How do I get rid of an unwanted tag-along?
February 9, 2012 3:12 AM   Subscribe

There's a girl who keeps inviting herself to group gatherings, and now she's invited herself along on a trip I planned. I really don't want her there, but how do I get rid of her without creating a big scene?

I have a group of friends. All of us, except this one single girl, dislikes this other girl. She's loud, rude, obnoxious and whenever we hang out as a group, she dominates everything. We're either talking about her, because she wants to, or someone is hauling her ass back home because she drank too much, or someone is patting her back while she is retching her dinner out into the toilet. Basically, she's unpleasant.

Now, recently, I organized a small road trip to somewhere on a break we all have. I did it because a few people expressed interest and I really wanted to go. I reserved the rooms (hence it's my ass on the line for any damages), I organized the rides. I'm driving the bulk of the people up. Basically, I'm doing most of the work for this trip but I'm not exactly the 'organizer', if you get what I mean.

I purposely didn't invite this girl. No one did. I gave inviting powers to everyone, but no one invited her because we all hate her. The only reason we don't say much is because this one girl in the group really likes her for reasons that are unknown. We're about to leave in a week, and all of a sudden, the girl who likes her tells me that this annoyance wants to join in on the trip. I'm guessing the girl who likes her told her about the trip and invited her along. My first instinct is to say 'no'. I planned the damn thing, I'm on the hook for the hotel, and I don't want to be looking after her when I'm supposed to be on vacation. Obviously, that would spark a fight, and I don't want that.

So I thought I would make up some excuse about how I already booked the rooms and we really don't have enough room, but then that excuse doesn't really work because we already sneaked in a few extra people last minute.

How do I tell my friend 'no' to her friend without being rude and causing a fight?
posted by cyml to Human Relations (32 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
In the immediate term, you can either be mindful of other's emotions, or set firm boundaries. To try and keep everyone happy means relaxing your boundaries. To set firm boundaries means that people are free to have their own emotional response, but it's not going to change your decision.

I have seen similar situations in groups over time. Often, what works best is to stop inviting the enabler -- the girl that keeps inviting the untoward friend -- until she gets the message that the rest of the group doesn't appreciate the fine nuances of this other individual. Thus, if she is going to continue inviting her around, you will interact with her less. That can be very subtle and very effective.
posted by nickrussell at 3:21 AM on February 9, 2012 [22 favorites]


"I'm sorry, that won't be possible for this trip I organized but you are welcome to plan the next one."

On preview: I agree with nickrussell to stop inviting the one person that likes the annoying person.
posted by spec80 at 3:23 AM on February 9, 2012 [27 favorites]


Does Girl Who Likes Her know what everyone else hates Her? Or is she just oblivious?
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:25 AM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


The way I see it, here are your options:

1. Tell the girl that likes her (TGTLH for short) that she is entirely and completely responsible for Annoying Girl's everything. TGTLH has to make a reservation in HER name, add the person on rental car insurance in HER name, and is thus entirely responsible for her during the entire trip.

2. Cancel the trip. Stop inviting TGTLH on vacations and future trips.

3. Let Annoying Girl come on the trip but make her make separate financial plans (that is, she has to do a hotel in her name and any other financial responsibilities). Tell her at the beginning point blank. "I know you like to drink and that you like to party. However, we're not going to take care of you. We're not going to back you up financially. If you throw up, in fact we don't care. If you get yourself into some trouble, good luck to you."
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 3:33 AM on February 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


It doesn't sound like setting ground rules "no getting drunk" for everyone on this trip will work, because the villain of the piece apparently is obnoxious when not drunk as well.

I doubt confronting Obnoxia will help, because your objection is to something she is, not something she does.

I don't see any polite way to approach Girl Who Likes Obnoxia and say, "we all hate Obnoxia and don't want you to invite her," because you wouldn't say that to Obnoxia's face, ergo it's not fair to say it behind her back.

So that just leaves one option: cease to invite Girl Who Likes Obnoxia. If she asks why she's no longer getting invited to stuff, then you can tell her it's because of Obnoxia.

And as for what to do about this immediate trip, spec80's script of "I'm sorry, that won't be possible for this trip I organized but you are welcome to plan the next one" sounds good.
posted by tel3path at 3:33 AM on February 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Be truthful. Stop beating around the bush. Tell the girl that you have a problem with her behaviour and that you therefore don't feel comfortable having her on the trip.

Straight is always best
posted by 0bvious at 3:40 AM on February 9, 2012 [49 favorites]


I agree with spec08. You need to tell the girl that, for whatever reason, it won't be possible for her to come on this trip. That's all you need to say.

I think letting her come along, even if she makes her own plans, will just cause more uneccessary drama and make the whole thing a horrible stew of repressed resentment. Better to have it out in the open and over with than ruining everyone's day in the background.
posted by fight or flight at 3:52 AM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sometimes the one time big drama where someone's feelings get a little hurt and other people feel uncomfortably icky for a few hours is better than the prolonged agony of someone's bad company, and the bad company having to continue to develop an emotional relationship with people who don't like them...

When it comes to interpersonal relationships, the most drama-free way to address issues is to actually address them. You may be hated for a while for telling someone how you feel, but they will feel resentment and ire from you if you don't. Personally, I'd rather be hated than hate.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:53 AM on February 9, 2012 [11 favorites]


I don't think you have to un-invite the friend who likes her to things, I think your group of friends needs to have an honest conversation with her about not inviting girl X because she's a loose cannon.

In the interim, I would go with the "I'm sorry, it's not possible for this trip, but perhaps in the future you can plan one" and stick with it. Life's too short to avoid difficult conversations that will improve your life significantly.
posted by Rodrigo Lamaitre at 4:04 AM on February 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Another vote for just being honest. Does your friend know that no-one but her likes this girl?

I would say "Look, I know you really like X but no-one else does. We didn't invite her because we don't want her to come." You could elaborate one why no-one likes her and why she's not invited but that's getting towards being unnecessarily mean. You don't need to give your friend a laundry list of her friend's faults just be clear that the rest of the group doesn't like her so they would prefer to enjoy their vacation without her.
posted by missmagenta at 4:15 AM on February 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I am not exactly sure who you are going to be pissing off other than the rude girl herself. Just say no and take the hit for a few hours of drama in order to be drama free on vacation.
posted by AugustWest at 4:36 AM on February 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just in case you will - this time - not be able to get rid of her without causing a scene: establish some rules.

All of this:
We're either talking about her, because she wants to, or someone is hauling her ass back home because she drank too much, or someone is patting her back while she is retching her dinner out into the toilet
can be tackled. She's not any more than anyone else supposed to drink herself into a stupor, or to over-eat in a predictable manner (or a combination). To establish some conversation rules would also be totally okay in a situation like this. If she doesn't respond well, it would give you leverage to, for the next occasion, simply say, 'sorry, you're not welcome because you don't play along'.

Also: next time you plan a thing like this, make the inviting-powers-model democratic: suggestions, plus a vote.
posted by Namlit at 4:55 AM on February 9, 2012


Girl who likes annoying girl is now called "Liker"
Annoying girl is called "Binge"

Tell Liker that Binge has a drinking problem and that you're concerned about her. Then tell Liker that you're concerned that this drinking problem could make your vacation a mess.

I think that being honest is important here and I think that Binge's behavior does describe someone who needs to reassess her relationship with alcohol.
posted by sciencegeek at 4:58 AM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just be honest. If you say nothing or hint around, you'll end up with annoying girl ruining your trip. You won't enjoy yourself because that resentment will just keep building and dominate the trip. If nobody else wants her there either (save for the friend that likes her) you should have adequate backup.

There is no nice way to tell someone they're not liked or wanted, and that's unfortunate. However, you're under no obligation to let this person ruin a trip you put so much hard work into.
posted by futureisunwritten at 5:07 AM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's a middle ground. Be honest about not wanting here there, but don't make it a huge judgment.

Script:
"hey, I'd really prefer if we didn't invite Girl on this trip. I like her, but she can be really intense, and I want this trip to be more laid back."

Now, of course, you don't like her, and this doesn't accomplish the goal of eliminating her from your social circle. But it does give you a better shot of not alienating the friend you do like.

If you really want to rip off the bandaid, go with one of the stronger ones above, but be ready for more possible discussion/drama with the friend you do like.
posted by mercredi at 5:17 AM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


How do I tell my friend 'no' to her friend without being rude and causing a fight?

Sometimes we just have to have difficult conversations with others. Speak plainly and be forthright, but no more unpleasant than strictly necessary. There are two things you must make clear: "I'm sorry, but none of us want Annoying Girl to come on this trip because we don't enjoy her company," and "Please don't invite her to anything we do in future."

Hopefully the girl who likes Annoying Girl will be reasonable about it. If she asks why the rest of you don't like Annoying Girl, tell her what you told us. If she asks how on earth she can break the news to Annoying Girl, you can be sympathetic and make helpful suggestions if you can think of any, but it is her problem to deal with because she created the problem.
posted by orange swan at 5:23 AM on February 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


"hey, I'd really prefer if we didn't invite Girl on this trip. I like her, but she can be really intense, and I want this trip to be more laid back."
I advise against "I like her" or anything that even hints of that, as that keeps the door open for Liker to invite Binge to future events. "But you said you LIKE her!" Just say NO to the trip, and let Liker know that you don't want her inviting Binge to any more group gatherings. You may lose Liker in the process, but you'll not have to deal with Binge ever again.
posted by Dolley at 6:14 AM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


You have to say flatly tell her no. Any excuses you make up will be aruged with or ignored. For example, fi you were to say this:

I'd really prefer if we didn't invite Girl on this trip. I like her, but she can be really intense, and I want this trip to be more laid back.

You will be told how she too is looking to "chill out". And you'll be looking forward to this, of course, because you just said that you like her. And since you like her, why shouldn't she come along on the next trip.

You have to say no. If pressed, explain you don't like her. If it makes a scene, so be it. A little awkwardness will be a lot better than ruining your vacation.
posted by spaltavian at 6:29 AM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tell the friend that likes her that you don't want her friend to come. If she asks why, explain to her why. If that friend opts out because of her friend's exclusion, so be it. But it seems like everyone would be far happier if the third wheel doesn't come along.
posted by inturnaround at 6:45 AM on February 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


My group of friends deal with a similar situation once. No one wanted this person around and they managed to invite themselves along to most everything. Just about everyone in the group is non-confrontational and passive so it went this way for a long time. Finally, one of us just straight up told her that we didn't want her tagging along all the time because of x and y.

The person who did the telling really, really took one for the team, and even suffered some criticism for it in the short term. But in the long term, everyone was quite relieved that the situation was dealt with. Through the magic of facebook it appears that our Obnoxia fairly quickly settled into a new group that meshed with her personality much better, so really it was a win for all parties.

So, I'm agreeing with everyone else by suggesting honesty. You can be the person who makes the stand. You might get some short term grief, but your friends will appreciate it.
posted by utsutsu at 6:45 AM on February 9, 2012


I purposely didn't invite this girl. No one did. I gave inviting powers to everyone, but no one invited her because we all hate her.

I think your answer is hiding in here. I think you can do this in a few ways, depending on how it happened and how you want to do it.

If it's true that nobody invited her, and this girl is attempting to include herself, the answer to her directly is "I'm sorry, you're not invited on this trip. I've made and set our plans already. It's just not possible." Repeat, repeat, repeat. And on the trip, take a minute to make a plan for when you all come back and need to redefine the boundaries of your group. It might suck, but some prefer to rip the band-aid.

That's not rude - it's just being definite, and speaking like an adult.

Or, if you did give inviting powers to everyone, and you're guessing the girl who likes her told her about the trip and invited her along, then you need to find the girl who likes her, clarify this and say "I'm sorry you invited her on the trip - I didn't, and nobody else did specifically because there are issues with her behaviour that you may not be aware we're barely tolerating at this point. I'm afraid she's a liability in these ways: (Name some of the more egregiously bad ways, don't be petty.) If you're not willing to exclude her now, I need you to be the point person for Binge on this trip as she's your guest, and that means (and then outline what would make it bearable)." That's just peeling the band-aid.

And that's only if you want to be polite and not dis-invite anyone. But don't make excuses, which will not doubt be found out. Maybe this trip has to stink for Liker so that she gets the fact that Binge is no fun for everyone else. Maybe the trip has to fail in some ways so that everyone ends up on the same page, and is willing to draw a hard line between the group and Binge.

Unless you specifically want to rescind the invitation to Binge however she got it now as the organizer - because the cat's out of the bag - and that just means there's going to be some drama. But I'd avoid speaking for everyone unless you have sought their permission, or get everyone else to speak up so you don't look like the sole crank. Have a planning meeting with the confirmed group, and try to do it in person, or phone rather than email, so she can hear your tone. Don't get loud, just stay matter-of-fact. And at some point, say it straight to Liker: "Binge has worn out her welcome, and her actions really affect the group's dynamic. If you want to hang with her, fine - just please don't invite her around until she's got her act together, or unless there's an activity that doesn't bring out the worst in her. It would help to check in with others on this, if you're not sure."

We had to do this with a friend we like only in very small doses - our group touched base with each other during an event, and each took a moment to say something about the round of parties coming up and whether or not he'd be included so we could all be discreet. We were all aware of the problem, someone just had to go first. It wasn't like high school - we didn't slam him or detail the negatives too much or replay past incidences. We said "This year we're not inviting Eeyore. We've tried, but his behaviour changes the tenor of the party and we'd like to keep it to friends who are in a great mood and will enjoy the food and people and not drink too much and get all morose on us." When Eeyore started hinting around for an invite so he could make his plans, I had to be the bad guy and say "I'm sorry, I can only host so many this year and I've drawn the circle a little tighter. We'll be glad to see you sometime when we're all out and about." Others followed suit. We also had to do this with another friend, where we stood together and I said straight out "Last time you were drunk, you were really offensive. You may not remember, but you were belligerent; you made a pass at a good friend; you cost us money; ruined an event; and scared my kid. As much as we like you, it was too much. We'll see you around - but you're not invited to our home any more." It sucked, but we didn't know where they were until he crossed them and he didn't know where our boundaries were until we told him. Good luck with this!
posted by peagood at 6:58 AM on February 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


Apologies for sounding like a dickhead, but I don't suffer the fools at all.
I've had dipshit friends that I just ruthlessly told to sod off because they were idiots.
I can't get all touchey-feelie about hurting their feelings because life is too short and I have better things to with my time.
You might even be doing her a favor by calling her out as she'll then have some food for thought about the consequences of her behaivior.
If she were a family member it would be adifferent story, but the adage of there being more fish in the sea applies even more in friendship than it does in romance.
Go and have a good time with your real friends and leave her behind.
posted by No Shmoobles at 7:37 AM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why are you and your other friends taking the approach of totally hating this person but pretending to like her when you're with this one friend who likes her? Your friend needs to know the truth.

I think the best approach is straightforward: "I've tried to give Jill a chance: I've done my best to like her, but I don't. I'm sick of how she dominates conversations, is really rude, and can't drink without getting out of control. I think she has a drinking problem, and I hope she gets help for it. Until that happens--until she makes some real changes in her choices and behavior, I don't want to be around her. I think you'll find she's worn out her welcome with most of our social circle as well."

I have friends who don't like each other. It's fine. Social circles don't have to line up perfectly. I just don't invite them both to the same event, or if I do, I let them each know that the other might come. I certainly don't invite one to the other's party/vacation/whatever. Give your friend a chance to do something similar.
posted by Meg_Murry at 9:01 AM on February 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


I like Meg's advice, but make sure your other friends are going to back you up if they get asked.
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:10 AM on February 9, 2012


Have you read about the five geek social fallacies? It might help with some background on why this feels horribly awkward but it's really okay to avoid this person.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:18 AM on February 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


But... someone does like her and someone did invite her, or at least talked with her about the trip and decided to ask you if she could go.
posted by Circumstands at 10:27 AM on February 9, 2012


I feel like the time to clarify that you didn't want Binge invited was when you gave everyone inviting powers for the trip. At that point, since you knew Liker was always bringing Binge along, you could have pulled her aside or called her up and told her, "Look, I want to ask you not to invite Binge along -- I know she's a friend of yours, but she's a difficult personality for me and some others and I don't want her on this trip." At that point, it would have been just not inviting her. But at this point, telling her she can't come is a disinvitation, since you did tell all the invitees that they could invite people too. There's no way to disinvite someone without being rude.

I second the advice about how to deal with this in future -- tell Liker that she needs to stop bringing Binge along, because the rest of the group does not like Binge -- but personally I think you're stuck with her for this trip if you don't want to be rude.
posted by palliser at 11:10 AM on February 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Be careful in discussing this with Liker that you don't try to dodge a direct hit by hiding behind the whole group. Maybe the whole group doesn't like Binge, but it sounds like you're all pretty passive about it, so if you say "We don't really want her there and we want you to disinvite her." and then Liker starts asking other people I GUARANTEE they'll hang you out to try by saying "Oh, well, I don't mind Binge so much, I don't know why cyml wants to hurt her feelings!".

And then you're the asshole. So just be the asshole up front. Tell Liker you don't want Binger there, then disinvite Binger yourself. "I'm sorry but it won't be possible for me include you on this trip."
posted by marylynn at 11:20 AM on February 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Short term, nthing above. "I'm sorry, that won't be possible for this trip I organized but you are welcome to plan the next one."


So I thought I would make up some excuse about how I already booked the rooms and we really don't have enough room, but then that excuse doesn't really work because we already sneaked in a few extra people last minute.

Sure that excuse will work. You've already sneaked in a few extra people last minute, and NOW THERE'S NO ROOM. Too late, mate, too slow, Joe. Unless Binge's friend knows that she asked Binge before these other sneakers, that should be acceptable. If not, just say sorry, it won't work, and repeat as needed.


Long term, you're going to have to bite the bullet and tell Binge's friend that Binge is no longer welcome at group events. If Binge keeps inviting herself, she has to be getting the info about where to meet from somewhere. If it's true that all the group but one doesn't want to hang with her, and she continues to show up, then you better all be comfortable getting up and going somewhere else without her or telling her she's no longer welcome, otherwise you're going to be the crap-stirrer. Sounds like too much drama for me.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:19 PM on February 9, 2012


"I'd prefer it if she doesn't come along."
"Blah blah blah."
"Yeah, like I said, I'd prefer it if she doesn't come along."

Rinse, repeat. If you have to do this more than a couple of times, start responding with silent shrugs.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 2:20 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


How do I tell my friend 'no' to her friend without being rude and causing a fight?

Use "I" statements - I don't want her to come, I planned this trip, I did not invite her, I don't like her, I don't want to deal with her drunken antics. I'm guessing that if none of you bothered to tell this girl (either the friend or the friend of the friend) that you don't like her up to now, it's unlikely that saying "WE" will make a difference as it either won't be believed or it won't be held up. So just stick with yourself. Rinse, repeat. I think it's worse to pretend you like her, or that there's a chance for her to join in the future, when there isn't. Nip it in the bud now. Yes, there will be drama. Small price to pay in the long-run, sounds like.
posted by sm1tten at 10:12 AM on February 11, 2012


Update:

Thanks for all your help people! I basically told the enabler that I don't like this chick and I don't want her there. I took the fall for it. I didn't implicate the other group members, but when I explained myself to everyone else later, more than one more person said they would've done the same in my situation.
posted by cyml at 2:47 PM on February 14, 2012


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