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Author Topic: Should I be annoyed?  (Read 651 times)
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hepcat
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« on: September 26, 2012, 01:43:44 PM »

So, I have a friend who I've known for a very, very long time.  But he does this thing that really, really annoys me.  See, if I invite him to do something, he'll tell me either that he would like to...or that he'll see if he can.  VERY rarely do I get a definite answer.  Then, unless I prompt him repeatedly about the event, he won't let me know if he will be joining me/us until the last possible minute.

About a month ago, I invited him to Chicago to stay with me for a get together a bunch of us are having.  His initial reply was "That sounds like fun."  I brought it up again a few weeks ago without asking for his answer.  Just told him what the plans were for the weekend.  Then, just to see what would happen, I didn't bring it up again.  I haven't prompted him for an answer on his plans.  I have mentioned the event once or twice so he knew it was still happening, but in an offhand way ("I'm hoping to have a game I ordered in by the time of the get together"...stuff like that).

It's now 48 hours before the get together and still no answer.

Honestly, I'm kind of fuming over this.  I've told him in the past this irritates me and it's rude.  But apparently this is falling on deaf ears.  It's not like he's hostile about it.  But it still really bugs the hell out of me. 

I'm debating just ignoring this person from now on if I don't hear from him by Friday.  Am I overreacting?  Am I a giant, overemotional girly boy who should be watching The View and noshing on bon bons while my tiny dog is cradled in my right arm?
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TK-421
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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2012, 01:52:11 PM »

I've had friends that had very similar habits.  Eventually I just gave up trying and now no longer bother.  

Which probably explains why I have only one local friend that I consider to be a real, good friend.  Even that's a struggle now as he's engaged (for which I'm happy for him) to a woman whom I don't particularly like (for which I'm sad for him) and I know she's the type that will want to curb his computer/gaming habit (for which I'm sad for me).

Other than that I have two good friends that I maintain contact with, one in Chicago (well, Janesville, WI really) and one in Philly.
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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2012, 02:07:34 PM »

I've also had a friend like that. We'll invite him out and have to push him to actually do it. Or he'll spontaneously show up, but most of the time he'll drop what we are doing for something else. Just got to the point that we would invite him and he either would show up or not but we just didn't count on him anymore.
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2012, 02:23:18 PM »

The fact that I get so pissed off about it is probably indication enough that I should just follow TK's lead and stop bothering to invite him anywhere.  

I'm so passive aggressive that I'm considering "getting him back" over Christmas.  He really looks forward to meeting up at my folk's house for a few days while a bunch of us that were childhood friends get together.  That's the only time he ever seems to commit to showing up and then follows through.  This year when he asks about when it's happening, I'm thinking of just putting him off by repeatedly telling him, "I'll let you know."  and then never doing so.
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Isgrimnur
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2012, 02:38:47 PM »

I'd recommend the high road in that case.  He's still your friend. 

If push comes to shove, have it out with him.  I tend to try and avoid confrontation, but I've had screaming jags at my friend when I feel that I haven't been given any respect.

For my friend like that, I'll mention stuff, but I don't ever plan on his attendance without a firm commitment.  I'd start by mentioning an event, then give him a reply date.  "I need to hear from you one way or another by xx/xx, as I need to make plans.  If I don't, I'll assume it's a 'No'."

I know, event-wise, I'm not the most reliable, but the odds of me actually making it are dependent on how bad I'd feel if I bailed and had previously made a solid commitment.
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Bullwinkle
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2012, 02:52:36 PM »

Is he married or in a long term relationship?  That can be a factor in hedging bets on plans.  Although it sounds like you've known him for long enough that this  may have been an issue farther back than any relationship he may have.

A lot of times this kind of underwhelming commitment comes from being comfortable in a routine.  And for some, the idea of breaking that routine is psychologically asking too much.  However, to him, it probably seems more of an insult to say no than to indicate that he'd like to do something, but isn't sure how motivated he'll be when the time comes.  Additionally, he probably really likes the idea of going to do something together, but making that idea a reality is just a bit much.

