Author Topic: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?  (Read 5853 times)

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weeblewobble

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #30 on: March 04, 2013, 11:21:03 PM »
This all reminds me of a chance I had to teach my boys about watching out for the kinds of things manipulators and users will say to get you to do things for them.  One girl they called a friend knew they weren't allowed to help themselves to food without asking between meals (often I'd say yes, but they had to ask first) and that I was rather possessive of my Diet Coke.

More than one occasion she told the boys "If you sneak me one of your mom's sodas, I'll be your best friend!"  They told me she would do that so I told them "The next time she says that, tell her "A good friend wouldn't ask me to do things that would get me in trouble."   Apparently the girl did NOT like hearing that, or that they refused to fall for her manipulative tactic.   Not only that but they because they had opened their eyes more they distanced themselves from the girl cause they got tired of her attempts to get them into trouble.

Plus a couple years afterwards they started talking to a kid who used to bully them.  This kid was a rude little snot before but suddenly he was calling me "ma'am" and being very nice to the boys and was rather fond of Piratebabe.  Turns out the aforementioned girl was telling him lies about us, probably because she wanted to keep the boys as her friends and keep others away.

That starts so early.  I volunteer with a youth program and in the youngest class (kindergarten) two kids in particular are not terribly well behaved.  And of course, according to the cosmic laws of classroom seating, they always want to sit together because they're friends.  Student A is constantly telling Student B, "you have to give me the red crayon/your candy/your glitter stickers because I'm your BEST FRIEND.  I'm your BEST FRIEND.  You don't have anybody else."

The sad thing is, she's sort of right.  Student A and B have pestered, tattled on, picked on, and generally annoyed all of the other kids to the point that they don't really want to sit next to them.  They know if Student A sits at their table, that means Student B will pitch a fit until she sits there, too. (And vice versa.) And then the other kids have to put up with both of them snatching their crayons, yelling at them for imagined slights, and calling them names.

So we spend a lot of time trying to separate them.  And telling Student A that "real friends don't take all of their friends' nice things."  But we can't make the other kids want to be their friends, because the pestering, tattling behavior continues regardless.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #31 on: March 04, 2013, 11:28:00 PM »
I know in the case of this girl, she learned from observing her mother and paternal grandmother how to manipulate to get what she wanted.  Her mother would let her do whatever she wanted to get the girl out of her hair.  And she knew that in the rare times that mom said no to something she wanted to do (because mom would have to actually get off her butt and do something with the girl) she could tell grandma who would get after her mother for being lazy.

It was rather sad actually but I wasn't going to let her manipulate my boys out of pity either.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Allyson

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #32 on: March 05, 2013, 12:43:16 AM »
Hmm, I think, sometimes it's true. I've heard it a lot lately, this kind of thing is getting a fair bit of attention at some blogs and forums I read. I think though, it's not always as intentional as it's portrayed. Absolutely it is in cases of sociopaths and child molesters, and sometimes it's true of more garden-variety users. But a relationship/friendship that turns sour and has one person feeling used doesn't necessarily mean the other person 'targeted' them, as in thinking 'Aha, a perfect person for me to manipulate!' Not anyone on this thread who's said that, but it crops up a lot in other places, the idea that anyone who feels taken advantage of must be in the right, and the other person must be an intentional manipulator/emotional vampire or other such person.

I definitely think that it's possible for a situation in which *both* people feel like they've been taken advantage of by the other, that they are the 'giver' and the other the 'taker'. Sometimes people can get rather preachy about these topics, particularly when it's a romantic relationship, assuming one party is the 'villain'.

That said, I think it's excellent to be aware of possible techniques, whether conscious or unconscious, that these people do use. It'll help be aware of both potential abusers, and also help to set boundaries with everyone. I say 'no' a lot more than many people I know, and it sometimes makes me feel like a bad person. But, I myself would rather a compassionate 'no' than a reluctant 'yes' followed by resentment. So that's what I give to others.

