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Miss Manners: How to Exit an Unwanted Acquaintance?

Jambalaya

Ideal_Rock
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ame|1443195494|3931710 said:
kenny|1443148429|3931532 said:
Just cease contact.
Screw Ms. Manners.

I'm perpetually-astonished how miserable people make themselves as they struggle against their nature to "be nice".
I gotta agree with this. If you reply, you are inviting her to continue contact and you won't be able to let it drift. She contacted you out of the blue after two months. I'd just let it lie without a response. (You don't have read receipts on, do you? If so, turn that off like now.) If you see her around, fine, you can just say "Sorry, I am just not going to be able to right now and then not say anything about another time, and not respond if she says another time then." Just let it sit there. You don't owe her an explanation. Don't make it a thing.


Thanks ame. No, I don't have those receipts! I agree that if I respond, I am inviting her to continue contact, and since we already haven't spoken in two months, why renew it. My initial feeling was to drift away gradually, but on thinking about it I'm quite angry with the way she treated me and don't feel she deserves a softer let-down.
 

kenny

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Jambalaya|1443196821|3931716 said:
When you told her you didn't want to be friends anymore, weren't there recriminations and drama? Did she at least ask why, and did you get to explain to her how bad her behavior was? Or did she just take offense and deny/pass blame etc?

More details of how it went down:

I just stopped returning her emails and phone calls. (much like you say you are planning)

Several months later she knocked on my door.
Instead of inviting her in like usual I stepped out and sat on the stairs in front of our house.
(That said a lot.)

She simply asked if I wanted to continue our relationship and I said, "I'm sorry, but no."
IIRC she said something like brief like, "All right."
Then she sort of smiled flatly and she left.

Nothing else was said.

She is a wonderful person and I'm sorry I have hurt her, but it was the only way.
 

Jambalaya

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part gypsy|1443195482|3931709 said:
It's funny your post about her texting to hang out in next 5 minutes, is the kind of thing one of the people I was talking about does. Again another overture to do things on nice superficial level, I let her know a week ahead of time I was taking a certain day off, and it would be nice to see her, do lunch or dinner, but since I have kids need to schedule ahead of time (husband was home that afternoon but often will plan things or get out of house unless I schedule things in advance). She blows me off, doesn't even respond. So, assume I have to day free and don't take a shower, spend it at home doing art related activities. After husband goes to work, I was walking our dog to the grocery store to get a couple things to eat, and she calls me around 6:30.
That she had taken bike with another friend to this one place and is listening to this incredible band, and that I should "drop everything" and come meet her there. And I'm like, "um, I'm unwashed, haven't eaten yet, and am walking to the grocery store. And her response "But (name), I was SOO busy this week. I guess you need like a week's notice to hang out now, huh?" And I said "what about a day?". She is unmarried, no kids, works part time while I work full time am married and have two kids but she always lets me know how much more busy (and important) her time is by her refusal to make any plans but call me with 0 notice. A couple years ago she offered to organize a birthday party for me, and then did nothing, didn't plan anything or invite anyone. She offered this year again to organize a birthday party for me and I said no thank you.

Part-gypsy, she sounds just awful! How selfish not to realize that you have a ton of responsibilities! I think it was very well-mannered of you to give a week's notice to schedule something. That way, everybody knows what they're doing ahead of time and can plan their week efficiently. That's crazy of her to call you to hang out at 6.30 when she knows you have kids to feed, put to bed, etc. Even I know that 6.30 is a really busy time in a family house for many!

Oh, man, the last-minute thing. Drives me insane. My 24-year-old niece is terrible like that. I simply won't do things with no notice. I'd say that I've seen her two-thirds less than I would otherwise have seen her because I won't give in to the last-minute thing. It's like being pushed around. One time I was at the local pool and had just smothered myself in sunscreen and lay down to relax, and she calls and says she had her new partner are in town and can we meet up, like now. I was hanging out at the pool, looking a total mess, greasy with lotion, and there was no way I was going to get up, leave the pool, ruin my relaxing afternoon, shower, dress, and go and meet them. No siree.

Another time, she turns up out of the blue with another friend. I'm unwashed, house a total mess. I refused to let them in. Then I get a call from her uncle saying "Oh, so-and-so are very cold outside." I said, tough - there are about a million coffee places two seconds walk from here. They can get warm there - it's a totally inconvenient time for me. I'm not letting them in.

She still hasn't really gotten the message that I won't drop everything to see her at the last minute - and she tries this a lot. Her other aunt gives in. There's no way I'm jumping at the last minute. Actually, I would see her at the last minute if it was convenient, but it's always inconvenient- I'm usually in the middle of something or unprepared to have a stranger in my home. (Since she usually brings a friend I've never met.)

Part_gypsy, I reckon you should phase that friend out of your life! I have definitely put up with things I shouldn't have, but the last-minute thing isn't one of them.
 

