Author Topic: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?  (Read 10206 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

gollymolly2

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2703
Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #75 on: January 23, 2013, 02:10:17 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. [\b]

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.

Respectfully, I don't really think that's fair.  I may be misremembering, but I think you had a thread a while back about your difficulty with hoarding, how it almost resulted in you getting evicted, and how your friends had to pitch in to help you clean. Maybe Mary would read that and say "sure Im uncomfortable riding the subway, but at least I can throw away garbage. Venus needs to grow up."

I bring this up not to pick on you at all but to illustrate the point that all of us have our own issues that may seem irrational to outsiders, so we should stop and think about that before we start saying other people should grow up or considering lecturing other people about their issues.

Mary should not overly rely on others or "hold them hostage," as you put it, because of her issues. To the extent that she expects too much from the OP because of her issue, OP should feel free to decline Mary's requests. But it seems to me like she's getting ridiculed just for having a phobia - not the effect it has on others - and that doesn't seem fair or polite.

EMuir

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1390
Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #76 on: January 23, 2013, 02:46:00 PM »
I disagree that "growing up" has anything to do with it.  I have a friend who is very anxious about crowds.  She is OK as long as she's with me and can concentrate on being with me or on what we're doing at the event.  However, sometimes she can become "aware" of the crowd and basically go into shock (her face goes white and she stares into space).  I then either find a nook where we can be away from the crowd or I quickly pull her out of the crowd.  Then she can recover.  She is on medication for this anxiety.

I am aware of this limitation when going places with her. She is aware as well. Thus we discuss her limitations when deciding to go to an event, and frankly discuss whether it's likely to be ok for her to go there. When we decide to go to a place that may be crowded, it's with the knowledge that I may have to "save" her or that we may have to leave if it's really bad.

The point is that I like being with her more than attending any one "place" or "event".  So I usually plan going to crowded places with other friends. And that's fine.

To me, part of being a friend is helping a friend deal with anxiety if needed, but also being assertive and setting boundaries about what activities I will do with that friend.

If the trip hadn't happened yet, I would tell Mary it wasn't possible for her to go with me and if she cancelled, then so be it. I'd either reschedule for a day when I could go back with her or do the trip alone.  To me, friendship is helping the other person at least some of the time, and expecting similar help in return. 

Daydream

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 290
Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #77 on: January 23, 2013, 03:06:33 PM »

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)?

LadyL, did Mary indicate that these things are still problems for her when she's with someone?  When I read them, I interpreted it as her telling you of additional things she was afraid of doing by herself (maybe with the exception of going through dangerous areas).  If so, you needn't be concerned that it might affect your plans with her in the future.  For example, *if* you've been to the mall with her before and never noticed these quirks she's mentioned (because she only has them when she's alone), you don't need to start worrying about them simply because you now know they exist.

*If* she indicated that these are things she fears when she's alone, I would tell myself that I need not worry about any of them affecting me.  The very fact that she isn't alone would keep those fears at bay. If she's driving, and the fact that you're with her means she doesn't have to be able to park where she can see the entrance, it's not going to be a problem for you.  If you're driving, same thing -- you could park wherever you want.    And, if each of you are driving yourselves there, you park where you want, and she parks where she wants.   

Many people have phobias.  Some are more public and embarrassing than others and therefore people are judged more harshly for having them.  People who are afraid of caterpillars or clowns are much more fortunate than those afraid of public speaking or dogs because there is less chance of people discovering their fears.   

Your friend was in a situation where she felt she had no choice but to reveal a potentially humiliating fear for which she might be badly judged (and she was).  It sounds like you've been friends for a while and have always either traveled to and from places together, or met at places where Mary is able to drive herself. 

It seems that, if not for the fact that you had other plans afterwards, you would have taken the return trip on the train with Mary and might never have learned of this phobia of hers.  You might just as easily have had a friend who's fine taking the train by herself, but considers your previously established "traveling to and from" time when attending an event together to be part of the outing, looks forward to discussing the event on the trip back as usual, and was disappointed to learn you would be parting ways before the ride home. 

