Author Topic: A friend took offense on my behalf. Should I comment on it?  (Read 5403 times)

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BC12

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A good friend, "Junior," who I've known since high school, came back to town for a long visit and has been visiting our home regularly. On a couple of occasions, he brought with him another friend we knew from high school, "Ken," who I have not kept in contact with. We didn't mind the extra company and actually enjoyed Ken's presence.

Recently, Junior told me that he and Ken had a falling out after visiting our home one night. Apparently, Junior had gotten upset at Ken for making some off-color jokes and statements in my presence (because I'm a delicate female, I guess?) and Ken thought Junior was overreacting. They also had it out over other issues unrelated to me, so there was more to it than Ken's potty mouth. Junior and Ken are no longer speaking to each other.

I feel badly that my name was even mentioned during their argument, and like I had something to do with it. The thing is, I wasn't even offended by anything Ken said that night. Yes, he made some raunchy jokes, but I'm not sensitive to that kind of thing and just groaned and laughed them off at the time.

I don't want Ken thinking that he upset me or did anything wrong as a guest in my home. Ken and I are not what I would consider "friends"  and probably never really will be, but I liked him well enough and don't want there to be any awkwardness should we ever run into each other again.

I do happen to have Ken's phone number. Should I contact him to let him know that he didn't offend me? Just a quick, "By the way, I heard about Junior getting upset with you and wanted to let you know that we enjoyed having you over and would welcome having you as a guest again."? Would I be making my friend Junior look foolish by doing this? I don't want it to look like I'm saying, "Yeah, I don't know what Junior's problem is" because I suppose Junior did have a valid point in trying to keep his friend in check since Ken was his "date," for lack of a better word.

On the other hand, maybe I should do nothing about it, since, really, I didn't do anything wrong and maybe their disagreement is none of my business.

Thoughts?

cicero

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Re: A friend took offense on my behalf. Should I comment on it?
« Reply #1 on: July 01, 2012, 06:04:32 AM »


On the other hand, maybe I should do nothing about it, since, really, I didn't do anything wrong and maybe their disagreement is none of my business.

Thoughts?
i would stay  out of it.

and even you say that the falling out was about other things as well.

and it wasn't *really* about you, it was about Ken's potty mouth.

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TheVapors

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Re: A friend took offense on my behalf. Should I comment on it?
« Reply #2 on: July 01, 2012, 06:05:00 AM »
I wouldn't get in the middle of it.

You say that Junior and Ken had some other issues come up, so who knows exactly what triggered that set of explosions. It could have been that this was the last straw for Junior on top of whatever other things he was holding against Ken.

If you see Ken around. Smile. Say Hi. Say you enjoyed having him over. (Or anything else truthful.) Don't bring up Junior or any fighting. Just act as you would around him if you happen to see him. Wish him a good day or what have you.

I would probably tell Junior that while I appreciate him looking out for me, that I can stand up for myself and for my own sense of decency when it's needed. But, of course, YMMV there depending on many things.

BC12

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Re: A friend took offense on my behalf. Should I comment on it?
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2012, 06:43:55 AM »
Thank you both for your advice. I was leaning mostly toward not saying anything, but I hate thinking that someone might think I'm mad at them when I'm really not!

I would probably tell Junior that while I appreciate him looking out for me, that I can stand up for myself and for my own sense of decency when it's needed.

I definitely did tell Junior that I wasn't offended and that he didn't need to make an issue out of it, but his answer to that was that Ken was his guest and that it reflected badly on him and that he needs to try to make sure that anyone he brings to our home should act right. I suppose I agree with this in a way, because if Ken were spitting on our carpet, for example, I would appreciate it if Junior told him to cut it the heck out and/or take him home. Then again, I'm responsible for my own guests (including guests of guests) and am capable of controlling what happens in my house.

I don't know. I just feel weird about this whole thing.

SleepyKitty

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Re: A friend took offense on my behalf. Should I comment on it?
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2012, 10:45:33 AM »
I would feel pretty weird about it too. I think what you might want to try communicating to Junior is that, while you appreciate his concern that his guests behave appropriately, he ought to be using the standards of your home, not his own standards, since everyone was at your home. If Junior himself was offended by the statements, that's one thing, but it's not right to 1) decide for someone else what offends them, and 2) use that imagined offense to chastise another person.

I'm not sure why such a situation would bother me so much - maybe because Junior is using you without ever actually taking you as a person (and your beliefs/non-offenses) into consideration. It's like he's saying that he knows best what is and isn't offensive in your home, and rather than allow you to handle it, he's going to wait and deal with it himself. Junior's intentions might have been good, but that doesn't change the fact that his actions made you uncomfortable. It's kind of patronizing, that he felt like the delicate creature had to have her honor defended - but in secret. If he was really so upset on your behalf, why wait until after they left? Why not simply say something like, "That's not really appropriate, Ken," right after Ken made one of those comments? Why deliberately cut out you, the person who was supposedly offended, from the solution? It just doesn't make sense. I don't see at all why you shouldn't try to address Junior again and find a way to articulate why the whole situation made you uncomfortable. I wouldn't seek Ken out, necessarily, but I would address it further with Junior.

