Author Topic: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? Update New Question #48  (Read 12756 times)

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TheVapors

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? LONG x 10
« Reply #15 on: September 12, 2012, 06:52:38 AM »
Just adding my agreement with everyone.

Tomas owes no apology. He has every right, and every ability to choose who he wishes to associate with.

Jen's mentor needs to be on board with this right away, and Jen needs to be on some sort of watch-list. Maybe she can't be officially kicked out, but she can sure be shunned for her behavior.

O'Dell

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? LONG x 10
« Reply #16 on: September 12, 2012, 07:00:15 AM »
If this is the group I think it is, there's no mechanism for kicking someone out.

Then people need to freeze her out. Even if it's the people in the know, including Nutella and Tomas.

Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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JenJay

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? LONG x 10
« Reply #17 on: September 12, 2012, 08:00:07 AM »
Poor Tomas! Not only do I think he handled himself well, I think if a few others would step up and be honest the higher-ups (meaning the people in positions to deny him further opportunities) would see that he isn't the problem. It'd be a shame if he was slowly blackballed because nobody else has the courage to call Jen out for her behavior.

atirial

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? LONG x 10
« Reply #18 on: September 12, 2012, 08:25:59 AM »
If this is the group I think it is, there's no mechanism for kicking someone out.

Then people need to freeze her out. Even if it's the people in the know, including Nutella and Tomas.
POD. Tomas is owed an apology, Jen is not.

Jen may not know this, but the things she has been saying about Tomas have already had a severe effect, in that she's told important people in the club these warped untruths, and they now believe he is unkind and cruel.  His prospects have been affected, perhaps permanently. 
Just to state if this is the case Tomas should absolutely not apologise.  It just gives Jen more ammunition.

Also, if you know that Jen's lies are going to damage Tomas, this is one of the few situations where other people need to get involved to make sure the leaders know what is really going on. It is very difficult for someone to clear their name without support, since those who heard the slander are pre-disposed to believe it.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2012, 08:29:19 AM by atirial »

Roe

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? LONG x 10
« Reply #19 on: September 12, 2012, 08:53:48 AM »
Add me to the group that doesn't understand why she's still allowed to participate?! 

And how does one "make" you promise?  People like Jen succeed when people do nothing to stand up for one another.  It's way past time to shine that spine. 

TootsNYC

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? LONG x 10
« Reply #20 on: September 12, 2012, 10:20:21 AM »

Jen may not know this, but the things she has been saying about Tomas have already had a severe effect, in that she's told important people in the club these warped untruths, and they now believe he is unkind and cruel.  His prospects have been affected, perhaps permanently. 
Just to state if this is the case Tomas should absolutely not apologise.  It just gives Jen more ammunition.

Also, if you know that Jen's lies are going to damage Tomas, this is one of the few situations where other people need to get involved to make sure the leaders know what is really going on. It is very difficult for someone to clear their name without support, since those who heard the slander are pre-disposed to believe it.


Yep. The one thing you can do it to step up a defense campaign for Tomas. And Tomas should also start acting like someone who is very wronged.

And he should refuse to participate in anything w/ Jen, and refuse to talk to her, and be extra-friendly and nice to anyone else he can find. And people who like him should make a point to talk about him in a positive way (without ever mentioning Jen and the dispute), w/ specific examples of how he was helpful, kind, thoughtful, came through in a clinch, friendly, etc.

Public relations, reputation building, that is called.

It'll take a little while, but it'll work.

secretrebel

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? LONG x 10
« Reply #21 on: September 12, 2012, 11:26:50 AM »
Jen may not know this, but the things she has been saying about Tomas have already had a severe effect, in that she's told important people in the club these warped untruths, and they now believe he is unkind and cruel.  His prospects have been affected, perhaps permanently. 

She might not know it but it's what she intended. And I'd think less of the hobby club for thinking less of Tomas as a result of Jen's badmouthing of him.

If the hobby club continues to enable Jen and brush her behaviour under the rug it will end up all Jens and no Tomases. That's the price you pay/

I'm not sure what the mediation is supposed to accomplish. Jen won't change and if I were Tomas I would resent being dragged to a big emotional meeting where I was encouraged to apologise for being brusque with someone who would not take no for an answer.

johelenc1

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? LONG x 10
« Reply #22 on: September 14, 2012, 12:45:59 AM »
My first thought was, "there is no way that meeting is going to end well."  I just do not see it happening.  Jen feels very wronged and very much the victim.  Not only is she not going to apologize, I suspect she will work very hard to hold on to that position - as the victim - not the aggressor.