I would go forward (outwardly) as if you had not learned about this phobia and continue making plans with Mary where you travel together or meet at places she is comfortable traveling to alone.  I would be kind in keeping it in mind when I'm the one planning events, but not bring it up or suggest therapy, etc.

I would treat this as if you'd asked her, "Mary, I heard about Great New Restaurant, do you want to go there next Friday?" to which she happily agreed. 

Then, if you called her a day or two before Friday and casually mentioned, "Hey, did I tell you the cool thing about Great New Restaurant is that all the waiters are dressed as clowns?" and she confessed that she's afraid of clowns and would rather not go, I'd simply accept that you now know something about her she probably wishes you didn't, and there's no need to bring it up again. 

Just as you could enjoy going to Great New Restaurant with other people, you can invite a different friend to events that require them to travel home alone on the train afterwards from now on.

« Last Edit: January 23, 2013, 03:29:28 PM by Daydream »

camlan

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8778
Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #78 on: January 23, 2013, 03:09:57 PM »
I disagree that "growing up" has anything to do with it.  I have a friend who is very anxious about crowds.  She is OK as long as she's with me and can concentrate on being with me or on what we're doing at the event.  However, sometimes she can become "aware" of the crowd and basically go into shock (her face goes white and she stares into space).  I then either find a nook where we can be away from the crowd or I quickly pull her out of the crowd.  Then she can recover.  She is on medication for this anxiety.

I am aware of this limitation when going places with her. She is aware as well. Thus we discuss her limitations when deciding to go to an event, and frankly discuss whether it's likely to be ok for her to go there. When we decide to go to a place that may be crowded, it's with the knowledge that I may have to "save" her or that we may have to leave if it's really bad.

The point is that I like being with her more than attending any one "place" or "event".  So I usually plan going to crowded places with other friends. And that's fine.

To me, part of being a friend is helping a friend deal with anxiety if needed, but also being assertive and setting boundaries about what activities I will do with that friend.

If the trip hadn't happened yet, I would tell Mary it wasn't possible for her to go with me and if she cancelled, then so be it. I'd either reschedule for a day when I could go back with her or do the trip alone.  To me, friendship is helping the other person at least some of the time, and expecting similar help in return.

The key difference between your friend and Mary in the OP is that your friend has sought help. She's on medication, she has certain ways of dealing with crowds. She's willing to talk to you about alternatives. I know I'm more willing to help people out when I know they are trying the best they can to overcome an obstacle.

Mary, on the other hand, hasn't sought help. I'm not sure she acknowledges that she has problems with public transport and parking and all the rest that the OP has mentioned. Mary just asks for help.

Mary has choices. She can seek professional help. She can seek alternative methods of transportation.  She can stay home. She can also ask friends for favors, but she can't *expect* that her friends will always be willing to accommodate her quirks.

I don't think Mary needs to "grow up." I think she needs to accept who she is. That means either taking control of her travel needs without the aid of others, or seeking help to overcome whatever obstacles prevent her from taking the train and parking in the outer fringes of the parking lot and all her other little fears that seem to be starting to hamper her everyday life.

I was terrified of driving. I was certain that once I was behind the wheel of a car, I'd cause an accident and kill somebody. As a result, I didn't learn to drive until I was 28. I managed with public transportation and the occasional ride from a friend. It wasn't until I moved to an area with no public transportation and found it difficult to even buy food that I finally did some research and found a driving school that catered to fearful adult learners and learned to drive. It was more expensive than a regular driving school, but it was what I needed.

I still don't like to drive, but I can get in the car and get to work and run errands and take long trips to see family and friends, things that I either couldn't do before, or that took much, much longer on public transportation. If I hadn't learned to drive, my choice of places to live would be limited, my choice of jobs would be limited, my choice of where to shop would be limited, and so on.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


pierrotlunaire0

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4349
  • I'm the cat's aunt!
Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #79 on: January 23, 2013, 03:50:07 PM »
Respectfully, I don't really think that's fair.  I may be misremembering, but I think you had a thread a while back about your difficulty with hoarding, how it almost resulted in you getting evicted, and how your friends had to pitch in to help you clean. Maybe Mary would read that and say "sure Im uncomfortable riding the subway, but at least I can throw away garbage. Venus needs to grow up."

