Author Topic: Drawing the line in a classmate friendship? (Update OP Page 2)  (Read 10028 times)

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weeblewobble

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Re: Drawing the line in a classmate friendship?
« Reply #15 on: June 26, 2012, 05:02:41 PM »
POD to Jocelyn.  I ran into the grandfather of a high school friend a few years ago.  He went on and on about how rough his life was now that he and my friend's grandmother were divorced after "fifty wonderful years of marriage."  About how none of his kids talked to him anymore because his ex had turned them against him.  And how his grandkids, including my friend, wouldn't send him so much as a birthday or Christmas card now, after all he'd done for them.

The next time I saw my friend, I mentioned that I saw her grandpa.  Before I even mentioned his sob stories, she sighed, "Let me guess, he's a poor lonely man, abandoned by his family, right?"  Turns out the reason grandma left him after "fifty wonderful years" of marriage was that he was a serial cheater who drank his paycheck and blamed his wife and kids for "peeing his money away" with their spoiled selfish ways.  You know, spoiled as in expecting to be fed.  When grandpa retired and was home all day with grandma, she realized she couldn't spend her few remaining years living day-in-and-day-out with his complaints, blame games and manipulations.  So she divorced him with her kids' support.

Just because someone is old, doesn't mean they're a nice person.  Sometimes, if they're lonely, that's the harvest what they're reaping for their choices.

blarg314

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Re: Drawing the line in a classmate friendship?
« Reply #16 on: June 26, 2012, 11:59:10 PM »

Just because someone is old, doesn't mean they're a nice person.  Sometimes, if they're lonely, that's the harvest what they're reaping for their choices.

Yeah, I'd really like to hear what his son says about him, for example.

It sounds like he's a bad combination of leech and exaggerator. Any sort of friendly contact is an excuse to latch on to someone, and start sucking. No matter how much time or energy or effort you give to him, he'll want more. You'll visit him at the hospital, drive him to class, be a partner in his business, and he'll turn around and expect you to nurse him through his illness.  And you can't believe even his most basic statements, because he's always exaggerating to make himself look more important, his family more neglectful, his illness more dire, his business ideas cooler....

It does occur to me that you're all excusing a *lot* of bad behaviour on the grounds that he's old and lonely. If a 40 year old man with whom you had a casual acquaintanceship with was phoning you multiple times a day, insisting that you drive with him to class (or meet him to take the bus together), trying to coerce you into being business partners, and displaying a borderline obsession about your pregnancy, you'd be thinking more "restraining order" that "it's sad that he's lonely".

This behaviour sounds so ingrained in him that unless it's a recent development due to senility or other mental illness, he's probably been like this his entire life.

The business part you can address directly. Email him, and explain that while you were happy to chat about his business with him, you've realized that he has way over-estimatd how involved you will become. You will not be becoming a partner or employee or in any other way officially involved with his business plans, although you wish him the best.  If it comes up in conversation with classmates, make it clear that you aren't involved with the business, regardless of what he says.

For the clinic, I'd talk to the nurses and your gynecologist. Mention that you've recently become acquainted with John through a class, and he's displaying more interest in your pregnancy than you're comfortable with. You know that they have strict rules about information/visitors, you just want to make it clear that John is not authorized for *any* information or visitation when it comes to you. Then they have the information they need to keep your privacy.

For the rest - back off hard. If he calls and you pick up, you can make excuses. It's too late, it's too early, you're busy, you're expecting a call from a client, you're in the middle of dinner, you're about to go out the door, etc.

Become a brick wall when he tries to push boundaries. He wants to drive. "No, that's not possible". He's insisting on you drinking his beer "I told you I don't want to drink it. Drop the subject *now*" and then ignore him completely, no matter what he says. 

I suspect, however,  that you won't be able to manage to maintain a casual friendship with someone who has this level of leechiness, and eventually you will drop the contact completely.



portabella

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Re: Drawing the line in a classmate friendship?
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2012, 10:55:57 PM »
Quote
But I still feel like a jerk for wanting my distance   

Why?  There is nothing wrong with wanting to distance yourself from this imposing, annoying person.  IMO you have given him way too much latitude, and you've agreed to go along with him on too many things.  That's why he keeps pushing.

