I AM NOT YOUR OWL
December 25, 2012 10:35 AM Subscribe
I am tired of being the owl
for my friends and family. How do I get them to talk to *each other* instead of *me*?
posted by divabat to Human Relations (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
So for many years now I end up being the owl between my friends: if my friends have some issue with another mutual friend, they both tell me about it - often with a wish that the other person would know. This has happened with ex-partners, current partners, friends warring with each other, friends who aren't warring with each other but think the other person hates them...all sorts of configurations.
My family is especially prone to this. If my parents have a beef with one of us sisters (there's two), they tell the *other* sister and then the relevant party doesn't hear of it till a long time later. Lately the parents are gossiping about each other to me.
One time this blow-up got to absurd proportions when some random distant auntie took offense to a photo I posted on Facebook...but instead of telling me, they told my parents (who hadn't seen the photo and got told an exaggerated version of what the photo actually is), who then bugged my sister, who then bugged me blaming *me* for pushing the photo onto the parents and causing everyone a headache. It took a lot of hunting and another distant relative to tell me the whole convoluted chain of events - which could have been resolved if someone had talked to *me* the first time.
Currently I am dealing with owling between two friends who are really into each other, *know* that the other party is interested...yet for some reason have not explicitly done anything about it. Instead they're way more explicit to *me* about their intentions, as though it's *me* they're trying to pick up. I've not-so-subtly hinted to each other that hey, Other Party IS keen, you have to be as explicit to them as you have to me - and they've both been like "oh noes they will think I am pressuring them etc etc". When really they are not feeling pressured, they are actually responding to each other's qualms and interests...without actually talking to *each other*.
It gets especially worse when there's an expectation to take sides. Oftentimes I hear multiple perspectives of a situation and *everyone* thinks they're 100% in the right and the other person must obviously be wrong. It's rare that there is someone who did clearly fuck up - and even then I see the fucker-upper try to make amends, but they're directing it more towards me than to the other person.
I'm honoured that they trust me enough to be honest with me about it, but I feel like a lot of anxiety would be relieved if they talked to the relevant person about it rather than me.
Is there any good way to go "I AM NOT AN OWL!" without alienating either party? I have been that direct with them before but they don't seem to listen. I don't want to go "you cannot talk to me EVAR" either, but a lot of it gets repetitive and frankly boring. (Sometimes they whine that nothing has changed ages later, and I'm like "well if you two talked to each other there would have been hope of something working out...") I'm at the verge of getting snarky with people, but honestly I'd rather they get mad at me if it means I can stop owling.