I bring this up not to pick on you at all but to illustrate the point that all of us have our own issues that may seem irrational to outsiders, so we should stop and think about that before we start saying other people should grow up or considering lecturing other people about their issues.

Mary should not overly rely on others or "hold them hostage," as you put it, because of her issues. To the extent that she expects too much from the OP because of her issue, OP should feel free to decline Mary's requests. But it seems to me like she's getting ridiculed just for having a phobia - not the effect it has on others - and that doesn't seem fair or polite.

Actually, the fact that Venus has faced her own issue makes me give her pronouncement more weight.  I also remember her thread on her issues.  She dealt with them daily, cleaning, sorting, throwing out.  If she had been Mary, she did the equivalent of Mary getting on the train by herself and riding all day, for days and days.

And speaking as someone who has been told how brave and strong they are, I can in all honesty say that when I seem to do something that seems brave, I am gritting my teeth and taking a chance.

It wouldn't work for everyone.  But sometimes, and for some people, it does.
I have enough lithium in my medicine cabinet to power three cars across a sizeable desert.  Which makes me officially...Three Cars Crazy

Wordgeek

  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 2073
Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #80 on: January 23, 2013, 04:00:59 PM »
And speaking as someone who has been told how brave and strong they are, I can in all honesty say that when I seem to do something that seems brave, I am gritting my teeth and taking a chance.

That's because "stand and fight" is usually perceived internally as "stand and quiver".

...at least in my experience.  ;)

Amava

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4751
Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #81 on: January 23, 2013, 04:11:41 PM »
And speaking as someone who has been told how brave and strong they are, I can in all honesty say that when I seem to do something that seems brave, I am gritting my teeth and taking a chance.

That's because "stand and fight" is usually perceived internally as "stand and quiver".

...at least in my experience.  ;)

I heard somewhere (might be even in someone's signature here, I'm not sure): Being brave is not having no fears; it's facing your fears.

peach2play

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 963
Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #82 on: January 23, 2013, 04:35:09 PM »
It's ok to be afraid, and we all have a phobia of some sort, be it spiders, snakes, taking public transportation, throwing something away, clowns, heights, being alone...the issue comes in when your phobia negativity affects your friends.  I know I am deathly afraid of snakes, but that does not mean that I try and keep my friends from going to the zoo and to change their plans because I'm scared of snakes.  It means that when we go to the zoo, I don't walk through the reptile house and I don't make my friends feel bad for leaving me outside.  If a snake can not be avoided, I do what I can to mitigate the fallout and apologize for the issues my issue has caused.  Sometimes part of being an adult is putting your big kid pants on, admitting you're terrified, but that fear isn't going to get in the way of life. 

Mary asked for too many spoons and isn't giving enough spoons back for the OP to feel like it's worth it to keep giving Mary spoons.  Sometimes tough love is necessary. 

Kiwichick

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1785
  • Is anyone else hungry now?
Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #83 on: January 23, 2013, 04:47:24 PM »
But Mary doesn't have a phobia, she's nervous and feels uncomfortable about catching the metro on her own. 

LadyL did more than enough to help her.

TootsNYC

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 31739
Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #84 on: January 23, 2013, 04:55:49 PM »

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.

It's also possible, of course, for the "adventurous" among us to be scoffingly dismissive of the "timid." The term "you  need to grow up" is really pretty patronizing (which is why *I* tried to temper it when I posted it.)

But you're right--there *is* stress for the adventurous one as well that the timid dismiss.

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5719
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #85 on: January 23, 2013, 05:54:33 PM »
I disagree that "growing up" has anything to do with it.  I have a friend who is very anxious about crowds.  She is OK as long as she's with me and can concentrate on being with me or on what we're doing at the event.  However, sometimes she can become "aware" of the crowd and basically go into shock (her face goes white and she stares into space).  I then either find a nook where we can be away from the crowd or I quickly pull her out of the crowd.  Then she can recover.  She is on medication for this anxiety.

I am aware of this limitation when going places with her. She is aware as well. Thus we discuss her limitations when deciding to go to an event, and frankly discuss whether it's likely to be ok for her to go there. When we decide to go to a place that may be crowded, it's with the knowledge that I may have to "save" her or that we may have to leave if it's really bad.

