Author Topic: Dealing with overly-sensitive friends (genuine update post #86)  (Read 18798 times)

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Adelaide

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I went on vacation for 2 weeks with 3 friends: Touchy, Brunette, and Blondie. We all grew up together, from birth to high school. Feeling nostalgic, we all decided to go on a spring break trip.

The first day, we'd all toured a vineyard owned by Blondie's uncle and had each been given a bottle of wine. After the tour Blondie, Brunette, and myself wanted to go out, but Touchy wanted to go back to the hotel and get a massage. When we went to drop Touchy off at the hotel, we realized the wine would get hot if we drove it around. Brunette asked Touchy to carry it up and chill it for when we got back. Touchy was hesitant and thought that she would get in trouble, and I explained that there were no laws/regulations against it, (I had looked them up earlier) and since we were over 21 it would be fine. She continued saying that she was afraid she'd get "in trouble" and felt "weird" about it, and wouldn't carry it in unless she could hide it in something. We assured her that it would be okay and thanked her when she finally carried it up to the room.

When we came back and got her for dinner, something seemed off. She was slightly terse. It wasn't until we got into the car that she took a deep breath and said "I don't appreciate that you three made me carry the wine into the hotel or or that you made me feel stupid about it. Okay, there, I said it." We literally sat in stunned silence for four minutes. I know because I was staring at the car's clock. Finally Brunette coughed out an "I'm sorry" and so did Blondie, which I added a feeble "Yeah" to in order to keep the peace-after all, it was the first day of the trip. Touchy continued to be terse when we were in the restaurant and wouldn't look anyone in the eye, kept picking at her dinner, etc. Brunette, Blondie, and myself ignored it and chattered away, and eventually Touchy stopped pouting and joined in on the conversation. It never came up again. Well, Brunette and Blondie mentioned later (out of Touchy's earshot) about how bizarre the whole thing was, but then it never came up again.

I need a way to deal with this sort of thing. Don't get me wrong, Touchy and I are good friends-and even if I decided to distance myself from her, I would still see her at almost every social gathering. However, she's very, very "sensitive" but only about her own emotions. Yes, she'll tear up about the kids in Uganda, but she thinks nothing of pulling out the Sensitivity Trump Card and talking up her "feelings" when she's feeling slighted, even if she's being extremely rude to other people in the process or potentially stamping all over their emotions. Mind you, she has gotten somewhat better-when we were in elementary school, she would run off and silently pout, sometimes for an hour at a time. I just feel like there's some sort of polite answer/retort to things like this that would shut her down, but I can't figure out what it is. Bear in mind, it rarely happens but when it does she just goes all "NO ONE RESPECTS MY FEELINGS" on everyone and gets so high up on the cross that she can't hear any reasonable arguments from below.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2012, 10:41:28 PM by Adelaide »

boxy

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2012, 09:40:57 PM »
This seems like it could've been easily solved when Touchy first voiced her concern about carrying something up to the room.  You should have simply said, "no problem" and carried the wine up to the room yourself (please note, I mean this in gentle terms, absolutely no snark). 

It kinda seems to me she let all of you know right off the bat she was uncomfortable but three of you pressured her.  I would've been resentful of the peer pressure placed on me were I in her shoes.

rose red

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2012, 09:44:49 PM »
I would hate to carry around 4 bottles of wine too, even if it's a short distance.  She hinted, but it seems the rest didn't pick up the hints (or choose to ignore them) and she should learn to flat out say "No"

Sharnita

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends
« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2012, 09:47:05 PM »
It sounds like she can be somebody who can dish it out but can't take it in other circumstances.  However, in this case I think it would have been reasonable to sun the wine up with her once she first indicated she was uncomfortable taking all three bottles up herself.  Whatever her thinking/reasoning it was clear that she wasn't on board and if it wasn't much to ask of her then it wasn't much to do yourself.

gramma dishes

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends
« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2012, 09:49:34 PM »
Ya' know, I'm kind with Touchy here.  I'm not sure I'd want to walk into my hotel with four bottles of wine either.  How long would it have taken for even just one of you to have gotten out of the car for a couple of minutes to take two of those four bottles in and stick them in the refrigerator? 

I would have been happy to have done that.  Of course, I'm a little old lady and would have wanted (needed) to go in anyway for a potty break, but that's another issue altogether.  :-\

Adelaide

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends
« Reply #5 on: March 25, 2012, 09:50:29 PM »
We were in an area where there was no parking for blocks and other cars were about to be coming through -the plan was for Touchy to get the bag of wine bottles and get out at the back of the hotel, then ride up to the 15th floor where our rooms were. We weren't yelling "GRAB THE WINE, GO GO GO" or being snappy, but were calmly saying "We'd appreciate it if you would carry our wine up to the room when you carry up your bottle, there's no parking and circling back around through traffic will take forever". She never said "No, I don't feel comfortable and am not going to do it". She just said "I dunno, I feel really weird about it" in this really apprehensive tone and kept saying that long after we'd stopped mentioning it.

...come to think of it, she may have been planning to make one of us carry up her wine later. She's done that before with stuff she feels "weird" about doing.

