Author Topic: Dear Abby: When friends step over the line into your rel[color=black]ationship[/color]  (Read 4992 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

blarg314

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8305


If it was a specially created symbol that was unique to the couple, then the friend having it tatooed on her body was weird and presumptuous.

If it was a pre-existing symbol, then it's different. Then it's possibly not related to the couple and something she thought of independently, or she caught sight of it and it stuck in her memory, without her really realizing where it came from, or how much significance it had to the letter writer.

It depends on what the symbol is, how common it is, and how much exposure the tattoo girl would likely get to the symbol from her friend, or from the rest of the world.

But when it comes down to it, the letter writer has two options - ditch the friendship, or learn to live with it. It's a tattoo, and it's not going anywhere.


glacio

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 181
I actually had something similar to this happen in college. A girl in the social circles I frequented for a tattoo of a symbol. It was a fairly common symbol and I didn't think much of it. Earlier that year my grandmother had died and the only thing I received from her was a necklace with this symbol on it that was pretty cheaply made (as in it probably wasn't going to last long). The symbol happened to incorporate my grandmother, my heritage, my religion, and my university in one small, simple character. The next year I got that tattoo, so about 3 months after the other girl. You would have thought I had stolen her masterpiece painting or dissertation or something. For weeks I had to deal with PA comments about being a copier and unoriginal.

Point being, people can get really possessive about small things. Since the LW did not mention actually creating the symbol(and if the hubby had, I'm sure she would have explained that, much like some posters have here) I'm leaning towards an over reaction.

gramma dishes

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7614
...    Earlier that year my grandmother had died and the only thing I received from her was a necklace with this symbol on it that was pretty cheaply made (as in it probably wasn't going to last long). The symbol happened to incorporate my grandmother, my heritage, my religion, and my university in one small, simple character. The next year I got that tattoo, so about 3 months after the other girl. You would have thought I had stolen her masterpiece painting or dissertation or something. For weeks I had to deal with PA comments about being a copier and unoriginal.  ...

You should have shown her your Grandmother's necklace and said "How DARE you steal my Grandmother's unique symbol?  Obviously it was hers first!!  You had no right to use it when you knew my grandmother had had this one designed especially for me that incorporates her, my heritage, my faith and my university!!"   >:D

Miss March

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2727
When I was in grade school, I learned how to make a little symbol that linked the letters T, L and F. It stood for "True Love Forever" and me and my friends would tack it on when we drew our initials in hearts with our latest crushes.

I later knew a woman with those initials as her first, middle and last name, and she used to draw the symbol and she insisted that it was something she had personally designed. I think she honestly felt it had come from her own imagining, but she was pretty upset when every other woman at the table said they knew about that character for years.
He had no choice, he had told her, and then he left, choosing.-- George R.R. Martin

Iris

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3866
When I was in grade school, I learned how to make a little symbol that linked the letters T, L and F. It stood for "True Love Forever" and me and my friends would tack it on when we drew our initials in hearts with our latest crushes.

I later knew a woman with those initials as her first, middle and last name, and she used to draw the symbol and she insisted that it was something she had personally designed. I think she honestly felt it had come from her own imagining, but she was pretty upset when every other woman at the table said they knew about that character for years.

Pretty sure I've never met that woman and I've known about that symbol for 30 odd years...
"Can't do anything with children, can you?" the woman said.

Poirot thought you could, but forebore to say so.

O'Dell

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4372
I too think there is not enough info. A friend of mine has a group of guys that use a symbol for themselves. They have tatts and custom jewelry and items with the symbol. But it's a variation on a more common symbol, so it's not impossible that someone else might stumble on the same variation or not realize that it was so very special if they saw it. Is the LW's symbol like that or more unique?

Having said that, if it were truly unique and she copied it then she was way out of line. And I'd be giving her the cold shoulder because I've found that people who do things like that without asking have a pretty skewed notion of boundaries.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

Kari

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 393
What an odd situation. I don't get the mindset of getting a tattoo of a symbol designed by and used exclusively by married friends to express their romantic love. It seems intrusive and, frankly, weird. But as an etiquette issue? That's tougher. If the tattoo recipient was fully aware of the exclusivity of the symbol and flaunted it in the couple's faces, I think there's a rudeness in being so brazenly disruptive. But I think this situation errs more on the sign of being socially clueless than rude. If the tattoo recipient is now aware that the design offends and continues to show it off just to prove she can, then that is rude. And on the couple's part, to make a loud disruption over the tattoo, such as demanding it be covered up before they enter the room, is a bit rude -- there are more gracious ways to handle that uncomfortable situation.

It was an unfortunate choice of a tattoo, but due to the permanence of it all, if the couple values the tattoo recipient's friendship, they'll have to make their peace with it.  If it's something they can't get over -- because, after all, there's a certain creepiness about an acquaintance butting in and appropriating something reserved for a romantic union -- then this would be a good time to let the friendship cool.

Tea Drinker

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1124
It sounds like there are a couple of issues here. One (and we really don't have the information here) is whether the friend who got the tattoo presented it as something like "hey, look, I got your symbol, it connects us" or whether it's more like "I've always loved Kermit the Frog, and seeing you guys drawing him on stuff prompted me to get this tattoo." ("A character" might be a muppet as easily as a monogram.)

The LW gets to figure out whether she still feels comfortable with this person, and maybe even to say "I know you meant it well, but it feels like you're trying to connect yourself as part of my marriage, which is weird. Your body is your business, but would you do me a favor and cover the tattoo when we're hanging out together." Or to just back away, if it seems like part of a pattern of trying to be too close.

But in the end, it's the other woman's body, and etiquette doesn't justify asking, let alone demanding, that a friend get a cover-up tattoo. (There are three people in my life who I have told that they can veto any tattoo I'm thinking of, if the specific image bothers them. But that's not something the rest of the world gets.)
Any advice that requires the use of a time machine may safely be ignored.

DavidH

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1580
I think it depends on the type of symbol.  If, as some other posters have said, it's a common symbol they have appropriated like a heart, or a smiley face, or Chinese character, then they are giving themself too much importance.  It is just as likely the other person independently decided she liked the symbol.

Kind of like the shave and a haircut.  If you her MIL uses it, I agree it's rude, if the UPS man does, it is just as likely he has no clue it has some special meaning and to get upset over that would be kind of silly.

For a custom designed coat of arms or something like that, I completely understand why she'd be upset about it.