Author Topic: How to deal with the "backlash"?  (Read 1945 times)

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Mal

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How to deal with the "backlash"?
« on: June 13, 2014, 07:34:42 AM »
Hey everyone,

thanks to this forum I've grown familiar with quite a few etiquette principles, like always honoring a prior engagement and not being entitled about others' negative rsvps to one's own event.

But how do you deal with people who don't adhere to these principles?

As usual ;) there is a recent example:

A distant friend is in my home town this week and we had made loose plans to meet up but hadn't set a date yet due to chaotic work schedules on both our parts.
Two days ago, my sister invited me out to celebrate her birthday on Friday. Yesterday, said distant friend told me he had made plans for a great get-together of various mutual friends on Friday and was looking forward to seeing me there. I said I was sorry but I couldn't come due to a prior engagement. Texting ensued:
"What do you mean you're not coming??"
- "It's at the same time as my sister's birthday celebration."
"THAT'S NO EXCUSE!"

I know etiquette isn't about making others feel good, but it's certainly not about making others feel bad, either. However, that's what I encounter on a regular basis. Granted, it's an incredibly easy task to make me feel bad about anything I do, but this is basically MO for declined invitations in my circle of friends.

Do you think there's any way to adress this, short of heartfelt gifts of etiquette guide books?

I ended up replying that I'd been put on the spot by both parties because both invitations were really spontaneous, but that my sister had asked first, and that I hoped they'll have a fun night. Which is probably etiquette-approved enough as a reaction, but it still bugs me...

TootsNYC

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Re: How to deal with the "backlash"?
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2014, 07:38:14 AM »
It sounds to me like you did everything fine.

And it sounds to me like you're looking for some "magic words" to make him agree with you. They don't exist.

The secret is to just stop caring if he objects. *You* know you did/are doing the right thing. 

Then, how to deal with him? Stop talking about it. When someone is making unreasonable demands of you that you don't want to meet, you give *one* reason, and then you stop talking about it. Don't justify yourself, don't argue with him, don't defend yourself if he accuses you of being rude, don't explain further. (don't JADE).
    All that does is imply that it's important to you that he approve of your actions, which carries the message that if he doesn't, you might change them so that he will.
   Say, "Yes, well, be that as it may. What -other- time do you have free for this visit?"


(Though if you're looking for some hindsight, I might say that your "loose plan" was a prior commitment that should have had you contacting him to say, "Are we going to get together Friday night? Because my sister wants me to do something then if we're not.")
« Last Edit: June 13, 2014, 07:40:51 AM by TootsNYC »

shhh its me

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Re: How to deal with the "backlash"?
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2014, 07:53:09 AM »
  That type of text I'd just send "haha" back because surely they must be joking.

Zizi-K

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Re: How to deal with the "backlash"?
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2014, 08:59:00 AM »
To his "that's no excuse" text, I would respond, "unfortunately, it's the excuse that I have. But I would still really love to see you this weekend, do you want to have brunch on Saturday?"

Edited to add: That it to say, don't treat it like backlash. Treat it as a joke or ignore it, and carry on as you would like, and with integrity.

Yvaine

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Re: How to deal with the "backlash"?
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2014, 09:03:18 AM »
  That type of text I'd just send "haha" back because surely they must be joking.

This. I think the medium stripped out tone and he was probably kidding with you, OP.

SamiHami

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Re: How to deal with the "backlash"?
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2014, 09:13:25 AM »
If he is serious, I would simply say, "I'm not giving you an excuse. I'm not available Friday but I'd love to see you soon if you want to make some solid plans."

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

perpetua

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Re: How to deal with the "backlash"?
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2014, 09:50:26 AM »
The only thing I can see that may have made this all go smoother is presumably you knew when your sister's birthday was, so perhaps you could have given him a headsup when making the 'loose plans' that you might not be available on the Friday. Because you knew he'd want to get together at some point that week.

TurtleDove

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Re: How to deal with the "backlash"?
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2014, 10:00:24 AM »
(Though if you're looking for some hindsight, I might say that your "loose plan" was a prior commitment that should have had you contacting him to say, "Are we going to get together Friday night? Because my sister wants me to do something then if we're not.")

This is what I think.  Based on the OP, I think it was reasonably foreseeable that plans with the out of town friend would involve doing *something* on Friday night, even though there were not solid plans of "We are meeting at 7:00 at Restaurant, then going to Bar to play pool, and then to Club for dancing."  I think the prior plans were with the friend, not the sister.  I also think the fact that the friend is coming in from out of town matters. 

