Author Topic: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?  (Read 10107 times)

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Hmmmmm

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Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #60 on: January 23, 2013, 09:26:59 AM »
Thanks everyone for confirming that I'm not nuts. Mary kept emphasizing that I am "so much more adventurous" than her when explaining her feelings, and it was making me feel like my expectations weren't realistic.

I was able to convince Mary that the train trip would be ok, and spent the whole trip there listening to her talk about her anxieties about travel. I also pointed out landmarks, signs, and other useful information on the trip there to try to increase her familiarity and comfort. I kept my tone supportive and understanding the whole time. On the way back, I stayed in the station with her until her train came to make sure she got on the right one. I was able to get a train out of the same station to go where I was headed (not the most efficient line but not a big detour either).

Mary confessed that she has a specific fear of getting lost on the subway and not being able to find an exit, and feeling like she is trapped underground. She even occasionally has dreams about it. Mary has several other fears as well that came up when we were discussing what she is and isn't ok with as for travel - she will not drive anywhere where she has to park out of view of the entrance unless it's somewhere she's very familiar with. This includes further back than the first 4-5 spots at the mall parking lot. She will not drive by herself after dark outside of very familiar areas. She will not take the above ground light rail because it goes through "bad areas." She talked about her fear of muggings, carjackings, and kidnapping. I didn't realize how much her mobility is impacted by her fears.

I didn't say much in reaction to all of this, mainly just listened. But now I have more questions - is there a polite way to tell Mary that her fears seem excessive and limiting? She said she has other friends who are even *more* fearful than her, as if she was trying to justify her views as being normal or reasonable. And more importantly, if Mary's fears come into play in the future, how should I handle it? For example, if a spot in view of the entrance isn't available during a busy time at the mall, and she wants to drive around until one opens up (which could mean wasting up to a half hour)?

Glad the trips worked out.

For your new question, I'd ask Mary if she would like to be able to travel more independently. If she says yes, suggest she get some social anxiety counseling. 

Itza

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Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #61 on: January 23, 2013, 10:01:43 AM »
As another poster pointed out, paying someone to do something you don't feel like doing yourself is not at all the same as simply deciding you don't want to do something but expecting your friends to do it for you.

I think this is true, but I still wonder if the OP had discussed the trip back before they started the trip.

Maybe OP's friend would normally have taken a cab, but she didn't budget for it because she didn't know she would need it? Or maybe she brought a limited amount of cash?

If I were the friend, I would be very irritated if I was given the impression that we would be riding back together and then OP sprung on me that we wouldn't.
Like OP's friend, I have several irrational "phobias". I live my life just fine and I have no plans to get over them. I just plan a little. If I had friends that changed plans on me midway, that might be a problem.

From what I understood, the trip hasn't happened yet.

Edit: Sorry, the first post implied that but later on, it looks like the trip did happen very soon after.




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SiotehCat

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Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #62 on: January 23, 2013, 10:04:07 AM »
As another poster pointed out, paying someone to do something you don't feel like doing yourself is not at all the same as simply deciding you don't want to do something but expecting your friends to do it for you.

I think this is true, but I still wonder if the OP had discussed the trip back before they started the trip.

Maybe OP's friend would normally have taken a cab, but she didn't budget for it because she didn't know she would need it? Or maybe she brought a limited amount of cash?

If I were the friend, I would be very irritated if I was given the impression that we would be riding back together and then OP sprung on me that we wouldn't.
Like OP's friend, I have several irrational "phobias". I live my life just fine and I have no plans to get over them. I just plan a little. If I had friends that changed plans on me midway, that might be a problem.

From what I understood, the trip hasn't happened yet.

Oh, duh. Thanks for pointing that out. I've read the OP a few times now and still didn't catch that.

In that case, I think the OP is fine. If she doesn't want to ride back alone, she can plan to catch a cab or even have someone pick her up.

Twik

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Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #63 on: January 23, 2013, 10:13:33 AM »
I agree that Mary would benefit from anxiety counselling.

In this situation, the worst that she faces is that she'll miss out on a pleasant outing. However, there may be times when due to emergencies she *has* to travel alone, and her phobia will possibly create great stress when she needs it least.

Of course, this is not the OP's problem to solve, but if Mary is a close friend, it might be worth mentioning.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #64 on: January 23, 2013, 10:32:29 AM »

I didn't say much in reaction to all of this, mainly just listened. But now I have more questions - is there a polite way to tell Mary that her fears seem excessive and limiting? She said she has other friends who are even *more* fearful than her, as if she was trying to justify her views as being normal or reasonable. And more importantly, if Mary's fears come into play in the future, how should I handle it? For example, if a spot in view of the entrance isn't available during a busy time at the mall, and she wants to drive around until one opens up (which could mean wasting up to a half hour)?

