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Do your "close" friends consistently do things that are rude, or do I just have friends that are too close?
June 22, 2011 10:53 AM   Subscribe

Do your "close" friends consistently do things that are rude, or do I just have friends that are too close?

It seems like a consistent thing that my girlfriend and I do nice things for our friends, organize a party, even invite people to come on vacation with us, and only to find a few months later all those previously included blow us off or treat us rudely in some situation or another.

I am in my late 20s and so is my girlfriend. She doesn't have many friends where we live because she moved from out of town, although I do have quite a few friends, though most of them are from the last 5 years or so. Already, it is easy to conclude that knowing people for 5 years doesn't necessarily mean you are close to them or they are considered great friends yet.

There are numerous examples I can give, just a couple of the most recent. We have these two couple friends, couple A and couple B. Couple A (the dude) and I planned a Memorial Day party. We would go to his pool, and my couple agreed as did Couple B. I ran into mutual friends of mine, Couple A's, and Couple B's. They asked what we were doing for the weekend and I said we had plans, but if they fell through would let them know. On the backside I told Couple A (the organizer) that I ran into them. I said I did not want to invite them since I did not know if you wanted them invited, but should we consolidate and have more people come? He said yes. I also asked Couple A if they wanted to first meet at our apartment to cook food and then go to their pool. They said that's complicated, let's just meet at the pool. I said okay, and then even verbally agreed to it with him the night before.

The next day Couple A texts and says they decided to hang out with family and aren't having anyone over. Three weeks later and Couple B tells me that Couple A and Couple B went out by themselves for Memorial Day, and that Couple A cited that I made things too complicated by suggesting other people come and that we cook food at another premises, etc. I went back and read the correspondence, and just as I have outlined above, the Couple agreed to everything that was mentioned by me and everything suggestion I made and they did not like, I agreed to completely.

So, not only did they go irrational on us, they also lied to us about their plans altogether. We wound up having some other people over that day, but otherwise Couple A had fully intended to "punish" us by not inviting us out and making us stay at home all day on Memorial Day for us making the things they agreed to too complicated. Phew, what a conundrum. We are now having a hard time wanting to hang out with them anymore. We don't know why they did that, we don't really care. This is not aa uncommon occurrence with other couples and even a few individual single friends.

We have another Couple friend who recently came to our home and took my ipod out of our home theater system and replaced it with theirs; after an hour I switched it back and made a lighthearted comment to the effect of, "OK, enough with the elevator music, hahaha..." Then I switched to my ipod again, and then the Couple made a serious-but-not-so-serious violent threat towards me, got angry, and switched their ipod back on and mine back off. I got up and said politely it was my house and we listen to my music, and they shortly after stormed out of our home.

Part of me believes that friendships are always going to consist of some level of rudeness, blowing people off, lying to them, or something that doesn't sit well within the relationship. The order of business is either to write those friends off and search for new ones, or to suck it up and let them be condescending at times and limit your time with them and shrug off their inconsistencies otherwise. While the latter ensures you have friends at all, it does nothing positive for your pride.

And let's be honest, I'm sure I have made some gesture, comment, or otherwise that may have insulted them to a degree. I believe that stuff happens and you shrug that off. But if I had done anything to the extent of what my friends did to me that I explained above, I would fully expect my friends to never want to hang out with me again. Part of my problem is that I am too nice and forgive easily, and maybe that creates the idea that those Couple friends can just walk all over us when they choose to. I'm not really sure.

What are your experiences with friends? Should we dump ours and look for more, or is this type of behavior just typical?
posted by only4u to Human Relations (92 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Well...about the first example, I would never hang out with couple A again, not only because they were rude to you, but because they are into drama and psychological games like cancelling without reason or saying yes to things they don't like (some people love to have reasons to complain). I would definitely cut couple A from my life.

About the second example, I think you shouldn't have replaced you ipod with theirs, you should have asked if it was ok to change the music for a bit and see what their response was. their response to your chaging it was bizarre, though. But your claim that it's your house and they should listen to your music seems really childish and not friendly at all. I would have felt like shit if someone told me that.
posted by Tarumba at 10:59 AM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Your friends sound like jerks. You can either 1) find new friends (which is rewarding, but increasingly difficult as you get older), or 2) accept that they're jerks, that you can't change them and just let it roll off your back (like a racist uncle that you see at family events). The third outcome--you keep them as friends but take offense at their admittedly galling behavior--is just a direct line to drama and frustration.

I have one person in my social circle who accepts invitations and then, somehow, never ends up appearing. I invite her for show and don't even put her on the headcount, regardless of what she says. I get some measure of goodwill for doing it (which I will call on in return in the future, cunning as I am), and I get no frustration, since I know she's not coming.

Personally, I'd rather know I'm going to be home alone reading a book than to find out (again) I've been ditched by a flaky friend who has found some "better" opportunity.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:02 AM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


You said: "Part of me believes that friendships are always going to consist of some level of rudeness, blowing people off, lying to them, or something that doesn't sit well within the relationship."

I say: No, actually not. True friendships, real friendships, good friendships just aren't this much hard work. Get rid of these people and work on making some new friends.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:02 AM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


I was initially going to suggest (after your first example) that you should read up on ask versus guess culture. But then I read this:

Then I switched to my ipod again, and then the Couple made a serious-but-not-so-serious violent threat towards me, got angry, and switched their ipod back on and mine back off. I got up and said politely it was my house and we listen to my music, and they shortly after stormed out of our home.

You were, to put it mildly, impolite. Your friends were, to put it mildly, jerks. Then you, to put it mildly, escalated the situation instead of being cool and helping to relieve the tension. You and your friends all have some growing up to do. Be cool, man. Be cool.
posted by The World Famous at 11:04 AM on June 22, 2011 [18 favorites]


I don't know about the memorial day thing, but your ipod thing sounded pretty weird to me. Like maybe you aren't being as flexible and low key like you think you are, and that planning things with you might be "your way or the highway."

It's hard to know just from what you say, but a good rule of thumb is that if something keeps happening, at some point the common factor is you.
posted by Forktine at 11:05 AM on June 22, 2011 [51 favorites]


Also, I have a tendendy to being offensive without meaning to, and I find that my best friendships are with easy going people that won't get offended for small stuff. I also like to kind of apologetically let people know that I have a horrible intonation (I really do, I sound like I'm fightint when I'm just exciting, for example), and that has helped me in the past. Good friends have got used to it, and have also helped me be less aggressive.

Beign that you guys are a couple, consider quality over quantity and choose to hang out alone or with people who are real friends, not just passive aggressive acquaintances.
posted by Tarumba at 11:05 AM on June 22, 2011


No, friends don't behave that way to you, even occasionally. It's true that people occasionally blow each other off (for good reason or ill), but it's unacceptable to then do an end-run around you socially, or to forcibly impose your tastes upon someone else's home.

Ditch these folks.
posted by mkultra at 11:06 AM on June 22, 2011


Friendships between couples are complicated to get working. There are four times as many channels of communication involved, and if one person perceives a slight, even an unintentional one, the relationship can be basically scuttled. What this means is you need to hang out with a lot of couples to find a few good ones.
posted by kindall at 11:06 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


*I sound like I'm fighting when I'm excited, not exciting!
posted by Tarumba at 11:07 AM on June 22, 2011


These are not your friends.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:09 AM on June 22, 2011


I agree with Tarumba that the first situation is pretty bad and I would not consider these people my friends any longer.

The second situation, I don't see as being a big deal. Changing the music in someone's house without permission is a pretty intimate thing to do. I'd be fine with a really close friend doing it (even if I don't like their music, 'cause they're my friend and you put up with stuff like that for your friends), but some I'm not so close with, I'd think it was rather presumptuous. I think you didn't handle it as well as you could have, though. Calling it elevator music is needlessly insulting. I think a less inflammatory thing to say would have been, "Hey, let's change it up a bit" and then wait to see how they reacted.

Anyhow. Life is too short to spend with people who don't like you.
posted by smirkette at 11:11 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't know about the memorial day thing, but your ipod thing sounded pretty weird to me. Like maybe you aren't being as flexible and low key like you think you are, and that planning things with you might be "your way or the highway."

This is exactly what I was thinking. I think that telling friends who you consider to be close "It's my house, we listen to my music" after calling their music elevator music was unnecessarily insulting them and then escalating the situation. Maybe ask other friends who you haven't had issues with if they think you come across this way? I personally have a few friends that ask if other people can come to events that I'm holding, but it's not always so much a question as it is a demand or a very firm "suggestion". I usually agree, but not always because it's what I really want to do, more because they are pushing me to invite those people over. Also, if I were having people over to my house and they suggested that we make food at their house and then go to mine, I would think that there was something wrong with my house in their eyes, and possibly that they don't really want to spend time at my house. I'm not saying that this is necessarily going on, just that I have a few friends who think that we are much closer than we really are because of these exact kinds of things.
posted by kro at 11:16 AM on June 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


Either your side of the story is correct and these people are completely weird, irrational, immature jerks who you should not be friends with anymore.

Or, possibly, you're misreading situations, not picking up on social cues, and this makes you not fun to hang out with.

Maybe with the Memorial Day situation, you thought they agreed to have mutual friends over, but in reality they REALLY did not want other people coming over to their house, you browbeat and hectored them until they said yes, and later they talked about it together and said they'd rather not have the event if it was going to include other guests they did not personally choose to invite. (You called them "mutual friends", but you don't know what the real history is with them, just because they know each other.) So they decided to call it off and hang out alone with the friends who they really wanted to see. Which included you, until you decided to invite some other guests over to THEIR place.

Maybe with the iPod thing, it was just a fun, good-natured music war, with people jokingly vying for their songs on the playlist, until you announced that it was your house and people were going to listen to your music, which is totally rude and weird. So they left, because you made them feel incredibly awkward and unwelcome.