So how to deal with this?  Don't make "loose plans."  Make actual plans so this does not happen again.

lowspark

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Re: How to deal with the "backlash"?
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2014, 10:16:08 AM »
It sounds to me like you did everything fine.

And it sounds to me like you're looking for some "magic words" to make him agree with you. They don't exist.

The secret is to just stop caring if he objects. *You* know you did/are doing the right thing. 

Then, how to deal with him? Stop talking about it. When someone is making unreasonable demands of you that you don't want to meet, you give *one* reason, and then you stop talking about it. Don't justify yourself, don't argue with him, don't defend yourself if he accuses you of being rude, don't explain further. (don't JADE).
    All that does is imply that it's important to you that he approve of your actions, which carries the message that if he doesn't, you might change them so that he will.
   Say, "Yes, well, be that as it may. What -other- time do you have free for this visit?"


(Though if you're looking for some hindsight, I might say that your "loose plan" was a prior commitment that should have had you contacting him to say, "Are we going to get together Friday night? Because my sister wants me to do something then if we're not.")

I actually agree with the bolded here. I just had a very similar situation happen, and I was in the position of your sister. I invited someone to something on a specific date. She replied that she wasn't sure if she could come because another friend of hers had invited her to a party but had to (unavoidably) reschedule at the last minute and hadn't set the new date yet, but that it would be during the month of June. She said she'd committed to attending that party so until the new date was set she didn't want to say yes to something else in June.

I was fine with that. She had a prior commitment which, although the date was not set, it was tentative for a Saturday night in June. If she'd accepted my invitation and then the friend scheduled the party for that same night, she'd have been in a pickle. Once she told the friend, "I'm ok with any Saturday night in June", as long as the friend gets back with her within a reasonable amount of time, she needs to stick with that. Alternatively, once my invitation came in, she could have contacted the friend and said that she really needed to know the date as other things were popping up and she needed to be able to say yes or no.

But in either case, the original commitment was to the friend with the party, and that should be resolved before she accepts anything else. So when your sister asked about Friday night, you should have said, "Let me get back with you. I've committed to spend some time with Friend but it's not yet set in stone." Then you would contact friend and say, "I need to firm up our plans."

lakey

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Re: How to deal with the "backlash"?
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2014, 10:52:29 AM »
You hadn't committed to a specific date with the friend so she can't consider you committed. It's unfortunate, but these things happen. As far as how to deal with the backlash. Don't. Adults accept that these things happen in the real world and get over it. If  a person lays on guilt or holds a grudge, that is their problem and you can't change whatever it is that causes them to behave so childishly. It's not your problem, it's hers.

If she were that concerned that you HAD to attend this get-together, then she should have checked with you that the date worked before she settled on a date.

MrTango

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Re: How to deal with the "backlash"?
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2014, 11:15:22 AM »
I wouldn't bother with a reply to the "that's no excuse" text.

kudeebee

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Re: How to deal with the "backlash"?
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2014, 06:50:58 PM »
I wouldn't even reply to the last text.  You can't control how others react, only how you do.  Realize that not everyone will gracefully accept a decline from you and don't let it bother you.  I have to agree with toots, stop talking with him about it.  You declined and told him why, you don't need to carry on the conversation further.

greencat

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Re: How to deal with the "backlash"?
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2014, 08:02:41 PM »
I really strongly suspect that the "NO EXCUSE" in all caps and over text was probably a joke.  I know my social circle makes that kind of joke a lot - there was a running gag out of posting "UNACCEPTABLE" on the declines for one event.  Similarly, out-of-town friends who can't come for obvious reasons get threatened with a kidnapping and plane trip to attend.

Ask your friend when else they can squeeze in dinner or something this week.

TurtleDove

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Re: How to deal with the "backlash"?
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2014, 09:08:15 PM »
Yeah, I agree with greencat. I don't see any actual animosity or backlash but more joking. I do still think the OP is the one who made the faux pas though.

lollylegs

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Re: How to deal with the "backlash"?
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2014, 02:19:03 AM »
I really strongly suspect that the "NO EXCUSE" in all caps and over text was probably a joke.  I know my social circle makes that kind of joke a lot - there was a running gag out of posting "UNACCEPTABLE" on the declines for one event.  Similarly, out-of-town friends who can't come for obvious reasons get threatened with a kidnapping and plane trip to attend.

Ask your friend when else they can squeeze in dinner or something this week.

Yeah. The OP knows her friends better than we do so maybe there's some history or personality elements at play here but in my group of friends, there's no way that would be taken as anything other than a joke.