O'Dell

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Re: A friend took offense on my behalf. Should I comment on it?
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2012, 12:04:45 PM »
Thank you both for your advice. I was leaning mostly toward not saying anything, but I hate thinking that someone might think I'm mad at them when I'm really not!

I would probably tell Junior that while I appreciate him looking out for me, that I can stand up for myself and for my own sense of decency when it's needed.

I definitely did tell Junior that I wasn't offended and that he didn't need to make an issue out of it, but his answer to that was that Ken was his guest and that it reflected badly on him and that he needs to try to make sure that anyone he brings to our home should act right. I suppose I agree with this in a way, because if Ken were spitting on our carpet, for example, I would appreciate it if Junior told him to cut it the heck out and/or take him home. Then again, I'm responsible for my own guests (including guests of guests) and am capable of controlling what happens in my house.

I don't know. I just feel weird about this whole thing.

I too think you should stay out of it. Junior was offended by Ken's behavior and made it known to Ken. It wasn't about "you". Your name only came into it because by chance Ken exhibited that behavior in your presence and home.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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jpcher

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Re: A friend took offense on my behalf. Should I comment on it?
« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2012, 12:09:43 PM »
First thing I want to say is BC12 -- stay out of it.

Mostly because what's done is done. I think it would just widen the rift (between Ken and Junior) if you told Ken what Junior told you and could possibly cause a rift between you and Junior if Ken goes back to Junior and says "BC12 said that I was okay, so you were completely wrong! Plllbbbhhht!"

If you see Ken around. Smile. Say Hi. Say you enjoyed having him over. (Or anything else truthful.) Don't bring up Junior or any fighting. Just act as you would around him if you happen to see him. Wish him a good day or what have you.

I agree. Act like the conversation between you and Junior never took place.



Second thing I want to ask (hopefully not a derailment, if so, my apologies. I do think this is a relevant topic, though.):

If you bring a friend over to someone's home where the host/ess is particular on certain things (like crass jokes/potty mouth) do you warn your friend before you bring them into host/ess' home?

(There's back story examples, but I won't expound unless asked by the OP.)

Free Range Hippy Chick

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Re: A friend took offense on my behalf. Should I comment on it?
« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2012, 12:41:04 PM »
Stay out of it. You already know that "They also had it out over other issues unrelated to me, so there was more to it than Ken's potty mouth.". So really, you don't know for certain if the start of the disagreement was what was said in your hearing, or if that was a secondary theme once they'd begun a quarrel on some completely different subject. You know how, once a fight begins, it can run off into a list of completely irrelevant and frequently ridiculous topics via accusations of "and another thing!" and suddenly the fight which was to do with whether or not the other person borrowed your phone and broke the screen appears to be about whether or not you used the last of the ketchup and put the empty bottle back in the cupboard instead of opening a new one and writing it on the shopping list, with a side order of your personal responsibility for the outbreak of measles at the primary school and by the way, I hate you, I've always hated you and your feet smell.

No good can come of involving yourself, and actually I would have said that the most likely result would be that they make up their quarrel and then both agree that the person most at fault was you.

TootsNYC

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Re: A friend took offense on my behalf. Should I comment on it?
« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2012, 05:04:47 PM »
I think Junior is absolutely entitled to say, "this is what I define as acceptable behavior, and I do not want to be friends with someone who does not agree."

He is entitled to be offended by the way his friend acted in your home or in your presence. That fact that it was your home is completely irrelevant. He's not barring Ken from your home. He's ejecting him from the friendship, and THAT does not involve your standards or your home or your name.

YOU may not have minded, but Junior did, and he's entitled to mind, in the context of his own friendship with Ken. I also think he's entitled to say to you, "the way Ken acted is not acceptable to me, and it's not something I would want you to associate with me." That's managing his reputation with you, and he gets to decide that he wants you to know he values a non-potty mouth.

I agree that you should leave it alone. The best way to prevent awkwardness, should you ever encounter Ken again, is simply to act as though you don't know anything about it, and to simply be friendly to Ken. If you didn't act offended that night, he probably doesn't blame you at all.

BC12

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Re: A friend took offense on my behalf. Should I comment on it?
« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2012, 06:21:44 PM »
Thanks everyone. You all made some really good points that I hadn't considered. I will be staying out of it.

Second thing I want to ask (hopefully not a derailment, if so, my apologies. I do think this is a relevant topic, though.):

If you bring a friend over to someone's home where the host/ess is particular on certain things (like crass jokes/potty mouth) do you warn your friend before you bring them into host/ess' home?

(There's back story examples, but I won't expound unless asked by the OP.)

