Author Topic: How to politely handle a negative person  (Read 4844 times)

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boxy

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How to politely handle a negative person
« on: November 21, 2012, 08:58:41 PM »
Recently we had a disastrous dinner at a restaurant with some new friends.  The husband, Dave, was unhappy with the place because we were the only patrons (it was past the dinner hour), however, after assuring him they were still open he calmed down.  His wife, Jill, however was so incredibly rude with some of her comments that I didn't have a clue what to say or do.  I was like a deer caught in the headlights and completely unprepared.

She started an argument, which became very loud, with Dave over what they should order.  My husband and I were ready so while they bickered we placed our order.  I joking said, "Hey guys, time to make a decision."  It slightly worked as they stopped arguing with each other and turned to the server with several questions about dishes (we were at a foreign food restaurant).  They were very rude as they demanded to know what was in Dish A as opposed to Dish B and so on.  With great drama they finally placed their order.

Our appetizers arrived in a timely manner, looked great, and tasted fantastic.  First words out of Jill's mouth:  OH GROSS!  THIS DISH IS GROSS!!!!!  I CAN'T EAT THIS!!  IT'S GROSS!

I felt horrible because this was a small mom-and-pop place and her loud voice could clearly be heard in the kitchen.  Finally her husband shushed her.

The main course came and was even better than the appetizers.  Jill continued to make snide comments that the meat was probably dog or cat and the cheese was probably made from snot.  It was horrible.  She was horrible.  I made the comment, "well, that description doesn't really help, but it kinda tastes really good" or something along those lines.  It was lame on my part because it only worked a little.

Dessert came and to me it was perfect.  It was something I'd never had (plantain stuffed with sweet black beans) and I thought it was amazing.  Jill's comment?  OH MY!  THAT'S GROSS!  THAT'S THE MOST DISGUSTING THING I'VE EVER SEEN!  IT TASTES AS BAD AS IT LOOKS!  I'VE HAD ENOUGH, THIS PLACE SUCKS!

Okay Ehellers, needless to say I will not ever again go to a restaurant with Jill, but there had to have been something I could've said, or done, or I don't know.  I was just so shocked that she behaved like that - especially since we don't know each other very well.  It was horrible and my husband and I left a huge tip for our server and he mentioned to her on our way out that we were embarrassed by our friends but truly enjoyed the food.

Any tips for what I might have done better?

Julian

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2012, 09:09:59 PM »
Wow, you didn't mention Jill was only 3 years old.  Crikey, what a performance!

Seriously though, it sounds like you did what you could.  Jill doesn't sound like she'd shut down easily.  And that's not negative behaviour, it's just plain rude.  A tantrum, effectively, from an adult in public. 

That's one little SS I'd be severely curtailing my contact with.

guihong

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2012, 09:10:41 PM »
No advice, but I think those two are ex-friends.  They will be obnoxious in or out of a restaurant.



bloo

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2012, 09:16:48 PM »
Honestly I don't know what you could have done to salvage the night. Jill completely ruined your evening. Since they were new friends you had no way of knowing they'd act like this (Do they have blood sugar issues? Oh who cares?). You tried your best to counter her jerkiness with niceness. It didn't work because it sounds like she's a jerk.

Unless you're very comfortable with telling her, "Your constant whining is ruining my experience, knock it off" or boxing up your meal after the appetizer disaster and saying, "We'll bring our food home and finish our meals there. You guys have a good one," like no one I know would be comfortable and fast enough on their feet to do - I think you just have to do what you're already doing.

Which is writing off that evening as a train wreck and never dine with them ever, ever - I mean, like...EVER again.

gramma dishes

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2012, 09:22:15 PM »
You say they are "new" friends.  Sounds like a really quick friendship from beginning to end!   ;D

Seriously, most of us go out with our adult friends to get away from our children for an evening, not to spend the evening with two great big giant new children! 

I have to say though, none of my KIDS would have ever even THOUGHT about behaving like that in a restaurant!   :o

Luci45

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2012, 09:30:44 PM »
Why do you call them "friends" when you say you don't know them well and they are new to you? It sounds like they are acquaintances that you are just testing out.

The evening was a trainwreck, as above, and if you couldn't get Jill to lighten up with humor (did you try?), you did the best you could.

