[Anger related issue filter] Do I need a tougher outer shell, or should I be bothered by this?
January 23, 2012 3:55 AM Subscribe
Difficulty with communicating anger and/or frustration toward friends--need a few techniques to move forward.
posted by wallawallasweet to human relations (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I wanted to let some time pass with a bit of self reflection before I asked this, but since I'm still somewhat bothered by issues that seem insurmountable to me at the moment, here goes:
It was a holiday gathering with a few friends; it was my idea we would cook a traditional family dish to where I am from (I've been abroad in current foreign country for the past few years); and for the most part it went well despite some inebriation in the collective preparation (some joking around and (self)-deprecating humor about cooking techniques, etc.).
But something really bothered me toward the end when we were winding the evening down with dessert. It was something that the locals had never even seen or tasted, but aside from the expected initial curiosity, I was soon taken back by the kind of "ewww, what IS that?" kind of reception it got (fwiw, it was bought and not self-made). I took a deep breath while this transpired for the next five minutes, and tried explaining to them what it was we were eating, how it was considered a local delicacy and how I could imagine their reaction since nothing quite similar can be found here. One of them had brought chocolates and for them there was a collective sigh of relief: odd foreign dessert disaster averted. What a major buzz kill!
I felt as if I was punched in the stomach. I remember trying to carefully contain my anger and humiliation (In retrospect I know I was taking this much too personally), but my friends probably sensed a shift in the mood of the party. I waited a few minutes to pass, called it a night, then I gathered my things, and gave them each a hug and left, but I was still livid.
It's unhealthy for anger like this to be bottled up. But I couldn't bring myself to tell my friends what I was feeling at the moment. Or even now.
My questions are: 1) Having believed that these were good friends who I usually enjoy hanging out, do I tell them? 2) Are there ways in which to tactfully communicate anger/displeasure in social settings such as this? 3) (aside from therapy) How do I address the more underlying anger issues that may be related to social awkwardness on my part; my preference to laugh off or dismiss things that I find hurtful?