"Refreshingly Beautiful Honesty": Woman Left Stunned by Encounter With Old Friend at Grocery Store

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Dec. 14 2023, Published 6:45 p.m. ET

I cannot keep anything inside my body and I am absolutely referring to anything from bowel movements to secrets. I regularly tell people that I am bad at secrets and often beg them not to share anything with me. When a friend of mine's wife was pregnant with their first baby, I excitedly told a mutual friend before he could. It's like a compulsion! I can't help myself.

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I'm also someone who enjoys getting painful things out of my brain and into the world. That's the best way for me to start processing them and, eventually, exorcizing the situation from my soul. I have a therapist I speak with and will often turn to a friend if I need a kind ear I'm not paying. This is why I kind of get what happened to one TikToker when she ran into an old friend at the grocery store. The other woman apparently had a few things she needed to get off her chest.

A woman appears to be sad, sitting on a couch.
Source: Getty Images

Regrets, she had a few. (Stock photo)

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Sometimes you just have to say the hard stuff out loud.

A woman on TikTok who goes by @menopausalwitch, who I'm calling Samantha, took to social media in order to share a story that left her feeling more than a little unsettled. It all started at the grocery store, which makes sense. That place can really get to you if you're not paying attention.

While shopping, Samantha ran into a woman whose kids were friends with her kids when they were little. Because she's a nice person, Samantha asked how the woman was doing. She was not prepared for her response.

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"I'm miserable," said the woman. Stunned, Samantha said the only thing that came to mind, which was exactly what was going on in her mind. "I'm sorry," she said, "I don't know what to say to you."

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In my opinion, that's the right move. Some people are fixers and problem-solvers, so they move right past what you're saying in an effort to figure out how to make it better. They aren't bad people, but sometimes I wonder if their desire to right the wrongs is based on how uncomfortable they feel with a display of emotion.

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Other people are deniers, and I think they come from the same place the fixers come from. These folks will say things like, "Don't say that, " or "don't cry." When you are in a bad place and another human is telling you not to do what you are doing, it can feel really insulting. Again, I wonder if they want you to stop so they don't have to witness your pain. Perhaps I'm being too cynical.

I think Samantha did the right thing in admitting she didn't know what to say. Had they been better friends, I think a solid response would be to ask the other person what they need. Too often we do things based on what we would want if we were in that situation instead of just asking the other person what works best for them. My therapy is really working today!

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The woman continued, almost as if she didn't hear what Samantha said. It's clear she just needed to say the following words to someone, anyone. "I should have been divorced 15 years ago but he's got liver disease and he's dying slowly because he drank himself to death," the woman shared. At this point she couldn't stop. I imagine it all came tumbling out of her like Legos from a box.

Screenshot of comment under woman vents at grocery store TikTok
Source: TikTok/@menopausalwitch (screenshot)

Sometimes you just need an ear, and that's it.

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She mentioned how expensive divorce is and how difficult it is to divide up their assets. Oh and by the way, their children are in college which means she cannot afford to move out and live on her own. Before Samantha could speak the woman quickly said, "I just wanted to say that out loud. I haven't seen you in 10 years. Who knows if I'll ever see you again. I just wanted to say it out loud, and it felt good."

I get this. Sometimes a stranger, or in this case a near-stranger, can feel very safe. If they judge you, it doesn't matter. This person is not part of your life. You get to unburden your soul without worrying that you'll see what you revealed reflected on that person's face. It both happened, and did not happen. What a gift.

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The woman thanked Samantha and they both understood that trying to form a friendship after this wasn't likely and hardly made sense. The woman at the grocery store just needed someone to see what she was dealing with. Unlike a lot of people in the world today, she wanted to be perceived.

"Refreshingly beautiful honesty," someone commented.

"You listened to her. She needed that," wrote another.

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