Without actually being there observing, it's impossible for us to tell whether your friends are awful or you're misreading social cues. Either way, it's probably a good idea for you to find people whose communication styles mesh a little better with yours.
posted by crackingdes at 11:20 AM on June 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


One of the things I usually do when reading this type of AskMe is consider what the question would look like if it had been written by the other people involved.

Example A:

I invited a couple of friends over for a low-key day of hanging out by the pool. But then one of them got all type-A and started suggesting complicated plans and inviting other people. I tried to go along with him, but it just ended up being way more of a hassle than I had wanted. I ended up cancelling (made up some lie about spending time with family in order to spare his feelings) and now he's all pissed at me, when all I wanted was to hang out by the pool and drink beer in the sunshine.

Example B:

We were visiting some friends and playing music off my iPod when suddenly he got up and change the music to his iPod, announcing that our music sucked. I tried to be funny about changing it back, assuming he was just kidding but he was totally serious. After that, we weren't really feeling the hang-out vibe anymore, so we left.

I'm not saying that either of these are correct interpretations of what happened, but reading your version of events, the one that's naturally slanted towards you since you wrote it, I feel like your behaviour might make me uncomfortable. It's pretty easy to take the same basic set of facts and write a version of them that makes you the giant asshole in these scenarios. The truth, if there even is a 'truth' with social interactions like these, probably lies somewhere in between the two extremes of 'I'm an asshole' and 'my friends are assholes'.

But when all your friends appear to be assholes, it's time to start wondering about the common denominator in the equation which is you. Are you drawn to assholes as friends or meet friends in circumstances where assholes are common? Do you behave in ways that make other people want to be an asshole to you? Are you inclined to read assholishness into situations where it wasn't intended?
posted by jacquilynne at 11:20 AM on June 22, 2011 [59 favorites]


No comment on the iPod weirdness.

However, I recognized in your own actions something that I've been guilty of in the past and stopped doing entirely because it annoys me when I'm hosting. If you get an invitation, just accept or decline, but don't try to alter the host's plans. You accepted an invitation, then suggested inviting another couple, then suggested another change, coming to your place. Probably one half of Couple A woke up that day and said: "***k it! All I wanted to do was hang by the pool with a couple of people and all of a sudden only4U made all these suggestions. Why'd you go along with that? Let's just hang with Couple B and bail on only4U." Yes, they agreed to the other couple early on, then probably stewed about, then cancelled, then lied. Not nice, but the initial invitation was you going to the pool. Accept invitations as is or don't go.

I'm dealing with the same thing this coming weekend. Extended a nice enough invite, now the invitees are suggesting all kinds of mini-alterations. I can't help but think of a recent New Yorker cartoon where a guy sitting by a pool says into his cell phone: "Yes, they were the perfect guests. They never showed up."
posted by Elsie at 11:21 AM on June 22, 2011 [33 favorites]


On preview: what Jacquilynne said, but perhaps not as politely as she said it.
posted by AmandaA at 11:22 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm sure it's difficult to see your actions from outside, but if I may: maybe you're a little controlling and don't like things that are not in your control?

-In the first case, the plans were already set. Planning things is sometimes hard work (you probably know that) and changing them is even more work. Why didn't you just go with the original plans? Why did you try to change them? Maybe you were being a bit more insistent and 'controlling' than you realize and your friends were like f- it, if he (you) are going to be a busybody maybe I should just not deal with it. They may have other experiences with you where they thought this was the best plan?

-In the second case, if someone did that to me... let them play their music. Its less work for me and you come off as a gracious host. The things that used to piss me all off when I was single and my friends were couple was going to a couples house for a party and the GF was super controlling because everything had to be just right because they had planned it in their mind for weeks. It made me not want to be at the party or anymore after that. Who knows, other people might prefer what is being played. You might hear something you like. Parties are for everyone to bring something to share (food, conversation, etc...), otherwise, you could have everything the way you want it and not invite anyone.
posted by kookywon at 11:23 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


The first thing sounds like it's just your friends being jerks.

The second -- I don't know if your friend asked the first time to switch ipods, or if it is something you normally do, but when you want to change it back, you don't start by insulting your friend, then doing some weird "my house, my rules" stuff about music. (Your friends were maybe jerks, it's hard to tell if they thought they were joking about putting the music back in, but you were much ruder in this one.)

You sound really rigid about how things should be, and maybe like you don't read people well, and your friends might just be agreeing to stuff to keep you quiet, not because they want to.
posted by jeather at 11:23 AM on June 22, 2011


If you get an invitation, just accept or decline, but don't try to alter the host's plans.

This times a million.
posted by The World Famous at 11:26 AM on June 22, 2011 [17 favorites]


Yes, I have had friends blow me off before. Once, my ex-boyfriend and I were going to go boating with this couple. They called and said the water was too rough. I happened to be standing at the beach where we were going to leave from at that very moment, and could see that the water was flat calm for miles and miles. Looking back, it's funny, because I thought, "Well, maybe it IS too rough out." I came to my senses later and realized they were really just blowing me off. This was and is typical behavior for them. I didn't "dump" them, but I just got tired of making plans with them and labeled them in my mind as complete flakes. When I see them, I see them, and I just sort of say hi and act politely.

So, I KNOW I didn't do anything rude in the above situation, and the problem was not mine at all. They were just lame. This may be the case for you, as well. But from the second example you offer about the IPOD, I'm going to venture that maybe you do have a little bit of a communication problem. My first thought when I read the comment about elevator music is, "That would really hurt my feelings coming from anyone, and especially from a friend." Think back on how you talk to people. Are you considerate of their feelings and tastes? If not, this would be a good place to start working on building better friendships. Perhaps there was some of this insensitive element in the 1st Memorial Day situation which put Couple A off. Or perhaps they are like my boating friends and are just lame.
posted by amodelcitizen at 11:29 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


"We wound up having some other people over that day, but otherwise Couple A had fully intended to "punish" us by not inviting us out and making us stay at home all day on Memorial Day for us making the things they agreed to too complicated."

this makes me think that perhaps you're misinterpreting the above scenarios/being too controlling, as others have stated.
posted by wayward vagabond at 11:30 AM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do your "close" friends consistently do things that are rude, or do I just have friends that are too close?

My formerly close friends did. I've begun to learn to drop people for rude behavior.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:38 AM on June 22, 2011


The second scenario reminded me:

When I argue with someone over an inanimate object disproportionately, it's usually about something that's been going on a lot longer than the inanimate object has been sitting there.
posted by gnomeloaf at 11:41 AM on June 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'm sure I have made some gesture, comment, or otherwise that may have insulted them to a degree. I believe that stuff happens and you shrug that off.

The problem is, it sounds like they live by that philosophy too, but it only works that way when the expectations between you are perfectly balanced, which in these cases they seem not to be.

It's wonderful that you and your girlfriend do such nice things for people, but there are some things to watch out for:

A) You start to see it as transactional, and you feel unnecessarily slighted when people don't respond as favorably/reciprocally as you'd like. Not everyone is going to have the same standards of social decorum that you do, and not everyone is going to realize that by accepting X from you, they'll be expected to do Y for you in the future. When someone lets you down, and you get mad because of some totally unrelated nice thing you did for them, that's how you know it's time for your own attitude check.

B) The more you feel slighted, the greater the odds that you'll become jaded and less generous. You'll blame it on all these other people who burned you, but the truth is that you have all the power over choosing who to befriend and open yourself up to in the first place, and maybe you aren't as great a judge of character as you think. If you get burned here and there, that's natural. If you get burned all the time, you're doing something wrong.

The first couple sounds like a bad investments, friend-wise. As for the latter incident with the music -- was alcohol involved? Sounds like one of those stories. Anyhow, you don't have to be friends with them, but sometimes you brush little incidents like that latter one under the rug if you think someone's really special.
posted by hermitosis at 11:44 AM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Your prior comment linked to by AmandaA suggests to me that alcohol really may have been a factor in one or both of these scenarios.
posted by hermitosis at 11:46 AM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


We wound up having some other people over that day, but otherwise Couple A had fully intended to "punish" us by not inviting us out and making us stay at home all day on Memorial Day

I think, like others have said, it's very hard to tell if your friends are jerks or if your behavior is making them not want to be around you. Or both. But the sentence I quoted makes me lean towards the interpretation that you're misreading social cues. Most people, even jerks, are not intending to punish you when they blow you off. They might dislike or disrespect you, but punishment is pretty extreme. After all, how do you know they thought you didn't have other people to hang with? How do you know they thought you wouldn't have been happy to spend the holiday together just as a couple? However, there are some people who really are that terrible, so it might be true. This is difficult, because you have to assess whether you have the experience and maturity to know if these people are that terrible or if you're just feeling hurt. If you can do that - or if you know that was their intention because they told you(!) - then dump them. Friendships are not "always going to consist of some level of rudeness, blowing people off, lying to them, or something that doesn't sit well within the relationship." (Unless maybe you need to have so many friends that you can't be picky about who you give the label "friend.")
posted by DestinationUnknown at 11:47 AM on June 22, 2011


There is more to the story in the second story. It has been the girl in the couple's goal in life to make me realize my music is the worst music in the world. We were at a bar recently and she said, to my face, that she asked the bartender not to let me choose music because I had terrible choice. She laughed and I mentioned that was not cool. She does this a lot. Her music reigns over all others, and she wants you to know it. My "elevator" comment was only mocking her from countless previous situations where she has done the same to a much harsher extent. I am also a musician and she has told me countless times that my personal music sucks.

Nevertheless, her goal in life to convert me to her music is to come to my house and take my ipod out and her's in. I decide to change the music after an hour, what's the big deal? After all it is my house and I am entitled to that, aren't I? So I make a rude comment about the music, they make a weird violent threat to me, then out of rage change their music back. We're still in my house. What friend would do that? Let's just assume the situation stopped right there. Would you really do that in your friend's house? I can guarantee you had the situations reversed, we would have been kicked out of their home.