Roe

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2012, 09:50:33 PM »
I wouldn't feel comfortable taking up 4 bottles of wine without a tote bag or something. 

She hinted, she should've just said "NO."  I hope next time, you and your other friends will pick up the hint.

JennJenn68

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2012, 09:54:49 PM »
To me, this sounds like something much deeper than resentment about having to carry four bottles of wine.  I've had "friends" like this in the past, and once I hit the age of forty I came to the decision that such toxic people had to cease having any real meaning to me.  Perhaps that sounds callous, but I see no reason to coddle any kind of temper tantrums.  Pouting is just a silent temper tantrum, in my experience, and as such not to be tolerated.

Having said that, there is nothing that you can possibly say that will "shut her down".  As I'm wont to say, in each and every person's own mind, he/she is always the Good Guy and anything he/she feels and/or says is completely justified, while the same actions from another person are seen to be petty, selfish and bratty.  If you don't want to distance yourself from "Touchy", it's best that you get into the habit of completely disregarding her sulky habits and just ignore them.  Try to remember that she is the one who is choosing to react in this immature fashion, and it is not your responsibility to "jolly" her out of her pouting.

Four bottles of wine?  Maybe I'm getting old, but I simply can't understand being self-conscious about carrying them.  Either that, or I have absolutely no shame! ;D

FoxPaws

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #8 on: March 25, 2012, 09:57:39 PM »
The classic non-apology - "I'm sorry you feel that way. There is/was no offense intended." - would have worked. However, you have to be really mindful of tone when you use it as it can easily come off as sarcasm.

Continue to ignore the pouting. If she hasn't got the spine to say, "no" she doesn't get to whine (no pun intended ;D) about being put upon later.
I am so a lady. And if you say I'm not, I'll slug you. - Cindy Brady

Adelaide

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends
« Reply #9 on: March 25, 2012, 09:59:25 PM »
I wouldn't feel comfortable taking up 4 bottles of wine without a tote bag or something. 

She hinted, she should've just said "NO."  I hope next time, you and your other friends will pick up the hint.

That's the problem-she only hints. Her favorite thing is to hint and then try to have one of us do it for her. Like when we were out and there was a policewoman standing by her and I called out "Hey, can you ask that woman for directions?" Instead of asking she ran across the street to me and asked me to do it since she's "scared of cops". She also whined that I had to get a drink at a restaurant because she "felt weird drinking alone".

The general slogan Blondie, Brunette, and myself have is "Nut up". We have even (jokingly) pondered getting t-shirts. We don't expect everyone to be as assertive and comfortable in public as we are. However, we'd also like the people we're with to say "No, I'm not doing that" or "No, I don't feel comfortable" instead of whining, hemming and hawing, doing it anyway, and then later deciding to get offended about That Thing that we "made" them do.


To me, this sounds like something much deeper than resentment about having to carry four bottles of wine.  I've had "friends" like this in the past, and once I hit the age of forty I came to the decision that such toxic people had to cease having any real meaning to me.  Perhaps that sounds callous, but I see no reason to coddle any kind of temper tantrums.  Pouting is just a silent temper tantrum, in my experience, and as such not to be tolerated.

Having said that, there is nothing that you can possibly say that will "shut her down".  As I'm wont to say, in each and every person's own mind, he/she is always the Good Guy and anything he/she feels and/or says is completely justified, while the same actions from another person are seen to be petty, selfish and bratty.  If you don't want to distance yourself from "Touchy", it's best that you get into the habit of completely disregarding her sulky habits and just ignore them.  Try to remember that she is the one who is choosing to react in this immature fashion, and it is not your responsibility to "jolly" her out of her pouting.

Four bottles of wine?  Maybe I'm getting old, but I simply can't understand being self-conscious about carrying them.  Either that, or I have absolutely no shame! ;D

Well, I bit the bullet because we were on the first day of our vacation and because I basically had to respond. I was pretty ticked and couldn't come up with anything that wasn't searing, so I just echoed some sort of feeble apology. I have always ignored her when she pouted, I'm used to that (and like I said, it happens less and less frequently). The only problem is when she addresses me directly. Also, the bottles of wine were in a sturdy bag-and we're all strong girls, it's not like it was heavy. :P

Roe

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2012, 10:01:46 PM »
We were in an area where there was no parking for blocks and other cars were about to be coming through -the plan was for Touchy to get the bag of wine bottles and get out at the back of the hotel, then ride up to the 15th floor where our rooms were. We weren't yelling "GRAB THE WINE, GO GO GO" or being snappy, but were calmly saying "We'd appreciate it if you would carry our wine up to the room when you carry up your bottle, there's no parking and circling back around through traffic will take forever". She never said "No, I don't feel comfortable and am not going to do it". She just said "I dunno, I feel really weird about it" in this really apprehensive tone and kept saying that long after we'd stopped mentioning it.

