Social Question

nikipedia's avatar

How do you suggest this friend conflict be resolved?

Asked by nikipedia (27343 points ) March 28th, 2012

We host a recurring, weekly game night. At the last one, Friend A said something offensive to Friend B. It was meant as a joke…sort of.

I apologized to Friend B. He does not want to come back to game night if Friend A will be there.

Do we uninvite A?

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25 Answers

SpatzieLover's avatar

May I ask what type of offensive thing was said @nikipedia (sexist, racist, below the belt)? It would make a difference in my answer.

nikipedia's avatar

B is female-bodied but identifies himself with male pronouns. A said, “But you’re a girl.”

SpatzieLover's avatar

Oooh, that’s definitely a situation where seperation of A from B sounds necessary to me.

Is A ignorant? Stong willed? Socially inept? What’s the story there?

EDIT: Yes, if it were me, I’d uninvite A and let B know that I did so. Most likely I would also discuss the insensitive remark with A, if A were a reasonable person, to see if I could spark a resolution.

nikipedia's avatar

A is the alpha-male type, lots of bravado and maybe pathologically high self-confidence. I think maybe he was having some kind of cranky day. He also vaguely insulted the dinner I cooked for everyone, and commented on how badly the newest player did (to her face). All of this was said with a half-joking tone, so the rest of it was easily shrugged off, but he crossed a line with B.

That said, he is not usually this much of a jerk. I think if we asked him to apologize, he might do it.

funkdaddy's avatar

I always think you invite everyone you want to and if people have issues between them they can decide what they need to do. If people aren’t comfortable with someone who will be there they need to make the right choice for themselves. No one else should be offended by that. Usually your actions won’t really effectively mitigate their feelings anyway.

Everyone is an adult and there to have a good time. If someone is ruining the fun then it’s not out of line to talk that over with them, but ultimately it comes down to the people involved.

So, short answer, invite everyone, be open about who’s invited, and let people sort out what works best for them.

this isn’t specific to this situation, just any personal conflicts that inevitably happen in any group

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

It’s a shame if Person B doesn’t take the opportunity to discuss this privately with Person A. It seems like a prime opportunity to politely educate a friend on gender differences. It is through interaction, such as this, that we learn about others. Should Person B decide not to attend because of this incident, it will be a loss for all.

If you feel like something needs to be done on your part, how about giving Person A a call? You could say that you just wanted to check in as he didn’t seem himself at the last game night, and you wanted to be sure he was okay. If he asks for elaboration, you could mention the three instances where he was insulting and say that it isn’t his normal behavior. It sounds like he would state that he was only joking, but it will give him something to think about before the next gathering.

Trillian's avatar

Why does freind B expect you to take sides? Can B not talk to A off line?

Bellatrix's avatar

I absolutely agree with @funkdaddy. This is between them. Invite them both and let them decide what to do. Why should you police this situation. They are adults. They should, as other have said, be working this out themselves not dumping it in your lap. Go ahead and have your game night and invite the people you would usually invite.

nikipedia's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer, I agree it would be better for B to talk to A, but it seems like this issue is very raw and painful and that is not going to happen. Also, they just met for the first time last night, so they are not really in a position to have a big heart to heart.

@Trillian, B doesn’t, he just let us know that if A is going to be at the next game night he is not comfortable coming.

@Bellatrix and @funkdaddy, I guess that is all we can do. It’s a bummer since I know what the outcome will be.

funkdaddy's avatar

Can you educate alpha male a bit and see if he’s open to that? An apology might go a long way with B.

excuse the “me” related tangent

I have a younger brother that came out shortly after I moved out of the house. At 18, I had no idea what etiquette was like for a whole new line of questions that came up. Things like whether it was my business to share or how we answered seemingly innocent questions like “does your brother have a girlfriend” from extended family were suddenly important and my answers could hurt people. The answers might be obvious now but there was no way to do it all without a blunder. I remember him getting exasperated at them for assuming he was looking for a girl and me for not immediately correcting them. The best I could do was try and be open to learning.

It may be idealistic, but if A is open to learning and B can keep from getting exasperated they might both see where the other one is coming from. It’s probably a new situation for A, he may have had some beverages in him, and it’s not the last time he’ll run into something similar. Assuming he doesn’t want to always be seen as insensitive a five minute conversation where they both assume the other has good intentions even if they’re delivered awkwardly might clear this up and also leave them both better off.

