Author Topic: need some quick help to respond tactfully to changed plans UPDATE #33, #37  (Read 8748 times)

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Drunken Housewife

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I would be most grateful for some help here, and it's a bit time sensitive.

Background:  I suggested to a friend of mine that we get together for a particular outdoor activity, and she had the idea that in order to do this, we should go away for a few days and go camping.  I was thinking more of doing it as a day thing, but I liked the idea of going away for a few days.  We went over our calendars and picked some dates.  I told my husband I wanted to go away with this friend for those days. 

So that sounded great.  But then my friend texted me today and said, "I hope you don't mind, but.." and said she felt she had to invite a friend of hers from her work to come along, because the camping destination is "their special thing" to do as friends and they didn't manage to do it this summer and time is running out as it's getting cold at night for camping and this other person is "great at camping."  (Note:  I have camped a lot, so I have all the equipment, am well-versed at putting up a tent & cooking on a camping stove, etc..). 

Now I just don't feel like going.  I have met this other person, and she's always come off to me as brusque and a bit bossy.  But I've never interacted with her a great deal, so perhaps under that exterior she might be one of the most fabulous people around.   having said that,  I don't feel like sleeping in a tent with her.  And if it's "their special thing", then I think I'll feel like a third wheel.  I don't feel like I'll be comfortable. 

To add to this, it makes me feel a bit pathetic.  I feel that a normal person would not react like me and would be more outgoing and friendly than me and would figure that "the more, the merrier."  I was told that by an ex before when I was unhappy that people I didn't know were invited along on a trip, and it's stuck with me.   I feel also that when I break off plans, I will hurt my friend's feelings.   But I've been under a lot of stress this year and am seeing a psychiatrist, and under my psychiatrist's advice I'm supposed to be avoiding situations where I feel socially rejected.  Going away with someone I don't know who doesn't feel like a warm, welcoming person feels like a risk for me... and it was supposed to be a fun, relaxing getaway.  Sigh.

Any suggestions?  I suppose I should tell a white lie and say that some family stuff has come up, my husband doesn't want me to go, blah blah blah...  I don't like being dishonest, but I don't want to come out and say, "I don't want to go with your friend and I can't believe you invited someone else without asking!"
« Last Edit: September 24, 2013, 01:26:12 PM by Drunken Housewife »
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Katana_Geldar

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Re: need some quick help to respond tactfully to changed plans
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2013, 10:05:51 PM »
There's no reason you shouldn't have to go on a trip with someone you don't like, and your friend should have known better for inviting her without talking to you first.

Was it so hard to say to you "I'm thinking of inviting X, what do you think?"

You could tell a white lie, but that would depend on if you know you could be honest with the person. Saying "I'm sorry, I'm not comfortable around X" could be a good or bad thing.

bopper

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Re: need some quick help to respond tactfully to changed plans
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2013, 10:07:32 PM »
'Friend, I thought this was something you and I were going to do to prepare for <event>.   Having Bossypants with us changes the dynamic and I find her to be a "strong cup of coffee".   How about we get together for a day trip to hike (or whatever) and then you could camp with Bossypants another time?"

or also you could maybe do a day trip with her, say Saturday, and then have the friend meet up Saturday evening and you leave?

TootsNYC

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Re: need some quick help to respond tactfully to changed plans
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2013, 10:26:59 PM »
I'm with Bopper--I think you should say the equivalent of:
"You've changed the plans, and now this trip doesn't interest me."

I like the "I had proposed doing this activity with just you and me."
Reminder her that this whole thing was YOUR idea, YOUR trip, not hers!!
Grrr!

And while I might not say the "strong cup of coffee" thing--try not to get even indirectly critical of this friend from work--I think it's OK to say, "now that you've added someone else, this isn't the same activity."

And even say, "Since this is your special thing, I don't want to get in the middle of it. I'll let the two of you go on your own, now that you've got a weekend all cleared away. Have a good time!" <Click!> Don't wait around for her to argue with you.

Both of these give her a hint--if she's able to take it--of the two problems with this:
1) she is co-opting the social event YOU proposed;
2) she told you right to your face that this person is more special to her than you are. You're just a convenient way to get time with this other person. Seriously--"it's our special thing, so I'll just bring her along on my trip with you."

*inviteseller

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Re: need some quick help to respond tactfully to changed plans
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2013, 10:30:08 PM »
I don't think there is anything wrong with telling friend that since the dynamic has changed, you are going to bow out of their plans (and she took it from you and hers plans to their plans because it is 'their' thing).  You don't have to disparage the other person at all, put this squarely on your friends shoulders.  I am not comfortable when an outing I thought was for myself and a friend ended up with other people I did not know coming along.

gramma dishes

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Re: need some quick help to respond tactfully to changed plans
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2013, 10:38:12 PM »
...   a normal person would not react like me and would be more outgoing and friendly than me and would figure that "the more, the merrier."  I was told that by an ex before when I was unhappy that people I didn't know were invited along on a trip, and it's stuck with me.   ...

Your ex knew he screwed up and was turning it all back on you.  Some people are really good at that.

But make no mistake about it.  Most "normal" people don't like having plans changed on them unexpectedly, especially when the changes include spending close quarters and intimate time with someone you either don't know or don't especially like.

I would remind her that these plans were YOUR plans and now she has turned them into "their" plans which negates the original idea (which was for the two of you to spend some time with each other) altogether. 

I like Toots' sentence:  "You've changed the plans, and now this trip doesn't interest me."

