Author Topic: Is it ok to back out of a commitment if the other person is being inflexible?  (Read 9044 times)

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shhh its me

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  IF you had actually made plans I think it would be rude to decline because a host/participant  wont changes plans to something you realized you'd rather do after accepting. 

I think in this case you didn't actually accept you meant to say "I'd love to have drinks with you but can we......."  and made a alternate suggestion. Which I think is acceptable for this sort of thing.

I do think your wording was less then optimal "Count me in.......BUT lets do it differently"  sort of conflicts.

LifeOnPluto

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I'm sorry to say but I think you were fairly rude. She extended a specific invitation, you accepted it and then tried to change it. When she declined to change it, you argued with her reasons why she didn't want to change it and now you want to back out altogether. Per etiquette, you need to go. I also think, however, that if I were you, I would just head over at 4:30 yourself and get a drink and wait for her to show up. That way you can relax over your drink but still honor your RSVP.

Reading back, I can see how my response may have come across as badgering, and I'll try to be more careful with my words next time. I guess I was a bit taken aback by Carrie's rigid stance, which is completely at odds with the flexible ethos of our organisation.

Sound like the start of pretty normal exchange when setting up an informal catch up with friends, especially when there's only 2-3 people involved.

Yes I'd love to have a farewell drink but can we start a bit earlier? Movie Q isn't my thing, what about Movie P? Movie sounds great but can we do a later session and eat first? love to have a drink but can we try Y bar this time instead? Or can we do coffee instead of a beer? That sort of thing seems to be fairly common among friends, IME. YMMV.

It's not like asking someone to start their wedding half an hour earlier to suit you.

Usually all parties are ok with a bit of give and take until they're happy with the outcome. Sometimes it's not possible - someone will have a late meeting. Doesn't sound like Carrie is prepared to be at all flexible. She doesn't have to be if she doesn't want to. It would make me a lot less likely to want to go out for drinks with her though, particularly if she often insisted arrangements had to suit her preference.

If it isn't going to work, then I think it's ok for OP to back out. Going early as suggested by PPs is another option.


This sums up my thoughts, especially the bolded. I've noticed this is a pattern with Carrie - she much prefers to do things that are convenient/preferable for her, and not so much for other people.

While I conceivably *could* meet her for a quick drink, I really don't want to at this point. If she'd been flexible in the past, I'd do it. But this time, I think I'll push back and simply decline.


Raintree

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The company may be flexible, but if she still has to work the same number of hours, it sounds as though you were asking her to arrive half an hour earlier for work that morning. I don't blame her for not wanting to, as it comes out of her sleep. Especially since she is likely racing around to get ready for vacation. Sometimes the getting ready for vacation is pretty stressful. Pack, clean your place so it's not a sty when you get back, take animals (if any) to boarders, or leave instructions for house-sitters. I'd be loathe to get to work earlier than usual too.

I'd say it's fine to suggest an earlier time, but if she doesn't want to change her work shift, either take the invitation as is or decline.

perpetua

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I've noticed this is a pattern with Carrie - she much prefers to do things that are convenient/preferable for her, and not so much for other people.

While I conceivably *could* meet her for a quick drink, I really don't want to at this point. If she'd been flexible in the past, I'd do it. But this time, I think I'll push back and simply decline.

But that's exactly what you did. You even tried to get her to leave work early because it was more convenient/preferable for you.  I'm seeing a bit of irony here :)

Psychopoesie

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The company may be flexible, but if she still has to work the same number of hours, it sounds as though you were asking her to arrive half an hour earlier for work that morning. I don't blame her for not wanting to, as it comes out of her sleep. Especially since she is likely racing around to get ready for vacation. Sometimes the getting ready for vacation is pretty stressful. Pack, clean your place so it's not a sty when you get back, take animals (if any) to boarders, or leave instructions for house-sitters. I'd be loathe to get to work earlier than usual too.

I'd say it's fine to suggest an earlier time, but if she doesn't want to change her work shift, either take the invitation as is or decline.

If I've understood the work hours deal correctly, it's a sort of flextime arrangement. Something I worked with for a fair chunk of my career. So she doesn't have to come in 1/2 an hour earlier on that day. She could wait till she gets back, and work 5 minutes a day more for 6 days. That could be 5 minutes later each day or a slightly shorter lunch. So half an hour either way isn't a huge imposition in here normal run of things. At least, it wouldn't have been in my previous workplace.