Waterlight

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #33 on: March 05, 2013, 01:24:52 AM »
Here's another potential user/manipulator situation--certainly not to the degree that SS Ellen was a manipulator, but enough that I'm on my guard with her.  This is a co-worker of mine who has a history of abusing/disrespecting my time.  She started out with having me type up a few things for her and worked up to pawning off a major project on me that she didn't tell me would be as time-consuming as it turned out to be.  I did it for her for one school year and then said "enough."  Well, here's what I actually said, although same idea  :) 

"When you asked me to do Project X for you, I didn't realize it would be an ongoing thing, or that it would be so time-consuming.  I was happy to help you with it last year, since we had BigEvent coming up, but I won't be able to do it on a regular basis.  I have projects
I need to work on for MyDepartment that are higher-priority.  I'm sorry, but you'll need to make other arrangements for Project X this year."

This is J., the supervisor of K., the co-worker who asked me to give an oral presentation for her clients--the same one who tried to guilt-trip me into doing the presentation because it was good for teeeeeeeeeeeeamwork.  ::)  I suspect she told K. to ask me to do it "because Waterlight never says no."   I'm all for teamwork--but not at the expense of higher-priority projects in my own department, or of my leisure time.

Last fall, J. asked me to substitute-teach a class since one of the regular teachers was absent.  Now, if I'd been asked to interpret Lavenderese, several days to a week in advance, I might have agreed to do that--but she asked me to substitute-teach a group of toddlers, and with only 20 minutes' advance notice!  The short notice alone would make me reluctant to do anything of the kind.  But this is not something I'm even qualified to do; I've had no coursework in early childhood education and minimal experience with children in this age group.  We require even our subs to have had at least one year of work experience with young children.  So, my response in this instance was the E-Hell-approved "I'm afraid that won't be possible." 

She did some PA sighing and said "Well, I guess this means I'll have to teach the class myself and hire an interpreter."

I said, "I guess so, since I have a prior commitment I can't break."

I question, though, how much of this is deliberate manipulation and how much of it is simply failure to plan for unexpected contingencies.  That was not the first short-notice request I'd gotten from J.'s department. 
“The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine.”--Ralph Waldo Emerson

KB

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #34 on: March 05, 2013, 06:00:50 AM »
I question, though, how much of this is deliberate manipulation and how much of it is simply failure to plan for unexpected contingencies.  That was not the first short-notice request I'd gotten from J.'s department.

I would like to think that some people who practice this don't realise how much of a user they are being. They only know that it's worked for them in the past, that people are 'so nice and all they have to do is ask' and don't see how it turns people off because there are always new people coming along to take their places.

GratefulMaria

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #35 on: March 05, 2013, 08:39:32 AM »
I question, though, how much of this is deliberate manipulation and how much of it is simply failure to plan for unexpected contingencies.  That was not the first short-notice request I'd gotten from J.'s department.

I would like to think that some people who practice this don't realise how much of a user they are being. They only know that it's worked for them in the past, that people are 'so nice and all they have to do is ask' and don't see how it turns people off because there are always new people coming along to take their places.

I sometimes think the users are as trapped by their behavior as those around them.  Imagine the energy and headgames they have to play on themselves to hold a worldview that lets them treat people like that, including themselves.  <shudders>

Lynn2000

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #36 on: March 05, 2013, 11:19:21 AM »
I question, though, how much of this is deliberate manipulation and how much of it is simply failure to plan for unexpected contingencies.  That was not the first short-notice request I'd gotten from J.'s department.

I would like to think that some people who practice this don't realise how much of a user they are being. They only know that it's worked for them in the past, that people are 'so nice and all they have to do is ask' and don't see how it turns people off because there are always new people coming along to take their places.

This and Allyson's post remind me so much of my aforementioned friends Emma and Amy. I believe they are both genuinely good people, but in some ways they just don't see how their actions are perceived by others. Amy is by far the better-adjusted, IMO.