The questions suck, especially in front of an audience, but avoiding them won’t make anything better.

jca's avatar

I say tell A that he offended B. He might be unaware and not only will this give him the opportunity to try to rectify things himself, by having a private conversation with B and hopefully apologizing, but it might (MIGHT) make him more conscientious about off-color remarks in the future.

Then invite everyone. If B wants to stay out because of this, that’s on him.

Sunny2's avatar

I’d be curious to hear what Miss Manners would say about this situation.
I agree with the idea of you talking to A and seeing if he offers to apologize.

augustlan's avatar

If you feel that A was overly offensive, and would rather not have him back, un-invite him. Otherwise, I agree with @funkdaddy… invite them all. I probably would talk to A and let him know how B feels. If he expresses remorse, I’d tell B about that, and that I hope B would come back and give it another go.

rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t think it is your job to be the intermediary. I would stay as far away from it as I could get. Someone who tries to fix everything for everyone else is just gonna end up miserable. Remember that phrase, you can’t please all of the people all of the time, so why bother trying.

I also think and I know this will draw criticism but nonetheless I feel it is true, if someone chooses to draw attention to themselves, then why be upset when you get it? A female who refers to herself as male is asking to stick out like a sore thumb. I feel sorry for her dilemma but she has choices and the ones she makes determines how others see her.

nikipedia's avatar

@rooeytoo, I am not sure it really counts as “choosing” to draw attention to himself. Transitioning into a male is not about getting attention; I’m sure he would prefer if it received zero attention and he could go through this process in peace. It’s not really the same as going out in a slutty dress and then being all surprised when men look at your cleavage.

Out of curiosity, I’m wondering if anyone’s answer would change if the insult had been more serious, like using the n-word or the c-word?

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@nikipedia My answer wouldn’t change if the offensive comment had been one of the others you offered up. I still believe that it is up to the person offended to speak up. Whether it was the scenario of any of these verbal offensives, I personally would address it privately, whether it was directed at me or not. As a friend to someone else, don’t we have an obligation to express when we feel a boundary has been crossed? What the friend decides to do with this information is purely up to them. I may not change their actions, but there is always the hope that it might influence their thought process.

augustlan's avatar

If someone in my presence used the “N” word, I’d have said something at the time, and likely kicked them out of my house.

Bellatrix's avatar

I think whether you should do something comes down to whether you were personally offended and wanted to get involved because of what was said. That isn’t how you presented this situation. If you, as the host, were offended by the comments or felt that the person deliberately set out to disrupt your dinner party, then sure, you should become involved. In this case it sounds like one of your friends is in a very vulnerable situation and the other is unaware and perhaps even ignorant. I didn’t get that the person making the comment was deliberately trying to be hurtful and offensive though.

rooeytoo's avatar

@nikipedia – what do you mean by transitioning? Hormone shots, the actual surgery?

It is a rough job no matter but I think you can’t control the words or actions of the world around you and we all have to be prepared to deal with it. A thick skin is required for existence whether we like it or not. What your friend is going through is not going to be easy and I would think he will have to learn to deal with snide remarks or his life is going to be even rougher.

And I still don’t think it is your job to jump in and rescue anyone.

nikipedia's avatar

@rooeytoo, I don’t know the details. He is new to our friend group and, as you may have inferred, not very open to discussing the situation.

You are right to point out that you can’t control people. It is a character flaw of mine that I haven’t had much luck at shaking.

Since game night is more my partner’s social function than mine, I talked it over with him and he agreed that all we can do is invite them both and let them make their own decisions. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth, though. I want to feel like my house is a warm and safe and comfortable place for everyone I invite into it. Instead, I think A will go on being a jerk to people and B probably won’t be back.

@Bellatrix, I wasn’t in the room at the time it happened, so it’s hard for me to gauge exactly how intentional it was. After talking to B, though, I have a pretty good idea of how hurtful the comment was to him.

jca's avatar

@nikipedia: Please post an update, if you wish, as to how the situation turns out.

Thanks.

JCA
The Update Lady

Bellatrix's avatar

:-) Good plan @JCA, The Update Lady.

And hopefully B will be back @nikipedia. If A is regularly a jerk, and upsets others, perhaps you shouldn’t invite them. If this habitual behaviour it goes further than this one incidence. Regardless, I hope it works out for you all.

nikipedia's avatar

B has decided not to participate in game night anymore. :(

SpatzieLover's avatar

That’s what I thought would happen. If it were me, I’d probably decline, too. Life is too short to be surrounded by even one asshat if you don’t have to be

augustlan's avatar

That’s too bad. :(

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