PastryGoddess

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The company may be flexible, but if she still has to work the same number of hours, it sounds as though you were asking her to arrive half an hour earlier for work that morning. I don't blame her for not wanting to, as it comes out of her sleep. Especially since she is likely racing around to get ready for vacation. Sometimes the getting ready for vacation is pretty stressful. Pack, clean your place so it's not a sty when you get back, take animals (if any) to boarders, or leave instructions for house-sitters. I'd be loathe to get to work earlier than usual too.

I'd say it's fine to suggest an earlier time, but if she doesn't want to change her work shift, either take the invitation as is or decline.

If I've understood the work hours deal correctly, it's a sort of flextime arrangement. Something I worked with for a fair chunk of my career. So she doesn't have to come in 1/2 an hour earlier on that day. She could wait till she gets back, and work 5 minutes a day more for 6 days. That could be 5 minutes later each day or a slightly shorter lunch. So half an hour either way isn't a huge imposition in here normal run of things. At least, it wouldn't have been in my previous workplace.

But Carrie doesn't want to and OP is putting her in a position where she feels she has to JADE.  That's not ok.

OP Carrie is not being rude here, I actually think that you are being a bit rude.  You asked her once to move the time, she declined.  You then wrote back and and pushed again, she declined again.  Carrie is living her boundaries, you are the one pushing for her to do what you want. 

Your choices are to decline altogether, or to meet Carrie at 5pm.  There is nothing stopping you from heading over early.  But Carrie won't be there until 5pm. 

jmarvellous

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I don't think the OP did anything wrong in suggesting that her colleague be a bit flexible in her leaving time, once it became clear that there would only be a 10-minute window to order, guzzle and pay for a drink.

It's one thing to have half an hour to enjoy each other's company,  and another to have less than a third of that time. It's perfectly fine to cancel or reschedule for the day before.

What I don't think is OK is telling a co-worker that she should change her schedule (once you know that she is personally inflexible -- it seems fine before that).

Celany

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I've noticed this is a pattern with Carrie - she much prefers to do things that are convenient/preferable for her, and not so much for other people.

While I conceivably *could* meet her for a quick drink, I really don't want to at this point. If she'd been flexible in the past, I'd do it. But this time, I think I'll push back and simply decline.

But that's exactly what you did. You even tried to get her to leave work early because it was more convenient/preferable for you.  I'm seeing a bit of irony here :)

I don't think it's ironic when the OP has made it clear that Carrie is very rigid in the past. Yes, the OP is trying to make things more flexible for herself...because she nearly always does what's better for Carrie. So if 80% of the time, they do things Carrie's way, there is nothing ironic (or wrong) with her trying to have their relationship be more equal, when it comes to who is the flexible one.

I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior. ~ Hippolyte Taine

peaches

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I think it's fine to decline the meet up for a drink if the timing seems to rushed for OP. It would seem rushed to me, too. (And what if the bar is busy at that hour and they can't get served in time?) This does seem like cutting it close. I'd politely decline and suggest getting together shortly after friend returns from her trip.

I don't think it's fine to try to talk friend into leaving work early if that's not her habit, or - worse yet - to suggest that friend should complain to her supervisor about inflexible hours. Suggesting how friend should interact with her supervisor is out of bounds.

Perhaps the friend doesn't want to give the impression of skipping out early on the day she's leaving for a trip. That could be misinterpreted. Or it might be inconvenient for her to have to make up the time.

Each person in this relationship gets to decide if and when they're available to meet.

TootsNYC

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I think it's fine to decline the meet up for a drink if the timing seems to rushed for OP. It would seem rushed to me, too. (And what if the bar is busy at that hour and they can't get served in time?) This does seem like cutting it close. I'd politely decline and suggest getting together shortly after friend returns from her trip.

I don't think it's fine to try to talk friend into leaving work early if that's not her habit, or - worse yet - to suggest that friend should complain to her supervisor about inflexible hours. Suggesting how friend should interact with her supervisor is out of bounds.

Perhaps the friend doesn't want to give the impression of skipping out early on the day she's leaving for a trip. That could be misinterpreted. Or it might be inconvenient for her to have to make up the time.

Each person in this relationship gets to decide if and when they're available to meet.

Or maybe there's someone else in her department who often needs her help in that timeframe, and she thinks it's important to be available to help.

Celany

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I don't think it's fine to try to talk friend into leaving work early if that's not her habit, or - worse yet - to suggest that friend should complain to her supervisor about inflexible hours. Suggesting how friend should interact with her supervisor is out of bounds.