I'm uncomfortable calling Emma a "user," but she seems to feel that the way the world works is, you throw yourself on the mercy of your friends, family, and even total strangers, and they will help you out of the hole you've dug for yourself. And then you help them in a similar way. It's like friendship = people take turns doing stuff they dislike, because the other person likes it. So she's willing to reciprocate at least, which is nice; but she'll be a doormat for some friends, then expect them to be a doormat for her later, and other people often don't want to fulfill that role--either they were deliberately taking advantage of her, or they're just ordinary people who didn't realize they'd gone into her "debt." Kind of like baglady's quote.

Two examples: Emma once attended an all-day baby shower for a friend, who had multiple children already; the shower included multiple events, such as a picnic lunch and making ceramics at a store, which were then given to the GOH as gifts, along with other previously-purchased gifts. And the shower was held on a Friday, so Emma had to take off work. I was like :o and Emma claimed that was just how it was done in their culture, and she wasn't really looking forward to it and couldn't afford to spend the money, but hey, that's what you did for a friend.

On the flip side: Emma had surgery for something and continually complained to me about how her friends had not taken care of her properly--she expected them to bring her food, clean her house, etc. despite the fact that no one had actually promised anything like that. I know she confronted at least one person about not being a "true friend." She was especially mad with one friend--Emma called her and wanted her to come over and help Emma get into and out of the shower, and the woman had the nerve to say no! Emma guilted her into it finally. (She told me she was wearing a robe during the handling parts, but *I* wouldn't want to do it--not being physically adept, I'd be too afraid I'd do something wrong and she would get hurt.)
~Lynn2000

SoCalVal

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #37 on: March 05, 2013, 03:26:12 PM »
Emma and another friend, Amy, also have really high standards for friendship (or at least that's how they describe it). They want to be the type of person who drops everything to help out a friend.

My beloved DH is like this.  It's his personality-type to be so accommodating but, also, he considers it our duty as Catholics.  Yes, he has been taken advantage of a lot in his 40+ years.  Me?  I'm not as nice or forgiving or trusting as him, not by a longshot, so I'm constantly on the alert when I suspect something hinky in the air and will point it out.  I'm fine with being the bad guy.  Unlike DH, I really don't care that much if people like me, especially if the people in question are users/abusers.  DH doesn't get taken advantage of as much these years we've been together because I'm behind him making sure it doesn't happen (and he's taking more time, too, to analyze).  It's pretty amusing to state that some of those users/abusers, once they've been told no since I've come along, haven't tried it again.



LazyDaisy

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #38 on: March 05, 2013, 03:59:46 PM »
I question, though, how much of this is deliberate manipulation and how much of it is simply failure to plan for unexpected contingencies.  That was not the first short-notice request I'd gotten from J.'s department.

I would like to think that some people who practice this don't realise how much of a user they are being. They only know that it's worked for them in the past, that people are 'so nice and all they have to do is ask' and don't see how it turns people off because there are always new people coming along to take their places.

I sometimes think the users are as trapped by their behavior as those around them.  Imagine the energy and headgames they have to play on themselves to hold a worldview that lets them treat people like that, including themselves.  <shudders>
I agree to some extent. I think users and abusers lack empathy -- they can not see other people's point of view, only their own. Try and explain to them that others feel taken advantage of, are in pain, need help and all they seem to comprehend are their own feelings/needs/wants. I'm not sure if empathy is innate or learned in early childhood, but these people lack it. Even pointing out their hypocrisy when they don't reciprocate and it's the same -- they see their side and not the other.
"A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." — Douglas Adams

Katana_Geldar

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #39 on: March 05, 2013, 04:06:31 PM »
Empathy is learned and innate, but it missed some people for some reason.

weeblewobble

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #40 on: March 05, 2013, 09:35:02 PM »
Emma and another friend, Amy, also have really high standards for friendship (or at least that's how they describe it). They want to be the type of person who drops everything to help out a friend.

