What’s the best way to tell a friend information they need to know, even when you’re certain it’s going to upset them?
A recent post on the “Am I the A**hole (AITA) subReddit outlined what it was like to be the unlucky messenger.
The Original Poster (OP), known as misstishwyo, shared a couple of the concerning details in the post’s title.
“AITA: I told an old friend her ‘fiance’ was a catfish and she said I ruined her life”
OP began by providing a little context.
“Years ago I had a casual friendship with a lady at church, we’ll call her Sally. We are Facebook friends and have 20+ friends in common.”
Then came some exciting news.
“A few months ago she posted that she had a new love in her life. Then she posted a photo of an engagement ring and said she was engaged.”
But something seemed a tad off.
“We all sent congratulations, however she never answered comments from us asking how they met, when they were getting married, etc.”
She said she was going to become the stepmom to his 13-year old (she is 70).”
To some, that clarified things.
“A mutual friend messaged Sally and was told a long tale about this ‘fiance’ – they never met in person, he was from Europe working in Canada, had a thick accent, was widowed, they used Google Hangouts….all obvious signs of a love scam.”
But things progressed anyway.
“A few days pass and a new FB profile appears with this fiance, a quick reverse image search proved the man on the profile picture was not this fiance.”
OP and co. knew what they needed to.
“We were concerned our friend would be the victim of a financial scam, she is elderly and on a tight fixed income.”
“We shared the evidence with Sally via private message, as genty as we could.”
Sally’s response was a fraught one.
“She reacted by going on a tirade about how we shattered her world, plotted against her and gossipped to all her friends (we didn’t, we shared our findings eith no one)…”
“…and said we took away her only happiness in life and now she has separated from the ‘fiance.’ “
“We wanted to protect her from being scammed out of her money….are we the a**holes??”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Most Redditors were clear that OP wasn’t the a**hole. They were upset to hear about the whole situation.
“None of you are TA’s, nor is Sally. Honestly, it seems like her world IS shattered and yet you all did NOTHING wrong. Seems like you actually protected her from possible financial abuse. It’s understandable she might be angry, but her anger shouldn’t be at the messengers…it should be at the catfish.”
“I’d just explain that bit to her – that while her feelings are valid, and while she clearly does carry some pain, it wasn’t done with the intention of hurting her, you did it with the intention of helping her. It’s not plotting against her, otherwise you’d have just let her do her own thing. NTA at all.” — relatablewatermelons
“NTA. Unfortunately, older generations and those with confidence issues fall into these traps because they get complimented by people who they deem to be better looking than themselves and fall into the charming persona presented.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if this man has already asked her for some money, presumably for his ‘motherless daughter,’ pulling at emotional heart strings. You and your friends did the right thing.”
“Her current reaction is shame and embarrassment that she would easily fall for this scam and she does not want to admit you are right. Give her time to process her emotions, to come to terms with this fantasy she was drawn into, and be there to support her when she is more open to it.” — majesticjewnicorn
“NTA. It seems like you were looking out for her and trying to make sure that she wouldn’t get scammed and heartbroken (worse than she is now, anyways). It’s for the best that you guys informed her before anything progressed further between her and this ‘fiance.’ “
“I’m sure she’ll eventually be able to thank you for letting her know, she probably just needs to sort through her emotions first.” — peachyixxy
A couple even shared relevant stories of their own.
“This actually happened with one of my husband’s family members. We told her over and over that she was not dating a man in the special forces and that people in the special forces would not be stuck in airports in Iran needing money.”
“My husband was army at the time and even reached out.”
“Well she deleted both of us from social media and said we didn’t want her to be happy. Low and behold super buff special forces guy in fact was fake. We still don’t speak.” — Lost_Willow
“NTA My ex-MIL (who i still get along with) was once telling me how she met this American soldier online. He was widowed and had a young child. He was supposedly in Afghanistan so they couldn’t go on webcam. She was super in love. She claimed to be careful and that he could be trusted. (She isn’t very bright)”
“I had a feeling she was being catfished but didn’t have the guts to tell her. I tried to give advice like never give money, try to webcam before meeting, etc…”
“Less than a month later she posts a fb status that she was being blackmailed and that photos of her naked might appear online and to report it to her.”
“She then privately told me how she had to pay money for him to get a leave out of Afghanistan. But she had stupidly sent him naughty photos in the past. So when she wouldn’t pay, he blackmailed her to send money or the photos would be put online.”
“She ended up deleting her fb and creating a new one.” — Miewx
Looks like OP just needs to wait for the dust to settle before her friendship gets back to an even keel.