are no bad people out there. The world is a wonderful place, and I never saw it coming.
First Sunday, new church, feeling awkward, not sure where we were supposed to go, what we were supposed to do. This attractive young woman approached us, all smiles and warm handshakes. “Welcome, we’re so glad to have you, blahblahblah.”
Turned out she and I had some common interests, and even had a couple of mutual acquaintances from college. This is great! Someone I can start to build a friendship with, and maybe expand from there into other friendships, as well. Never wanted to have just one friend, not even when I was the age when girls form these one-and-only bonds.
We started to spend some time on the phone, and from there to lunch together, and then to including the husbands. We laughed. We did have similar tastes and interests. We confided in each other, both avowing that the conversations would go no further. You can trust me.
I told her something personal.
She told her other friend. Her other friend shared the tidbit with other friends, and it wasn’t long before I was receiving cold shoulder and hot tongue. I was mortified on two counts: I should have known better than to say something so personal to someone I hadn’t known more than a couple of monthes; and I had trusted someone who clearly was not trustworthy.
My radar had let me down. This was pretty rare for me.
I confronted my “friend,” who blatantly denied ever having told anyone what I had said; she said I must have spilled my secret myself and just didn’t remember. And this time, as I watched her eyes and her face and body language, I realized that she was a manipulator and loved being in the middle of firestorms like this one.
I never did manage to undo the damage. We lived there for only a short time, not long enough for me to gain the trust of people who had been damaged by the gossip.
You know the saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me”? It has never happened again.
And it won’t.