Etiquette School is in session! > "I'm afraid that won't be possible."

s/o Teaching a friend about non-negotiable no

(1/2) > >>

Almost 20 years ago, my then-DP and I had what we called an Awkward Friend. You know you have an Awkward Friend when it seems that he/she is disproportionately attached to you given the social situation, and doesn't seem to have to social skills to realize when he/she is behaving inappropriately or outside of what is considered to be suitable for societal norms. Sometimes Awkward Friends set off the early-warning stalker-detection alarms, but then you realize, nope, s/he's harmless and not a stalker - just really, terribly, socially inept.

For example, our Awkward Friend (AF) would buy inappropriately expensive gifts for the holidays, meaning they were  neither appropriate for casual acquaintances, nor appropriate for someone of his means. We were in a cycling group, and our level of friendship with him and other group members was very casual. You probably wouldn't exchange gifts, but if you did, it would be about right to buy a nother group member something like a coffee mug with a funny cartoon on it. Whereas, AF would buy you something like a new screen for your computer.  :o

Randomly, one day AF brought us a series of animated movies from Japan. He really wanted to lend them to us (this was unsolicited). While we were fans of animated movies (DP was in animation school), we were familiar with that series and really, really were not fans. We found the series to be rather exploitive and misogynistic, so it was bordering offensive to us. We were not interested.

So here is where things fell apart: the polite spine. When "No, thank you" failed, and he insisted that we borrow them, saying: "I thought you might find them interesting. " DP and I used a variation of "I'm afraid that won't be possible." We did not want this big box of VHS videos (as I said, it was 20 years ago)! After many more iterations of "No. Not possible, no." AF finally left, but only after carrying the box back to our kitchen saying: "I really think you'll find them interesting. You can give them back later." Then he went home, leaving his box of stupid movies on our table.

DP's brother had been present for this, looked at us and said: "What the h*ll was that??? You said 'no' and he just left them there!"

In all honesty, now that it's 20 years later, I can't remember for the life of me what happened to the movies. I think DP may have put them in his car and after the next group bike ride, he dumped them back into AF's trunk.

But looking back, I still have no idea what we could have done differently. How do you deal with something like this?

The only thing I don't think we tried was saying: "If you leave these here, they will go in the trash." Since AF was lending us these movies (albeit against our will) and they did actually have value, we had strong reservations about destroying someone's personal property. I doubt we would have threatened to throw them out.

But as DP's brother said: "What the h*ll?"

Curly Wurly Doggie Breath:
I realise this was longggggggggggggggggggggg ago.

These days I would place them back into his car, or drive to his home and leave them there. Aka don't let him take your No as a yes.

I'm not sure what I would do, but I would be tempted to say, "Dude, we said no. If you leave them anyway, we're going to dump them."


--- Quote from: Curly Wurly Doggie Breath on July 10, 2014, 11:56:33 PM ---I realise this was longggggggggggggggggggggg ago.

These days I would place them back into his car, or drive to his home and leave them there. Aka don't let him take your No as a yes.

--- End quote ---

I agree, and we did discuss returning them, but AF lived in a town a good 1.5 hours away. Normally well only met for cycling acitvities with the group and most of the rides started out in the middle of nowhere between our cities. I suspect that there really is no way to politely smack a person like that with a clue-by-four. If you are abundantly clear and they still don't get refuse to get the message...

Perhaps the correct course should have been to leave him a message (remember this is back before texting) saying he had until X date to pick up the box or else it would be considered abandoned property and discarded. At the time though, we were both young enough to have under developed polite spines and truthfully, we were so stunned that he would dump the box on our table and walk away, that we were speechless.

Although it's usually better not to JADE, I'm not sure from your post if you ever outright told him you were familiar with the material already and didn't care for it. Of course he should have listened when you told him no, you didn't want the videos, but in a case like this, where someone is sure you'll love X if you just try it, saying, "Actually I'm familiar with X and I don't like it," can be pretty powerful.

Of course there will always be people who then say, "Well, you've got to experience it more and you'll overcome that dislike," or insist you're wrong, but sometimes this can at least shift the conversation away from, "Where should I leave this box of tapes?" He may think you're crazy for not liking it, but maybe that's okay if he stops pushing it on you.

I also think "If you leave those here, they will go in the trash," would be appropriate in a situation where multiple outright "no" has not stopped the person. Honestly I probably would not actually trash something of value, but if they "called my bluff" and left them with me, I might donate them someplace, like a resale shop, and when they asked about it, I would tell them they could go there and buy them back. Well, I would probably start by telling them this was my plan, but I would go through with it if they didn't believe me.

You could also try saying, "You know what, I might have been interested in X*, but now that you're being so pushy about it, I'm not. I'm not going to be able to watch them for themselves, I'm just going to be thinking about how irritated I was at you, because you pushed it on me. So you might as well take them away now. Next time, believe me the first time when I tell you no."

*In this case that would be a massive lie, but in other cases perhaps less so. Depends on what you're comfortable with. To me, it might get the person's attention, because they think you're about to agree.


[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version