Author Topic: I declined to help...but I didn't realize it was a serious request  (Read 4384 times)

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Raintree

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BG: My friend Annie moved out of town for a good job opportunity. She is trying to sell her place in Hometown. She came back to town for a few days recently. I was out of town for the first three days she was here; she didn't call, email, or text to say, "Hey, I'm in town" and I only knew she was in town because a mutual friend mentioned he was painting her place (the one up for sale) and because I saw her daughter post something on Facebook. I was busy, she was busy....I didn't think much about it.

Annie has her issues which tend to drive friends away (ie she complains about everyone behind their backs and nobody is immune) but it should be noted, she has also proven herself a kind person on more than one occasion, and she did offer to help me out a couple of times when I was in need (specifically, moving). I thanked her and almost took her up on her offer but in the end the timing didn't work out and I had enough help from others anyway. Also, I've done things for her, ie pro bono work that is something I do for a living, so it's not as though I just take.[/end BG]

On one of the last days she was here, Mutual Friend called up and asked if I wanted to meet him and Annie for a quick bite somewhere as they were going to take a break from painting. I said, "Sure, I'd like to see Annie while she's here." This call came through at 6 PM and I met them at 8 PM.

After we'd finished eating (9 PM), everyone seemed ready to leave and I was ready to call it a night (and I still had obligations at home). I asked something like, "So, everyone just going home now?" Mutual Friend said, "Ya, unless you wanna come help paint!!" It was said in a jovial kind of way so I laughed it off and said, "No thanks, I hate painting!!" And we all parted company.

Later I wondered if that was kind of thoughtless of me, given that Annie had offered her help when I was stressed out with my own move, but honestly, at the time it never occurred to me to offer. I had not really considered it a serious request for help, given that it was 9 PM, last minute, and I do have other obligations.

But weeks later I found out second hand that Annie had been kind of offended at my "I hate painting" comment as "helping friends isn't about doing what you like."

I had already been wondering if my comment was rude....was it?

« Last Edit: October 04, 2012, 03:45:45 AM by Raintree »

Iris

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Re: I declined to help...but I didn't realize it was a serious request
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2012, 04:07:22 AM »
I don't think it was rude at all. Even if you had known it was a serious request you would have been well within your rights to refuse simply because you hate painting. Given that you were laughing as you said it I would have thought it was obvious you weren't taking the request seriously. I would just chalk it up to Annie being stressed about the move and a little sensitive. Or decide that it's not true anyway, given that you got it second hand.
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Amava

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Re: I declined to help...but I didn't realize it was a serious request
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2012, 05:05:23 AM »
See it this way: if you had not said no, you might have been making a post here today that went:

"This friend called me up and invited me to come over to have something to eat. Then they pulled a bait-and-switch on me and talked me into helping them paint! It was evening and I was tired and I still had things to do, but I didn't dare to say no. How can I handle this better next time, e-hellions?"

And we would tell you: "Next time, just say no. Don't JADE, don't give big explanations, just say no."

I'm glad you said no. Friendship might not always be about doing things we like, but it also isn't about springing last-minute requests on people and taking their willingness and availability to help for granted.

Reika

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Re: I declined to help...but I didn't realize it was a serious request
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2012, 05:40:24 AM »
I think asking someone to help paint at 9 at night after dinner (and what sounds like a work night) without prior notice is pretty rude. You did just fine, Raintree. :)

Piratelvr1121

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Re: I declined to help...but I didn't realize it was a serious request
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2012, 06:36:21 AM »
I agree. I love painting, but you definitely need to be ready to do that kind of thing, as in ratty clothes and some energy and it doesn't sound like you had either on hand.  Were they expecting you to paint in whatever you arrived to dinner in?
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Outdoor Girl

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Re: I declined to help...but I didn't realize it was a serious request
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2012, 09:41:54 AM »
If you want me to help you paint, ask me to help you paint.  Don't invite me to meet for dinner then casually mention me coming over to help paint.  And 9:00 pm?  I'm never going to say yes, anyway, even if it was a weekend.  That's my get wound down, ready for bed time.

Raintree, you were fine.
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JenJay

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Re: I declined to help...but I didn't realize it was a serious request
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2012, 09:54:43 AM »
See it this way: if you had not said no, you might have been making a post here today that went:

"This friend called me up and invited me to come over to have something to eat. Then they pulled a bait-and-switch on me and talked me into helping them paint! It was evening and I was tired and I still had things to do, but I didn't dare to say no. How can I handle this better next time, e-hellions?"