At any rate, I think it's valid that doing nothing would have been less dramatic. Though there are a slew of circumstances leading up to this music instance that governed me in this particular situation.

I invited a couple of friends over for a low-key day of hanging out by the pool. But then one of them got all type-A and started suggesting complicated plans and inviting other people. I tried to go along with him, but it just ended up being way more of a hassle than I had wanted. I ended up cancelling (made up some lie about spending time with family in order to spare his feelings) and now he's all pissed at me, when all I wanted was to hang out by the pool and drink beer in the sunshine.

There were two revisions to his original plan: 1. do you want me to invite others (I had not invited them yet at all)? or 2. do you want to meet at my place first?

His answer was 1. yes, and 2. no. My answers were 1. okay, sounds good, and 2. okay, sounds good.

Really I see no gray area here. I don't see what is a hassle to him? If he agreed and later wished he hadn't agreed, that is his personal problem and he should not take that out on me and choose not to invite me.

For the record, it was me who initiated the party altogether. He immediately suggested we use his pool for the place of the party, so that is where the invite shifted. He never initiated the organization of the party. So really, it was up to me from the start on who I was inviting. If he didn't want them at his place (and I politely asked him to enlighten me on that fact before I invited anyone else), he had every opportunity to do so.
posted by only4u at 11:48 AM on June 22, 2011


Look, you're not helping yourself here.

After all it is my house and I am entitled to that, aren't I?

Absolutely not. You're not "entitled" to get to listen to your music because it's your house. In fact, Miss Manners would point out that it's your responsibility to make your guests feel comfortable and to accommodate their wishes. Is it cool that your friend is a jerk about your music? Of course not? Does that give you license to be a jerk back? Of course not.

Really I see no gray area here.

You're not looking hard enough. Of course there's a gray area. Off the top of my head (and I don't know if this is what your friend thought or not, I'm just giving one of probably 3000 ways you could have seemed like a hassle), was that your friend doesn't like having to say no to people, but really really didn't want to invite the third couple, so when you asked, you had to put him in a position where he either had to hang out with people he didn't like, or he had to feel like a jerk for saying no. Basically, you put him in a no-win situation. That is a hassle. Does that mean he should have been a jerk? Of course not. But were you possibly a jerk also? Yes, definitely.

There are always gray areas. You are not always right. You are certainly not entitled to anything here -- AT ALL.
posted by brainmouse at 11:54 AM on June 22, 2011 [23 favorites]


You appear to want people here to agree with you: you are entirely, 100% in the right, your friends are jerks who did nothing at all comprehensible. If you need to believe this, go on, dump the friends who are jerks and move on. Eventually you might find that all of your friends are jerks, and you might start to look at how you interact with people, because you do not come across as easygoing and reasonable as you think you do.
posted by jeather at 12:00 PM on June 22, 2011 [16 favorites]


I have two friends who I could imagine writing this question.

I've gotten into weird arguments about things like music with both. I've flaked on plans with both, and had them take it really, really personally.

In both cases, while I really like a lot of things about them (it's why I keep them around), the parties in question are entirely too controlling about social situations. One will attempt to dictate where we go for meals, or social events, and will always have some sort of convoluted argument about why their choice is the right one despite the fact that other parties involved rarely feel that way. The other is extremely demanding about the time and type of attention paid to them, and if you in any way do something that they feel snubs them, will (often publicly) try to "teasingly" humiliate you for it. It's crappy, and it draws a schism in relationships in both cases because the simple truth--that sometimes I'm tired, that I'd really like to go to a different restaurant, that things come up--leads to a drawn-out argument about why I'm wrong and they're right.

(And they seem to repeat these patterns with other friends, too, from the sound of their complaining about them.)

I learned a long time ago that socializing goes better if you don't take things so personally. My mother never learned this and she's constantly stressed out and wringing her hands about how one friend or another spurned her. But I suspect those traits make her less fun to socialize with, and thus makes the problem worse.

I'd try being easy going about these things. It's very rarely about you, and even if it is, your friendships will be a lot less stressful and fun for all parties if you learn to let such missteps roll off your back.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:00 PM on June 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


So, not only did they go irrational on us, they also lied to us about their plans altogether.

They really didn't? They wanted to have people over, so they invited you. You suggested that the thing become a party with other people and another location for dinner, they decided, eh, we don't really want to go somewhere else with all sorts of other people and extra work, we want something low-key, so they bailed.

I'm going to agree with other commenters; it sounds like the common factor in all these run-ins with friends might be you. If you make every interaction black-and-white, winner take all and anyone who goes against me is lying and irrational, you're going to find yourself with fewer and fewer friends. A demanding friend gets old really fast.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:06 PM on June 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Really I see no gray area here.

Um...so why ask then? Most people here seem to think there is some grey area, but you have the right to be friends, or not be friends, with whoever you please. If you think they're wrong and you're right, why the need for outside internet stranger advice? You answered your own question as far as I can see.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 12:13 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


You sound like my dear Mr. brambory a bit, and he is (and I say this with all the love in the world) something of a controlling organiser type who - I am sure - drives some people up the wall.

What he's learned is that a) it's important to have friends who accept him for the lovable organiser that he is; and b) that he needs to chill in many cases.

In regards to changing plans, it does sound like you took ownership of the event and quite possibly organised the hell out of it. Your friends aren't used to standing up to you and being more assertive and backed out. They were underhanded about it, you seem to have been a bit forceful about it (the idea that this was your event to organise).

If you do enjoy their company, I would suggest you call them up and say something like, 'Look, I don't understand what happened with our plans, and I'm pretty hurt over it. I'm sorry that I complicated things. I'd really like you to let me know in the future if you feel like I am over organising things.'

With the music, like you, Mr. B has his beloved range of music and is very opinionated about other types of music - to the point of complaining about others choices (and having some of our friends complain about his). What he's realised, though, is that the best solution is not to have his music being played, but to have music that everyone enjoys. So, while he might have a craving for some heavy drum and base, he makes an effort to find something acceptable to company as well.

We have certain CDs that we play when some friends come over (and really at no other times) because hosting people isn't about controlling the environment, it's about having a good time with our friends (and the 'pride' we take from it is not that our music 'won', but that a good time was had by all).

I would suggest you try to put more value on enjoying your friends, whatever the circumstances and, if in a few months time, you still find them unbearable, that you find new friends.
posted by brambory at 12:13 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


The way you tell the story makes your friends sound horrible. And to answer your question - no, my friendships are nothing like this. If someone acted this way to me for no reason I would not be friends with them.

That being said, I have a feeling you are the kind of person I would not be friends with nor would my nice friends. We tend to treat each other with mutual respect and caring, which is why we are friends. Of course, I'm female, so I know men in their 20s have a different kind of relationship with each other.

I do have one former friend who sounds a little bit like you - she was very mean and competitive and spent a lot of time complaining about how everyone else was mean and competitive to her. In fact, she had a crazy story about being bullied that her therapist literally did not believe (it sounded insane). But since I had seen her ruin every single friendship of her life over the last 10 years or so that we had known each other, this crazy story didn't surprise me. Crazy attracts crazy. Ultimately I think I was friend dumped because people liked me better than her or something...
posted by rainydayfilms at 12:18 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I can feel you about the whole music thing, but to have it escalate to that point is a bit bizarre.
I have a friend who consistently changes my music on my stereo when at my house. It wouldn't be such a huge problem if he would a:) ask first, and b.) Not have (in my snobish opinion) some shitty taste in music. Sorry, I don't feel like listening to a playlist of tv theme songs just so you can feel fucking nostalgia nor do I feel like listening to shitty pop punk whining adolescent songs. Yet, I've been a dick to my other friend at times because he feels the need to put orchestra metal on (probably should be a bit nicer and let him play a few from time to time) but I can get like you and just be like wtf, this sucks.
Then again, I've realized I should be a bit more kind, and inclusive.
I find it best in these situations to just be civil, and when you have a problem with friends to talk it out. No need for yelling, nor making ultimatums. That's not how friends are suppose to act (if of couse you want them as friends).
posted by handbanana at 12:23 PM on June 22, 2011


[Folks, comment trawling not so great. Please either answer the question or move on without calling people names. Your choice. ]
posted by jessamyn at 12:23 PM on June 22, 2011


Only4u -- could you be more clear about what the weird violent threat was? Can you quote it as well as you can remember?
posted by jayder at 12:27 PM on June 22, 2011


Well, since the previous question's been brought up... how involved is your girlfriend with incidents like these? Has she started or escalated any of them? What has her reaction been? What does she think of these friends and their actions?

Both of the incidents you describe seem to involve you, and not your girlfriend. From the way you describe her, she sounds like a pretty sensible person. If that's the case, and she's not usually involved in these situations, it might help you to ask for her perspective on all this, since she knows your personality better than we do.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:33 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow, lotta people keen to paint you as a controlling psycho jerk.

I read your anecdotes, and your follow-up, and just see a bunch of ordinary people acting well within the limits of normal, flawed human behaviour. I can see myself lying to get out of social plans, being controlling about iPod music, being pissed when someone else got controlling about iPod music. I can also see myself detailing it all in AskMe, in a diatribey sorta way, to get some ammunition for my side.

To answer your original question, their behaviour is pretty normal and so is yours. In a totally fine, no one needs therapy, sort of way.
posted by dontjumplarry at 12:40 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't think this sounds like an issue of you having the wrong friends, necessarily. It sounds like a general communications issue. Instead of your friend saying, "Listen, I just want to hang with you and ________, and keep things really low key and in one place," (or something like that) he decided to fake-cancel and do something behind your back. Instead of you saying, "I know you and I don't have similar tastes in music, but when you say _______ to bartenders and change my iPod out when you come to my place, it makes me feel disrespected" (or something like that), you got annoyed and escalated things a bit.