Touching your stomach . . .asking the name of your gynecologist . . . wanting to drive you around . . .
Do you know how creepy this is?

Frankly, I'm seeing obsessive/compulsive - almost stalker behavior (or something very close to it).  80 yrs old or not, he's manipulative.  Be careful, and learn to say "No".

« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 11:03:39 PM by portabella »
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poundcake

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Re: Drawing the line in a classmate friendship?
« Reply #18 on: June 28, 2012, 05:45:14 PM »
POD portabella. People, women especially, need to get over the "I have to be nice!" guilt. You can be polite and firm without having to be everyone's bff, especially at your own expense.

bopper

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Re: Drawing the line in a classmate friendship?
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2012, 09:51:21 AM »
I would start drawing boundaries now.  You and the rest of the class are becoming this guys social support system.

Try to avoid his calls. If you happen to talk to him, then ask questions like "Why are you calling me now?"
or "I can't talk, it is dinner time." (but then do not mention calling another time.)

Also I think that going into business with this guy would be a nightmare.  "Olddude, I need to let you know now that I will not be able to go into business with you.  DH and I discussed it and I won't be making any commitments at this point due to the baby. Best of luck."

Syrse

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Re: Drawing the line in a classmate friendship?
« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2012, 12:58:21 PM »
OP here with an update:

John called me up today. His last call was on Tuesday, at which time I told him it was too early (8:30) and to call me back later. So he waited 4 whole days, which seems like a good start.

He asked me about what we saw in the class that he missed, which is a reasonable question, so I answered it. He asked me at what time the next class started. Again, reasonable request, even though I'm pretty sure he wrote it down, but hey, it's been confusing setting the dates so that all the students could make it, we've had some last minute changes.
He then told me he asked teacher to give the new syllabus to me or student x to give to him. I explained that the school messed up, and didn't print enough syllabuses (not a lie, there weren't enough to go around). He accepted that explanation without a fuss.
He then said he'd try to be in next class... and starts to deviate to 'but it's been really rough the last few days...' so I cut him off right away with a very friendly 'and that's exactly why you have to rest, so that you can get better soon and come in for the next class. I shall see you next week.'
He tried it again in a different variation, I rinsed, lathered, repeated. Got an 'Oh, ok. See you then!' And he hung up.

Hooray!  ;D

Two more classes to go...

(as a side note: he has no computer, so no email, no facebook. A blessing really...)

poundcake

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Re: Drawing the line in a classmate friendship? (Update OP Page 2)
« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2012, 04:17:46 PM »
Good for you. Once you've absolved yourself of guilt or responsibility for his well-being, saying no should come easier. You have enough to take care of between school and your pregnancy. And I would guess that he will soon move on to new friend victims.

Syrse

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Re: Drawing the line in a classmate friendship? (Update OP Page 2)
« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2012, 05:21:42 PM »
OP here again.

It's been a while since the classes ended, and for a while I didn't hear from John, and I was hoping that was the end of it.

However, he went back to calling me from time to time. I decided to just not pick up my phone. After all, how many times can you call someone who doesn't pick up before you have to get the hint, right? Yeah, it's not working. He calls about once a week, and last time he left a message on my voicemail saying it's not going well, that he had another surgery and almost died, and that he is finding it very odd that he hasn't heard from me in such a long while.

I was really, really hoping he'd get the hint, and for now, I'm just not picking up the phone, but I'm getting quite tired of him calling me in the first place. Do you think it would help if I sent him a message or something? Something along the lines of that I'm very busy with my newborn daughter and not at all spending time on class stuff anymore. Then again, I'm afraid that if I show him any kind of attention, he'll go right back to calling me more frequently.

