Author Topic: Have I ruined this friendship?  (Read 2342 times)

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jane7166

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Have I ruined this friendship?
« on: May 22, 2013, 05:13:29 PM »
I just had an incident with a touchy-feely person, the same one in this post:

http://www.etiquettehell.com/smf/index.php?topic=127342.0

I actually got through that weekend fairly OK, given all the time spent together. 

Yesterday, at a gym class, we had been working very hard training for an event and then we had to leave the area because of an emergency situation involving another class in the same area.  So, we were all a little stressed out from the work-out and the emergency.  Friend grabs my arm and I lost it, pulling away and saying, "Friend! Please!" 

She seemed to get it - maybe this has happened before (?) and said she was sorry.  I said, it's OK, I've never said anything, how would you know?  And then said stuff like today has been very stressful and I am sorry I exploded. 

In the locker room, I apologized again for exploding, saying I really shouldn't let things boil up inside of me.  We seemed to have left on good terms but I'll bet things are not the same between us. 

It had been getting to the point that I was already in a bad mood when I got to the gym, knowing that she'd be perky and I knew I couldn't equal that mood and then I would have to "cheer up."  I hate having to do this for yet another person - I already get that at home with my DD with autism.  I can't be in a bad mood, it rubs off on her.  With friend, if I'm in a bad mood, she wants to fix it and grab my hand or something.  Argh!

So, should I just see what happens (tomorrow) or is there more I can do to salvage the situation?  I know I should have said something when I was in a rational state of mind but just never got to it.  I have never had to deal with such a touchy-feely person so much. 


PastryGoddess

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Re: Have I ruined this friendship?
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2013, 05:22:35 PM »
Don't apologize anymore.  If she does get touchy feely again, Ask her to "Please stop" and move the body part away from her OR move her hand away from your body part. 

Alpacas

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Re: Have I ruined this friendship?
« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2013, 05:26:33 PM »
I don't know why this would have ruinded the friendship.
It sounds like she understood why you reacted that way.

But just to make sure. did you ever tell her what you just told eHell?
It had been getting to the point that I was already in a bad mood when I got to the gym, knowing that she'd be perky and I knew I couldn't equal that mood and then I would have to "cheer up."  I hate having to do this for yet another person - I already get that at home with my DD with autism.  I can't be in a bad mood, it rubs off on her.  With friend, if I'm in a bad mood, she wants to fix it and grab my hand or something.  Argh!


I think if you explain to her that it has nothing to do with her and that she doesn't need to fix anything, that it could help with her behaviour.

I might not have a relative with Autism, but i am around people most of the day where i have to put up a "mask" of all smiles or else i would constantly hear "Oy!Why are you pulling that face? Are you in a bad mood? Did something happen?" they just mean well, but it is exhausting to be always cheery and in a good mood.

bah12

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Re: Have I ruined this friendship?
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2013, 05:27:14 PM »
You brought up an issue in a less than desirable way, explained that the issue is actually bothersome, and apologized for the manner that it came about.

There is nothing more that you can do.  I wouldn't continue to belabor the point by continuously apologizing.  Just drop it and don't bring it up unless she does.  But if she does get to touchy feely with you, then just say something right away, like "That makes me uncomfortable.  Please don't do it."

Amara

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Re: Have I ruined this friendship?
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2013, 05:27:56 PM »
I would say to be honest with her (if you have that kind of relationship). Say it the way you said it in your original post. It's honest but tactful, and I would completely understand.

MrTango

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Re: Have I ruined this friendship?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2013, 05:31:14 PM »
Don't apologize anymore.  If she does get touchy feely again, Ask her to "Please stop" and move the body part away from her OR move her hand away from your body part.

I agree, especially with the bolded.  Your reaction at being touched wasn't inappropriate, and your first apology (with explanation that you're sorry you never said anything previously) was spot on.  Now it's time to move forward, which means leaving the past in the past.

jpcher

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Re: Have I ruined this friendship?
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2013, 06:51:41 PM »

She seemed to get it - maybe this has happened before (?) and said she was sorry.  I said, it's OK, I've never said anything, how would you know?  And then said stuff like today has been very stressful and I am sorry I exploded.

Maybe you're right. Maybe others have talked to her about her touchy-feely habit. It sounds to me like she understood, pretty quickly, why you reacted the way you did.