Besides these kinds of incidents, are these friends worth it to you? Are they fun to hang out with otherwise? Do you get along when these sorts of things aren't happening? If so, it may help to look for different ways to communicate with these couples, and encourage them to be upfront with you as well. But I agree with dontjumplarry - many people have relationships like this, where there's a bit of tension and drama, and it doesn't mean anything is particularly wrong with any of the parties involved.
posted by violetish at 12:43 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is no right and wrong in social situations. Your friends being jerks is totally compatible with that fact that you, also, may be acting like a jerk.
posted by auto-correct at 12:45 PM on June 22, 2011



Only4u -- could you be more clear about what the weird violent threat was? Can you quote it as well as you can remember?


The whole thing began as an invitation to a mutual friend. It was his birthday and we felt bad he did not have anything to do so we invited him to eat some steaks we bought; he invited this couple over. We did not invite them, we did not ask him to invite them. They knew we did not invite them (our house was under renovation, so we felt not having a big party was valid), but came anyway. We were already a little miffed by that, but were "civil" and went along with everything else up until the music incident (I'm getting there).

After I grilled our food (yes I have an obsession with grilling), we were eating when the music situation occurred. When I made the elevator comment, my friend responded by saying, "Wow, you call this elevator music, I should stab you in the throat with my fork for saying that." No laugh, no chuckle, the entire room of the 5 of us went silent as he sprung from his chair to change the ipod's out.

FWIW, the friend who we invited over never said "thank you" for us inviting him over, either.

Listen, my girlfriend is the most pacifist person in the world and she is enraged. I have a strong personality and I won't doubt that, but I do believe there is some relatively harsh criticism from some of these posts on here. I appreciate responses but it does appear some of you prefer attacking me and insinuating there is more to the story. I am a mostly rational and sane person, if there are details I believe you should know, I would probably tell you. If I'm not telling you the part of the story where I cut off a horse's head and put it in their beds the night before they were assholes, I think I would be smart enough to figure out I'm probably the problem here and I would not have resorted to asking the question online in the first place.
posted by only4u at 12:47 PM on June 22, 2011


In your example of the woman who is apparently determined to let the world and you know that your musical tastes are wrong: first off, don't engage when people do that. If you just look a little nervous/confused and say "well, okay, if you say so..." it makes them look like the ass they are being and you look like a grown up. Continuing to engage makes you look crazy too, and it sounds like you're getting the crazy all over other people as well.

Your first example is you being high maintenance. I think most friends give each other passes for this kind of stuff sometimes, but only up to their own boundaries. And that's okay, it's good to have and enforce boundaries. You may need to turn up your awareness of other people's feelings, though, so you can see when you're pushing things too far.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:50 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Amending my answer to say that I think you are very sensitive, which (as all sensitive people discover) is a very mixed blessing when it comes to social situations.
posted by hermitosis at 12:51 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


FWIW, the friend who we invited over never said "thank you" for us inviting him over, either.

This bugs you? You seem really, really, really uptight, and I don't know if that's just a defensive reaction here or what you are normally like.

Go make other friends. Don't hold grudges or be super grumpy about this nonsense. That you're even working yourself up this much puts you in the people I'd not interact with part of the Venn diagram.

Sorry if that's harsh but stop grinding axes in your own mind. It is unhealthy and not helpful to dealing with the world.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 12:51 PM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


To answer your original question, their behaviour is pretty normal and so is yours. In a totally fine, no one needs therapy, sort of way.


Thanks, Larry. This is the direction I intended to take this conversation. I feel they should have apologized in these situations. I know I would have; I know I have for situations much less severe, which prompts me to question which of these options are reasonable with these friends:


Part of me believes that friendships are always going to consist of some level of rudeness, blowing people off, lying to them, or something that doesn't sit well within the relationship. The order of business is either to write those friends off and search for new ones, or to suck it up and let them be condescending at times and limit your time with them and shrug off their inconsistencies otherwise. While the latter ensures you have friends at all, it does nothing positive for your pride.

posted by only4u at 12:51 PM on June 22, 2011


Situation 1 - Memorial Day - Well, those things just happen. You did right by trying to make sure mutual friends were included. That was nice of you. Sometimes other people feel the right to change their plans even if it means uninviting friends to their house, leaving said friends in the lurch. You can still be friends with them, but keep in mind that you shouldn't count on them for big plans like a holiday or vacation, because if they cancel at the last minute, you'll be left without a place to go. Sounds like these may never be your BFFs, but if they are otherwise fun, I see no problem with enjoying their company.

Situation 2 - iPod - I think the guy who insisted on his own music was acting so oddly. Are you sure you want to hang out with him any more? That said, I really think that the unwritten rules of hospitality would say that you should let your guest choose the music if they feel strongly about it. It's like giving them the best cut of meat. But really, the end result of that situation makes him sound a little unbalanced?

In summary, none of these folks seems like a really-super-close-I-can-tell-you-anything friend. Oh well. My M.O. is to hang out with people who are nice, and avoid ones who aren't. When we were in school, there were "friends" we couldn't avoid, but as adults, it's easier.
posted by Knowyournuts at 12:53 PM on June 22, 2011


If you are 100% sure that you are right in your view of the scenario -- you acted politely and rationally at all times, in ways that only unreasonable people would feel put out, and in return people were rude, unreasonable, and jerky to you -- then what do you want from us? If you do not like hanging out with these people, you have our permission to not hang out with them, regardless of what they did or why.

However, what many of us are doing is not "insinuating there is more to the story," but rather explicitly saying that when you only have your side of the story you are missing the other side. We are offering possible alternate views of the situation, and possible changes you could make to make these interactions and, as a result, your life better. We are not giving you permission -- ever -- to be rude to people who are rude to you, even if you think they deserve it.
posted by brainmouse at 12:53 PM on June 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Your follow up is really intense. It sounds to me like you are maybe not as forgiving and laid back as you think you are, at least not in the situations we are discussing here.

Your friends disinvited you because it was getting to be a pain instead of a fun time. And they lied to you to spare your feelings and to avoid drama. It doesn't matter the exact details of who was "right" - it matters how you felt and how they felt, because those are the things causing the issues, and who is "right" is subjective.

This running fight over musical taste sounds ridiculous to me. If you want to have a joking running thing about it then that's one thing, but to escalate to rage seems overboard to me. And it takes more than one person to take it there, so it's not just your friend.

On reading your second follow up, that one is even more intense. It's not an insinuation - there's obviously more to the story - we only get your side, and we only get what's typed here. You have a whole life and a whole history with these people and the internets can't possibly know any of that. I don't think anyone here cares enough to try to attack you - people are giving you suggestions and things to consider. If you consider the input invalid, disregard it. I know that I dropped in to try to give some helpful feedback and that's about it - it's not necessarily valuable, but it's a data point for you.

On reading your third follow up, yes, friendships sometimes consist of your friends doing things you don't like, and being rude. If you want them not to do those things, talk to them about it, in a calm and friendly and open kind of way. If these people are your friends, I assume they are not trying to fight with you or hurt you or your pride - they probably don't feel good about disinviting you or fighting with you over the ipod. If you think they don't care about you or your feelings, or you can't talk to them, then yes, you dump them and get new friends.
posted by mrs. taters at 1:01 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


People have given you good advice about Couple A. I'll add, that I think you should sit down with Couple A and discuss what happened. Ask why they lied to you and confess yourself confused that he agreed when it sounds like he didn't really want to. Ask him how best you can communicate with him so that he feels he can be truthful with you.

The iPod situation is weird. Sounds like it was an already tense situation with having an uninvited couple there. I kind of agree that since it was your house and they were uninvited: using your technology without permission was a little uncalled for. I think you could have handled the situation better though. Instead of just switching the music out, you could have asked if they minded if you either A) shut the music off completely OR B) changed it to your music.

I think your relationships with both couples are salvageable, but it's going to take some humble words on your part. Your friends have feelings too. You need to both find the points in this where you were wrong and also find the voice to tell your friends that. I'm not saying you should accept all the blame, but you are not completely innocent (especially in the case of the second example.)

Just don't go blaming your friends for the things they did wrong.

Sometimes it's not important who's right or justified. Sometimes it's not important to win the war. Sometimes you compromise and give up the fight to keep your friends.
posted by royalsong at 1:02 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Uptight or not, I've acknowledged several times in my posts that all friends are capable and it is acceptable for them to, at times, be jerks. I get that.

Consistency for being a jerk though, without any remorse, prompts me to question my friendships with them in general. That's really what this topic should be about. Not "why in the world would you say someone's music sounds like elevator music, you jerk!"

If you are 100% sure that you are right in your view of the scenario -- you acted politely and rationally at all times, in ways that only unreasonable people would feel put out, and in return people were rude, unreasonable, and jerky to you -- then what do you want from us? If you do not like hanging out with these people, you have our permission to not hang out with them, regardless of what they did or why.


Because I never asked you any of that. Here are the questions I asked, verbatim: "What are your experiences with friends? Should we dump ours and look for more, or is this type of behavior just typical?" If it's normal and people believe that I should forgive and forget, then you know what, I was being a little uptight. If the consensus is they suck, then you know what, they need to earn my respect back and maybe they won't.

I don't see why some posts are making this into such a bigger psychoanalysis than it should be. I feel like I have to come back and post "well when I was 2 I peed in my pants" just to respond to some of these insinuations about me, when really I just asked from the beginning whether or not you have had this happen to you. That's kind of it.