And we would tell you: "Next time, just say no. Don't JADE, don't give big explanations, just say no."

I'm glad you said no. Friendship might not always be about doing things we like, but it also isn't about springing last-minute requests on people and taking their willingness and availability to help for granted.

Exactly!

You weren't rude to decline their request but she was rude to have gossiped about it and painted you as the bad guy. (See what I did there?  :P)

SuperMartianRobotGirl

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Re: I declined to help...but I didn't realize it was a serious request
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2012, 10:36:38 AM »
I agree with Amava. If it was a serious request, it was way out of line to claim they wanted to meet to eat when really they wanted to manipulate people into working (late, on a work night) with them. You were fine to say no. If you'd known it was a serious request, you might have said no more gently, but I don't think it's a big deal. It's understandable that you thought it was a joke.

O'Dell

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Re: I declined to help...but I didn't realize it was a serious request
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2012, 10:46:56 AM »
But weeks later I found out second hand that Annie had been kind of offended at my "I hate painting" comment as "helping friends isn't about doing what you like."

If that's really what she said, then I think she was offended by your reason for not wanting to help out. If you had said you had obligations at home or being short notice didn't work for you (not dressed for it), you might have been fine. But your stated reason implies that you pick and choose to help people based on how much you like the activity rather than if you can help your friend or not.

So yeah I can see why she'd be insulted. And I don't think JADEing is an issue here unless she's known to be someone who tramples boundaries when asking for help.
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hjaye

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Re: I declined to help...but I didn't realize it was a serious request
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2012, 10:55:06 AM »

Annie has her issues which tend to drive friends away (ie she complains about everyone behind their backs and nobody is immune)

I think this sums it up.  What Annie said was just a typical comment for doing something she is already known for, talking about friends behind their back.  You weren't thinking about when you said it, but I guess you could say you dropped the ball and she picked it up and ran with it.  I don't think you did anything wrong.

Winterlight

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Re: I declined to help...but I didn't realize it was a serious request
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2012, 11:26:51 AM »
She thought you should help paint at 9pm on a work night. With no prior notice. And she's mad that you didn't want to.

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Girlie

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Re: I declined to help...but I didn't realize it was a serious request
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2012, 11:27:34 AM »

Annie has her issues which tend to drive friends away (ie she complains about everyone behind their backs and nobody is immune)

I think this sums it up.  What Annie said was just a typical comment for doing something she is already known for, talking about friends behind their back.  You weren't thinking about when you said it, but I guess you could say you dropped the ball and she picked it up and ran with it.  I don't think you did anything wrong.

I have to agree. I have an older sister who does this, and I can pretty much guarantee that no answer would have been the right one. Had you agreed to do it, there probably would have been some comment about your showing up to paint in dinner clothes or some such nonsense.

Honestly, if you know your friend is like that and you're willing to look over it, then I would recommend just learning to let things like this go.

amylouky

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Re: I declined to help...but I didn't realize it was a serious request
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2012, 11:27:55 AM »
But weeks later I found out second hand that Annie had been kind of offended at my "I hate painting" comment as "helping friends isn't about doing what you like."

If that's really what she said, then I think she was offended by your reason for not wanting to help out. If you had said you had obligations at home or being short notice didn't work for you (not dressed for it), you might have been fine. But your stated reason implies that you pick and choose to help people based on how much you like the activity rather than if you can help your friend or not.

So yeah I can see why she'd be insulted. And I don't think JADEing is an issue here unless she's known to be someone who tramples boundaries when asking for help.

I agree with this. I think you were fine for refusing the request, and I actually don't think it WAS a serious request. I think that the "I hate painting" is what offended Annie.. it implies you'll only help if it's something you like doing. If I were Annie, I'd be thinking, "well, I didn't LOVE helping you move, but I did it because we're friends and you needed the help."

amylouky

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Re: I declined to help...but I didn't realize it was a serious request
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2012, 11:29:42 AM »
She thought you should help paint at 9pm on a work night. With no prior notice. And she's mad that you didn't want to.

Annie fails logic.

But, Annie's not the one who suggested the painting, it was Mutual Friend. I don't think it was a bait and switch, or a serious request. I think it was a joking comment and they would have been fine if you'd said no for another reason.

Giggity

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Re: I declined to help...but I didn't realize it was a serious request
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2012, 11:40:59 AM »
Why would it be rude to treat what you think is a joke as if it's a joke?
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