Jambalaya

Ideal_Rock
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kenny|1443197466|3931724 said:
Jambalaya|1443196821|3931716 said:
When you told her you didn't want to be friends anymore, weren't there recriminations and drama? Did she at least ask why, and did you get to explain to her how bad her behavior was? Or did she just take offense and deny/pass blame etc?

More details of how it went down:

I just stopped returning her emails and phone calls. (much like you say you are planning)

Several months later she knocked on my door.
Instead of inviting her in like usual I stepped out and sat on the stairs in front of our house.
(That said a lot.)

She simply asked if I wanted to continue our relationship and I said, "I'm sorry, but no."
IIRC she said something like brief like, "All right."
Then she sort of smiled flatly and she left.

Nothing else was said.

She is a wonderful person and I'm sorry I have hurt her, but it was the only way.

Wow, and after all that time she didn't even ask why? Especially since she had cared enough to come over and ask you about it. I'm thinking that if she valued your relationship she would have asked why, and what she could do to fix it. If you were genuine in the relationship and you truly care about someone then you listen to their feedback, are horrified that you've inadvertently hurt them so much, and try to make amends.

I had a friend who was in a very similar situation as yours with a domineering person. One day the person who was being dominated just snapped, had had enough. They didn't speak for ten years. Then they bumped into each other, and formed an uneasy new friendship. The non-dominant partner taught her how domineering she was and slowly taught her not to be like that, and the dominant person agreed that it was something she needed to work on. But it remained somewhat uneasy and was an uphill struggle. They are only distant friends today because fundamentally the domineering person is a control freak and that isn't going to change. The person sounds very similar to your ex-friend, so I just thought you might like to know how working things out ended for them. If someone has bad character flaws, they don't generally change and you spend your time managing them. I'd rather just find better friends!
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Jambalaya|1443198561|3931732 said:
kenny|1443197466|3931724 said:
Jambalaya|1443196821|3931716 said:
When you told her you didn't want to be friends anymore, weren't there recriminations and drama? Did she at least ask why, and did you get to explain to her how bad her behavior was? Or did she just take offense and deny/pass blame etc?

More details of how it went down:

I just stopped returning her emails and phone calls. (much like you say you are planning)

Several months later she knocked on my door.
Instead of inviting her in like usual I stepped out and sat on the stairs in front of our house.
(That said a lot.)

She simply asked if I wanted to continue our relationship and I said, "I'm sorry, but no."
IIRC she said something like brief like, "All right."
Then she sort of smiled flatly and she left.

Nothing else was said.

She is a wonderful person and I'm sorry I have hurt her, but it was the only way.

Wow, and after all that time she didn't even ask why? Especially since she had cared enough to come over and ask you about it. I'm thinking that if she valued your relationship she would have asked why, and what she could do to fix it. If you were genuine in the relationship and you truly care about someone then you listen to their feedback, are horrified that you've inadvertently hurt them so much, and try to make amends.

No she didn't ask why.
She knows me well, and knows how many times I've told her to back off.
Her daughter has told me her sister and brother barely talk to their mom and have told their mom why, that she's just too pushy.

She's a very intelligent woman.
She didn't need to ask me why.
I'm certain she knows.
As her daughters says, she'll never change.
 

kenny

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BTW, Jambalaya after you responded to my long post I added this, which you may not have seen ...

She told me she's left instructions that when dies she'll be cremated and some of her ashes will be put into wind chimes which be given to all her children, including me.

Even in death, she MUST AND WILL be heard!
Shudder! :errrr:

I assume, and certainly hope, she's taken me out of her will.
She's loaded.
 

Jambalaya

Ideal_Rock
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Yeah, I didn't see it. Her ashes in wind chimes so she can still be heard? Man, that's egotistical. And spooky. Imagine hearing them tinkling in the night...when there's no breeeze....shudder :D

She sounds a bit deranged. And really, if her personality flaw is so great that others have told her about it a lot and she can't change at all, and can't see her effect on others - driving them away - then you really have to feel sorry for her.

From a distance, that is. :lol:
 

House Cat

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Ending relationships is about us, not them. If we choose to verbalize the end, that is about us drawing a line in the sand and saying we will not accept this behavior anymore. This can be a growth opportunity for certain people.


There is no rule that states that we have to stick around for someone's reaction to our ending the relationship. We are allowed to end it by stating why in a diplomatic manner that maintains our integrity, say thanks, and leave the scene. This has actually been recommended to me by my therapist. Allow the other person to deal with their feelings on their own. I am not responsible for their feelings (anymore.)

J, there are social graces and then there are those unhealthy, boundary crossing behaviors that were put on us as kids. The trick is to figure out which ones are which. Usually the ones that cause us emotional distress are the boundary crossing behaviors disguised as manners.
 