I'd say yes, you should warn your friend. But I'd love to hear the back story examples. Be my guest.

Thanks again, everyone. :)

BC12

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Re: A friend took offense on my behalf. Should I comment on it?
« Reply #10 on: July 01, 2012, 06:31:54 PM »
I think Junior is absolutely entitled to say, "this is what I define as acceptable behavior, and I do not want to be friends with someone who does not agree."

He is absolutely entitled to say that and to not be friends with someone if he doesn't want to be. I'm just a little miffed that he made it about me, i.e. "You shouldn't have said that in front of BC" vs. "I, Junior, find your behavior unacceptable."

He should have left me out of it. I think I will have a chat with Junior about that. He has a tendency to do things like this. I don't want it happening again.

Allyson

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Re: A friend took offense on my behalf. Should I comment on it?
« Reply #11 on: July 01, 2012, 07:00:29 PM »
Junior should have left you out of it. I've seen this sort of thing before--I think it comes from the view that it's more noble/honourable to stand up for someone else (particularly a woman) than for oneself. I see this a lot--people saying how they have no problem stepping in for someone else being mistreated, but will let themselves be walked all over.

But, it is patronizing--it assumes you're offended, first of all. And it also assumes that if you were offended, you couldn't deal with it yourself. It would be one thing had you approached Junior and said 'some of these comments are making me really uncomfortable, but I don't feel like I know him well enough to say something--I would really appreciate you handling it' and he had. But that didn't happen.

It comes off as though Junior thinks Ken's comments would've been fine had you not been there, but either they were so bothersome that your presence shouldn't make a difference as Junior would be offended either way, or they were on the edge, and you weren't upset, so no big deal.

Sharnita

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Re: A friend took offense on my behalf. Should I comment on it?
« Reply #12 on: July 01, 2012, 07:02:38 PM »
Thanks everyone. You all made some really good points that I hadn't considered. I will be staying out of it.

Second thing I want to ask (hopefully not a derailment, if so, my apologies. I do think this is a relevant topic, though.):

If you bring a friend over to someone's home where the host/ess is particular on certain things (like crass jokes/potty mouth) do you warn your friend before you bring them into host/ess' home?

(There's back story examples, but I won't expound unless asked by the OP.)
I agree, assuming you've noticed a difference between the host's standards and your friend's standards.
I'd say yes, you should warn your friend. But I'd love to hear the back story examples. Be my guest.

Thanks again, everyone. :)

BC12

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Re: A friend took offense on my behalf. Should I comment on it?
« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2012, 07:44:06 AM »
A funny thing happened last night and I figured I'd share it with you guys.

So Junior, you know, the guy who thought that Ken's crass jokes were unacceptable in my presence, spent some time at our home last night and had some stories to tell us (husband and I.) One of the stories Junior started telling was about an intimate encounter Junior had with a woman I know as an acquaintance. He described to us the feel and texture of certain of her upper body parts and other things.

At this point, I had to put my hand up and tell him that he was giving us way too many details. This is just entirely none of our business and I shouldn't know these things about her.

So it turns out that Junior's words actually made me more uncomfortable than Ken's dumb jokes ever did. Imagine that.

Anyway, this doesn't change the fact that I'm not going to get involved. Just thought it was funny.

jpcher

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Re: A friend took offense on my behalf. Should I comment on it?
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2012, 02:38:26 PM »
Your last post is quite ironic.

I almost would have been tempted to say something to Junior at that point . . . "and your story is better than Ken's joke? In what way?" But I think it was very wise of you to do exactly what you did and keep Ken out of it.

Good job! ;D




As for my back stories (thanks, BC12) -- it's about my parents (and aunt's & uncles) who are very straight-laced. Me, being raised by them, would never dream of telling an off-color joke or using bad language or even drinking/smoking in front of them. It was all "mind your P's & Q's."

The Me-who-was-raised-by-them (also the black-sheep in the family) would always warn friends to be on their best behavior.

Even when I met LDH (in my 30s) I asked him to please be polite the first time he met my parents. Not that he was overly crass or off color or rude, but in my eyes he didn't live up to my parents standards. I didn't want him telling my parents stories of when he was at a frat party and, well, you know how those things go.

But, then again, he was high-level management so I'm sure he knew how to handle himself in a "different world" type of situation.

I was trying to protect the host/ess (my parents) from a "shocking" evening.

Then there's the story about my parents meeting my LFIL! Oy! He was a piece of work . . . rude, crass, naughty jokes, all over insults being funny. But I loved him dearly. He had a heart of gold.

I asked LDH to "please control your father when he meets my parents." LDH said "So you want my father to not be himself?" What a slap in the face wake-up call that was.



That's why I wondered if it's really okay to warn a guest that you're bringing to another person's home on how to behave.

That's also why I think that Junior was wrong in bringing up your sensibilities (is that the right word?) to Ken in the first place.