Now that I have a family, I find myself falling into this pattern sometimes.  I have a friend who really loves live music and is always asking me to concerts.  I love music, of course, but have been done with the hassle of seeing big bands live for many, many years.  I don't mind going to a very small venue to hear some good band (blues or real jazz are always up my alley - they don't even need to be particularly good), but that's never what he brings up.  Now, I have told him that these events aren't really my scene, but he still invites me all the time.  It feels very rude to say no every time, so sometimes I just don't reply.  Occasionally, I might even say I'm thinking about it, but I'm usually not.

Here's the flip side of that, though.  This guy and another guy who are good friends of mine, do this all the time.  I mean, they are at shows constantly.  They even go out of town for bands.  And they're leaving their wives to deal with the kids for all of this.  One guy even went to an out of town show on his wife's birthday.  That's a mentality I just don't understand.  It's like from the 60s.  Of course, these guys are in the world of Wall Street, so I guess that's fairly common down there, but in all other respects, these are two decent guys who don't really fit that mold.

Sorry I went off on a tangent.

But, yeah, the guy is probably stuck in his routine.  He may be doing this to you because he thinks it would be ruder to do it the other way (though you feel differently).  He may also be doing this because, subconsciously, he needs you to drag him out of that routine.  Maybe it's time to push him and/or have a frank sit down with him.

For the future, I agree that having a "reply by" system will probably help both of you, as it gives you both an out.  But it will leave him stuck in his routine.
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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2012, 03:00:00 PM »

I believe one of the late advice columnists would say something like:
"If this person does nothing but annoy and anger you, and aggressively do things you've told him bother you, and brings nothing positive to your life, why do you still consider him a friend?"

That doesn't mean they'd say to "dump" the friend. They might tell you to try to jot down what this friendship is based on. Mutual interests? Shared sense of humor? Used to work or go to school together? Just enjoy talking? Nothing?

What's happened with me is some people that I was just reasonably friendly with when we worked together now are what I would consider pretty good friends now. A few of us and spouses get together to play scrabble and have dinner together a few times a year. I and a few I knew through a county leadership program meet me for lunch on a Saturday a few times a year. That's all great.

I don't however think I really have any local pals (my best friend's up in Boston, my brother's in Richmond, VA) that I can just call and say "Let's go see Dredd 3D" or something. I guess it's kinda sad I see most films solo or with my mom. At least I can share my movie impressions with you guys, right?  icon_smile

Then I have some friends that seemed really close pals when we worked together but over the years either disappeared, or made it clear (in a sort of veiled way) through their e-mail replies to me when I've tried to get in touch, that "it's nice to hear from you but I'm not interested in picking up our old friendship." What can ya do? Friendship's a two-way street. If the other person's not interested, or is just plain obnoxious, I move on. Yeah I know... maybe I'm the obnoxious ex-friend.  icon_razz
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hepcat
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« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2012, 03:00:36 PM »

Unfortunately, I'm also a negative factor in all this.  I'm actually very annoyed by this and I fear that's going to just show up in any conversations with him more and more.  I wish I was more zen, but sadly I'm not.   icon_cry
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« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2012, 03:05:48 PM »

Then bring it up with him.  You'll get a resolution one way or another and get the stress of not having addressed it off your back, at least.
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« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2012, 03:08:16 PM »

I've brought it up in the past.  At least a half dozen times over the last 3 or 4 years. 

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I believe this is a combination of my own anger issues and his rudeness.  I've been growing more and more short tempered over the last few years.  I think I need to work on that as well.
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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2012, 03:27:53 PM »

It doesn't sound like he's being aggressive.  And it sounds like, while you're irritated, you still like him. 

I don't think a confrontation is the way to go, but I do think a frank discussion of it might help.  That may seem like the same thing, but it's not. The problem is if you don't say anything, it will become a confrontation eventually.

Also, proper discussion is about taking a special moment to say, "Hey, I need to talk to you about something" and not just make an off-hand comment or couch it in some comedic aside.  It needs to be given appropriate weight at this point.
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« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2012, 03:38:57 PM »

So he's established a very reliable pattern that you have discussed with him that you don't like.  And then he continues to follow that pattern.

