All my life I’ve been at the end of any gossip chain: the last to know who likes who, who hates who, who’s getting married, divorced, promoted, or fired.
When I was 22, everyone in the tiny nonprofit where I worked took a pay cut. What I didn’t know was that everyone but me negotiated back at least a bit of their cut. When I finally found out, five years later, the response from my friend: “we thought you knew; we thought you were doing the same thing.”
When I was 30, at a different job, I had to ask when S and K were suddenly absent after a dramatic confrontation between them. They were on administrative leave; there was some sort of big mediation thing going on. “I thought you knew.”
So now at 41 I’m grateful to be in a situation where the people I’m closest to don’t assume that I know. But when I hear about missing stair situations, I think of myself in earlier years: always the last to know so many things.
“That guy, he’s a creeper, everybody knows.” I figure I’m probably finally too old now to be much of a target, but there’s somebody else like me out there. Everybody assumes she knows. She doesn’t know.
I don’t know what you should do. It’s complicated, obviously. What I wish others had done for me was to check and make sure that I knew.
Whatever you do, don’t leave her out there to find out on her own.