Seriously turning into $5 I wish I could recoup.
posted by only4u at 1:03 PM on June 22, 2011


But... whether or not it's "typical" is 100% irrelevant. What matters is if the way they interact with you is making your life better or worse. If it's making your life better, then great, stay friends with them, perhaps adopting some of the advice here. If they're making your life worse, then dump them. Why is it relevant whether other people would be ok with what they're doing or not?
posted by brainmouse at 1:06 PM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


My experiences with friends is that this is outside the norm. I don't have friends who lie to me about plans (and even if you did bulldozer the plans to be something they did not like, what they did was obnoxious), I don't have friends with whom I have serious running arguments about something like music, and I probably wouldn't bother to keep up either of those friendships.

But if this is *typical*, if all your friends end up doing these things, which is what your posting says, then it's unlikely to be a coincidence that all your friends are jerks.
posted by jeather at 1:11 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sometimes with AskMefi.. you get more then you bargained for. (especially so with social questions)

It's not that the people above have posted to insult you directly or to insinuate that you are a bad person. They're giving you their take on the matter, and perhaps pointing out a different viewpoint that you haven't considered. Sometimes that viewpoint is "You have issues".

Most people who post responses that question your character are doing that to inspire some inner reflection and ask yourself if you really do have issues you're not acknowledging.

That is part of the problem of not giving everyone all the information up front. In both this askme and the one linked earlier, you give more relevant information after people poke at your question. Perhaps in the future you can give all that information up front. Don't assume the information is irrelevant. Include it, even if it makes you give a tl;dr version at the end.

Don't give up on AskMefi! Just be open to the idea that we're going to answer some of the unasked questions.
posted by royalsong at 1:14 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Okay, you want to know if the situations you describe are normal:

1. Yes. Normal. Friends sometimes tell white lies to each other in order to cover up uncomfortable truths. I have, in the past, lied to friends about what my plans were for a given day in order to get out of attending an event I no longer wanted to attend without hurting their feelings. My friends have done so to me. Whether I agree with or disagree with any given choice by any given friend, I understand that the goal is to be less hurtful (less hurtful than being honest about not wanting to go, not totally less hurtful or we'd suck it up and go to these things) even if it didn't work out that way. It is possible for people to be both selfish (not wanting to see you) and somewhat caring (not wanting to hurt your feelings) at the same time.

2. The hostility on both sides of this interaction seems far outside the normal to me. My friends all have things we rib each other about, but generally, not things those friends are actually overly sensitive about and only in good humor. If those ongoing ribbing situations break down into actual hurt feelings, something has gone seriously wrong somewhere along the line. I'm not sure if it's possible to unravel this relationship back to where it started to go bad and fix it, or if you can sort of forgive and forget (and agree not to discuss music) from here, or even if you'd want to.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:21 PM on June 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


I think the reason people are assuming there is more to the first story is that it is just too bizarre if there isn't. I mean, people invite you to do something, then ditch you for apparently no reason at all? That doesn't generally happen outside of junior high. If they didn't want to hang out with you, they didn't have to invite you in the first place. So it seems like they did want to hang out with you at first and then something happened that made them change their mind. It doesn't necessarily have to be something that you did, but from the information you gave there was one obvious possibility and that is what people are going off of.

If you get an invitation, just accept or decline, but don't try to alter the host's plans.

I recently stopped being friends with someone for just this reason. She is a pushy "Ask" and I am more of a "Guess" who hates to say no. I will say it, but it makes me uncomfortable and I start to avoid people who are constantly putting me in that position. Maybe you are pushier than you think you are, and/or your friends are much more uncomfortable with what they see as imposition than you realize.

A lot of Asks assume that everything is open for friendly discussion and debate, which probably works out fine between Asks but not so much for Guesses who would like you to quit throwing ideas out there because while they don't want to alter their plans they feel like jerks for saying no.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:24 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


What are your experiences with friends?

I have decades of experiences with friends. You really want me to tell you what all of them have been? Big picture: I remain friends with people with whom I get along. Over the years, I have attempted to be introspective and figure out whether my own conduct has contributed to me not getting along with some people and I try to always improve myself as a person. But I generally don't remain close friends with people I don't get along with, regardless of who's fault it is.

Should we dump ours and look for more, or is this type of behavior just typical?

False dichotomy. This type of behavior - as you have described it - is not uncommon. Some people remain friends in spite of having some difficult interactions like those that you have described. Other people don't. Do you like being friends with these people in spite of their behavior? If so, then don't dump them. If not, then sure, go ahead and dump them. I don't care which one you choose. There's no right answer.

I would suggest that you look at your own conduct and try to figure out what you might do differently to improve your interactions with your friends. But you didn't ask about that, so I'll understand if you choose to ignore that particular bit of advice.
posted by The World Famous at 1:37 PM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


"What are your experiences with friends? Should we dump ours and look for more, or is this type of behavior just typical?"

Too broad. Unanswerable. There are unlimited variations to friendships between unlimited variations of people. I'm sure this is typical among many, many people. That doesn't mean it's healthy or fun.

No, you should not dump yours and look for more (because I believe the problem lies with you). This behavior - both yours and your friends - is not typical among my friends.
posted by valeries at 1:39 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


To some extent both of your examples are like this thread.

Do you see how this thread is escalating? It's totally not all you, a few posters have been harsher than most folks would ever be face to face. However, it's also partially you - admittedly, it's hard not to get defensive when folks start being jerks - but it's partially you. Threatening to take your $5 and go home is escalating.

To answer your question: I would not remain friends with someone who frequently trashed my taste in music, especially if it was music I was creating. Especially if they brought unannounced guests that threatened me to my home. That's just crazy rude. I would cut friends who flaked on me slack.
posted by ldthomps at 1:52 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


Okay, here’s my take on the situation. I may be reading things in that aren’t there, but I’ll take that risk in the hopes that this is helpful.

1. You’re not the alpha friend, but you seem to think you are. You know how on the TV show Friends, Phoebe and Joey are clearly not the alpha friends? That’s your position in the hierarchy. Your friend with the pool is more alpha, probably because they’re richer with a nicer place. (Just my first guess, it could be for other reasons). You mistakenly thought you were the host of the get-together and pool friend was just providing the locale. What actually happened was that you suggested the get-together and pool guy graciously and subtly took over the position of host and alpha friend from you, probably because he has a nicer place and did not feel like spending time in a less-nice place. From that moment on, he was the host and you were chopped liver, but you failed to realize this key social cue. Ask vs. guess is a thing here- I have noticed that the higher up the social ladder, the more things are unspoken. Pool guy is probably just sort of subtle in general and your value system of “ask blatantly for what you want, it can’t hurt” is not his. As a side note, confronting Friend A is likely to end very badly as he is more the “ignore embarrassing faux pas” type.

2. Your identity is too wrapped up in this: “It seems like a consistent thing that my girlfriend and I do nice things for our friends, organize a party, even invite people to come on vacation with us” – see point # 1. You WANT to be that guy, the guy that is the papa bear of the friends group, the organizer. You do not have the social chops to pull that off. Pool guy or someone else probably does. You need to release your hold on your identity as “organizer.”

3. You should not have made the elevator music comment, period. It was rude. Furthermore, all of this: “It has been the girl in the couple's goal in life to make me realize my music is the worst music in the world. We were at a bar recently and she said, to my face, that she asked the bartender not to let me choose music because I had terrible choice. She laughed and I mentioned that was not cool.” Is ridiculously overreacting. I literally shook my head like “oh man.” This is casual, friendly joking and you made it this huge big ego deal thing. Girl is JOKING. People do this music put-down thing ALL THE TIME, in fact, it’s utterly and completely normal. It means nothing. You are taking it way too seriously, probably because of your “identity as musician” thing. Again, just back away from that. This friend sounds more confrontational than Friend A, but you should still avoid escalating. Who cares what she thinks? Laugh it off.

4. That said, yeah, your friends are a little in the wrong too. The fork comment is definitely weird. Friend A could have been more gracious. But I think you’re still pretty much overreacting. I can understand why you are hurt, though. I hope you can glean some insight from this whole kerfluffle. Try to be a little less proud, alpha friend and more hang-along friend with your particular group, see if that helps.
posted by Nixy at 1:56 PM on June 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


Also, I am a recording, producing, and performing musician and if someone told me to my face that my music sucks, I would never, ever hang out with them again, ever.
posted by The World Famous at 2:03 PM on June 22, 2011 [4 favorites]


To put my answer another way, I tolerate rudeness from friends when I figure they are just being a little selfish for one reason or another (your first example). I don't tolerate jerkiness from friends (your second example).
posted by ldthomps at 2:04 PM on June 22, 2011


Already, it is easy to conclude that knowing people for 5 years doesn't necessarily mean you are close to them or they are considered great friends yet.

I dunno, is it? I find that it really depends a lot on the person; some friends I've grown close to quite quickly, other people I've known for a while and we're still more like casual acquaintances.

I just asked from the beginning whether or not you have had this happen to you. That's kind of it.

Yep, I've had friends flake out on plans or change them to not include me. I've also had arguments about music, in my very own home, with guests who wanted to listen to something else.

One of the first times I hung out with this guy, he and his special lady came over to our place for an afternoon meal. We were having a bunch of people over already, we had mutual friends, I'd met him before and talked briefly.. anyway, he ended up getting drunk and pretty much passing out on my couch, waking up every once in a while to complain about whatever music I was playing at that point and demanding I put on something he liked. then he'd black out again.

