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Author Topic: Dealing with overly-sensitive friends (genuine update post #86)  (Read 34429 times)

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Firecat

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #15 on: March 25, 2012, 09:23:50 PM »
It sounds like the wine was in a bag - and covered besides. So I guess I'm confused as to what, precisely, was making Touchy so "uncomfortable" about it. You're all over 21, so perfectly ok for her to have 4 bottles of wine in her possession. And "having 4 bottles of wine" is not equal to "drinking 4 bottles of wine." 

Plus it was in a bag, which was presumably opaque, so who was even going to know it was bottles of wine in the bag? Unless Touchy planned to go through the hotel lobby, holding up the bag and yelling, "I HAVE FOUR BOTTLES OF WINE IN HERE. BUT IT'S OK - ONLY ONE BELONGS TO ME!"

Ok, yes, she's entitled to her feelings. But it seems to me like a reasonable favor to ask since she was going into the hotel and the rest of you weren't planning to, especially given the parking situation.

Unless she was really miffed because you guys weren't joining her for a massage, and was choosing to focus on the wine as a way of trying to persuade at least one of you to keep her company? Given the additional info about the tote bag and the sweater, her objections, as described, do seem pretty silly to me. Which leads me to believe that there was something else going on with her, so maybe she really wanted/was hoping one of you would accompany her? But if that was what she wanted, it was still on her to speak up, and the pouting later was pretty over the top, IMHO.

LifeOnPluto

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #16 on: March 25, 2012, 09:24:20 PM »
This is really bizarre. The only explanations I can think of are:

1) Your friend is horribly self-conscious (to the point where she's in complete denial - see OP's update above). As a friend, I'd gently tell her that her behaviour is rather extreme, and suggest she considers getting some counselling or something to address it.

OR

2) Your friend felt like a "servant" because she had to cart your wine up to your room on your behalf. Perhaps she is a very proud/haughty person and feels used when asked to do favours like that? If this is the case, you could point out that you had no intention of treating her like a servant, and you were really grateful for the favour. 

Adelaide

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #17 on: March 25, 2012, 09:28:31 PM »
It sounds like the wine was in a bag - and covered besides. So I guess I'm confused as to what, precisely, was making Touchy so "uncomfortable" about it. You're all over 21, so perfectly ok for her to have 4 bottles of wine in her possession. And "having 4 bottles of wine" is not equal to "drinking 4 bottles of wine." 

Plus it was in a bag, which was presumably opaque, so who was even going to know it was bottles of wine in the bag? Unless Touchy planned to go through the hotel lobby, holding up the bag and yelling, "I HAVE FOUR BOTTLES OF WINE IN HERE. BUT IT'S OK - ONLY ONE BELONGS TO ME!"

Ok, yes, she's entitled to her feelings. But it seems to me like a reasonable favor to ask since she was going into the hotel and the rest of you weren't planning to, especially given the parking situation.

Unless she was really miffed because you guys weren't joining her for a massage, and was choosing to focus on the wine as a way of trying to persuade at least one of you to keep her company? Given the additional info about the tote bag and the sweater, her objections, as described, do seem pretty silly to me. Which leads me to believe that there was something else going on with her, so maybe she really wanted/was hoping one of you would accompany her? But if that was what she wanted, it was still on her to speak up, and the pouting later was pretty over the top, IMHO.

She didn't want us to accompany her. She also had a set of homework problems due that were time-sensitive and she needed quiet to work. She stated that she was looking forward to the quiet time to think.

This is really bizarre. The only explanations I can think of are:

1) Your friend is horribly self-conscious (to the point where she's in complete denial - see OP's update above). As a friend, I'd gently tell her that her behaviour is rather extreme, and suggest she considers getting some counselling or something to address it.

OR

2) Your friend felt like a "servant" because she had to cart your wine up to your room on your behalf. Perhaps she is a very proud/haughty person and feels used when asked to do favours like that? If this is the case, you could point out that you had no intention of treating her like a servant, and you were really grateful for the favour.