He's unable and/or uninterested in changing.  My suggestion would be to either accept the relationship as it stands or walk away from it entirely if it bothers you to the point where you don't value the positive aspects of the relationship over the negative.  He's not going to change.
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« Reply #12 on: September 26, 2012, 05:07:42 PM »

Quote from: gellar on September 26, 2012, 03:38:57 PM

So he's established a very reliable pattern that you have discussed with him that you don't like.  And then he continues to follow that pattern.

He's unable and/or uninterested in changing.  My suggestion would be to either accept the relationship as it stands or walk away from it entirely if it bothers you to the point where you don't value the positive aspects of the relationship over the negative.  He's not going to change.

This

He is who he is and clearly hes non committal, when it comes to social plans.  Either you like him enough to accept him for who he is or it irritates you enough that you should move on.  If you accept him then understand that you cant rely on him for any social commitment and thats the way it is.
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« Reply #13 on: September 26, 2012, 06:38:06 PM »

Quote from: gellar on September 26, 2012, 03:38:57 PM

So he's established a very reliable pattern that you have discussed with him that you don't like.  And then he continues to follow that pattern.

He's unable and/or uninterested in changing.  My suggestion would be to either accept the relationship as it stands or walk away from it entirely if it bothers you to the point where you don't value the positive aspects of the relationship over the negative.  He's not going to change.

I agree.

I have a few people who are like this, and I count them as friends.
I've accepted that they are that way, and it isn't designed to be an affront to me.
They understand the risks of not committing, I know I can't count on them to attend when they say they will.

Much better to reason water to flow uphill - but that doesn't change that I like them, they like me, and we have a good time.

If I were in dire consequences, I *know* they'd be there for me (as they have in the past).
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hepcat
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« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2012, 07:27:45 PM »

Wow...this is...ummm...awkward....

The....ummm..."friend" I'm talking about?

...


It's purge.
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« Reply #15 on: September 26, 2012, 07:29:23 PM »

Quote from: Bullwinkle on September 26, 2012, 02:52:36 PM

A lot of times this kind of underwhelming commitment comes from being comfortable in a routine.  And for some, the idea of breaking that routine is psychologically asking too much.  However, to him, it probably seems more of an insult to say no than to indicate that he'd like to do something, but isn't sure how motivated he'll be when the time comes.  Additionally, he probably really likes the idea of going to do something together, but making that idea a reality is just a bit much.

For me personally, this is the reason I say "I'll see how I feel" and then flake out on plans with other people.  I'm an introvert so I really need the downtime away from groups of people to mentally recharge.  People who are extroverts don't seem to understand this and constantly bug me to go out or do things and won't take "no" for an answer so they get a noncommittal statement. 

I have no idea if that's the case for your friend, but I agree that a frank discussion with him is necessary if his actions are causing you problems.  You say you've talked about it before, but haven't said what his reasons or rational was.
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« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2012, 07:46:48 PM »

He never really gives a reason.  He just says "sorry" or "I thought we already talked about the schedule" then doesn't bring it up again.  When I tell him it bugs the crap out of me, he just shrugs or says, "sorry" again.

I'm also wondering if I did something to piss him off at some point because it's either getting worse the last couple of years, or I'm just getting more sensitive to it.
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« Reply #17 on: September 26, 2012, 07:51:47 PM »

Make sweet man love to him to make him bend to your will. Yea, I said it... saywhat
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« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2012, 09:03:31 PM »

Quote from: hepcat on September 26, 2012, 07:46:48 PM

He never really gives a reason.  He just says "sorry" or "I thought we already talked about the schedule" then doesn't bring it up again.  When I tell him it bugs the crap out of me, he just shrugs or says, "sorry" again.

I'm also wondering if I did something to piss him off at some point because it's either getting worse the last couple of years, or I'm just getting more sensitive to it.

