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I Lost My Friend Because of a Picture

A misunderstanding that turned into a nightmare

By S.A. OzbournePublished about a year ago 8 min read
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

I usually write about true crime, shows on Netflix, or interesting things in my life but today I need to write about something to get it off my chest. It’s probably mostly my fault, but I believe the situation worsened because of the other party thinking I did it out of an ill will.

The day it happened

It was my girlfriend's birthday weekend. I had rented a car, planned a restaurant and a park we would visit in the day. However, I had forgotten that I had also made plans with my friend, his wife, and his newborn baby. I asked to postpone to the next week but my friend’s wife was busy so it had to be the same weekend. But we agreed to reschedule and met the day before her birthday. So far so good.

We went to visit a place in Tokyo that was outdoor, not so busy so it would be safe for a baby and for social distancing during the pandemic. We met up, had some lunch, walked around the area, took pictures, and did some shopping.

While shopping, I mentioned to my friend that tomorrow was my girlfriend’s birthday so maybe we could go to a café for coffee and surprise her with a cake or something. And we found a nice place. I took a photo of my girlfriend, of the cake, then of my friend, his wife, and baby. It was a nice day.

The Picture

I decided it would be nice to post some photos of our outing since it had been months since we had met up. I made an Instagram post with a slideshow of pictures. I think there were about 8 or 9 pictures including the scenery of the place we went to, the restaurant, the food, the cake, and one picture of me and my girlfriend with some birthday cake and one picture of my friend’s family.

I only have about 600 hundred followers and about 60 to 70 people like my photos. I uploaded the photos, got my usual number of likes, and some nice comments like “Happy Birthday” or “Looks like you had a fun day!”

The Problem

A couple of days later, I got a message from my friend. These were his exact words:

Hi, how are you doing? We decided we don’t want to show (baby’s name) in social media so could you put a stamp or something to hide her face when you post?

Me being the lazy person I was, decided not to reply right away. My friend and I always take days between messages so I figured I will email him in a few days and say “Sure, that’s cool. Next time I post I will leave the baby out.”

What I took the message to mean was I should put a stamp or hide her face when I post in the future. I took the when to mean when you post again. I had already posted the picture, it was seen, the likes had already been given, there was no more activity going to happen on that photo so I figured going forward.

That was my big mistake. Had I known how serious and time-sensitive it was to them, I would have immediately deleted the photo. I only put that photo of them and their baby in the group of photos to be nice anyway. I thought it would be rude to post photos of the fun day and not include the people I was with.

The Rage

The next morning after my friend's message at around 6 am, I got a private message from my friend’s wife demanding I take the picture off, saying I didn’t ask permission, and she doesn’t want her baby on social media.

I apologized, told her I misunderstood, and quickly removed the post, having to delete all pictures because Instagram won’t let you delete just one photo out of a set.

I think what made me frustrated and angry was the tone of her message. She didn’t say hello, how are you, please, etc. She just demanded. And I get that I was wrong to misunderstand the original message but after I told her, she still didn’t understand.

I also felt that she made it sound like I snuck a picture of their baby when they weren’t looking and uploaded it to some shady site. I just added a picture of their family to my personal Instagram. She is not a celebrity or some famous person who would be in danger if the picture of their baby came out.

Also, her daily Instagram stories are filled with pictures of her baby so I didn’t think it was such a big deal. Once again, that was my mistake. And I apologized but still, things got worse.

The Escalation

After apologizing and deleting the photo, she blocked me from seeing her stories. And sadly, this was not the first time my friend’s wife had been offended by something I did.

Each and every time we have met over the year and a half that they have been together, I always find out from my friend that something offended her. Whether it was a comment, joke, or something someone in our group of friends mentioned that triggered her.

I realized no matter how much I try to censor myself or apologize or walk on eggshells in case she might get offended, I am tired of having to change myself or my opinions to keep her from getting triggered. So I sent my friend a message.

I told him my feelings about his wife. I told him that family comes first and he is a good husband and father. I explained to him how I misunderstood him, how his wife also misunderstood me, and maybe it would be best if we could just hang out once in a while “just the guys.”

Rather than bring a group of friends, or my girlfriend or his wife, just meet the two of us when he has time. I know he is a new husband and father and taking care of an infant along with having a full-time job is not easy. So I basically said, if he ever has time and would like to hang out to send me a message.

The Attack

A week passed. Then a long message came from “him.” He is Japanese and English is not his first language so I knew the message was written or at least edited by his wife. And it basically called me a selfish, self-absorbed, terrible person who looks down on my friend and is always rude to him. And he has been holding back for 8 years and never told me how little of a friend he thinks of me.

Maybe that is my friend’s real feelings. But I really think both my friend and I have always had a good relationship. We have never argued, said bad things to each other and always helped each other out. I have depended on him and he has depended on me.

I highly doubt that his sudden truth that he has hated me and withstood me all along to be nice is bullshit. I think these are the words of his wife who was offended again by my asking to meet my friend without her.

Final Attempt

I sent him a message saying I don’t want any more trouble or arguments and I don’t look down on him. I also told him I think he is a great friend and I want him to have a good life with his family. Instead of fighting back and pointing out all the things that I think were wrong with his message, I said let’s move past this and once again offered to just hang out together and reconnect if he ever feels like it.

His response was once again cruel and whether it's his wife or him who is writing the harsh messages and refusing to move forward, I realized it's not worth it. I don't want a friend who doesn't listen to my side of things and just wants to start drama. So I decided to cut ties and block him because I was tired of all the negativity in his messages.


I realized that even friendship, no matter how long and strong can be broken. I also learned that one small mistake can sometimes snowball into a major disaster.

I am not good with confrontation so I just apologized and let his wife control the outcome. I also think family is important and the best thing for my friend is to have a happy and good life with his wife and daughter. Who am I to ruin their relationship?

There is nothing really that can be done and I am just writing this as an outlet for release. Living in a foreign land with no friends and family around is difficult. And because of the language barrier (my lack of Japanese skills), getting any kind of support or professional help is difficult.

I also don’t live in Tokyo where there are many resources plus I don’t have the money to pay $100/hr. which is the rate for counseling in English. So my medium of choice to vent is writing my feelings.

If you are reading this and got this far, thank you for taking the time, and sorry to put all this onto you. Hopefully writing this was therapeutic for me and reading this was eye-opening.


About the Creator

S.A. Ozbourne

A writer with no history or perspective is a paintbrush with no paint!

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