At a luncheon today, my friend was disconsolable. She asked me, “Why do friends say hurtful things to me when I would never say the same to them?” I had no answer. I’d had the same question in my mind for many years, but knew that I could pull out from my brain no easy answer; I could just respond that the cause could lay in the horrors of jealousy, anger, revenge, unkindness, disrespect and the list goes on.

I am a writer of murder mysteries. I look for motives in the actions and reactions of my characters. As the writer of a novel, I invent the happening of ‘hurtful things’. But that is in fiction. My characters are fictional. I created them. I therefore create situations where hurtful things are said and sometimes where they are warranted, for the very least reason, for the story line. How do I know when I write, what will be a hurtful line or statement? My answer is that every fiction writer pulls lines from somewhere; mostly that somewhere is from an experience. That experience may be recent and so is easily remembered. What else is easily remembered. For sure, I remember when I was a victim of another who directed hurtful comments at me, for an unknown reason. I also remember every instance when a remark from my mouth was hurtful to someone else. Very few of those remarks were deliberate, and in defense of myself, if they were, then the receiver surely deserved them. I say this knowing that my statement may sound defensive and lacking in the compassion gained from the good books which often say, “Turn the other Cheek.” I am human and I make mistakes.

My friend was not really asking about what I write. She was asking about real life; the life I live when I’m not writing. She was asking about another person, supposedly a friend. She asked, “Why do friends say hurtful things to me when I would never say the same to them?” Do you, my dear readers have an answer?

K. B. Pellegrino, Author

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