She is horribly self-conscious, yes, but she hates being called out on it and I don't think that at this point any one of us can do anything about that. As far as feeling like a servant, I don't think that's the issue. We do favors for each other all the time. Exchange massages, braid each others' hair in different ways, carry up someone else's luggage, etc. We did thank her and said that we were appreciative that she'd taken the wine up so it wouldn't get gross.

DottyG

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #18 on: March 25, 2012, 09:32:21 PM »
Quote
Well, you seem to be taking this a bit too personally, no one meant for you to get your feelings hurt.

Oh, I beg of you. Don't go the "you're too sensitive" route with her. :( It's not helpful, it's hurtful to the person, and it's something that, in one instance, is a negative in your eyes, but is actually a positive trait in many ways as well in people.




LadyL

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #19 on: March 25, 2012, 09:32:39 PM »
As I read it, your friend's problem is that she felt self conscious carrying the bottles of wine without a bag covering them. Rather that being assertive about saying "Hey, I feel weird openly lugging 4 bottles of wine to the room by myself, like some big lush, so I'd really rather not" she went along with it and then spent hours stewing. Which is immature and PA behavior. Nothing you can do will make your friend suddenly act more mature or reasonable. I would ignore her behavior. and if that doesn't work, spend less time with her.

TootsNYC

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2012, 09:36:36 PM »

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".


What do you mean? Of course she is brave. She is doing something that unsettles HER. Who are you to decide what is appropriate to consider "brave behavior"? If she was so overwhelmed in the two instances you related to us (asking a policewoman for directions, and carrying wine bottles to the hotel room), you have no idea what OTHER things she may have steeled herself to do.

She sounds like a very anxiety-ridden person. Poor kid!

Quote

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. :/

Just say, "I'm sorry. I hope you can understand that I didn't mean to hurt you."

Short of suggesting that she seems to have a lot of anxiety about things that everyone else finds completely normal, and that you worry for her and wish she didn't have to carry that anxiety around, and would she consider counseling, there is nothing you can do to "fix" her.

So I think you do have to "roll over and accept it." Accept HER the way she is. That doesn't mean that you have to consider it your responsibility to make her happy. But you're only going to be hitting your head against the wall if you try even the tiniest bit to change her, etc.

And don't think of it as her thinking her feelings are more important than yours. (Everybody thinks that--look at you, for example. You thought your feelings of having an easy drop off were more important than her *obviously and clearly expressed anxiety and discomfort.*)

Think of it as her having more fears than you do, and greater anxiety. It's a bit like OCD. You, as the nonsufferer, don't give in to it and cater to it particularly, but you also don't try to make it worse.

And as with OCD, she knows on some level that her anxiety isn't reasonable, and that's why she didn't be assertive about it. But the psychic pain, and the anxiety, were quite real.

Nobody likes being "called out on" the very things that make them really ANXIOUS. It's not that she's conceited. It's that she has so much anxiety, and does not *feel safe.*

And I also think that you ought to be able to trust your friends not to peer-pressure you. And her "assault" or "diatribe" at dinner was an indicator to you that you absolutely should not press her to go beyond her comfort zone. For her, that WAS a lot of pressure.


DottyG

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2012, 09:39:46 PM »
Toots, that was beautifully stated.


Fleur-de-Lis

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2012, 09:42:23 PM »
I don't understand the problem Touchy had with bringing up the wine. It made more sense for the wine to go up, and as long as it was in a bag or box and easy to carry there seems to be no reason to put up such a fuss.

Does it happen that the rest of you prevail upon Touchy to "do" for you on a regular basis? If not, part of being a grown up is recognizing that something makes sense and rolling with it. If so, there's a different problem.
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Adelaide

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2012, 09:53:27 PM »
Quote
Well, you seem to be taking this a bit too personally, no one meant for you to get your feelings hurt.

Oh, I beg of you. Don't go the "you're too sensitive" route with her. :( It's not helpful, it's hurtful to the person, and it's something that, in one instance, is a negative in your eyes, but is actually a positive trait in many ways as well in people.