She did say she wasn't comfortable taking the wine.  You just chose to ignore her.  "I feel weird about it."  (in apprehensive tone)

Granted, she should've said "NO" in a strong, confident voice but many of us are trained to be "polite" and have a hard time just flat out refusing our friends.  She'll learn.  In the mean time, it was rude of you to keep pushing.

Adelaide

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends
« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2012, 10:09:38 PM »
We were in an area where there was no parking for blocks and other cars were about to be coming through -the plan was for Touchy to get the bag of wine bottles and get out at the back of the hotel, then ride up to the 15th floor where our rooms were. We weren't yelling "GRAB THE WINE, GO GO GO" or being snappy, but were calmly saying "We'd appreciate it if you would carry our wine up to the room when you carry up your bottle, there's no parking and circling back around through traffic will take forever". She never said "No, I don't feel comfortable and am not going to do it". She just said "I dunno, I feel really weird about it" in this really apprehensive tone and kept saying that long after we'd stopped mentioning it.

She did say she wasn't comfortable taking the wine.  You just chose to ignore her.  "I feel weird about it."  (in apprehensive tone)

Granted, she should've said "NO" in a strong, confident voice but many of us are trained to be "polite" and have a hard time just flat out refusing our friends.  She'll learn.  In the mean time, it was rude of you to keep pushing.

We might have been, but we tried to be as polite as possible, and the whole conversation was in a light-hearted tone, no one was being condescending, including her. She first said that it was probably illegal, and that was why she didn't want to do it. I replied that I had looked up the laws and it wasn't. She said that she didn't want to carry it in without covering it with something. Brunette replied that there was a blanket she could put over the sturdy tote bag the wine was in. She said "I can put my sweater over the tote bag it's pretty big" and we said "Thanks! We'll see you later", etc. and she hemmed and hawed some more while she was adjusting the bag, but we didn't say anything else. Since she was doing one thing and saying another, I really didn't know what else to say-I felt like we'd done a decent job of logically alleviating the fears she'd expressed (it not being legal, her feeling self-conscious about being seen in public with booze) and I guess I thought there really wasn't much else to say if she was going to go ahead and do it, which she did.

NyaChan

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2012, 10:12:20 PM »
I get the feeling that Touchy is very very self conscious - all the events you describe are the sort of thing that a lot of people do without thinking, but for a person who feels very insecure and conscious of themselves can make them feel like everyone is staring at them or judging them.  My mom used to feel this way growing up, I had it (still do a bit) pretty bad for several years, and I have friends now that still suffer from this.  I used to feel uncomfortable walking up to the drink fountain alone, for some reason in my head I thought everyone was going to think I was weird, or to ask for directions or information from others, for some reason I thought again that they would think I was weird or stupid. 

Like Touchy, I would try really hard to get someone else to do it so that I wouldn't have to.  I think you should have taken care of the wine yourself when she indicated she didn't feel good about taking it up.  In general though, this may just be something you have to accept about her until she gets over it if you want to be friends. 

Something that snapped me out of it -  My mom told me the story of how her brother broke her of this sort of attitude:  She had been fussing about not wanting to go get something in front of people and he responded "You must really think a lot of yourself if you think everyone is even going to notice you doing something so ordinary." 

Ex:  My friend had the inflatable tennis ball we purchased as a souvenir gift for another friend at a tennis tournament.  That friend's favorite player was signing autographs and I asked her for it so I could go get the autograph for our friend.  She felt so awkward at the idea of going over and asking for that autograph that she wouldn't even give me the inflatable tennis ball.  I got really frustrated with her, but then I realized that in her mind, the thought of someone possibly thinking she was eager for an autograph was mortifying.

DottyG

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2012, 10:13:24 PM »
Sorry, OP. but I agree with Roe's above (and the other posters who said the same thing). She did tell you no.



Adelaide

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #14 on: March 25, 2012, 10:20:06 PM »
I get the feeling that Touchy is very very self conscious - all the events you describe are the sort of thing that a lot of people do without thinking, but for a person who feels very insecure and conscious of themselves can make them feel like everyone is staring at them or judging them.  My mom used to feel this way growing up, I had it (still do a bit) pretty bad for several years, and I have friends now that still suffer from this.  I used to feel uncomfortable walking up to the drink fountain alone, for some reason in my head I thought everyone was going to think I was weird, or to ask for directions or information from others, for some reason I thought again that they would think I was weird or stupid. 

Like Touchy, I would try really hard to get someone else to do it so that I wouldn't have to.  I think you should have taken care of the wine yourself when she indicated she didn't feel good about taking it up.  In general though, this may just be something you have to accept about her until she gets over it if you want to be friends.

My friend is very self-conscious. The thing is though, she has a completely different view of herself. I heard her tell Blondie [about some random tangent, not about this incident...or she may have been thinking of it, I don't know] "You know, I'm really brave. People don't think I'm brave, but I am".

But I don't really like the idea of just rolling over and accepting it either, because like I said, in her mind her "feelings" trumps what everyone else thinks. She will go out of her way to tell us how we offended her and read us the riot act but if someone mentions "Well, you seem to be taking this a bit too personally, no one meant for you to get your feelings hurt" she keeps going on and on. I just wish I had something to say. :/