I just laughed it off, put on another band when that song was over, and tried to see the humor in the situation. Wasn't difficult - I actually found it quite funny - and he and I ended up being really good friends. I still crack up thinking about it.
posted by dubold at 2:21 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


3. You should not have made the elevator music comment, period. It was rude. Furthermore, all of this: “It has been the girl in the couple's goal in life to make me realize my music is the worst music in the world. We were at a bar recently and she said, to my face, that she asked the bartender not to let me choose music because I had terrible choice. She laughed and I mentioned that was not cool.” Is ridiculously overreacting. I literally shook my head like “oh man.” This is casual, friendly joking and you made it this huge big ego deal thing. Girl is JOKING. People do this music put-down thing ALL THE TIME, in fact, it’s utterly and completely normal. It means nothing. You are taking it way too seriously, probably because of your “identity as musician” thing. Again, just back away from that. This friend sounds more confrontational than Friend A, but you should still avoid escalating. Who cares what she thinks? Laugh it off.

Sounds like a conversation I would have with them. You can't say something rude about my music and tell me it is just a joke when I tell you off, and then turn around and complain that my remark about your music is insulting and that you want to stab a fork in my throat for it. That's hypocrisy/contradictory, take your pick.

And, the friend didn't have his own pool. An apartment. Several us had them, he just optioned his first, so we were all planning around it. IMO, if you want to tell the organizer of a party they can use your place, you should probably tell them who can and cannot come, if you have such stipulations (which he assured me he did not).

To the repeated questions: "did this really happen, we have a hard time believing it?" YES, it really happened. I would paste the correspondence with scenario #1 if it weren't for anonymity and let you decide yourselves. In the second, YES they came over uninvited, YES, they unplugged my ipod twice, and YES I received an awkward threat. And YES, I said, "okay, enough of the elevator music, haha."

On another note, I don't think the term "elevator music" is even rude. Some people like it. Clearly these people did not like it, but all I was trying to point out is that it was a little sleepy for me. Sort of says some of you are possibly overreacting for calling it rude in the first place if you ask me.
posted by only4u at 2:37 PM on June 22, 2011


and then turn around and complain that my remark about your music is insulting and that you want to stab a fork in my throat for it.

YES I received an awkward threat.

Just FYI, "I want to stab a fork in your throat for that remark about my musical tastes" is only an actual threat if you're a character in a Guy Ritchie movie.
posted by The World Famous at 2:46 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oy.

It seems a lot of these conflicts are over your proprietary feelings about these gatherings--it was YOUR idea, so despite being hosted at another person's house, it was YOUR party. Or, it was your friend's birthday, but he had no right to invite anyone else over, because it was YOUR house.

Can't you see how other people would feel differently about that?

The elevator music thing was clearly meant to be cutting and not-kind. It seems kind of disingenuous that you're now claiming it wasn't.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:48 PM on June 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


The seemingly random bailing out in situation 1 is just going to happen sometimes, even with very close friends. It could be that they decided to uninvite you at the last minute for personal reasons, but it could also be a hundred other things. If there's anything worth worrying about there, it's not on you to worry about it, it's on them to let you know what's up. If they keep randomly bailing and tell you nothing, then let 'em go.

Situation 2 reminds me of a situation I got into right after high school. My "best friend" and I were traveling on the interstate, taking turns picking CDs as always, and after a few tracks of Steely Dan she ejected the disc, calling it elevator music and threatening to throw it out the window. This was after quite a few instances of me quietly tolerating Dookie in its entirety. *sigh* Yay for maturity and adulthood and not having to deal with bullshit like that anymore!

Anyway, I'm right there with you on Situation 2. It's your house. It's your party.* Of course you get to pick the music. Changing the music at someone else's party like that is extremely disrespectful. If you're the guest, you're free to ask and even recommend and offer, but you don't just change the music any more than you'd rearrange the furniture out of the blue or bring your own wallpaper. Even if the 'your music sucks' thing had been a friendly running joke between the two of you, that act took it beyond joking around. That person sounds like they're more trouble than they're worth.

*FWIW, my idea of party is much more whiskey and crazy costumes than cheese plates and charades. Also, at least half my friends are musicians. Talking trash about your buddies' musical taste is a pastime, but we would never unplug their amp, turn off their personal music, or even change music they liked that they had put on for everyone. That's cold-blooded.
posted by heatvision at 2:53 PM on June 22, 2011


I have no idea about the iPod one, but for the first bbq/pool story, I don't think that's normal. Sure, people tell white lies to get out of something they don't want to do, but I think what makes it different is that they went ahead and hung out with Couple B, and told them that they cancelled on you for x and y reasons. That's gossipy. Why didn't they tell you that? Also, it's just odd to cancel plans with someone because they made a *suggestion.* You weren't demanding that plans change in a certain way, you were just floating a few things by them to see what they thought. it's not like some huge formal event, it's just a little gathering. If they'd agreed to have the other people over while having a conversation with you, they should have just sucked it up and had a few hours of doing something that maybe they didn't really want to do, but that they did agree to, after all. Everyone has to do things they don't want to do now and again, even in their leisure time.

Also, I think Ask v Guess has its place, but I think this is really more about their being passive aggressive and gossipy. I don't like that they lied to you about the change in plans, but I dislike even more that they went and gossiped with Couple B about it, while still not discussing your transgression with you. How is that helpful?

Overall, OP, I think you need to talk to Couple A and figure out what happened, but I don't think you should alter all your future behavior so that you never suggest anything to friends ever because that's no way to live.
posted by sweetkid at 2:54 PM on June 22, 2011


Ok, to answer your question, I have had lots of friends and we never really get into situations like this. Primarily, becauce once I see that someone is prone to drama and acting inappropriatly when they don't get their way and everyone doesn't agree with them, well, I'm not friends with them anymore.

In all seriousness, look at how you are responding. It is off-putting and juvenile. I think the constant in all this is you, check your own reactions and see if you are not escalating everything to the point where you are no fun to be around.
posted by stormygrey at 2:56 PM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Elevator music" is a euphemism in our culture for boring and uncreative. Calling something that someone likes boring and uncreative is rude. So I think you were probably rude.
posted by amodelcitizen at 3:00 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Elevator music" is ALWAYS rude. Now you know.

Actually according to wikipedia, elevator music is defined as:

refers to the gentle instrumental arrangements of popular music designed for playing in shopping malls, grocery stores, department stores, telephone systems (while the caller is on hold), cruise ships, airports, doctors' and dentists' offices, and elevators. The term is also frequently applied as a generic term for any form of easy listening, smooth jazz, or middle of the road music, or to the type of recordings commonly heard on "beautiful music" radio stations.

Sorry, but I don't see anything denoting rudeness in that definition at all. Actually it seems a bit light for the message I was trying to convey at the time.

but for the first bbq/pool story, I don't think that's normal. Sure, people tell white lies to get out of something they don't want to do, but I think what makes it different is that they went ahead and hung out with Couple B, and told them that they cancelled on you for x and y reasons. That's gossipy. Why didn't they tell you that? Also, it's just odd to cancel plans with someone because they made a *suggestion.*

Yep, couldn't agree more. Actually that situation passed and we had no dialogue between the two of us until a couple of weeks later when we tried the "let bygones be bygones" approach, and invited them out on two different occasions. In both instances, they said yes, and then texted us 15 minutes before we were supposed to meet and had an excuse for not coming. At this point we began giving up on them completely because of the consistent blow-offs, until they texted us this weekend wanting to come out and meet us (even though we did not go due to other plans). It was this weekend also that I learned from Couple B about why they cancelled on Memorial Day weekend.
posted by only4u at 3:34 PM on June 22, 2011


Well, now, wait a minute. Here is how all this looks according to traditional etiquette.

In the first place, you started out as the co-host of the party along with Couple A, who proffered a venue. As co-host it was perfectly reasonable to ask if it was OK to invite more people, assuming you asked before the grocery shopping was done. I understand that some people have difficulty saying "no", however, it was still your co-hosts' responsibility to say "no" to inviting more people if they didn't want to do that. Asking if it was a good idea to cook at your house seems like a logistical point which was also reasonable to make. And that your friends seemed to have no difficulty saying an appropriate "no" to.

What then happened was that Couple A cancelled out on the party the day before, not for any unforeseen circumstances, but because they'd decided to do something else. This was rude not only to the OP but to the other guests. This is the point at which the rudeness barrier was broken.

What then happened was that the original party guests went ahead and had the party, but without the OP. In a nutshell, they disinvited the OP from his own party. This is an extremely rude and hostile act.

Also, saying that the OP is insensitive to his position in the hierarchy isn't good enough for me. The point of etiquette is that you are expected to be polite even to people you consider lower than you in the pecking order you perceive yourself to be in. I realize that most people's social interactions are not governed by etiquette at all, but by pecking order, and accordingly many here are arguing from that position. However, I totally disagree that pecking order is a good enough system for respectful interaction. My position is one of disagreement with any system whereby alpha friends are allowed to insult beta friends and the beta friends don't rank highly enough to be allowed to perceive any insult.

To contrast this with some similar experiences of my own: throughout the year, a group of friends kept inviting me to dinner, always in potluck situations, but always at the last minute such that there was never anything for me to contribute. Having enjoyed their hospitality all year, I invited them to my place, and cheerfully told anyone who offered to bring anything that I had it all covered and everything was taken care of. I felt that it was my turn to reciprocate, plus which I find it way less complex to follow the traditional hospitality pattern with one host to many guests. Well, these guests didn't take that in too well, and kept insisting on bringing stuff. Fine... but they went so far as to insist on bringing decorations over. And themed paper plates and bowls. Decorations? I mean it is totally crossing a line to insist on decorating someone else's house at their party. Clearly they were insisting on turning my party into their party. That felt very controlling, but more than that I wished they would just have let me give to them, you know? My nose was a little out of joint.

However, this is not what I would call a terrible problem. In essence, the problem is that my friends were trying to give me stuff, which is a fairly nice problem to have. Since they were incredibly nice friends, I took it in the spirit in which it was intended. If they hadn't been such nice friends, I might have wondered if they were trying to tell me I was a lousy hostess and couldn't be trusted to provide enough of the right kind of food/decor/atmosphere, which is what that kind of insistent guest contribution can accidentally convey. As it was, I viewed it as generally benign in the overall context of my relationship with them.