You sound like a girly girl man, go watch some chick flicks!   Tongue

Seriously though, if you are actually close enough friends, I would probably confront it over a nicely written email, giving him the chance to respond or not, but not necessarily putting him right on the spot.  Ask him point blank if you've done something to upset him and let him know he can absolutely confide in you without judgment if there's something he's not telling you.  From your description, I'd guess he has something holding him back from being more committal but he doesn't feel comfortable enough sharing it with you.  In fact the way you describe his behavior reminds me 100% of how I used to be with some of my high school friends before I came out to them but was involved in a relationship.  I didn't feel like I could flat out tell them I wasn't sure if I could hang out because I might have plans with the guy I was dating, it was awkward all around and I always felt guilty because I wasn't being honest.  I'm not saying your friend is gay, but it's very possible there's something he's holding back for whatever reason.
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« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2012, 09:10:16 PM »

Quote from: hepcat on September 26, 2012, 07:27:45 PM

Wow...this is...ummm...awkward....

The....ummm..."friend" I'm talking about?

...


It's purge.

Sorry.
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« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2012, 09:15:01 PM »

Quote from: Harpua3 on September 26, 2012, 07:51:47 PM

Make sweet man love to him to make him bend to your will. Yea, I said it... saywhat

+1
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« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2012, 10:41:14 PM »

I'd say it sounds like he needs clearer rules and boundaries to interact properly with you. The next time you invite him to something, add "oh, and I'm going to need an answer by" and then a time when you expect him to respond. When he doesn't respond within that time limit, send him a message and let him know that you're sorry he couldn't make it. Don't let him get back in at that point for that event. He probably just needs to see that there are consequences to delaying. Don't ever be vague around him, but set strict limits that he can either accept or ignore. If he still fails to reply to any invitations after you've done this for a while, just give up on him.

This actually reminds me of child psychology.
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« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2012, 02:20:04 AM »

I used to have a friend who was Opposite Man. He'd show up at random times without calling. When he did call, he wouldn't show up at all or he'd arrive hours earlier or later than advertised. And every now and then he'd do exactly what he said he was going to do, just to keep me off guard. I think it was some kind of passive/aggressive control thing masquerading as spontaneity.

Eventually he dropped me for not being a good friend. He complained that he was always the one who made the effort to get together; I never called or stopped over. Why would I, when he was showing up unannounced at my house several times a week? The one time that I did drop by his apartment unannounced freaked him out completely.

He was a toxic person in other ways, and I was glad when he ultimately moved away and severed contact.

It doesn't sound like your friend is doing the same thing; it sounds to me like he just doesn't like to commit. He probably doesn't know himself whether or not he's going until the last minute. You can either accept that as his quirk and consider him a random actor, or you can tell him that you need to know at least x time in advance whether he's going to be there or not.  Make it sound like you're the one with the character defect, if that helps.
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« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2012, 05:10:00 AM »

Quote from: Ironrod on September 27, 2012, 02:20:04 AM

Make it sound like you're the one with the character defect, if that helps.

Heh. Good one.
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« Reply #24 on: September 27, 2012, 02:37:22 PM »

Hey, I resemble that remark!
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« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2012, 05:44:26 PM »

Sigh...I sent him a quick email this morning and asked, "So am I to take it you're not coming up this weekend after all?"

To which he simply said, "I'm going to do some work and can't." 

I'm done with this shit.  He knew I was debating taking a day off for this so he could come up a day earlier and yet he felt no need to clue me in that he wasn't coming up after all.  It's the day he WOULD have been arriving and I had to ask him if he was doing so.

I don't need that kind of friend in my life.

<vent mode off>
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« Reply #26 on: September 27, 2012, 05:54:30 PM »

I have a friend like this and it doesn't bother me as much as it does you because:

1. I never expect him to participate, but am happy when he does
2. I never make plans that hinge upon his participation
3. I Never, repeat NEVER, put myself in a position where his backing out will affect me

I basically tell him about an event and leave it at that.  If he can make it, great.  If he doesn't, I'm not worried about it.  Unfortunately that means I can never make plans that are just for the two of us, but I've learned my lesson and won't be burned by that again.  It doesn't make him a bad friend, because I like doing things with the guy, but it makes him the kind of friend I won't count on for plans.  It's up to you if you can handle having that in your life.  Sounds like you can't.

So my advice to you would be to tell him about an event once and let him follow up on it.  But under no circumstance should you go out of your way to accommodate him.
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