Jambalaya

Ideal_Rock
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House Cat|1443206257|3931797 said:
Ending relationships is about us, not them. If we choose to verbalize the end, that is about us drawing a line in the sand and saying we will not accept this behavior anymore. This can be a growth opportunity for certain people.


There is no rule that states that we have to stick around for someone's reaction to our ending the relationship. We are allowed to end it by stating why in a diplomatic manner that maintains our integrity, say thanks, and leave the scene. This has actually been recommended to me by my therapist. Allow the other person to deal with their feelings on their own. I am not responsible for their feelings (anymore.)

J, there are social graces and then there are those unhealthy, boundary crossing behaviors that were put on us as kids. The trick is to figure out which ones are which. Usually the ones that cause us emotional distress are the boundary crossing behaviors disguised as manners.

Yes, I agree with all that. It's useful for me to read.

I also think that if you have an innate desire to basically do the decent thing and treat others as you'd want to be treated etc etc it's amazing how many people will misread that as weakness and take it as permission to treat you however they damn well please.

I think if someone has behaved badly toward you and it was entirely unprovoked, then who cares about their feelings anymore.
 

House Cat

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Jambalaya|1443207043|3931801 said:
House Cat|1443206257|3931797 said:
Ending relationships is about us, not them. If we choose to verbalize the end, that is about us drawing a line in the sand and saying we will not accept this behavior anymore. This can be a growth opportunity for certain people.


There is no rule that states that we have to stick around for someone's reaction to our ending the relationship. We are allowed to end it by stating why in a diplomatic manner that maintains our integrity, say thanks, and leave the scene. This has actually been recommended to me by my therapist. Allow the other person to deal with their feelings on their own. I am not responsible for their feelings (anymore.)

J, there are social graces and then there are those unhealthy, boundary crossing behaviors that were put on us as kids. The trick is to figure out which ones are which. Usually the ones that cause us emotional distress are the boundary crossing behaviors disguised as manners.

Yes, I agree with all that. It's useful for me to read.

I also think that if you have an innate desire to basically do the decent thing and treat others as you'd want to be treated etc etc it's amazing how many people will misread that as weakness and take it as permission to treat you however they damn well please.

I think if someone has behaved badly toward you and it was entirely unprovoked, then who cares about their feelings anymore.

To clarify:

I think that in order to end a friendship with integrity, you should always have the other person's feelings in mind. You just don't put their feelings before your own. You can end a relationship without being intentionally hurtful.
 

Jambalaya

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Well, I'm not going to have an argument with her and be hurtful. I'm just not going to renew this acquaintance which I thought was dead anyway.
 

ennui

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I've been reading this thread, and I keep seeing Kenny's quote from Carl Jung ("Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves") and wondering where that would fit. Maybe I don't understand the quote.

I'm wondering how ponder can not speak to a coworker for years. Doesn't that affect your job performance? Why would the boss allow that to go on?

I was on the other side of this situation. I tried to rekindle a friendship with someone I was close to years ago. We went to lunch a couple of times, but then she was always too busy. I eventually stopped asking. I didn't do anything wrong, she just doesn't like me.

No matter how you do it, the person will be hurt.

Btw, I laughed a little at the wind chimes. It was easy to find -- Wind Chime Keepsake Cremation Urn. Who knew.
 

kenny

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ennui|1443218336|3931861 said:
I've been reading this thread, and I keep seeing Kenny's quote from Carl Jung ("Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves") and wondering where that would fit.

Good sayings often don't mean just one thing.
Their purpose is to get you thinking.
We are free to use a saying in any way we find useful, much like people have always done with poetry or religious books.

In this case, that woman's irritating boundary-crossing led me to understanding that I had made myself her doormat and it was time for Kenny to make some changes.

I don't think the saying, or Carl Jung, means let people walk all over you, or when someone irritates you it's your fault, or get to a place in life where nobody irritates you.
I DO think it is a brilliant and useful tool to a person who is on a path of self-improvement instead of just blaming everyone around them for their own unhappiness.

How funny that remains-in-wind-chime thing is real.
I thought she might have made it up.
How macabre. :knockout:
 

Jambalaya

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It's a good quote, but in this case I'm hurt by her behavior, not irritated. I've also been on the receiving end of a sudden cool-off. Me and this co-worker hit it off and then she was suddenly busy every time I asked, no matter how far ahead I asked. We hadn't had a cross word, but maybe it was competitive work stuff, who knows. But I appreciated the "oh, I'm so busy" thing rather than her telling me what she couldn't stand about me. Since we hadn't argued over anything, and I had done nothing to hurt her, it was bound to be something deeply personal that I couldn't change, or maybe I just irritated her without meaning to - and of course we still had to work together. We still had fun at work sometimes, and I think we continued to work well together. Often she still seemed to like me, but at some point she decided that she didn't ever want to see me outside work again, and that was that. I got the message and concentrated on other friends. No biggie.
 
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