Dealing with disappointing friends.
October 12, 2013 12:50 AM Subscribe
I have a really hard time putting a positive spin on people, friends especially, that under-deliver. I'm worried about overreacting and burning bridges. How do I deal with this situation?
posted by phaedon to human relations (35 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I know this couple, husband and wife, I've known them both since before they got married. They both kind of do the same thing to me: agree to do something and then back out, or ask to reschedule in a way that is either inconvenient or sometimes impossible. You'd probably want to know why I keep putting myself in this situation, and I don't have an answer. It just happens. The latest permutation is as follows.
I asked the wife to volunteer her time on a community project that has a deadline. She agreed. Last Tuesday, she said let's meet this coming Monday and we set up a time. Great. But just yesterday, she said she couldn't make it and asked to reschedule. I said, for when? No response. Today I followed up again, asking what had happened. She said she had to take a meeting on Monday and was available next Thursday.
Now, in my mind, when you have scheduled (proposed, no less) a meeting for a particular time, "I had to take another meeting" is not a valid excuse. I feel disrespected. Writing something nasty in response - like condescendingly explaining etiquette - feels warranted. I am pausing, but I just can't seem to wrap my mind around this or find any relief. I understand we're talking about volunteering for a community project here, but this is a project that a lot of people are depending on me to complete and for which I have a definitive deadline. If I moved the meeting to Thursday, already 9 days out from the original conversation and I have only about 21 left, and she then asked to reschedule again, I'd probably blow a gasket.
I am aware that this person might have some "work-related boundary problems," but I can't tell you definitively what they are, since I don't normally work with her. I don't appreciate being forced to deal with somebody's schedule like this. The thing is, I don't know if I can replace her at this point in time.
What is this thing I am struggling with, do you have any suggestions or could you point me to any resources or a couple of basic rules of life that might help me act appropriately? If it requires me being super-nice, I won't care if I have to totally fake it. Lately, I feel like I am surrounded by people that are half-assing it, and it's bothering me a great deal. I can't find a middle ground between overreacting and stuffing it all inside. I want to cut these particular people out of my life, but I'm afraid if I start doing that, before you know it I'll be all alone. I do want to get along and work with people that don't necessarily meet my expectations; maybe even prod them to get them to do what I want them to do using a little bit of honey and positive energy. I just don't know how, and I want to learn how other people handle these situations. Thanks.