I wish today’s post was about that time I got made fun of for being too nice. But it’s not. Today’s post is about that time I was a mean girl.

A few years ago I wrote about frenemies and how I spent a lot of time in sixth grade trying to get and stay in good graces with the four popular girls in my class. I wrote about the day all four of those girls handed me hate notes and broke my adolescent heart. The main reason I wrote about that was to share about how I’d neglected a good friend in my pursuit of popularity.

But when a friend of mine – one of those popular girls I’d written about – found my blog (and that post) several months later, she focused on the hate note part of the post. She was appalled and apologetic – and admitted that she didn’t remember the incident at all.

I felt about two inches tall when I received her email – and wished so badly that I’d never written about the whole thing. It had hurt me, but nearly two decades later, I was obviously over it. To me, it was just a story. Granted, one that affected me deeply at the time and shaped me, but I hadn’t been upset about it in a very, very long time.

Three of those four girls became my true friends later on in high school, and I never thought about how they’d feel if they read my interpretation of that morning in middle school.

If only that were the end of the story. If only that blog post that maybe shouldn’t have been written were my only mistake.

Almost a year after my friend emailed me and said she was so sorry (and didn’t remember it, but was so sorry anyway), she emailed me again. She had remembered.

It turns out that my memory wasn’t exactly complete, and she told me the rest of the story.

The day before the hate note delivery, I had teased my friend about hair on her legs – something we were both sensitive about. It hurt her feelings, and her friends joined her in putting me in my place the next day.

I knew she was telling me the truth, because I’m sarcastic and I tease people – and sometimes I go too far. (Sadly, I could tell you more stories than this one to back up that confession.)

I don’t remember that first exchange at all, and she didn’t remember (at first) the next day’s confrontation. Neither of us were what you’d traditionally consider mean girls – not at all. But both of us deeply hurt the other with our words anyway.

My friend and I so deeply regretted our parts in the whole thing! It’s likely we regretted them immediately, but certainly as adults (and long-time friends), we so wished we could take it all back.

But that’s the thing about words, isn’t it? We can’t take them back, no matter how nice we normally are or how much we didn’t mean them after all.

My friend Annie Downs has written a book about making our words matter – for good. And I’m giving away three copies today.

Speak Love: Making Your Words Matter is about the power of our words. The book’s description says:

Through very funny stories, Scripture, and a real understanding of the good, bad, and ugly ways we can use our words, Annie Downs explores the difference you can make when you speak love to others, to God, and even to yourself. Because when you speak love, you speak life. And that’s what matters.

Speak Love is written for teen and college-aged girls. But even though my teen years were a long time ago, I’m looking forward to reading my copy (and hoping it’s in the mail today!) before passing it on to a teenaged friend. Today I’m giving away Speak Love to three readers – and you might want to read it, too . . . before giving it to someone in the book’s “real” demographic, of course!

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment telling me about a time when your words mattered. The giveaway will close at midnight on Monday, August 26.

Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt. This post contains affiliate links.

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