OT, but I've worked for companies that offered flex hours as a perk, only to find (once I was hired) that some of the supervisors don't like, or don't believe in flex hours, so they make a blanket decision to not allow their underlings to have flex hours - despite the fact that the company offers that as a major perk & that they cannot make that decision for their underlings, based on their personal feelings. I have encouraged several coworkers to report that to HR (privately if they're afraid of repercussions), because it's wrong and unfair for anybody who hired on in part because they thought they could take advantage of the flex hours.
I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior. ~ Hippolyte Taine

LifeOnPluto

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The company may be flexible, but if she still has to work the same number of hours, it sounds as though you were asking her to arrive half an hour earlier for work that morning. I don't blame her for not wanting to, as it comes out of her sleep. Especially since she is likely racing around to get ready for vacation. Sometimes the getting ready for vacation is pretty stressful. Pack, clean your place so it's not a sty when you get back, take animals (if any) to boarders, or leave instructions for house-sitters. I'd be loathe to get to work earlier than usual too.

I'd say it's fine to suggest an earlier time, but if she doesn't want to change her work shift, either take the invitation as is or decline.

If I've understood the work hours deal correctly, it's a sort of flextime arrangement. Something I worked with for a fair chunk of my career. So she doesn't have to come in 1/2 an hour earlier on that day. She could wait till she gets back, and work 5 minutes a day more for 6 days. That could be 5 minutes later each day or a slightly shorter lunch. So half an hour either way isn't a huge imposition in here normal run of things. At least, it wouldn't have been in my previous workplace.

You've hit the nail on the head. It's a flextime arrangement. We work for the Public Service...

I don't think it's fine to try to talk friend into leaving work early if that's not her habit, or - worse yet - to suggest that friend should complain to her supervisor about inflexible hours. Suggesting how friend should interact with her supervisor is out of bounds.

OT, but I've worked for companies that offered flex hours as a perk, only to find (once I was hired) that some of the supervisors don't like, or don't believe in flex hours, so they make a blanket decision to not allow their underlings to have flex hours - despite the fact that the company offers that as a major perk & that they cannot make that decision for their underlings, based on their personal feelings. I have encouraged several coworkers to report that to HR (privately if they're afraid of repercussions), because it's wrong and unfair for anybody who hired on in part because they thought they could take advantage of the flex hours.

I agree. Our organisation makes it VERY clear (and it's written in our Employment Agreement) that we can work our hours between 7am and 7pm, and it's a flextime arrangement. If Carrie's supervisor is telling her "You MUST work between 9am and 5pm every day!" they would be 100% in the wrong. I personally can't see how it's rude to remind Carrie that she isn't required to comply with that.

SoCalVal

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I agree. Our organisation makes it VERY clear (and it's written in our Employment Agreement) that we can work our hours between 7am and 7pm, and it's a flextime arrangement. If Carrie's supervisor is telling her "You MUST work between 9am and 5pm every day!" they would be 100% in the wrong. I personally can't see how it's rude to remind Carrie that she isn't required to comply with that.

You wrote in the OP that Carrie said she's expected to work until 5pm.  While her supervisor may be in the wrong, it might be in Carrie's best interest not to make this her hill to die on, and it's not polite to try to compel Carrie to try to enforce that.




perpetua

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I agree. Our organisation makes it VERY clear (and it's written in our Employment Agreement) that we can work our hours between 7am and 7pm, and it's a flextime arrangement. If Carrie's supervisor is telling her "You MUST work between 9am and 5pm every day!" they would be 100% in the wrong. I personally can't see how it's rude to remind Carrie that she isn't required to comply with that.

You have no idea what arrangements Carrie has with her boss about her working hours. She may have agreed to work these hours every day in exchange for some other perk, or because the transport works out better for her at that time of day, or because she has other things she needs to take care of at other times, or or or. It's presumptuous of you to assume.

Bottom line is Carrie says she doesn't want to leave before 5 and you should respect that.

Roe

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What I find odd is the OP stating that friend is inflexible when the friend was the one that offered the outing based on what she could do and when OP tried to change it, friend basically said "not going to be possible"  which isn't at all rude.

If friend has been inflexible when OP suggests things, OP can easily say the same, "not going to be possible."

Plus, the fact that OP is trying to convince friend to skip out of work early just makes this worse. It does not matter if friend is able to skip out 20mins early, the fact that she doesn't want to do it is her decision to make, not the OP's call. Geez.

Sorry OP but you are the one coming off as quite a bit rude here.