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hopeful5141's avatar

Frustrating Habit?

Asked by hopeful5141 (418 points ) January 18th, 2013

There is a person in my life whom I love dearly, but we keep having this same issue. Something will happen that does not feel right, and when I confront the person with it the response is “well it would not bother me if you did it.” To me this seems wrong because it is letting the other person off the hook for having to consider that someone else might not view the behavior in the same way. Example, we were at lunch, a “finally catch up because we’ve been so busy” lunch, and I am told, “oh I am going to make a call midway through, you don’t mind right?” I asked, “is it an important call or can it wait?” The response “I don’t know.” My reply, “Maybe you could find out, and if it is not time sensitive we can enjoy our meal in peace.” Reply, “It wouldn’t bother me if you did it, so why are you making such a big deal out of it?” Given that we were meeting to catch up it felt wrong for someone to just leave in the middle of the lunch to chat. The same behavior happens in other situations too where things will be done without considering how I might feel because it would not bother the other person if they were treated that way? Am I being too sensitive or is the other person being a bit presumptuous and rude?

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28 Answers

Coloma's avatar

No. You are not being too sensitive.
You are dealing with a very self centered person. The constant retort of ” It wouldn’t bother ME if you did xyz” is the response of a 4 year old and highly narcissistic.

They are NOT you and should not confuse THEIR desires and preferences with YOURS!
Highly self centered people have boundary issues and cannot seem to distinguish where they end and others begin. It seems any effort at healthy communication of your preferences is being completely ignored. I would most likely just start distancing from said person as I bet you a gazillion dollars they are not capable of a healthy discussion and show of respect.

Don’t waste your time trying to get them to see your POV.
Rationality is wasted on the irrational. lol
What a pain in the ass.

Pachy's avatar

You are not being too sensitive. This person is discounting your feelings, which in my opinion are 100% justified, and I agree, it’s rude and presumptuous, and certainly not loving.

gambitking's avatar

That sounds like a really immature cop-out stand-by for this person. He is projecting his own lack of misgivings onto you and your decisions. That is indeed a self-centered person and he is probably in truth very much bothered all the time by things people do and he is probably the first person to pass judgement on others’ actions that seem impolite or impractical.

Try telling him this:

“Do you think you could act more on the right thing to do and less on your hypothesis of how you would react in a vice-versa situation yourself? It wouldn’t bother me if you did”.

gailcalled's avatar

One comment might be “Let’s both pull out our phones and call lots of people. Next time let’s skip the lunch itself and hang out with our phones.”

Or, “What bothers you and what bothers me are two different issues and should’t be confused. Right now, i am talking about what bothers me.”

hopeful5141's avatar

I do try to tell this person to think about the situation from perspectives other than their own. At lunch the remark was “Geez it’s fifteen minutes why is this a big deal, you’re getting most of the time?” My feeling was how are you even fully present if you are checking your watch so you can call at the requested hour, while at the same time wondering what the person wants. Then, what if it is not 15 minutes am I supposed to sit there patiently, glare at the person, or what? It just feels inconsiderate.

gailcalled's avatar

@hopeful5141: Stand up, say “Thanks, see you another day when you are not so busy,” and leave the restaurant. He is using bullying tactics, and they are working. Why should he change? Use a pleasant voice and keep your body language mature.

Shippy's avatar

Stands up and applauds @gailcalled

Coloma's avatar

@hopeful5141 Well…..don’t be “hopeful” that your feelings really matter, clearly they don’t. Sadly, but actions DO speak louder than words. This person is full of self justification. I say tell them clearly and directly that their behaviors bother you and that if they are not willing to make an effort to compromise when you are together that you will no longer be hanging out with them.

Don’t get stuck in complaining and arguing…take a stand!
IF there is any “hope” of this person taking your feelings SERIOUSLY you have to clearly state what you are and are not willing to deal with. Nobody will take you seriously if you don’t take yourself seriously.
If you don’t you lose all credibility and will continue to feel resentful and powerless around this person.

Remember we TEACH people how to treat us.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@hopeful5141 It is a rude, happens all the time anymore though, so I just let it go. Same with playing games while we wait on food or in line, instead of talking.

To me the friendship is more important than their manners.

gailcalled's avatar

^^^It never happens to me.

glacial's avatar

If the other person wants to do the thing that offends you, then obviously that person wouldn’t mind if you did it. Saying so is nothing more than an effort to distract you and implies that your preferences are less important than his/her preferences.

marinelife's avatar

The other person is being presumptuous and rude. “It would not bother me” is no defense for a behavior that bothers you!

I would move this friend out at least one level on the friendship ring.

Sunny2's avatar

Perhaps it’s time to let go of your friend. It depends on how much of this kind of behavior you are willing to accept. You’re not going to change this person. If you can’t see behavior as being rude, you can’t stop being rude.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

No, you’re not being too sensitive. If someone has an emergency, fine. But, that wasn’t the case in this situation.

Would your friend pull out a newspaper, open it, and ignore you while he/she reads a few articles? Of course not. Yet, this same person has no qualms about having a cellphone conversation while you sit there and wait.

burntbonez's avatar

I would like to suggest another way to handle this. Do not think of this as “confronting” your friend. Instead, think of it as expressing your desires. He asks you if you mind if he makes a call. The answer is, “Yes.” That should be the end of it. But if he says he wouldn’t mind, you say, “I am not you. I do mind. I came to lunch to talk to you, not to watch you talk to others. If you can’t spend half an hour with me, why don’t you save the call for the end of lunch, and we’ll settle up and leave five minutes early. That way I can have your undivided attention, and you can have your phone call.”

If he tells you should shouldn’t mind, you just repeat that you do mind and tell him you don’t want him to be on the phone while you are there waiting to talk to him. You can ask, perhaps we should cancel this, and reschedule for a time when you can give me your undivided attention.

Your bottom line is his undivided attention. Keep repeating that. Don’t get angry. Don’t allow him to bait you into arguing with him. You can’t win an argument. However, you can keep on insisting on what you want. It’s up to him to decide if his other priorities are worth losing your friendship over. Your bottom line is his undivided attention. If he can’t give you that, you won’t meet.

Should he get a call during the meal and not get off it immediately, simply get up, put a few dollars on the table, and leave. Let him know his behavior is unacceptable to you through action.

Yeahright's avatar

@hopeful5141 May I ask you why you have to have his undivided attention? Why can’t you let him take his call? There is no reason you guys can’t catch up even if he takes this call. We all have important stuff to attend to. Maybe he is squeezing your lunch into his tight agenda but can’t really afford to completely disconnect from the day’s business. Maybe if you let him off the hook with this, then you can ask for him to also understand something that you do that he might not be so thrilled about.

hopeful5141's avatar

No, no, I did make a point to ask if it was important. Of course, I would understand a call for something that was urgent or work related. However, I do find it a bit dismaying to sit and wait through a casual conversation that could have been conducted at a later time. The person ultimately did just want to chat, nothing important, so I ended up sitting there waiting. To make the situation more uncomfortable, the person on the other side clearly wanted to chat for some time, so my friend ended up sitting there mouthing “I’m sorry” and not being able to disengage from the person. Given the chat was casual it seemed reasonable to just end lunch a bit earlier or have the call when there was no one else waiting around for the conversation to end.
To sit there waiting felt both uncomfortable and uneeded. Also, this person does this often. We’ll make plans to do something like watch a movie, and someone will say can you talk, and it is totally acceptable to this person to keep you waiting over some casual conversation. I just feel if you make plans with someone, barring some emergency, they deserve your attention.

Yeahright's avatar

@hopeful5141 Well, obviously he cannot give you what you want and need. It is not in him to give you his undivided attention. He is being very rude, inconsiderate, and clearly concentrating in your company and the moment you were sharing are not a priority for him. You cannot expect from someone feelings that evidently are not there. If the other stuff in your relationship cannot balance this out, and if it bothers you so much, you need to move on. It isn’t a matter of you telling him over and over that this habit of his bother you, he knows what he is doing and the consequences that this can have, sadly he is just not willing to compromise to say the least.

hopeful5141's avatar

Agreed, all one can do is express their feelings, and hope that people will be responsive if requests are reasonable and you hold yourself to the same standards. This has been going on for so long that I have lost my sense of perspective, and it feels nice to hear that I am not being demanding or unreasonable. Sigh, yes, it is sad, to realize that someone matters more to you than you do to them. Many thanks to everyone for opining!

Coloma's avatar

@hopeful5141 I had to let go of a friend a few years ago because when I told her she needed to ASK me before changing our plans around she turned into a 4 yr.old.
She was very manipulative and it took me awhile to catch on. She was always catching me off guard and adding more events to things without asking me first. Just announcing that she had told so and so that we would do something extra I had not agreed to.

I set a boundary and firmly told her that she was never to speak FOR me without ASKING first. She couldn’t handle it, I stopped communicating with her.
It happens.

Yeahright's avatar

I hope all goes well for you. This habit per se does not mean that he means more to you than you to him. But I suspect that there are other things in the relationship that led you to that conclusion.

hopeful5141's avatar

Yes,other issues with not respecting boundaries, and feeling free to decide things for all rather than taking the time to ask… also one of those people who claims to “know what other people are thing” to justify behaving a certain way.

Yeahright's avatar

Right. I hear you. I feel this sadness in you that comes with the realization that it is time to move on. Maybe you’ve waited too long :(

hopeful5141's avatar

Yes, there is sadness because I really do love the person and things starred with such promise and sharing… I have waited , probably for too long, hoping that with time and understanding things would improve. Instead, I have begun to feel both foolish and responsible for the situation I am in because things have remained the same in spite of my best attempts to compromise, understand and ask for the same things in return. Thank you, for the kindness!

susanc's avatar

If you all don’t mind someone coming late to this thread and therefore getting all meta-, let me say that this is one of the kindest, smartest, most compassionate, most gentle yet feet-to-the-fire discussions I’ve seen in way too long. Anywhere. Yay fluther. Yay you jellies. Thank you.

hopeful5141's avatar

Here, Here! It never ceases to amaze me, in my short time here as a member, how much kindness and compassion, tempered with honesty I have witnessed and benefitted from myself. The snarky people of the world do not seem to be swimming in the Fluther waters! Grateful, I am!

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SABOTEUR's avatar

Major warning sign.
Trust your instincts.

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