My second thought about the meeting is this:  what do you hope to accomplish by getting Jen and Tomas to hash it out?

If the goal is to get them to apologize to each other - again, I think this is never going to happen.  Even if she does manage some kind of apology, Jen will then likely go and tell anybody who will listen how everyone attacked her at this meeting, etc., etc. and she is still the victim. 

If the goal is to help Jen see what she has done to Tomas - this would best be accomplished with a meeting of just Jen, her mentor and you (if applicable).  Maybe just her mentor.

If the goal is to address all the other stuff Jen has done - again, Jen, Mentor and OP.

I actually don't see any benefit at all to a meeting between Jen and Tomas.  Part of the second goal's meeting would include instructions about what she needs to do next : stop talking about Tomas, stay away from him, ...whatever you want her to do.

Statements like, "I can't be in this (new) group if someone so aggressive will be in charge..." should be answered with a shrug and "ok, that's fine.  I'm sure you can find another group because Tomas is in charge of this one." 

And, there may not be an official way to kick her out of the group, but the group's individuals can choose to interact with her - or not.  Members bothered by her behavior in general and of Tomas can simply refuse to go to events she organizes, be friendly other than polite to her, invite her to things, etc.  If she asks why, she can be told.   If members who know the truth about Tomas stand up for him and align themselves both physically and verbally with him (ie: attend things he organizes, etc.) it will get around.


Margo

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? LONG x 10
« Reply #23 on: September 14, 2012, 06:56:28 AM »
Quote
But can you tell me, do you feel Tomas was justified in saying he doesn't want to have a friendship with her, after her repeated patterns of behavior?  Does he owe her a major apology for saying things so bluntly?

Yes, absolutely Tomas was justified.
No, he does not owe Jen any apology, major or minor.

It sounds as though Jen owes Tomas an apology for her totally inappropriate behaviour. She also owes apologies to the other members who have been a victim of her behaviour.

I think it would be a huge mistake for Tomas to apologise in any way. Doing so sends Jen a very clear message that her behaviour is acceptable, and tat bullying others will be rewarded. That also sends a terrible message to other members, that it is no use standing up to Jen, or resisting her bullying, because it won't be addressed.

I think Jen's mentor, and anyone else in a senior position needs to make it very clear that her behaviour is not acceptable. I think she needs to be told that she owes Tomas, and the others who have been affected, an apology and the organisation as a whole needs to think about what they can do to protect their members from bullying of this kind. If there are no mechanisms at present for people to be excluded or suspended then possibly thought needs to be given to whether some need to be introduced.

It sounds as though you are anxious to smooth things over, but it seems as though the proposed solution treats Tomas and Jen as though they are equally to blame, and that simply isn't true. Jen isn't 'sensitive', she is selfish. She isn't going to change unless her bad behaviour has consequences.

If Jen can't or won't apologise and change how she behaves then I think you (the organisation) owe it to Tomas and to the other members to make some sort of public statement, explicitly setting the record straight and exonerating Tomas from the lies which Jen has spread about him, and to do the same for other victims of Jen's behaviour, particularly if her actions are having the effect of unjustly damaging others reputations and prospects. If the organisation does not  take steps to deal with this issue then it is just as culpable as Jen is, for the effects of her behaviour.

And if the upshot is that Jen walks out, so be it.

Queen of Clubs

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? LONG x 10
« Reply #24 on: September 14, 2012, 09:32:48 AM »
It sounds as though you are anxious to smooth things over, but it seems as though the proposed solution treats Tomas and Jen as though they are equally to blame, and that simply isn't true. Jen isn't 'sensitive', she is selfish. She isn't going to change unless her bad behaviour has consequences.

If Jen can't or won't apologise and change how she behaves then I think you (the organisation) owe it to Tomas and to the other members to make some sort of public statement, explicitly setting the record straight and exonerating Tomas from the lies which Jen has spread about him, and to do the same for other victims of Jen's behaviour, particularly if her actions are having the effect of unjustly damaging others reputations and prospects. If the organisation does not  take steps to deal with this issue then it is just as culpable as Jen is, for the effects of her behaviour.

And if the upshot is that Jen walks out, so be it.