I love what your husband did. I would go back soon, maybe with more adventurous or at least nice people, just to feel better, too.

I'm pretty sure that if I took someone to our local Chinese restaurant and she acted like that, after telling her to knock it off, I would have apologized to the server and asked to see the mom (who recognizes us) to aplogize, boxed up, left, and never seen these people again.

The only explanation I can see is chemical (legal or illegal or natural) issues. If that is so, just keep these people at your home. If not, drop them.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2012, 09:46:54 PM »
I think the only option remaining to you was the nuclear option.  'Jill, you are making me very uncomfortable.  Please stop making derogatory comments about the food or DH and I will have our meals packaged to go and leave.'

And I wouldn't bother pursuing this couple as friends.
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Ontario

Raintree

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2012, 11:18:54 PM »
Yikes, I don't know what I would have done during the outing itself, but I would not be pursuing this friendship further, even for events that did not involve eating. Their behaviour at the restaurant says a lot about them and I probably wouldn't want to associate with them at all.

sammycat

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2012, 11:28:05 PM »
And that's not negative behaviour, it's just plain rude.  A tantrum, effectively, from an adult in public. 

I agree.  It's entirely possible to be negative politely (quiet voice etc), but Jill's behaviour was beyond the pale. I highly doubt this was a one off performance either, and for this reason I'd be dropping her like a hot potato.

gollymolly2

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2012, 12:29:36 AM »
I think the only option remaining to you was the nuclear option.  'Jill, you are making me very uncomfortable.  Please stop making derogatory comments about the food or DH and I will have our meals packaged to go and leave.'

And I wouldn't bother pursuing this couple as friends.

I agree.

I've said a couple times recently "I think you're being really rude" when I think someone has crossed a line. It's actually been kind of freeing - no more worrying about using the right phrase or some semi-PA tactics. I think that could work in a situation like this, and if she responded by arguing with you or ratcheting things up, that would just be confirmation that these are not people you want to stay friends with.

Deetee

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2012, 12:40:50 AM »
Well they sound like an ex-friend (or at least people to never eat with ever).

My suggestion is similiar to what I use when people make subtle racist comments. I would praise the food. I would praise the food to the skies.

"Really? That's too bad. I love this appetiser. The chicken is perfectly cooked, I love the spices and it goes so well with bread. I wish I could cook like this."

"What a shame you don't like your dish. Mine is FANTASTIC. It is creamy and perfectly seasoned and...(turn to your husband)...here dear, try a bite, isn't it amazing??"

You aren't going to get her to not be a jerk, but you can be a completely unreceptive audience.

(Random story: I was at once with a person like that- a friend of a friend. We went our specifically to try some exotic food and she was whinging and wanting to go Mcdonalds. My husband started wiggling the whole cooked fish towards her and asking if she wanted the eyeballs instead. She was quieter after that.)

shadowfox79

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2012, 02:36:31 AM »
Out of curiosity, what kind of food was it? It sounds amazing!

cicero

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2012, 02:57:44 AM »
when someone is acting like that, I think that trying to convince them that their arguments are wrong ("no, it's not dog meat; I think it's lamb") is not going to work. they aren't being rational so trying to use logic wont' help.

there wasn't much you could other than asking the server to box up your meal, leaving a nice tip, and going home.


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kherbert05

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2012, 04:31:15 AM »
What I hope I would have done


"Sorry you are so uncomfortable feel free to leave, I'll take care of the bill.


What I would want to say
"Shut that racist mouth of yours, and march yourself into that kitchen and beg their pardon. (I translate her comments to - they are savages that eat anything, I'm a civilized human)


What probably would have happened
I get physically ill all over her and the table. (The comment about the cheese made me gag reading it. If I heard it eating the food it would have been worse)
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cicero

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2012, 04:50:31 AM »
by the way, i want to say that this isn't about "politely handling a negative person" - she isn't a negative person; she is a very rude person. fighting with your spouse in public and making others uncomfortable, saying *loudly* that the food is gross, making snide remarks about the food probably being dog or cat = very rude behavior.

a negative person would be someone saying "oh, I'm probably not going to find anything i like here" or "i love chicken but they never get it right". that's not what happened here.

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