Amara

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Re: need some quick help to respond tactfully to changed plans
« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2013, 10:46:51 PM »
Your event has been hijacked. It's that simple. And if you want to bow out, do so without guilt and without a second thought because it's no longer yours. You were gracious enough to expand the even to include camping with her. Now she has taken your event and completely changed it to her event. By what right did she have to do that? None!

doodlemor

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Re: need some quick help to respond tactfully to changed plans
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2013, 10:53:52 PM »
"Since this is your 'special thing' to do with your coworker I'm going to bow out and let you two have fun.  Maybe you and I can get together at some other time."

When friend protests that you are not coming.....

"It's been a stressful year, and I just don't feel comfortable spending so much time with someone that I really don't know very well in such close quarters.  We'll get together at some other time to do [activity.]"

The behavior of your friend after this will show you whether she is someone that you do want for a friend, or if she should be just an acquaintance.  If she is at all sensitive she will realize that she shouldn't have invited the other person.


Shoo

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Re: need some quick help to respond tactfully to changed plans
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2013, 10:54:00 PM »
There's nothing abnormal about the way you feel AT ALL.  I think most people would feel the same way.  Your trip was hi-jacked.  That was not a nice thing for your friend to do.  I think you can tell her you don't feel like going anymore, and if she's dumb enough to ask why, then be honest with her.

Iris

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Re: need some quick help to respond tactfully to changed plans
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2013, 10:54:45 PM »
Any "normal" person would be annoyed at "The trip we planned together is my special thing to do with OtherPerson so I'm just going to change things without asking you". That is an annoying thing to happen. Especially since calling it "their special thing" effectively reduces you, the initiator of the trip, to third wheel status.

I like Toot's suggestion of saying that since this is their special thing you don't want to intrude and leaving it at that. If your friend is not completely insensitive hopefully she will see what she's done and do better in future.
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MsMarjorie

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Re: need some quick help to respond tactfully to changed plans
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2013, 10:54:55 PM »
To add to this, it makes me feel a bit pathetic.  I feel that a normal person would not react like me and would be more outgoing and friendly than me and would figure that "the more, the merrier." 

Apart from the fact that there is no "normal", you are not reacting in an "abnormal" way.  You don't have to go if you don't want, you don't have to like this extra person and you don't have to subscribe to "the more, the merrier".

If I were presented with this situation, I would also not go once the extra person was invited - it would peeve me no end that my friend changed our plans in fact.
Just tell friend "you know what, you guys go on your camping trip and we'll reschedule our thing another time" and if friend thinks you sound annoyed - well then, she may just realize what she did to hurt you.

I know you didn't ask for them but (((hugs)))

LifeOnPluto

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Re: need some quick help to respond tactfully to changed plans
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2013, 10:58:15 PM »
Has she actually invited this friend yet? If so, I think you're fine to say "Actually, I'd prefer if it were just the two of us."

If she has already invited the friend (and it sounds like she has) I think you're absolutely fine in backing out. I'd go with the following wording:

"Hi [Friend],

I've decided to pull out of the trip. [Other friend] and I don't know each other that well, and I would have preferred it if it were the just the two of us, as we had originally planned. Further, I don't want to get in the way of your special thing. Hopefully we can do a day hike sometime soon.

Regards,
Drunken Housewife"


If your friend comes back saying "Oh, the more the merrier!" and "But this trip will be a great chance for you and [Other friend] to get to know each other better!" you can get a little blunter. Eg "I don't have much in common with [Other friend]. It wouldn't be a comfortable dynamic for me."

JenJay

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Re: need some quick help to respond tactfully to changed plans
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2013, 11:00:17 PM »
I would also be completely uncomfortable and not want to go. I agree with those who suggested something like "The two of you should go and enjoy your special thing. We can get together another time."

WillyNilly

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Re: need some quick help to respond tactfully to changed plans
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2013, 11:20:22 PM »
I have no better advice then the great stuff that's already been posted, but I did want to let you know you aren't being abnormal - I wouldn't be keen on this situation either, and I think you are totally fine for backing out.

Danika

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Re: need some quick help to respond tactfully to changed plans
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2013, 11:21:35 PM »
...   a normal person would not react like me and would be more outgoing and friendly than me and would figure that "the more, the merrier."  I was told that by an ex before when I was unhappy that people I didn't know were invited along on a trip, and it's stuck with me.   ...

Your ex knew he screwed up and was turning it all back on you.  Some people are really good at that.

But make no mistake about it.  Most "normal" people don't like having plans changed on them unexpectedly, especially when the changes include spending close quarters and intimate time with someone you either don't know or don't especially like.

POD. You sound like a nice person who bullies are drawn to because they can push you around. Don't take it.

I used to have a "friend" like yours who changed plans all the time and I put up with it because I thought I'd look bad if I didn't. But *she* is the one who erred. If she thought you would have said yes to inviting other people, she would have called and asked first. It was a mean move for her to change the plans without consulting you. Even if you liked the other girl a lot, it would still be rude for "friend" to invite her along without asking you.

I like what the PPs have suggested. And do not feel guilty at all. You did nothing wrong. You're having a weekend away getting wasted because now you have no plans. I wouldn't add the bit at the end about "maybe we'll go by ourselves some other time" because who wants to keep making plans with someone who does this sort of thing to you. You don't have to write her off completely for now. Decide later. But for now, I'd say something like:

"Hi 'friend',

   We had plans to go camping this weekend. You invited another person without asking me. I feel the dynamic will change. I'm no longer interested in going. Go with your other friend and have fun."

or if that seems to awkward, just say

"Hi 'friend',

   You altered the plans of the weekend and I'm no longer interested in going. Hope you have a good time but I won't be joining you."