I agree with all of Margo's post, but especially this part.  I feel really sorry for Tomas.  He's been maligned and he's being asked to play nice with his slanderer.  I hope I'm wrong, but it also sounds as though the organisation isn't interested in clearing Tomas's name.  So, to keep Jen happy, you'll have Tomas apologise to her, accept the blackening of his name and the cold shoulder from those who believe Jen's lies?  Why should Tomas accept this treatment?  And how many members will be damaged by Jen (because she won't stop at one victim, especially not when she's so successful) before the organisation realises it's better to expose Jen than have good and productive members driven away?

bopper

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? LONG x 10
« Reply #25 on: September 14, 2012, 09:47:49 AM »
And how many members will be damaged by Jen (because she won't stop at one victim, especially not when she's so successful) before the organisation realises it's better to expose Jen than have good and productive members driven away?

I think that the OP(Jen's friend?) should talk to the powers that be and say that they really need to evaluate how to handle Jen.
She has lots of enthusiasm, that is true, and an organization needs that.  However, she doesn't have follow through.  She also thinks she is in charge when she is not.  So they can do everything they want to protect her, but how many new people will stop coming because they showed up to a dark room when they thought there was an event. How many existing members will stop going to meetings because of her?
Now you aren't saying to kick her out..you are saying that the powers that be need to limit her scope.   Like if she was at work she would need a performance improvement plan. She is not to lead any more meetings until she proves she can be trusted.  She is not to get involved or comment on any subgroup that she does not belong to.  SHe can only belong to 1 or 2 subgroups.   She is not to dump her work on other people and other people have the right to say no to her if she asks for help.  SHe is basically biting off more than she can chew and other people are being affected by that.


We had a church youth group leader somewhat like that. Originally he and his sister lead the youth.  They were both full of ideas and I think the sister was the one actually getting things done.  But something happened and the sister dropped out...I thought maybe because they could not agree on a direction or maybe something else, but then he was left in charge. WHen you are all ideas and enthusiasm but no follow through, that is not a good thing. Reservations need to be made at the retreat.  Plans need to be made.  Or if you spend your money so that the boys can go up near the front at the concert festival...it is not good to do nothing for the girls.  I think he ended up hurting the program because some people stopped going and it has taken a while to get it back up to full speed.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2012, 09:51:12 AM by bopper »

NutellaNut

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? LONG x 10
« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2012, 11:39:18 AM »
OP here with some updates!

First, to reply to a couple of questions: the club doesn't really have a good mechanism for kicking someone out, unless the infractions are so severe they involve criminal charges.  Documenting some of the more egregious issues proved very difficult, as little was done in writing.  So we don't have proof of some of her ill behaviors and can't confront her about them in a useful way.

We held the meeting.  Overall, I believed it was successful.  Jen made a half-hearted apology "I'm sorry *if* I upset anyone, I never would have meant anything like that..." while Tomas made, in my opinion, a more sincere apology, because he does feel that he lost it when she pushed, and he regrets that.  However, though he apologized, he made it clear that there was a pattern of behavior on her part which pushed him to the limit, and that we needed to create a way to get her to back off when needed.  Jen resisted this idea, and tried to manipulate the meeting by crying at the idea that people were thinking "bad things" about her (she even said at one point, "I'm sorry about crying, but it's what girls do, right?  'Cause it works!" Which I thought was a very telling statement).  However, everyone at the meeting was pretty strong (while staying polite and compassionate in their wording) that she has some behavioral issues that she needs to correct.  Eventually Jen was forced to agree to some measures to help with things in the future, the two of them agreed to be cordial when necessary for dealing with each other, and the meeting ended.  Some of us at the meeting knew that this was only a stopgap measure and that we would have to be on the alert for future problems, but felt it was a good first step.

Since the meeting I have continued to work with her, as our positions required it.  She has been not easy to deal with, continuing her demanding, procrastinating, and mooching ways, but I have endeavored to be firm about my personal boundaries while still being polite.  Not always an easy job!  There have been some major frustrations with a couple of projects but I am learning to shrug and let things fail if they have to.  It is hard when some of these projects are dear to my heart, and affect other people. 

At one point in the last month, I happened to look up Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Jen has displayed 13 out of 14 symptoms listed.