I think some friends can say, "You know, I worry about you a little. We all have fears and anxieties, but yours seem to be having an actual negative impact on your life. A pretty strong one, actually. You don't seem that happy about it, which is not good--you deserve a happy life! Have you ever considered getting some coaching on it? I know that some people really get a great effect out of some of the mental exercises that are available. Cognitive behavioral therapists have lots of tricks that you could try. Sort of like 'going to the gym,' for but your thinking patterns."

Lynn2000

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Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #65 on: January 23, 2013, 11:17:55 AM »
I always have mixed feelings about these kinds of situations. On the one hand, I have a pretty routine life that doesn't push me to do new things, nor am I much interested in doing new things inherently. I don't drive so the majority of my transportation is either walking or friends giving me rides (which I plan in advance at mutual convenience, never demand, and always thank them for). I'm not very comfortable using public transportation, especially in a strange place (which I realize is not Mary's situation). So when I see the posts about how Mary should just "grow up" or how a 12-year-old should be able to ride the train alone just fine, I cringe a little, because it hits home with me.

But on the other hand, one of my pet peeves is people who don't accept the consequences of their decisions, and I try to do this myself. I could get around more on my own, via bus or cab, but I choose not to. If this means I miss out on doing things, or rather, I can only do them with other people in tow, then so be it. Or, if I really want something, I suck it up and figure out an alternate method. For example, I recently had to travel across the country for work. I needed to be at the airport at 5am--I would never ask a friend to get up and take me there, so I called a cab, even though that makes me more anxious than going with a friend would. I personally would just feel really pathetic asking a friend instead of confronting my anxiety and calling a cab. During some downtime on the trip I wanted to go to the zoo; the best way seemed to be, again, taking a cab, which again made me anxious. I told myself, either you take the cab, or you don't go to the zoo. So I took the cab, I went to the zoo, and I had a great time. (Much less anxiety taking the cab back from the zoo--I was so tired I would've crawled into a dump truck if it was going in the right direction!)

So I'm kind of torn about Mary. I've had the experience of confiding my anxiety about transportation to a friend, in the hopes they would have ideas I hadn't thought of or at least reassurance, and being told that I needed to grow up or get professional help or something like that, and it was very hurtful and made me feel like I shouldn't confide things to them. I would be grateful to a friend like the OP, who tried to help and reassure me, without changing her own plans in an unfair way. I would also understand if, in the future, a friend just didn't schedule something where I had to do something that made me anxious, as long as they didn't say that was the reason, even if it meant we didn't see each other as much.
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peach2play

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Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #66 on: January 23, 2013, 12:09:47 PM »
If this was the first time Mary had this issue, then I would be understanding and supportive, even a 2nd, 3rd and 4th time, but after that, yes Mary needs to figure it out and deal with it on her own.  It's all situational.  At what point does being supportive become enablement?  I think that's the question that has to be asked in any of these situations.  The OP was not rude at all and I'm glad it worked out for her.

snowdragon

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Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #67 on: January 23, 2013, 12:10:24 PM »
If I were backing away from a friend because they expect me to do all the  transporting - I'd be saying something.  Partially because I would be hoping they would say something along the lines of " Oh, how silly of me, of course I can do XYZ!" and partially because I think I'd need to say something other than some varient of "I am busy" all the time, I would feel dishonest.
   Mary's problems seem to impact others as much or more than they do Mary - she does not get to do that to people and not hear about it. " No, Mary I won't cancel plans because of you needing a babysitter, escort, whateverlabel here",  "No Mary, I won't miss out on a half hour of XYZ because you want to dictate parking spaces", "No Mary, I won't live around your fears." even "No Mary, I can't deal with all these limitations on my life when we hang out, so we won't be hanging out".
   I think Mary is way of line and the OP does not need to deal with her with kid gloves, in fact I think delaying her plans to make sure a grown woman on got on the right train was more than I would be willing to do ( or could do with out resentment.)


TootsNYC

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Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #68 on: January 23, 2013, 12:14:57 PM »

So I'm kind of torn about Mary. I've had the experience of confiding my anxiety about transportation to a friend, in the hopes they would have ideas I hadn't thought of or at least reassurance, and being told that I needed to grow up or get professional help or something like that, and it was very hurtful and made me feel like I shouldn't confide things to them. I would be grateful to a friend like the OP, who tried to help and reassure me, without changing her own plans in an unfair way. I would also understand if, in the future, a friend just didn't schedule something where I had to do something that made me anxious, as long as they didn't say that was the reason, even if it meant we didn't see each other as much.

I do see your point--and though I was the first to use the term "grow up," I would never have used it if Mary was the one posting here.

And the "when does support become enablement" is a very pertinent question.

I'm reminded of the kids I saw dropped off at an "emergency" daycare center. Some of them would be nervous. I saw that the kids whose moms tried to reassure them actually became MORE worried--because there is an underlying message that says, "it IS reasonable to be nervous." For the kids whose moms sort of gently "scorned" their worries and left breezily, they gave up their nervousness right away: "Well, Mom didn't seem worried, she thinks it'll be fine, and she just left without any reassurance--it must NOT be scary after all!"

Venus193

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Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #69 on: January 23, 2013, 12:17:36 PM »
I held my piece until the end....

