I had a most interesting conversation before I left work this evening, with one of the women who own the other flower shop over the road from me - my competition. It was a long overdue call and I am so glad she was the bigger of us to finally make it.
Earlier, I finally allowed 8 years of chinese whispers to accumulate to the point where I got so angry I sat down at my computer and allowed my fingers to tap away on the keyboard before my brain engaged itself. That is never a good thing - in fact it's normally a stupid thing, however, it brought about us having a conversation we should have had a long time ago.
Being on my own, I have nobody to bounce off of, I am tucked away around the corner and often feel quite isolated. When I first opened someone else owned their shop and she got herself on a one-woman personal vendetta to do all she could to undermine and topple me. It didn't work, having the opposite effect to that which she had hoped.
By the time the current owners took over, I'd dealt with 5 years of negative comments and rumours, all directed at me, so when the 2 owners who are there now took over, and something was said to me that I took personally and was offended by (yes, I behaved like a snowflake) I had just about had enough of it all and became very defensive. I was constantly being told they were saying this, that and the other about me, putting me down. I don't look on other peoples social media, but I was being told they were making indirect digs at me, on theirs. One thing I have always tried to avoid is to make comments about anyone on the shops social media, and on the odd occasion a customer may have said something about other businesses in the area, I have made a point to delete it. I should have trusted they would be doing the same. I should have looked, I should have gone over and confronted them IF there had actually been anything to see, warned them what people were saying if there wasn't; we could have put the rumours to bed and stopped feeding the very people who have nothing better to do with their lives than spread around shit, trying to cause problems.
It turns out that while keeping to myself the things I was told were being said about me, not rising to it (although I did let it fester away within me) they too were being told I was saying derogatory things about them, which they were also trying to ignore and keep to themselves. This is one thing I can put my hand on my heart and say I have never done - until this week. Whenever anyone has said anything to me about them I've replied with "I don't actually know them, or anything about them, so cannot pass judgement". We are in a small area, and I don't like confrontation or upsetting people, so find it's easier to try and take the diplomatic stance - as it now transpires, they were too. If only we'd spoken to each other before.
Their situation in recent weeks has changed, is changing and as such rumours have been rife, passing through my door on an almost hourly basis. I finally addressed them, this week. I thought I had done so in a non-offending way; turns out I was wrong, for they saw what I had said, took offence and I was told they'd then taken to facebook to slag me off.
After all the stuff I have going on in my personal life, and having put up with the rumours and shit for so long, I responded, and I hold my hands up. I was nasty. I spewed venom. I said things I didn't actually mean, just to be spiteful. I can't deny it and I won't deny it. It takes a hell of a lot to get me to that stage and I'm not proud of myself for allowing the words I wrote to have been written. However, in an odd way I'm kind of glad I did, for it brought things to a head, and we have finally had the conversation we should have had years ago. I'm hoping we've cleared the air and from now on we can move forward, knowing that the rumours and things we are being told, are just rumours told by nasty people with nothing better to do than try and cause trouble.
In a strange way, the people who have been stirring the pot so vigorously, and the one who contacted them to let them know what I had written on my personal blog - a blog only 2 people who actually know me know I write for I do not share it around people I know - have done the opposite of what they set out to do. Rather than rip into each other, scream at each other and slag each other off, we discussed what has been said (present and past) we both agreed we should have spoken sooner, have agreed that going forward if we have an issue we will speak to each other about it, and for the first time in 8 years I truly believe I can relax and finally ignore the things I am being told (I hope they can to) and I know the 3 of us can move our businesses forward, keep them flourishing, and be there to help each other out should we ever need to - how it should have been from the very beginning.
I have deleted my offending blog (quite rightly too) and any links to it. I also removed the one I wrote on the shop's blog. While I saw nothing wrong in it, I can see how it could have been misconstrued, and with the slate being wiped clean it seems the fair and decent thing to do.