• Keeping Friends

I made a mistake that provoked my friend’s anger

Published: January 27, 2017 | Last Updated: January 27, 2017 By | 4 Replies Continue Reading
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Can a mistake threaten a 56-year-old friendship?



We’ve been friends for 56 years. My friend has always been wealthier then me. Her daughter, my godchild, did not pay a bill in time and as a result, she was served with legal papers.

While visiting, I unknowingly accepted the papers. At first, my friend said it wasn’t a problem because the bill was paid.

I did not know what the papers were; no one said they were serving anyone. Now I am being blamed for them having to pay court fees. My friend agrees with her daughter that I am to blame! And they expect me to pay $355.00. Please help.

Signed, Ellie


Hi Ellie,

From where I sit, it seems like your only mistake was being in the wrong place at the wrong time. While you can apologize for unknowingly accepting the papers, you shouldn’t have been asked to bear financial responsibility for what’s happened. Since no one explained what was going on, you had no way of knowing what type of papers was being delivered.

Perhaps, your friend is angry or embarrassed by her daughter and is displacing her feelings onto you. I would give your friend some time to cool down, and apologize once more to her and to your godchild. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that paying the fee would undo the upset so I wouldn’t even offer to do that. Hopefully, these friends will come to recognize that you weren’t to blame.

A friendship of 56 years usually has a strong foundation so I’m hopeful your friend will get over this incident.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

Previously on The Friendship Blog

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Comments (4)

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  1. Denise says:

    This makes no sense. I highly doubt the court overlooked a paid bill and mistakenly served papers. It is strange that someone just gives you papers without saying a word. Apparently it isn’t required to give it directly to the person named on the paper, which I’ve always thought how it works.

    Your “friend” is completely ridiculously telling you that you have to pay anything. First question I’d have asked is Why? This is about her and her daughter. There’s no reason for her to blame you for anything by any stretch. She owes you an apology and explanation.

    If this friendship ends it’s all on her. Rest assured you’ve done nothing wrong.

  2. Charlie says:

    I can tell you from a legal perspective, this “friend” of yours would not have a leg to stand on in court were she to demand you pay this $355.00. The creditor would have eventually hunted your godchild down somewhere and served the papers on her employer, at school, etc. If you didn’t accept the papers, someone else surely would have. That’s how process serving works.

    Frankly, I find your friend’s behavior bizarre and it seems to me her attitude towards you is “you better fix this”, almost as she looks down on you or views you with contempt. Like she’s taken for granted that you would accept this from her. Is this the way she has always been, or is this recent behavior?

    It’s irrational that she’d shift the blame for this on you. This is not normal behavior. It’s not your damn fault her daughter is in hot water. And where is the goddaughter in all of this? Why is her mother so overly involved in a grown woman’s financial issues?

    And all this strife for $355.00? This is not a real friend. Either this storm has been brewing for a while, or your friend has lost her mind. Either way, I’d seriously evaluate the friendship.

  3. Amy F says:

    It sounds like there’s a lot more going on than the surface issue of you accepting the papers. I wouldn’t pay the fee, but I would give my godchild and friend the benefit of doubt that more is going on beneath the surface whether that be ongoing resentment and the papers were the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back, personal family problems, financial issues or something else. I assume you’ve already apologized for making the mistake and overstepping, there’s not much else you can do but give them space, offer to listen if they want to talk, and not take their reaction personally.

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