So yeah... options? Do I just keep on ignoring his calls?

dawbs

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Re: Drawing the line in a classmate friendship? (Update OP Page 2)
« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2012, 05:31:57 PM »
"John, it sounds like your life is really challenging.
I'm not in a position to be able to give you the ssort of assistance it sounds like you need.
I really recommend you seek some professional help at this point
(optional:  This is the number for *insert helpful service here.  Tri County office on aging.  Elder Care numbers.  The state helpline.  whatever*, they may be able to help you)"

poundcake

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Re: Drawing the line in a classmate friendship? (Update OP Page 2)
« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2012, 05:35:51 PM »
I'm guessing, much like with any near harassment situation, any attention will only compound the problem. I wouldn't answer or respond at all. Can you block his number?

Syrse

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Re: Drawing the line in a classmate friendship? (Update OP Page 2)
« Reply #25 on: October 20, 2012, 05:41:52 PM »
I'm guessing, much like with any near harassment situation, any attention will only compound the problem. I wouldn't answer or respond at all. Can you block his number?

I'm afraid that If I block his number, he'll try to call me up with another phone. Once he was staying at the hospital and he was picking up phones left and right to call me. I'd rather recognize the number than to have him catch me by surprise.

And I really don't want to change my own number: I'm a freelancer, so that would only harm my own bussiness.

jedikaiti

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Re: Drawing the line in a classmate friendship? (Update OP Page 2)
« Reply #26 on: October 20, 2012, 06:48:52 PM »
Give him one warning - dawbs has a great script for that.

If he keeps calling, keep not answering. If he surprises you from a different number, the baby's crying, the cat's on fire, and you need to go.
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RegionMom

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Re: Drawing the line in a classmate friendship? (Update OP Page 2)
« Reply #27 on: October 20, 2012, 07:27:17 PM »
Congrats on your sweet new baby girl!

You can use her as an excuse not to visit or talk.  You are not in class with him now, and you are most likely not looking to go into partnering with him in his new business venture, even if it is taking off now.

Tell him that your life is focused differently right now, that you wish him well, and good-bye. 

You did not need the stress then and you do not need it now. NO is a complete sentence.   ;)
Fear is temporary...Regret is forever.

blarg314

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Re: Drawing the line in a classmate friendship? (Update OP Page 2)
« Reply #28 on: October 20, 2012, 09:51:08 PM »

Is it possible to set the phone to a silent ring tone when he calls?

I agree withothers that responding is a bad idea, beyond a single, very clear message saying nothing beyond "Do not contact me again" (possibly by registered mail, with a reference to a lawyer)  If you answer, he'll know that he's found the level of obnoxiousness it takes to get a response from you.

poundcake

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Re: Drawing the line in a classmate friendship? (Update OP Page 2)
« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2012, 05:20:35 AM »
I still think that most likely any attention will only feed the problem, but it may be time for you to say or write to him, "John, my priorities have changed and my life is very busy. I'm not interested in maintaining a friendship.* I wish you well, but please do not contact me ever again, for any reason."

Unfortunately, he is going to make you be the bad guy in this so that he can continue to play the victim. So you have to choose which option is least painful for you, months and possibly years of ignoring phone calls, or a direct statement that may or may not work. Do you know how any of your other former classmates have dealt with him? I'm going to guess that you won't be the only person from class to have to tell him to stop calling you and never talk to you again. In fact, I'd bet money on it.

Quote
I know a classmate of mine actually used her boyfriend as the perfect excuse. She told John flat out that contact with another man was simply not done in this volume, no matter what his age, so why was he calling her outside of class, why did he need to know her home address? And that was the end of that, apparently. But I'd rather not have DH sort out my mess.


This may still be an option. I'm not saying have your DH sort out your mess as you put it. But just include that in your statement. "DH does not appreciate your intrusion in our lives, either" may be the extra touch Mr. Harassing needs to realize that he can't continue to contact you, because "you" isn't just the passive little gal he can manipulate.

*Do not say "at this time" because he will glom onto that and continue to contact you wanting to know if you have time now.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2012, 05:29:02 AM by poundcake »