I agree with Toots and WillyNilly.  Mary needs to grow up.  The comment "You're so much more adventurous than I am" might apply if LadyL were talking about taking a photo safari in Africa solo, not taking a subway or commuter train by herself for one stop.

The problem with this kind of dependence is that it often escalates.  My mother got lost on the subway once when I was about 12 or 13 and thereafter refused to get on it.  She took the bus to the mall (nowhere else) and eventually stopped doing that.  After she developed a fear of cabs she had a retired relative driver her everywhere.  None of which was justified until the last year of her life when her health took a serious downturn.

Of course, nobody suggests that anyone who is disabled or seriously ill should have to be able to do everything that an able-bodied person of normal intelligence should do.  But when a person who is otherwise normal develops these phobias they should not be allowed to hold the people in their lives hostage to them.

LadyL, you were not rude.

Allyson

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Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #70 on: January 23, 2013, 12:26:06 PM »
Also, this doesn't sound to me like a *phobia* in the way some people have them, but rather anxiety about things she hasn't done before, and has read bad news reports about. This isn't an agoraphobic person, nor a person who has one very specific fear. If it were something like Mary saying 'Look, I know it's irrational, but I can't be underground on subways, I am claustrophobic' I would still think it was Mary's issue to deal with, but I think people would be feeling a lot less like she needs to learn.

Nervousness and anxiety about new things can be terrible, but we all have them to a greater or lesser degree. I completely understand that--when I travelled to Europe with my friend, I was shocked by how many things freaked me out, when I'd always thought of myself as adventurous.

But, even if LadyL did spring the appointment on Mary when she visited, changing it to Mary having to take the train herself, I don't think that this particularly anxiety was one LadyL could have foreseen. If Mary hadn't previously told her 'I really really don't want to ever take the train alone', I don't think it would have been LadyL's responsibility to know that.

Seiryuu

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Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #71 on: January 23, 2013, 01:23:25 PM »
While I agree with many other posters on Mary taking the subway by herself, there's also a risk of travelling alone which is what I think she's worried about. I wouldn't see anything wrong if the OP told Mary to call her if she got lost or when she arrived at home.

TootsNYC

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Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #72 on: January 23, 2013, 01:35:14 PM »
The OP could certainly choose to do that.

And I would think that any one friend could call another friend if they got lost.

But I do not want to be in the position of having a friend call me when she arrives at home. Not on a short trip. In fact, I don't like it ever--I don't like being asked to do it (were I Mary's friend, I wouldn't do it because I would not want to participate in reinforcing ANY message that implied this was a hazardous journey).

It's a personal hot button for me, I'll admit. But even when I try to set that aside, I don't think it's really appropriate for a subway trip of one stop.

TurtleDove

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Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #73 on: January 23, 2013, 01:47:15 PM »
I agree with Toots.  I can understand that Mary has fears, but frankly, IMHO, they are not rational and especially as her friend I would let her know that and not reinforce to her that they are grounded in reality.  Also, apparently Mary expects the OP to take public transit alone so I am not certain why she is not fearing for the OP?  I really think this is Mary's issue to deal with and the OP has already catered to Mary enough. 

Drunken Housewife

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Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #74 on: January 23, 2013, 02:08:31 PM »
I have been in the situation of taking a parking spot which my companion felt was unsafe, one of the things which could come up with the OP's friend Mary.  A friend of mine does not drive and so when we go out I drive.  She has never owned a car and has never driven one in our city so far as I know.  She wanted to go to a particular wine bar, and I found a parking spot on a side street near the wine bar.  She said she felt unsafe and wanted to park on the main street... which I'd already fruitlessly trolled for non-existent parking spaces.  I said I would be driving a long time before we found a spot on the main street and it might be nowhere near where we were going.  She then said she had a gut feeling that where we were parked was unsafe and that it's important to go with your gut feeling.  I said, "I promise we will be fine."

Now I have read "The Gift of Fear" and believe one should go with a gut feeling when you're dealing with strangers... but this was a parking spot, not a stranger.  She wasn't going to be walking to the car alone.  It was well-lit.  The whole neighborhood was slightly iffy, and the side street was as safe, in my opinion, as the main street.  We'd be walking a lot less than holding out for a spot on the main street which could be far off.  And finally, there is nothing more maddening than driving around and around and around seeking a parking spot in a large city.  So I used my position as the driver to overrule my fearful passenger, and we were fine. 

Was that polite of me?  Well, it wasn't the most kind and generous thing I could have done, but I don't think it was rude.  I listened to my passenger and discussed the situation with her and told her I felt the spot was safe & that it could be hard and time consuming to find one she'd like better.  I do think that sometimes the more fearful of us are being a bit rude to the "more adventurous" ones, requiring special treatment.  In the OP, Mary wasn't worried about her friend coming home alone four hours later; she was only worried about herself.  In my situation my passenger had no feeling for the irritation and stress of seeking parking in crowded urban neighborhoods where parking is very scant. 
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