Author Topic: Is it ok to back out of a commitment if the other person is being inflexible?  (Read 8510 times)

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LifeOnPluto

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Not sure if this is a mitigating factor, but (according to Carrie) the host of the other party had been trying to arrange it for six months, but various members of this group couldn't make this or that date. The only date that suited everyone (except Carrie) was Carrie's birthday - and the host chose this at the last minute. Apparently this party was kind of a Big Deal with this group, and everyone had been talking about it for ages, and Carrie really wanted to go...

Another Sarah

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Not sure if this is a mitigating factor, but (according to Carrie) the host of the other party had been trying to arrange it for six months, but various members of this group couldn't make this or that date. The only date that suited everyone (except Carrie) was Carrie's birthday - and the host chose this at the last minute. Apparently this party was kind of a Big Deal with this group, and everyone had been talking about it for ages, and Carrie really wanted to go...
I think it is, but I'm pretty surprised that if this party and getting together with the other attendees was so important to Carrie, that she hadn't invited any of them to her own birthday celebration, which would have taken the date out of her calculations?

Lynn2000

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Not sure if this is a mitigating factor, but (according to Carrie) the host of the other party had been trying to arrange it for six months, but various members of this group couldn't make this or that date. The only date that suited everyone (except Carrie) was Carrie's birthday - and the host chose this at the last minute. Apparently this party was kind of a Big Deal with this group, and everyone had been talking about it for ages, and Carrie really wanted to go...
I think it is, but I'm pretty surprised that if this party and getting together with the other attendees was so important to Carrie, that she hadn't invited any of them to her own birthday celebration, which would have taken the date out of her calculations?

That's a good point. So Carrie invited 5 people to her birthday party, and none of those 5 were part of the Big Deal group? My assumption would be that the 5 people invited to her birthday party are her closest friends, therefore no one in the Big Deal group are among her closest friends. And, if anyone from the Big Deal group had been among her closest friends and thus invited to her birthday party, they would be going, "Oh, this date doesn't work either, we're already committed to something else. We'll have to have the Big Deal party on a different day."

Honestly, with good friends, I could still see something being worked out, because it really doesn't matter if objectively something is rude, if everyone involved is okay with it. But, it sounds like with Carrie, this isn't a one-time, weird occurrence that she realizes is an imposition--it sounds like with her, asking others to inconvenience themselves to accommodate her is more like Plan B in her mind, a perfectly reasonable option. And yet, it's not like she's just a free-wheeling, spontaneous person who is okay with plans changing on the fly--when someone else wants her to change plans, even by just a little bit (12:45 vs. 12:30 for lunch), she makes it very difficult for them.

People aren't perfect and you can certainly have give and take in a friendship--that's what friends are, people you feel close enough to, to give them leeway you wouldn't give general society. But that leeway has to go in both directions, and the pattern as described shows that Carrie is always the one taking and rarely the one giving.
~Lynn2000

lowspark

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Not sure if this is a mitigating factor, but (according to Carrie) the host of the other party had been trying to arrange it for six months, but various members of this group couldn't make this or that date. The only date that suited everyone (except Carrie) was Carrie's birthday - and the host chose this at the last minute. Apparently this party was kind of a Big Deal with this group, and everyone had been talking about it for ages, and Carrie really wanted to go...

What strikes me as interesting here is that, in addition to the fact that none of the birthday party friends overlap with the Big Deal Group, Carrie told the birthday party friends (or at least one of them, LifeOnPluto) all the details of the Big Deal Party, to which LifeOnPluto isn't invited.

So not only did Carrie move her own birthday party from a Saturday night event to an afternoon event (which I find totally distasteful for multiple reasons*), she also flaunted the fact that the reason she moved it was because a) something better came up, b) and by the way, none of you are invited to this "something better" which happens to be a fun party I've been looking forward to for months!

* Distasteful because when you're all set to go out on a Saturday night for what will probably include cocktails and dinner, who wants to switch to an afternoon tea? Sure, an afternoon tea can be fun, but not when I was looking forward to cocktails and dinner!
In addition to that, since my Saturday night was booked, what if I had turned down other invitations or inquiries for getting together that night? Now there's a good chance I'll be stuck at home with nothing to do on Saturday night. And while I'm sitting at home, I'll be thinking about Carrie having a good ol' time with her Big Deal buddies.