As for the iPod story, the way you told it originally, you were quite rude to them. First by calling their music "elevator music". With no other setting of context, this might have been seen as banter, but it's also not clear that they were unreasonable to take it as an insult.

Next, your friends' polite response should have been to silently note the insult (if there was one) and let you change the music. It was definitely rude and aggressive of them to take control of your appliances in your house FFS.

But then, your response, stated in terms of your rights and your house, was just escalation and counter-aggression and wasn't something you should have said to a guest in your home. The polite thing to do would have been to say nothing and just let your friends play their music if it's so important to them that they are prepared to insist on getting their own way.

Your later updates, though, change my view of this. If this incident was embedded in a context of them telling you that your professional work as a musician is terrible, then they're not your friends and that is the real issue here. As non-friends they shouldn't have been invited into your home in the first place.
posted by tel3path at 3:38 PM on June 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


Actually it seems a bit light for the message I was trying to convey at the time.

I'm pretty sure the message you were trying to convey - which was a negative and rude one - came through just fine, in spite of the technical definition of the term you chose. Dude, why are you surprised when people react negatively to you intentionally being impolite? You can either choose to make peace or you can escalate conflict. You and your friends seem like a pretty good match to me, at this point. I wouldn't want to hang out with you, but they apparently do, so maybe you should hold on to the friendships of people who are apparently willing to put up with your nonsense?
posted by The World Famous at 3:45 PM on June 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


I'm pretty sure the message you were trying to convey - which was a negative and rude one - came through just fine, in spite of the technical definition of the term you chose. Dude, why are you surprised when people react negatively to you intentionally being impolite? You can either choose to make peace or you can escalate conflict. You and your friends seem like a pretty good match to me, at this point. I wouldn't want to hang out with you, but they apparently do, so maybe you should hold on to the friendships of people who are apparently willing to put up with your nonsense?

Sigh, if I'm going to ask questions, point blank, such as: Do your "close" friends consistently do things that are rude, or do I just have friends that are too close? What are your experiences with friends? Should we dump ours and look for more, or is this type of behavior just typical? ... which might I add are the ONLY questions I originally asked, you might say it is a little impolite for you--or anyone else--to provide your psychoanalysis of who I am, what I stand for, and whether or not you would be my friend. If I needed your opinions for such topics, I would have instead asked you questions like: "What do you think of me?" "Would you be my friend,?" or possibly, "Can you please tell me in either English or Insult what you believe is wrong with me?"
posted by only4u at 4:07 PM on June 22, 2011


You definitely need to find some new friends. I've had friends who can behave somewhat like this. I don't anymore. Or we're just not as close.

One time I was supposed to go camping with about 8-10 other people over a long weekend. A couple of the people who had more experience with camping volunteered to coordinate it. About a week before, they announced the camping was off and that 4 of them decided to just go get a cabin instead (because it was getting too complicated, like in your event). That made the rest of us feel bad with disappointment, bad with exclusion, and bad with rejection. I'm still very friendly with everyone involved, but my social energies are focused elsewhere. (At least my friends had the decency to tell the truth and give everyone else time to make other plans. And I actually believe planning a camping trip for that many people could be complicated, whereas I have been involved in enough parties like your Memorial Day one to know that what you're talking about wasn't complicated at all.)

At first I was thinking that your friends don't like you, but it might be that they don't like the rules that govern the society you want to live in. Those rules sound like they you should check with people before inviting extra people, you should answer that question honestly because you know the other person hasn't put you in a tough spot, and you don't lie and exclude co-planners. This sounds like a very nice society to me and I'd be happy to live in it (and I do), but as you've learned in real life and in this question, some people want to live in the society where you can't continue to plan a party after a venue is decided and that lying to exclude someone is an appropriate response to complexity. (I think in our society, Couple A and my camping organizers should have sucked it up.) So find some people who want to live in your type of society.
posted by oreofuchi at 4:08 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Do your "close" friends consistently do things that are rude, or do I just have friends that are too close? What are your experiences with friends? Should we dump ours and look for more, or is this type of behavior just typical?

To a certain extent, it's typical. Everyone envisions themselves as the protagonist of their story. Once I understood that, and stopped interpreting others' actions as malicious ("rude", "punishing us"), friendships became much less stressful and boundaries became easier to set. It's not about emotional intimacy ("too close"), but about misinterpreting actions that are likely to have little to do with you as being about you.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:12 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sigh, if I'm going to ask questions, point blank, such as: Do your "close" friends consistently do things that are rude, or do I just have friends that are too close? What are your experiences with friends? Should we dump ours and look for more, or is this type of behavior just typical? ... which might I add are the ONLY questions I originally asked, you might say it is a little impolite for you--or anyone else--to provide your psychoanalysis of who I am, what I stand for, and whether or not you would be my friend.

I didn't provide any psychoanalysis. I directly responded to your question of whether you should dump your friends: You should not dump them. And I told you why that's my answer: Because you're lucky to have found friends who will put up with your rudeness.

If you don't like spending time with someone, then don't spend time with them. It's as simple as that.
posted by The World Famous at 4:15 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is a really interesting question and discussion to me. I'm really trying to picture you, and your friends, and figure out what it was actually like to be present during these difficult moments. (I actually had my girlfriend read this question and give me her take on it ... she said, "he sounds weird ... and he has weird friends.")

I think it is actually very normal for things like the pool-party incident to occur. There was a question recently where a woman was complaining about how often a good friend "flakes" on plans. They would make plans, and the friend would agree to the plans, and then ultimately the friend flaked in a very rude and upsetting fashion. That friend's behavior sounds very much like the behavior of your friends in the pool-party incident. Even if you were being somewhat annoying in asking about inviting the other friends, or in suggesting the cooking be done at your place ... so what? Nothing you did was that bad, and it was nothing that was beyond the capacity of an assertive, normal adult to deal with.

So, I think you behaved okay in the pool party thing.

With regard to the iPod incident, I find that a bit more vexing. I am surprised that people think the "elevator music" comment was out-of-bounds. I can imagine that being delivered as very friendly, normal joking around. I do agree with people that probably, the optimal strategy as a host is to do whatever it takes within reason to make your guests comfortable. But we don't know the dynamic that exists between you and your friends. EVEN IF you were out of line with the elevator music comment, the whole "I ought to stick a fork in your neck" comment blasted the interaction to a wholly different level of incivility, and I am surprised you didn't kick them out right then. My dad used to use the term "hard kidding" to describe a kind of joking-around that is tinged with malice, and I got the impression that "hard kidding" is a thing that is acceptable in some social circles. Maybe you and your friends have a relationship in which this kind of hard kidding is the norm. And with some friends of mine, it is perfectly acceptable to be candid and even harsh about some things --- music taste included. I have friends and family to whom I would be perfectly comfortable saying "what is this shit?" when someone puts on music you don't like. So light-heartedly calling something "elevator music" is not out of line in my opinion.

Your attitude about friendships needing to tolerate some degree of rudeness and lying is, in my view, a nuanced and mature view. But if this is your view, I think you should accept that these friends who behave in rude and uncivilized ways are not worthy of being in your inner circle, so you should expect less of them and rely on them less than you would your closest friends.
posted by jayder at 4:16 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, it's kind of impossible to ask the question, "Should I dump my friends?" without having people question your own role in things. Your actions and psyche are going to be scrutinized when people are trying to figure out whether or not your friends are actually nice and being driven to insanity by you, or if they are just jerks not worth your time.
posted by amodelcitizen at 4:20 PM on June 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I had friends who acted like the people you're talking about. I loved them dearly, but constant plans changing and rubbing it in my face if they were going somewhere I wasn't invited and mocking me for my taste in music/movies/whatever got pretty old. The friendships fell apart for other reasons, but I don't find myself missing them.

So, yeah, in my experience this is normal behavior and at the same time, not wanting to deal with it is totally normal as well.

At the same time, from everything you've written in this thread? Even if we were close friends for years, dealing with you in person on a regular basis would be exhausting. You're looking for very specific interactions and want to be in control of them - specific types of parties, specific types of music, specific answers to your question - and when you don't get those responses, you get defensive. I very notably had a friend like this to the point where she would only ever hang out with me at *her* house, she would absolutely never come over to mine unless we then immediately went to hers. If I didn't respond to a concern that she had in a way that was exactly what she wanted to hear, I wasn't "supportive." Pretty much she wanted her friends to validate her feelings, and that's not always what friends do.

Nor is it what AskMe is for. You don't need our permission to ditch your friends. If you don't like the way they treat you, stop hanging out with them. If you want to actually discuss the situation, however, your own role in it is going to play a part - especially since we don't know how things played out from your friends' point of view. If you only wanted to hear "Yes, you're absolutely right," you absolutely wasted $5.
posted by sonika at 4:37 PM on June 22, 2011 [18 favorites]


In general it seems like the way you interact with people means that the friends you have are a good fit? I mean, you showed up here and didn't get the answers you wanted and seem to be kind of pissed about that. So people here got kind of annoyed with you. If you like to be a Strong Personality who is Always Right and Demands Respect, this is going to happen a lot? Not everything is worth getting upset over; other people's aggro behavior does not always demand an equally aggro response. It took me a long time to figure out that not reacting was a sign of strength. Don't let people push your buttons and they will probably stop trying.

You can't say something rude about my music and tell me it is just a joke when I tell you off, and then turn around and complain that my remark about your music is insulting and that you want to stab a fork in my throat for it.