The point is that I like being with her more than attending any one "place" or "event".  So I usually plan going to crowded places with other friends. And that's fine.

To me, part of being a friend is helping a friend deal with anxiety if needed, but also being assertive and setting boundaries about what activities I will do with that friend.

If the trip hadn't happened yet, I would tell Mary it wasn't possible for her to go with me and if she cancelled, then so be it. I'd either reschedule for a day when I could go back with her or do the trip alone.  To me, friendship is helping the other person at least some of the time, and expecting similar help in return.

The key difference between your friend and Mary in the OP is that your friend has sought help. She's on medication, she has certain ways of dealing with crowds. She's willing to talk to you about alternatives. I know I'm more willing to help people out when I know they are trying the best they can to overcome an obstacle.

Mary, on the other hand, hasn't sought help. I'm not sure she acknowledges that she has problems with public transport and parking and all the rest that the OP has mentioned. Mary just asks for help.

Mary has choices. She can seek professional help. She can seek alternative methods of transportation.  She can stay home. She can also ask friends for favors, but she can't *expect* that her friends will always be willing to accommodate her quirks.

I don't think Mary needs to "grow up." I think she needs to accept who she is. That means either taking control of her travel needs without the aid of others, or seeking help to overcome whatever obstacles prevent her from taking the train and parking in the outer fringes of the parking lot and all her other little fears that seem to be starting to hamper her everyday life.

I was terrified of driving. I was certain that once I was behind the wheel of a car, I'd cause an accident and kill somebody. As a result, I didn't learn to drive until I was 28. I managed with public transportation and the occasional ride from a friend. It wasn't until I moved to an area with no public transportation and found it difficult to even buy food that I finally did some research and found a driving school that catered to fearful adult learners and learned to drive. It was more expensive than a regular driving school, but it was what I needed.

I still don't like to drive, but I can get in the car and get to work and run errands and take long trips to see family and friends, things that I either couldn't do before, or that took much, much longer on public transportation. If I hadn't learned to drive, my choice of places to live would be limited, my choice of jobs would be limited, my choice of where to shop would be limited, and so on.

How do we know Mary hasn't sought help or isn't on medication?  Maybe she is in the first stages of that.  Just because she didn't divulge this information to the OP doesn't mean it isn't happening.

Just like EMuir and her friend, maybe Mary is trying to ask LadyL for help on this but doesn't know how.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

snowdragon

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2200
Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #86 on: January 23, 2013, 06:51:26 PM »
I disagree that "growing up" has anything to do with it.  I have a friend who is very anxious about crowds.  She is OK as long as she's with me and can concentrate on being with me or on what we're doing at the event.  However, sometimes she can become "aware" of the crowd and basically go into shock (her face goes white and she stares into space).  I then either find a nook where we can be away from the crowd or I quickly pull her out of the crowd.  Then she can recover.  She is on medication for this anxiety.

I am aware of this limitation when going places with her. She is aware as well. Thus we discuss her limitations when deciding to go to an event, and frankly discuss whether it's likely to be ok for her to go there. When we decide to go to a place that may be crowded, it's with the knowledge that I may have to "save" her or that we may have to leave if it's really bad.

The point is that I like being with her more than attending any one "place" or "event".  So I usually plan going to crowded places with other friends. And that's fine.

To me, part of being a friend is helping a friend deal with anxiety if needed, but also being assertive and setting boundaries about what activities I will do with that friend.

If the trip hadn't happened yet, I would tell Mary it wasn't possible for her to go with me and if she cancelled, then so be it. I'd either reschedule for a day when I could go back with her or do the trip alone.  To me, friendship is helping the other person at least some of the time, and expecting similar help in return.

The key difference between your friend and Mary in the OP is that your friend has sought help. She's on medication, she has certain ways of dealing with crowds. She's willing to talk to you about alternatives. I know I'm more willing to help people out when I know they are trying the best they can to overcome an obstacle.

Mary, on the other hand, hasn't sought help. I'm not sure she acknowledges that she has problems with public transport and parking and all the rest that the OP has mentioned. Mary just asks for help.

