For about four years, I have been friends with a colleague who has always said that she was a practicing RN before deciding to fly. She would tell me stories about her work as a registered nurse and occasionally give me medical advice (for me and for my family).
While preparing to start nursing school, I came across my state’s health ministry website with the names of everyone who has a current or inactive state license in many areas. Everyone from cosmetologists and tattoo artists to AIs and doctors can be found on this list. Out of curiosity, I entered my colleague’s name and found out that she is not, and never has been, a registered nurse. She was more of a radiology technician!
I decided to talk to her about it. I gently explained that I wasn’t angry, but rather confused and hurt as to why she would do this. I had hoped she would be honest and that we could have passed him, but she didn’t.
First of all, she continued with her fantasy story and insisted that she was indeed an inactive RN. And when she realized that I wasn’t buying anymore, she got mad at me. She turned away and started making strange accusations that I had “exploited” her, saying “true friends don’t do what you did!”
As a result, we are no longer friends. Part of me feels relieved to have learned of his deception. But another part of me feels bad because maybe I compounded some deep insecurities she might be facing.
Should I apologize? Should I go on with my life? What should I do?
Your expectation that your friend, when called (no matter how nice) a liar, would be unrealistic. She was offended, as Miss Manners might have told you she would be.
It would have been the case even if, as you believe, its falsehood was clear and untenable. And can we be so sure it was?
Even though government records were always accurate, there could be a number of circumstances that you are not aware of. Your friend might have registered in another state, for example. In other words, she might not have lied in an uppercase sense – or even in any sense.
It was neither friendly nor kind to be absolutely confident in your own diagnosis. It also served no obvious purpose. (Miss Manners avoids “revealing the truth” if only because your approach didn’t do it: your friend’s angry reaction is not a confirmation of guilt.)
Apologize. Your penance will have to listen to your friend’s explanation, even if it unwittingly seems to confirm her guilt.