In many people, being sensitive is a positive trait. It can make a person more open and empathetic and in some cases more joyful or optimistic. However, it's not a positive thing in her case. She's not particularly empathetic and when she doesn't get her way she simply can't understand why-she once said that she was puzzled when a girl got mad at her for correcting her grammar in public. I replied "Well, Touchy, correcting people's behavior can be rude, it makes them feel ill at ease and she was probably embarrassed, or thought that you believed you were superior to her". Touchy rationalized that "I was kidding. She should have known that". Touchy has even said aloud "I know I'm too sensitive" before, but apparently doesn't wish to do anything about it.  She's also cripplingly self-conscious and has a need to pour out her feelings to anyone who will listen to her, but if you call her and you are having a crisis, she'll find some way to redirect the conversation onto her own emotional turmoil, which is constant. She is the master of "complisults" and will say things like "Oh, you let your hair grow back out! It looks so much better than that weird color you had dyed it" or "Your face looks a lot less big and round when you don't have your bangs cut like you did".


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".


What do you mean? Of course she is brave. She is doing something that unsettles HER. Who are you to decide what is appropriate to consider "brave behavior"? If she was so overwhelmed in the two instances you related to us (asking a policewoman for directions, and carrying wine bottles to the hotel room), you have no idea what OTHER things she may have steeled herself to do.

She sounds like a very anxiety-ridden person. Poor kid!

There are several definitions of brave, most including the phrases "ready to face or endure danger or pain" and "making a fine display or show".  With the wine, I might call her brave if she hadn't whined so much about it afterward or pouted. Brave would have been saying "No, I don't want to do this" or sucking it up and doing it and acting competent even if she didn't feel like it. Brave might also have been doing it, and then coherently expressing her thoughts after, like "I don't like feeling peer pressured, please don't do that again" instead of making a general statement and then pouting for an hour and expecting someone to coddle her. Her current behavior, to me, seems like the behavior of someone who doesn't quite know how to do things in an adult way. She will not do anything that is isn't comfortable with (like interacting at all with people in public) and she won't do anything that she can't complain about later.

I don't understand the problem Touchy had with bringing up the wine. It made more sense for the wine to go up, and as long as it was in a bag or box and easy to carry there seems to be no reason to put up such a fuss.

Does it happen that the rest of you prevail upon Touchy to "do" for you on a regular basis? If not, part of being a grown up is recognizing that something makes sense and rolling with it. If so, there's a different problem.

It depends on what it is. If it's in public, she usually won't do it or if it's something she states that she feels "weird" about, even if it's "Can you sit by the bags while I ask directions" because she doesn't want to be left alone on a bench. When kids were running up and down the hotel, screaming and pounding so loudly that a chandelier was vibrating,  she tried to stop me from calling the manager by wheedling-"Wait, wouldn't it be easier to just ask them to be quiet? Why do you have to ask the manager? You're going to bother the manager and he'll get mad". Me: "It's his hotel, and his job to take care of the kids. Besides, there are too many for me to grab without making multiple trips. I need to call the manager to sleep".

LadyL

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2012, 09:54:56 PM »

And I also think that you ought to be able to trust your friends not to peer-pressure you. And her "assault" or "diatribe" at dinner was an indicator to you that you absolutely should not press her to go beyond her comfort zone. For her, that WAS a lot of pressure.

I have anxiety, including panic attacks. Dealing with my anxiety does not and has never involved sulking through a dinner.

O'Dell

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2012, 10:00:47 PM »

And I also think that you ought to be able to trust your friends not to peer-pressure you. And her "assault" or "diatribe" at dinner was an indicator to you that you absolutely should not press her to go beyond her comfort zone. For her, that WAS a lot of pressure.

I have anxiety, including panic attacks. Dealing with my anxiety does not and has never involved sulking through a dinner.

I have anxiety, including panic attacks. There have been times that I've been accused of sulking when I'm actually having an anxiety attack because I get quiet and withdraw.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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Adelaide

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2012, 10:06:05 PM »

And I also think that you ought to be able to trust your friends not to peer-pressure you. And her "assault" or "diatribe" at dinner was an indicator to you that you absolutely should not press her to go beyond her comfort zone. For her, that WAS a lot of pressure.

I have anxiety, including panic attacks. Dealing with my anxiety does not and has never involved sulking through a dinner.