Recently, things came to a head.  For a recent convention, a local group had prepared a presentation for the last month.  The day before the convention, Jen, having already been notified about the local group's preparations, wrote saying that she wanted to make the presentation instead as a prerogative of the position we jointly hold - although she also said she might not make the event the next day since she was sick.  At the convention, the person running it and I decided it was not worth fighting Jen on the issue, and told her (in separate conversations) that she could do it, but that we weren't happy with her about it, that she was preventing other people who didn't have her opportunities from participating fully.  She pushed and pushed, seemingly wanting us to "approve" of her choice to do the presentation, and said repeatedly that she should have been asked or told before anyone else tried to prepare the presentation.  We kept telling her we didn't need to keep discussing it, she was getting her way, but we were allowed to be unhappy about it.  Eventually, in my conversation with her, she said one too many times that she should have been asked, and I sort of lost it, saying (not loud, but vehemently) that I shouldn't have to ask her, I hold the same office as her, the convention was in my local group and I should be able to arrange the presentation and in fact had notified her that I had done so.  She backed off somewhat, then turned the conversation to, maybe she should just quit the position, this wasn't fun anymore.  I calmed down, urged her not to make any quick decisions, said we should talk more at a later time when emotions were not running so high.  I told her to get some food, get some rest so she could feel better.  She went to find the person running the event, found her with some other people, said fairly rudely that she was leaving, she shouldn't have been talked to like that, she didn't feel well and the local group could do the presentation.  Then she walked away, leaving the people who heard her just openmouthed at how discourteous she was.

Later at the convention I talked to the higher-up that Jen is attached to, telling about her upset.  I touched on the situation of the day, but mainly spoke about the fact that she is saying she might quit, and asked the higher-up to possibly give some encouragement to her.  I really feel some compassion for Jen - I think inside her head is not a nice place to be, she is clearly broken and dysfunctional emotionally.

Well, the day after the convention, I spoke with Jen's mentor, who already had heard about the situation from Jen.  The mentor and I were completely on the same page - frustrated with the inability to get Jen to understand where she went wrong, concern for her issues but also unwilling to have those issues negatively affect dozens of people.  It was a good conversation with the mentor, who is a very decent person trying hard to do right.

And the next day, I found out that Jen is saying she is quitting because she was bullied.  This has stirred a whole passel of emotions in me: relief that I might not have to deal with her anymore.  Sorrow that a person is so upset that they would leave a club they love.  Concern that her words will negatively affect me, my friends, the projects we're working on.  Incredulousness that something so small (a presentation? at one event?) grew so large.  Sadness that we couldn't get through to this very talented person, to clear out the muck and make it so she could be a part of things without conflict with others.

I'm actually fairly depressed about the whole thing.  My DH and some others are basically saying "Good riddance" because of all the pain and strife she has caused over the last 16 months, but I can't feel happy about this.  I know she's a pain, but I also know she's *in* pain, an emotional mess, and I just feel for her as an empathetic human being.  And yet, I can't say I truly want to persuade her not to go.  I'm so ambivalent about it.

So that's the update.  Words of wisdom would be gratefully received.

StuffedGrapeLeaves

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? LONG x 10
« Reply #27 on: October 24, 2012, 11:56:20 AM »
NutellaNut, you sound like a very compassionate and caring person, so I can understand how this whole situation has upset you.  I just want to point out that it's not your job to "fix" her.  She has to want to fix herself.  You and everyone else in that group have given her every chance, and she continuously blew it.  You can't make her do something she doesn't want to do.  She has a choice to get help and to accept help, and she is not choosing to do so.

Don't give her any more space in your life and in your head.  Save your empathy and your compassion for other people who are actually receptive to it. 

JenJay

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? Update Post#26
« Reply #28 on: October 24, 2012, 12:08:28 PM »
Jen is in a place right now where she cannot be happy unless everyone around her is not only giving in to her every desire, but doing so with big ole smiles on their faces. She is being selfish and unreasonable and you can't help her. It sounds like she doesn't so much want to quit as to threaten to quit and have everyone beg her to stay. I honestly think the kindest thing you can do at this point is to say "I'm sorry to hear you're leaving and I wish you the best of luck." Maybe when she realizes the show can and will go on without her she'll take it down a few notches. Or she'll leave. Either way the group is better off.

Eden

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Re: How to handle difficult meeting on interpersonal issues? Update Post#26
« Reply #29 on: October 24, 2012, 12:19:48 PM »
Ugh, I understand the sadness that a talented person is lost to her lack of perspective. But she has taken up entirely too much of your and many other people's energy for far too long. Good riddance if she does leave, although I suspect it's a bluff. If she does stick around, I really urge you to not let her get her way and not engage in her arguments. You do not need to explain yourself to her.

I realize it may be difficult to get her kicked out of the organization (if she chooses to stay) but is there any way to prevent her from holding positions of responsibility rather than just membership in the future? I think that would greatly reduce her leverage and audience.