Mary has choices. She can seek professional help. She can seek alternative methods of transportation.  She can stay home. She can also ask friends for favors, but she can't *expect* that her friends will always be willing to accommodate her quirks.

I don't think Mary needs to "grow up." I think she needs to accept who she is. That means either taking control of her travel needs without the aid of others, or seeking help to overcome whatever obstacles prevent her from taking the train and parking in the outer fringes of the parking lot and all her other little fears that seem to be starting to hamper her everyday life.

I was terrified of driving. I was certain that once I was behind the wheel of a car, I'd cause an accident and kill somebody. As a result, I didn't learn to drive until I was 28. I managed with public transportation and the occasional ride from a friend. It wasn't until I moved to an area with no public transportation and found it difficult to even buy food that I finally did some research and found a driving school that catered to fearful adult learners and learned to drive. It was more expensive than a regular driving school, but it was what I needed.

I still don't like to drive, but I can get in the car and get to work and run errands and take long trips to see family and friends, things that I either couldn't do before, or that took much, much longer on public transportation. If I hadn't learned to drive, my choice of places to live would be limited, my choice of jobs would be limited, my choice of where to shop would be limited, and so on.

How do we know Mary hasn't sought help or isn't on medication?  Maybe she is in the first stages of that.  Just because she didn't divulge this information to the OP doesn't mean it isn't happening.

Just like EMuir and her friend, maybe Mary is trying to ask LadyL for help on this but doesn't know how.

She did ask - she asked to be inserted in to LadyL's plans and for LandyL to go with her on the train, she seems to be asking for LadyL to spend extra time parking, ect.  LadyL does not  need to  "help" in this way, or to take into account what works for Mary when planning things. Mary needs to work around her issues in ways that work for her, but making someone else into the 'crutch' or expecting them to spend extra time and gas driving around to get just the right parking spot, should not be her 'solutions'.  Expecting someone else to live with-in your anxieties is not fair.
  If I were in Mary's car and she wanted to drive around til we could find an 'acceptable' parking space, I'd be telling her to let me out and I'd go to do what I wanted to while she dealt with her issue - and going forward I would take my own car so that I did not need to be bound by this fear.  If it were a train trip, I would be up front with her that I had my own plans that might not coincide  with  her own...and I would brook no interference or "I'll wait for you", ect.  And I would not be taking her to the train or teaching her how to use it...she's been on the train before she knows how to use it.

Moray

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1869
  • My hovercraft is full of eels!
Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #87 on: January 23, 2013, 06:55:48 PM »
And maybe Mary had a curse set upon her by an evil wizard, with the result that she can never travel anywhere alone but can't reveal the reason why.

Truly, the reason for her preference (anxiety, phobia, didn't feel like it, wizard's curse, etc.) doesn't actually matter. All that matters is that it's her responsibility to deal with. That doesn't mean she has to go it alone, but she does have to take responsibility for making arrangements with others. She is free to ask her friends for help, but being guilt trippy is inappropriate.
Utah

Hmmmmm

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6784
Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #88 on: January 23, 2013, 07:18:30 PM »
But Mary doesn't have a phobia, she's nervous and feels uncomfortable about catching the metro on her own

LadyL did more than enough to help her.

Sootikin, you might want to reread LadyL's post #48 in this thread. Mary has stated she has more issues than discomfort. This information wasn't in LadyL's initial post as I don't think she had the information at that time.

snowdragon

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2200
Re: Rude to expect someone to take public transit alone?
« Reply #89 on: January 23, 2013, 07:29:32 PM »
But Mary doesn't have a phobia, she's nervous and feels uncomfortable about catching the metro on her own

LadyL did more than enough to help her.

Sootikin, you might want to reread LadyL's post #48 in this thread. Mary has stated she has more issues than discomfort. This information wasn't in LadyL's initial post as I don't think she had the information at that time.

  But she is not calling them phobias ( which are a medical issue anyhow and we can't discuss them, just the etiquette behind this interaction. ) and phobia or not - how is any of that LadyL's issue? Mary needs to be the one to deal with it, rather than making it other people's problem to deal with.