All this over whose iPod is playing? daaaaaaaaaamn. If you like drama, keep hanging out with people with whom you can create drama. I haven't gotten in these kinds of ridiculous fights with any of my friends since high school. If you AND the people you are friends with all are insistent on escalating conflict at every opportunity, this is what happens. I mean you could just say "Can we change the music please," and if she is all "your music sucks," you can say "well that's nice, I'm going to change the music anyway" and just shake your head at her silly behavior because it's not worth getting angry over. Fork stabbing averted.
posted by citron at 5:41 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am 36 and nothing remotely like this has ever happened with any of my close friends. Relationship drama, sure, but not friends. If I found out that someone lied to me as Couple A did to you, I'd just stop seeing Couple A, because obviously they don't care enough about my friendship to be direct with me. If someone made derogatory comments about my musical tastes after I'd asked them to stop, or played music on my stereo after I'd asked them not to, I'd be upset. All of this kind of behavior is just mystifying to me for people who are apparently out of high school.

Your behavior in this thread is needlessly defensive and aggressive and I'm sorry that you don't see that. We can't fully separate how your friends are acting from how you're acting, because you're the one who picked your friends, and you're the one who is interacting with them, and now with us. Your friends' behavior does not exist in a vacuum.
posted by desjardins at 5:55 PM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Ok, here's my take on the memorial day thing: Some people just seem to freak out over anyone changing their plans at all and others don't. I'm generally "the more the merrier" kind of person, unless there is a very specific constraint and even then I'd generally be happy to try and work something out. I don't like leaving people out because I don't like being left out. But I've known several otherwise very nice people who flip out at the mere suggestion we change dinner from 7 to 7:30. I think it's the kind of personality trait that isn't a dealbreaker, but needs to be noted in the back of your mind. I wouldn't consider what you did rude, but clearly reasonable minds can disagree.

The lying and canceling is really over the top to me. I would be pretty put off and offended by friends doing that to me. It's super passive aggressive and really over the top for your perceived offense. I don't know if I would totally stop being their friend, but it would certainly downgrade the friendship in my mind and whether I stayed friends with them would probably largely depend on whether they were part of a larger group and I didn't want to make things awkward.

The ipod thing is I think you snapping at someone that had been habitually an asshole to you. Yes, you escalated the situation, but you probably did that because you wanted her to knock it off once and for all and you probably had let one too many comments slide. So yeah in a zen buddha way you probably should have just let it go so that it wasn't awkward for everyone else and just never invited her over again. I wouldn't be friends with her anymore that's for sure, but you probably shouldn't have ruined a dinner party just to make a point. You probably just should have told your mutual friend that if they wouldn't mind not invite the ipod switcher to your house again.

But to answer your core question: No most of mind friends don't do this kind of stuff, but it has happened in the past. If it happens enough I usually just distance myself from the person or in rare occurrences when I think their behavior is due to some unusual stresser in their life I will give them a pass for a bit, but eventually I'll just let the friendship die.
posted by whoaali at 5:56 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Be nice to others and have friends that are nice to you. Only you can decide what that means for you.
posted by waterandrock at 6:03 PM on June 22, 2011


Do your "close" friends consistently do things that are rude
Not consistently, no. I try to be courteous, even to friends I've had for twenty years and they return the favor. I do not remain close to people who don't treat me with courtesy, and people to whom I've been rude (happens to all of us with some people) no longer associated with me if the offenses were bad enough.

do I just have friends that are too close?
I do not think this is your issue based on your question and your responses in thread.

What are your experiences with friends?
Friends are people who treat each other kindly, who try to overlook occasional irritations, who do not power trip over things or try to dominate each other.

Should we dump ours and look for more, or is this type of behavior just typical?
I am thinking that this is something you will continue to encounter in your friendships. I wouldn't dump these people. You'd just find other people who behave rudely and don't live up to your expectations.
posted by winna at 6:19 PM on June 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've had friends (now ex-friends) pull very much the same kind of thing that happened to you Memorial Day weekend. I wouldn't kick up a fuss over it, if it was just the one time - chalk it up as an aberration and move on. Everybody has an off-moment once in a while. If it happens repeatedly, cut your losses and cut them loose. (If I had it to do over, I would've done this sooner, but I am a "fixer" kind of guy and I tried to "fix" things, which in situations like this just makes things worse.)

(Pet-peeve rant: to anyone who lies to their friends to "avoid creating drama", you're assuming your lie will never be discovered, otherwise you're just creating more drama, as in this case. It is an illogical and poor reason to tell a lie; and 95% of the time, the real reason is that you wanted to do something you knew was kinda crappy toward somebody, but you didn't want to get called on it. Equating "being upset by [my shitty behavior]" with "creating drama" is an awful convenient way to shift the blame onto them. If you actually respect them, try "Hey, I know you won't like this, but here's [what I'm going to do] and here's [why I'm going to do it even though you won't like it]..." and then it's legitimately on them to deal with that or not. But don't lie.)

I've never had anything like your iPod example happen, but from the sound of the rest of your friendship with them, they're not the sort of people I'd have stayed friends with long enough for something like that to happen in the first place. They're already not really your friends, or lousy friends at best; deciding whether or not to be friends with them seems like a moot point now. They're obnoxious twits, who don't have the decent sense to stop attacking your taste in music despite it being an obvious sore point, so spend no time mourning their absence.

Generally, I think if you can have a basic level of trust with your friends, and they generally make you feel better more often than they make you feel worse, they're worth keeping around. And if they slip up occasionally, part of what you do as a friend to them is to forgive them and forget about it. But if you stop being able to trust them on a basic level, or spend more time feeling bad because of them than you spend feeling good because of them, then get rid of them and find some new friends.
posted by mstokes650 at 6:47 PM on June 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I held back on this thread, glad I did. I've looked over some of your follow up, and it is pretty telling about you. It's very defensive, plus, it attacks right back. I have a feeling you do this in person with your friends, and perhaps they are tired of it. Just skimming over this thread, and your arguments is tiring to me, I can't imagine spending hours with a person that does this!
posted by kellyblah at 7:00 PM on June 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


OP has disabled their account.
(tl;dnr)
posted by Tuesday After Lunch at 8:04 PM on June 22, 2011


Basic answer: You have rude friends.

Honest answer: You don't seem so pleasant yourself.

Like attracts like.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 8:06 PM on June 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


My co-worker has worked at our place of employment for longer than I have. We share an office, although it bugged me for a while that she always called it HER office and not our office. But we don't fight and when it comes to music, we do the democratic thing... take turns playing music. Either we alternate a song or two from her iPod and then mine, or else we listen to online radio and we each give the other veto power for a song we absoutely hate (i.e., if I really despise a song but she loves it, she will still skip it for me, and I do the same for her).

The fork comment seems really weird and inappropriate; anyone who threatened, however jokingly, to stab me in the throat with a fork would likely not be invited back into my home.
posted by IndigoRain at 8:06 PM on June 22, 2011


What are your experiences with friends? Should we dump ours and look for more, or is this type of behavior just typical?

When I saw your first example, I thought of an acquaintance of ours, I'll call her Flakey Mom.

The kids know that when they invite Flakey Mom's son over for a sleepover and she says she'll drive him, he might show up at any time, or not at all. Nine times out of ten, when Flakey Mom says she'll do something, she won't follow up on it.

It's worst when Flakey Mom initiates things herself and then leave others in the lurch. For instance, when graduation came around, Flakey Mom suggested to some other Moms that we should all throw a party for our kids together. She convinced another Mom to rent a hall for "all of us." Privately, one of the Moms and I shared our own misgivings about the work involved in planning the celebration, but our kids are all friends, so we went along with this, because honestly Flakey Mom could not have afforded to throw a party for her son on her own.

And, naturally, Flakey Mom showed up an hour and a half late for our first party-planning meeting. No apology or excuse. She promised to meet us at the hall, and then just didn't bother showing up. When another Mom called her, she blamed her alarm clock for not waking her up in time, declined to meet us later to order the cake--and then just didn't answer her phone for a week, or reply to emails.

The night before the party, Flakey Mom calls me to ask what she "could do to help." I mention how the Moms have been trying to reach her and she was basically, "Yeah, it's been a crazy week." Amazingly, she did show up to the actual party, and even brought some food, which is good, because she'd also invited the most people.

If my kids weren't friends with her son, we'd probably give up on Flakey Mom. But he's a good kid, and we're like his second family, so we have just accepted that this is the way she is, and honestly we don't rely on her to come through.

From your follow-ups, couple A sound a bit like Flakey Mom. They probably consider themselves fun and spontaneous, but I'll bet you aren't the only one that gets annoyed when they suddenly change plans. If you want to be their friends, you're going to have to accept that they don't think it's a big deal.

The second scenario, with the iPod--well, I don't think you should hang out with them any more.

Now, me, I'd probably be a little miffed that other girlfriend changed the iPod without asking, but I would take that as a clue that she didn't want to hear my music. I would have probably said, "Hey, what's this? I didn't put this song on...oh, so-and-so, is this your iPod? Here you go," and turned the stereo off.

No jokes about elevator music, no putting in my own music, no escalation from there. I feel like you all really play into this drama by even introducing the subject of music when you're together.

But you're not me, and music is obviously a big part of your life. I can see that it is important to you, and you feel like these people don't get that and don't respect your music. So I think you're better off just keeping your distance from them.
posted by misha at 8:06 PM on June 22, 2011


We have another Couple friend who recently came to our home and took my ipod out of our home theater system and replaced it with theirs; after an hour I switched it back and made a lighthearted comment to the effect of, "OK, enough with the elevator music, hahaha..." Then I switched to my ipod again, and then the Couple made a serious-but-not-so-serious violent threat towards me, got angry, and switched their ipod back on and mine back off. I got up and said politely it was my house and we listen to my music, and they shortly after stormed out of our home.


I'm a pretty serious music snob and this wouldn't even bother me. When friends come over they're welcome to sort through my music collection, and most parties I've been to have a communal speaker where everybody plugs in their iPods. I wouldn't storm out of the house after that.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:43 PM on June 22, 2011


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