wmtc survey: what would you do?

Survey time! Please choose the answer closest to what you would actually do.

More information:

1. The acquaintance does not read this blog.

2. After answering the question, please feel free to discuss in comments.



Amy said...

I could not read the full text of the answer choices in the box, but assumed what they must have said. Is there some way to enlarge the box?

I was torn between the first and second answers. If it was someone I have to see a lot, for example, someone I work with, I might say, "Let's get coffee/tea some time" or lunch at best. (This has happened.)

If it is someone I don't HAVE to see or run into, I would probably just keep making excuses until the person gave up or until I just could not make a credible excuse. I have done this with the friend I mentioned to you whose political views have become just too distasteful for me.

I would likely only get to C if the person was REALLY persistent and REALLY annoying/intolerable/hateful, and I just didn't care about hurting his/her feelings.

So count me as both A and B!

Amy said...

Oops, dumb me. Just figured out how to see the rest of the answers.

As Gilda Radner would say, "Never mind...."

laura k said...

Re one of the "other" responses: they want to get together to hang out, spend time together, become better friends. No mystery there.

laura k said...

Amy, it's someone you don't run into at work or in your normal routine. In order to see each other, you'd have to make plans. So now please choose an answer!

sassy said...

I would open a conversation by asking them WHY we should get together. That would change the tone from things, places, activities I don't care for rather than the fact that I don't care for them.

IF on the other hand, they had behaved in a way in the past that I found totally offensive, I would come right out and say NO to a verbal invitation or simply ignore a written invitation.

Amy said...

Then B. until I reached the point of exhaustion.

laura k said...

I would open a conversation by asking them WHY we should get together. That would change the tone from things, places, activities I don't care for rather than the fact that I don't care for them.

I don't get this. The person just wants to go for coffee or dinner or a drink - wants to be better friends. There is no other "why", and the places and activities are pretty much irrelevant, to my mind. If we both wanted to get together, we would just pick a mutually agreeable spot.

The person has never been offensive to me. S/he is just not someone I want to spend time with.

Amy said...

Since this seems to be about a real situation you are facing, and since you seem to be struggling with it, you must feel badly about doing either B or C. I'd therefore say you should suck it up for one cup of coffee, be as dull and indifferent as you can, and then perhaps she will let it go. Thinking it over again, that is perhaps what I would do. But I tend to be much more guilt motivated than I think you tend to be.

laura k said...

But I tend to be much more guilt motivated than I think you tend to be.

Indeed! :) I rarely if ever experience guilt over anything.

It is a real situation but I'm not struggling with it and don't feel bad.

I'm just curious what others would do in this situation.

My time is incredibly precious to me. I don't like to spend it with people I don't care for, unless I have no choice (work, group work for school, etc.).

Also, if I go out with the person, I'm opening the door to more contact, bringing our acquaintanceship out of its present context into something easily interpreted as friendship. But I don't want a friendship, so why take that first step? In a sense it would be dishonest.

The person has friends, has a life. Not being friends with me shouldn't be a big deal. Sometimes guilt exaggerates our own importance. Not intentionally, of course, but one way out of the guilt trap (IME) is to stand back and see yourself as relatively unimportant.

impudent strumpet said...

Miss Manners recommends a nonspecific "Things have just been so busy lately!" and, if pressed, "Why don't I call you once they've eased up?"

I think C would be needlessly cruel if the person has done nothing to offend you. This might be influenced by my time as a friendless teen when I was grasping at uninterested classmates in the hope of making a friend, any friend, and may not be applicable to an adult with an adequate social circle.

John F said...

I chose the second response like the good little passive avoidance Canadian that I am. :-)

Amy said...

So it sounds like you have made a decision NOT to go out with her. But have you decided whether to take option B or C or some other option?

Interesting insight about guilt. I don't think it's that I overestimate my importance to anyone, but no one likes to be rejected, no matter how many friends they have or how unimportant you may be to them in some larger sense. But I am not sure B is any less hurtful than C.

Let us know what you do decide. And what reaction you get.

laura k said...

Amy, I'm sure you don't exaggerate your importance. For me, reflecting on my own unimportance has been a useful perspective, helping me not feel responsible for other people's feelings.

Amy said...

I like that perspective and will try to use it when I can. If it works, it will make so many small decisions I make much easier. Thanks!

laura k said...

I would agree with Miss Manners, Imp, John F and others. I would normally just make an excuse and let it go.

The only reason it's become an issue is that the person is not taking the hint. S/he is repeatedly suggesting getting together, putting me in the position of repeatedly declining.

I do not want to go out with this person. Yes, it wouldn't kill me, but it bothers me that I have to use a precious free evening because someone can't pick up on signals! Plus, as I said above, I think it would be leading them on, so to speak.

I don't want to be cruel. I was thinking of saying, "My time is so tight these days. I barely have time to do anything. So I'm sorry, I'm just not going to be available at all for the foreseeable future."

Damn. Take the hint!

Amy said...

What a thick skull! I like your approach. I have said things like that when asked to get involved in organizations and activities I have no interest in. Of course, then it isn't personal. But I think even a dummy would get it if you said that you just have no time or energy for extra evenings out these days. Period. Hope it works.

laura k said...

When I was temping in the early 1990s, I would always be friendly with some co-worker who would inevitably want to go out for drinks after work. I would regularly have these boring, obligatory-feeling nights out. I felt little connection with any of these people, and mostly just went through the motions.

After a while, I decided: no more. I decided to stop wasting my time with those kinds of pseudo-friendships. A very good decision, and I've stuck to it.

laura k said...

Amy, we were typing at the same time, but somehow the comments still make sense in this order.

I also will say that about activism, groups, volunteering. I'll say "I'm just maxed out for time. I don't want to say yes then not be able to honour a commitment. So I'll have to decline." For me, it's often things I'd really like to do. But there are only so many hours in a day!

laura k said...

I like that perspective and will try to use it when I can. If it works, it will make so many small decisions I make much easier.

It really does help! I remind myself that it's not about me, and my presence or absence - or my approval or disapproval - will not make or break this person's life or the project or whatever. It really helps.

I got this from a self-help book a loooong time ago. Guilt as a form of egotism!

johngoldfine said...

I vote for 'other.'

How about trying the manipulative, mind-fuck route?

Assuming your friend wants coffee but not activism, say: "I'm just maxed out for time. I'm off to a meeting of the War Resisters tonight, and it probably won't break up until 10. Maybe you would like to come?" After a few of those invitations, your wannabe buds will run when they see you coming.

I apologize in advance, Laura, because I think that you are a straightforward person and not a games-player, and so I doubt this would appeal. But that's what 'other' means to me.

laura k said...

You know, John, I am not a games-player and do try to be straightforward, but this has a lot of appeal! I wonder if I could pull it off.