My beloved DH is like this.  It's his personality-type to be so accommodating but, also, he considers it our duty as Catholics.  Yes, he has been taken advantage of a lot in his 40+ years.  Me?  I'm not as nice or forgiving or trusting as him, not by a longshot, so I'm constantly on the alert when I suspect something hinky in the air and will point it out.  I'm fine with being the bad guy.  Unlike DH, I really don't care that much if people like me, especially if the people in question are users/abusers.  DH doesn't get taken advantage of as much these years we've been together because I'm behind him making sure it doesn't happen (and he's taking more time, too, to analyze).  It's pretty amusing to state that some of those users/abusers, once they've been told no since I've come along, haven't tried it again.

Exactly!  DH and I tend to be more "on our guard" than most people.  (The elderly neighbor lady slipped in under our radar, the wily minx!)  But when it comes to spotting most "user" or "not on the level" behavior we're on it.  We've been called cold, self-centered and bad Christians because we're more skeptical.  But you know what, I don't spend my weekends moving people who are capable of packing their own houses, but simply won't.  So if being called heartless is the price I pay for that freedom, so be it.

Lynn2000

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #41 on: March 06, 2013, 11:06:08 AM »
Exactly!  DH and I tend to be more "on our guard" than most people.  (The elderly neighbor lady slipped in under our radar, the wily minx!)  But when it comes to spotting most "user" or "not on the level" behavior we're on it.  We've been called cold, self-centered and bad Christians because we're more skeptical.  But you know what, I don't spend my weekends moving people who are capable of packing their own houses, but simply won't.  So if being called heartless is the price I pay for that freedom, so be it.

For me, honestly, I am kind of a selfish person. It's pretty easy for me to say no to most people (Amy excluded!) and more often I struggle with when I ought to say yes. I'm not a "lifter"--no one's going to call me to do anything physical for them. I don't have a vehicle, which gets me out of a lot of requests right there. I'm not into socializing, so I can't be lured/punished with social events. I'm pretty lazy, too--if I will sit in my apartment, craving an ice cream but unwilling to go out and get it when the store is literally around the corner, I'm definitely not going to run out and get something for someone else, especially someone I don't know well. I'm not saying these things like I'm proud of them, that's just how I am and so I don't seem to get many problems with users, but I have other problems of course. Since people are used to me saying no it doesn't seem to be much of an issue with them anymore.

Interestingly I've ended up having a decent relationship with some people who are users of other people. I don't consider being a user an admirable trait, of course, but I mean like co-workers, where it's important to get on well at work. They want some people around them that they can use, but they also seem to have a weird sort of respect for the people who won't give in to them. Or at least our working relationship is mostly drama-free.
~Lynn2000

Piratelvr1121

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Re: Users "Testing the waters" - Have you found this to be true?
« Reply #42 on: March 06, 2013, 11:26:12 AM »
Emma and another friend, Amy, also have really high standards for friendship (or at least that's how they describe it). They want to be the type of person who drops everything to help out a friend.

My beloved DH is like this.  It's his personality-type to be so accommodating but, also, he considers it our duty as Catholics.  Yes, he has been taken advantage of a lot in his 40+ years.  Me?  I'm not as nice or forgiving or trusting as him, not by a longshot, so I'm constantly on the alert when I suspect something hinky in the air and will point it out.  I'm fine with being the bad guy.  Unlike DH, I really don't care that much if people like me, especially if the people in question are users/abusers.  DH doesn't get taken advantage of as much these years we've been together because I'm behind him making sure it doesn't happen (and he's taking more time, too, to analyze).  It's pretty amusing to state that some of those users/abusers, once they've been told no since I've come along, haven't tried it again.

Mine is too. He's not Catholic but it's just his personality. MIL told me a story one day of how when DH was maybe about 10 he started packing a suitcase and sadly saying he had to run away.  He wasn't upset with her, he just had to leave.  In getting more information out of him, she learned that a friend of his was being abused and the boy was going to run away and DH didn't think he should be alone.   Only DH doesn't really expect it back because he was brought up that good deeds should not come with strings. 

Which is good! However, he's also a bit gullible and doesn't always think things through cause he tends to be very trusting.   So we've had a few people use us and in that time I've become a bit more cynical, I'm afraid, but on the upside it means I've been able to spot potentially bad situations before he does and he's learned to trust my judgement.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata