You Have Chosen Poorly
October 18, 2010 7:31 PM   Subscribe

I know I should have spoken up sooner, but I didn't. Help me live with the consequences. Not life or death (or even remotely close).

My friend and I decided to take Mah Jongg lessons together. To do that, though, we had to get a group together with an eye toward then playing every other week together as a group. My friend mentioned a new neighbor who I had met once, and didn't like on the first meeting. I held my tongue, though, thinking that I didn't want to be so judgmental so quickly.

I should have gone with my gut. Three lessons in and I am really not liking this lady. Looks like I'm going to be stuck with her for the foreseeable future, though.

How do I still enjoy what I joined for an enjoyable time with one lady who I would not choose to spend my free time with?
posted by Leezie to Human Relations (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I will just be straight and tell her about it. Life's too short to second-guess yourself!
posted by jchaw at 7:36 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

How long do the lessons last? 2 more weeks? 24 more weeks?
posted by tristeza at 7:40 PM on October 18, 2010

Response by poster: The idea is that once the lessons are finished, we would all play together as a group going forward.
posted by Leezie at 7:41 PM on October 18, 2010

Oh, wait, maybe I misread - she's not just there for lessons but for the entire future of your every-other-week game? Sorry if so. In that case, - tell friend, find a new third. Agreed life is too damn short!
posted by tristeza at 7:41 PM on October 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Yes, speak up now! You don't want this to become a potentially long-term relationship if you aren't fond of her. That's how my grandma ended up in the same bridge club as my uncle's (her son's) ex-wife. Ex-wife joined the club to be annoying to my grandma, my grandma wanted to play nice and save face so didn't say anything or remove herself from the group, and 5 years later the harpy is still there making the every-other-week meetings unbearable.

Not saying your woman's a harpy, but just get out now while you still can do it gracefully.
posted by phunniemee at 8:15 PM on October 18, 2010 [2 favorites]

how many other options do you have? how bad is she? play mah jong. laugh about the obnoxious lady.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 9:26 PM on October 18, 2010

You're playing to enjoy yourself, and this person is preventing you from enjoying yourself. No need to feel bad about that; you're not committed to this mahjong group as a long-term thing unless you want to be.

The key phrase here, then, is "cut your losses." You formed a group that didn't gel for you. Don't get bogged down in it; bow out of it. Find another group. If that group goes well, you're set, and if that group is one person short, pull your friend in. If your friend wants to know why you bowed out, be honest: "I like the idea of playing with a group, but this group isn't working for me with [name] as part of it -- she just annoys me too much. I realize she's doing nothing wrong and it is my issue, so that's why I bowed out."
posted by davejay at 12:46 AM on October 19, 2010

Well, first of all, just take that initial impression and tongue-holding out of the equation. Let's imagine that you met her the first time and had no impressions good or bad, and therefore, nothing to hold your tongue about. Let's say you agreed that she would make up part of the group, but over the course of three lessons, you found that you didn't like her at all. What would you normally do in that case?

Perhaps there's too much I-should-have-done-X-when-had-the-chance guilt/self-doubt involved for you to picture the situation clearly, and you would have actually felt okay about finding a way to extract yourself from the obligation — if only you hadn't felt that forewarning.

Or maybe there's too much emphasis on your dislike precisely *because* it's something you pushed down in the beginning, and now it's sort of asserting itself with a vengeance. Maybe if the dislike had just developed over the course of the three lessons, it might have been something easier for you to shrug off, finding enough pleasure in your other partners and the game itself that she wouldn't have a significant impact on your enjoyment.

If you'd just like a completely off-the-cuff recommendation in terms of a course of action... I'd say stick with it, and maybe imagine your group as some sort of TV sit-com; you can't have sit-com without opposing personalities! You wanted to learn to play, you already have some time invested in learning, and you don't know how things will shake out afterward; maybe she'll drop out. Maybe your feelings will alter (I have known a few people I really didn't like at first, who later became friends). Or, if the situation doesn't change or improve, you can drop out yourself, but you will have learned the game and will be able to teach future partners at some point.
posted by taz at 3:30 AM on October 19, 2010

Best answer: About three years ago a longtime friend had moved into our neighborhood and asked me to join a game group that was made up of neighborhood ladies and met monthly. I had no experience with the game, but joined to meet new people. As time progressed I really came to value the people I had met, who were often incredibly different from me in every way other than gender and neighborhood of choice. We played for three years and only recently have the bad apples shaken from the tree. Now that we're not really a formal group anymore, I can say that I'm glad to have the friends and support network in the nearby houses that I did, and that I know which houses have the nuts to avoid. And I kind of miss seeing everyone with a regular set date.

So my advice - give it some time. Everyone has at least one redeeming quality, try to find and focus on hers. Enjoy the game play, and the time with the others in the group. And if she truly becomes unbearable, lean your current play towards learning enough to mentor others and befriend others in your area that you might want to socialize with more.
posted by librarianamy at 4:46 AM on October 19, 2010

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