I have anxiety, including panic attacks. There have been times that I've been accused of sulking when I'm actually having an anxiety attack because I get quiet and withdraw.

Touchy deliberately sulks. She goes out of her way to-for instance, when she is sulking she will morosely pick at her food. She will avoid eye contact with the "offending" parties and only talk to the people who haven't offended her. On occasion she can't resist putting her two cents into the conversation, and eventually this happens so many times that she forgets that she was mad or can't maintain "maximum sulking" any longer.

And LadyL, I think you have literally summed up my issue in two sentences.

I don't begrudge Touchy her anxiety or sensitivity. What I do begrudge is her ability to insult others without realizing it, then turn it around when the insulted person gets offended. I don't like how she'll agree to do something and then gripe about it later or give us the "silent treatment" like we're in grade school. I don't like how she'll play the martyr-the other day, we were all going to go walking through the vineyard and had to carry water. I said "I can't carry all the water this time, it's wrenching my back with this shoulder bag, I can only carry mine. Here's a bottle of water, everyone" and Touchy hemmed and hawwed about how she'd brought a small purse and how the water probably wouldn't fit in it, then kept asking me if I was sure I couldn't carry hers. She made a big deal about putting hers to the side and saying "I'll just share with Blondie".  She'll also do things like poke me in the side and when I ask why she did that, she'll state "Just because it annoys you!" in a cheerful, sing-song voice. When we order dinner she'll say "I think sharing is a good idea" after we've ordered our food. When I say "I'm only eating mine, I am allergic to what's in everyone else's dish" she'll say "Oh. Adelaide doesn't want to share" and make things quite awkward.


....wait, why am I friends with her?  :o On paper it all looks so much worse!

DottyG

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2012, 10:10:35 PM »
It does sound like you're not fond of her. Why are you? What are her good qualities?


LeveeWoman

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2012, 10:18:08 PM »
Ya'll asked her to carry up four bottles of wine in a bag. It's not as if you asked her to tote four bongs!

Adelaide

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Re: Dealing with overly-sensitive (Special Snowflake) friends (update #5)
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2012, 10:34:22 PM »
It does sound like you're not fond of her. Why are you? What are her good qualities?

....wait, why am I friends with her?  :o On paper it all looks so much worse!

I used to have a Touchy. I used to call her an emotional vampire. The last straw was when she sent me an email telling me what a horrible friend I was for not being there during her latest crisis, in this case one that I had only heard about through a convoluted grapevine including a blog, not even from her! We haven't spoken since 2009 and I'm much happier not to have her in my life.

Does she bring anything positive to your life? If not, perhaps it's time to let this friendship fade?

She's one of the most intelligent people I know. Also, I can make stupid, geeky or nerdy jokes or use an analogy with really obscure literary references and she Gets It without me having to kill the joke by explaining it. We have the same sense of humor to a point and can feed off of each other. We both crack up at small or absurd things that other people would just shake their heads at and go "Okay..." We came from the same hometown and know the same set of people.  We both recently went through the process of "dumping" a borderline-sociopathic, former "friend" who had been slightly manipulating both of us. She likes the same kind of food as I do. She likes traveling and so do I.

It's just that as we've gotten older a lot of her emotional issues are starting to come into the spotlight. When we were teenyboppers and being driven to the movies by our mothers (who had already bought tickets) and picked up afterward we didn't have to interact with the general public, but now that we're out and doing things on our own her emotional/anxiety issues (I say "issues" but she hasn't been diagnosed with anything) just becoming more and more obvious and more and more burdensome, particularly when she's the odd one out in a group of gritty, pragmatic people. Yes, I like to smell the roses and feed the ducks and be whimsical and such, but I don't want to cart her around in an insulated bubble when I go places. :/

Frozen Lulupop, I think I am just going to decline to go on trips with her anymore (particularly when she doesn't have the common courtesy to clean all the crumbs and nastiness out of her car/remove things from the trunk space so we can fit luggage  ::) ) but remain friendly when we see each other out places or at social gatherings with mutual friends.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2012, 10:37:40 PM by Adelaide »