Carrie sounds like someone with whom I would not have any interest in pursuing further friendship.

DavidH

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I wouldn't have pressed as hard on the flex time issue, but if the plan is really to leave at 5 for a drink at 5:10, and departure at 5:20, I'd decline.  The original offer, to me, sounded like meet at 5 for a drink, so I'd have said something along the lines of let's meet at the door at 4:45 and walk over together.  I don't think that anyone is committed until you've finalized, so the negotiation of the time seem like part of the initial RSVP. 

Given her history, I wouldn't assume it's final until she arrives, but then I wouldn't put up with the nonsense of cancelling her own party at the last minute since she had a better offer either.

TootsNYC

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I'm w/ Lynn2000

Quote
Honestly, with good friends, I could still see something being worked out, because it really doesn't matter if objectively something is rude, if everyone involved is okay with it. But, it sounds like with Carrie, this isn't a one-time, weird occurrence that she realizes is an imposition--it sounds like with her, asking others to inconvenience themselves to accommodate her is more like Plan B in her mind, a perfectly reasonable option. And yet, it's not like she's just a free-wheeling, spontaneous person who is okay with plans changing on the fly--when someone else wants her to change plans, even by just a little bit (12:45 vs. 12:30 for lunch), she makes it very difficult for them.

I think it's the frequency of this sort of thing that makes the difference. It would for me eventually, too.

Celany

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Sure the rules may say that Boss cannot deny a request for flex time without a good reason, but that doesn't mean he can't make my life miserable if I press him on something he doesn't want to do. Sometime the rules may be on your side, but reality says it isn't going to work that way.

Thank you.  I wish people would realize that situations aren't all black and white.  Just because you're right or have policy on your side, doesn't mean there won't be a cost for pushing for that thing/doing the right thing.

I totally see (and agree) with that. And for the record, I'd totally respect if someone said that & that they liked the job enough that missing that perk was OK with them. I would just want them to be aware that there are ways to handle that, or try to handle it, if they want to.
I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior. ~ Hippolyte Taine

LifeOnPluto

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Not sure if this is a mitigating factor, but (according to Carrie) the host of the other party had been trying to arrange it for six months, but various members of this group couldn't make this or that date. The only date that suited everyone (except Carrie) was Carrie's birthday - and the host chose this at the last minute. Apparently this party was kind of a Big Deal with this group, and everyone had been talking about it for ages, and Carrie really wanted to go...

What strikes me as interesting here is that, in addition to the fact that none of the birthday party friends overlap with the Big Deal Group, Carrie told the birthday party friends (or at least one of them, LifeOnPluto) all the details of the Big Deal Party, to which LifeOnPluto isn't invited.

So not only did Carrie move her own birthday party from a Saturday night event to an afternoon event (which I find totally distasteful for multiple reasons*), she also flaunted the fact that the reason she moved it was because a) something better came up, b) and by the way, none of you are invited to this "something better" which happens to be a fun party I've been looking forward to for months!

* Distasteful because when you're all set to go out on a Saturday night for what will probably include cocktails and dinner, who wants to switch to an afternoon tea? Sure, an afternoon tea can be fun, but not when I was looking forward to cocktails and dinner!
In addition to that, since my Saturday night was booked, what if I had turned down other invitations or inquiries for getting together that night? Now there's a good chance I'll be stuck at home with nothing to do on Saturday night. And while I'm sitting at home, I'll be thinking about Carrie having a good ol' time with her Big Deal buddies.

Carrie sounds like someone with whom I would not have any interest in pursuing further friendship.

The Big Deal Group was a church group to whom none of us (Carrie's close friends) belonged to. Also - this just occurred to me - perhaps there would have been repercussions within the church group if Carrie had not attended? I don't know.

Regardless, Carrie's way of rescheduling the party was to email all of us, explaining the whole situation with the Big Deal party, and asking if we'd mind having HER birthday party at 3pm instead. That's how I found out about it. I actually didn't mind about the change of time in this particular instance. The original 7.30pm party was for dessert only, so not for drinks and dinner.