I think tomorrow is the time to be up front and honest.

"Hey, Friend, can we talk? I really enjoy your company whenever we get together. You're a (insert your own adjectives here . . . bright, funny, interesting, lovable, trustworthy . . . whatever) person to be around. But I must confess that I am not a touchy-feely type of person. I would appreciate it if you'd try to not grab my hands or touch my shoulder/arm when you want my attention. Do you think that this is something that we can work out together? By the way, are you free for lunch on X-date?"

Start out with saying why you value the friendship. State* your position. Ask if it's something that she understands and try to find a common ground. Then lighten things up by making plans.


*Yes. State your position. Absolutely do not apologize for being the person that you are. Your personal bubble space is a part of what makes you you. There is nothing wrong with your desire to stick to your own personal standards.

If friend (takes your hand/touches your arm) and says "Oh, but honey, that's just the way I am." THEN it's okay to apologize. Shake off her touch and say "I'm sorry, I will not continue a friendship if you won't respect my boundaries" and walk away.



jane7166 -- It's up to you to decide if this is a friendship deal breaker or not, but I do believe that it's time for you to speak up. If she's any friend at all, she'll understand and respect your firm stance.

Good Luck! :)





eta: I just saw this, and think it strongly applies to your situation:

“Being honest may not get you a lot of friends but it’ll always get you the right ones”

-- John Lennon.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2013, 08:05:13 PM by jpcher »

Surianne

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Re: Have I ruined this friendship?
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2013, 09:00:33 PM »
Great advice, jpcher.

TootsNYC

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Re: Have I ruined this friendship?
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2013, 09:14:15 PM »
...She seemed to get it - maybe this has happened before (?) and said she was sorry.  I said, it's OK, I've never said anything, how would you know?  And then said stuff like today has been very stressful and I am sorry I exploded. 
...
In the locker room, I apologized again for exploding, saying I really shouldn't let things boil up inside of me.  We seemed to have left on good terms but I'll bet things are not the same between us. 


I'm wondering something here--did you ever say to her, "I really don't like people to touch me, really not ever--it's not just about "stressful days" but about the fact that I don't like people to touch me"?

Because it mostly sounds like you just sort of blamed it all on being stressed and letting things boil up.

And that may explain the outburst-y part.

But you really need to say, "I've discovered that I do not like people to touch me. So please don't. I find it stressful, and it feels very intrusive to me."

And do not, in that conversation, bring up ANY other sort of factor. Because those only dilute your basic point, which is, "stop touching me--I've discovered that I really don't like it."

Pen^2

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Re: Have I ruined this friendship?
« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2013, 10:58:27 PM »
Don't apologize anymore.  If she does get touchy feely again, Ask her to "Please stop" and move the body part away from her OR move her hand away from your body part.

This. Apologising for exploding is a good thing to do. But don't apologise for her touching you and you disliking it. That is not something bad, not something that is your fault, and therefore not something that should be apologised for. By apologising for it, you could make it seem like you dislike it on purpose, which is absolutely not the case with a personal boundary being violated.

And yes, we all have different personal boundaries. Just as we all have different 'default' moods. Some people are naturally more chirpy than others, which is fine, but you shouldn't feel like you have to pretend to be chirpy as well. If she thinks there's something wrong with you for feeling neutral or grumpy some days, or for just not being in the exact same mood she is in, explain it to her once, and then it's her problem if she continues to be unreasonable.

Sit down and have a talk. jpitcher had some perfect advice. If your friend doesn't accept that you aren't a clone of her and that she shouldn't demand that you act and think just like her, she has zero empathy and isn't really a friend. A relationship where you have to wear a mask all the time isn't a friendship.

jane7166

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Re: Have I ruined this friendship?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2013, 09:16:25 AM »
OP here.  Thank you all for the good advice.  I will see her today so I will try to apply it. I especially like jpcher's take on this. 

Like Popeye said, "I yam what I yam."  I hope she and I can come to an understanding for 2 reasons: I do like her and we are going to be spending a lot of time together in the next few months, like it or not.

And TootsNYC is right.  I think Friend thinks these are gestures of love and friendship and, in my mind, they are unexpected grabs and intrusions and I don't like it.  It feels clingy not friendly.  I need to tell her that I need my space, no excuses why.