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Trustinglife's avatar

How do you handle it when acquaintances approach you for your time, and you don't really want to connect with them?

Asked by Trustinglife (6603points) June 5th, 2009

Twice today, distant friends contacted me to reconnect. It doesn’t sound like much fun to me. But I’m not wanting to say no in a way that damages the relationship, either by telling them I don’t want to talk to them or by blowing off the phone call.

I feel like I’m in a lose-lose situation – do something I don’t want to do (talk to them), or hurt their feelings and our friendship, which I don’t want to do either.

Have you dealt with this? Found a way to handle this kind of thing that you feel good about?

And just so we’re clear – these are people who I enjoy just fine in person. They just aren’t relationships that I want to cultivate much beyond that. Thanks for your input.

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9 Answers

AnnieOakley's avatar

Personally, I have handled it like this: “Hey thanks for taking the time to touch base, I really appreciate that. I am so crazy busy right now with work (or whatever you might be all absorbed with in your life) that I just can’t even hardly breathe. When things settle down, I’ll be sure to be back in touch. Hope everything is great with you – glad you took the time to say “Hi”. ” Even an email to acknowledge a call I think is fine – it doesn’t burn the bridge, but doesn’t have you commit to something just because you feel obligated.

RedPowerLady's avatar

I say my answering machine is broken and I didn’t get the call. Lame but effective.

arnbev959's avatar

I respond, but at my leisure. Wait a few days before returning the call, talk for a while (a long phone call rather than a brief one) and repeat in eight months time (or whatever). If they call too soon after the last conversation I usually don’t call back, or if I do I won’t talk long.

That allows for connection of the sort that keeps most people satisfied, and I can put the person out of my mind for a while afterward.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Your post calls them acquaintances but then you say you don’t want to harm the “friendship” and if you don’t want to talk to these people then how can you enjoy them in person? I’m too confused. Acquaintances are acquaintances, friends are friends, lovers are lovers, etc.

casheroo's avatar

I was recently contacted by an old friend, and I really have no desire to even talk to her. I’m just ignoring the attempts.

susanc's avatar

I call back quickly and shower them with appreciation but evade making a date and then forget about them. If you do this three times in a row, they’ll give up, and you won’t even notice.

Trustinglife's avatar

@hungryhungryhortence One is a college friend, one is a former co-worker in a town I used to live in. I care about them, but the truth is, I just don’t want to spend that much time with them, even if it’s a quick phone call. In both cases, I used to be much closer with them than I am now, and that’s fine with me.

Noel_S_Leitmotiv's avatar

Like a gentleman.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

do it with honor; don’t say your answering machine is broken, that is dismissive and rude. I’d rather spend a few minutes with them on the phone, drop them an occasional email, or whatever. I have acquaintances that want to spend time I really don’t have, so I give them a few minutes, and go on with my life.

It just might be possible that they are feeling alone and depressed, and calling you is keeping them from tying a rope around the rafters in the attic and hanging themselves. I sure wouldn’t want that on my conscience, and depression can strike anybody. I should know, I was there about eight months ago, and I was as shocked as anyone who knows me.

Life is about choices, your results may vary.

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