My boyfriend's new friend says offensive things!

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alex alex's picture
My boyfriend's new friend says offensive things!

Ugh this is awkward! I'm surprised Ms. C didn't suggest she ditch the guy altogether! How can he be so oblivious!

http://www.rabble.ca/now-what/my-boyfriends-new-friend-says-offensive-things-what-do-i-do
500_Apples

alex wrote:

Ugh this is awkward! I'm surprised Ms. C didn't suggest she ditch the guy altogether! How can he be so oblivious!

">http://www.rabble.ca/now-what/my-boyfriends-new-friend-says-offensive-th...

Why would she give out such absurd advice?

It seems they handled things well. They made some friends and one of them turned out to be so offensive as to make them uncomfortable, so they decided to hang out with that person less frequently.

What exactly is the problem?

oldgoat

Well, ditching the guy sounds a bit extreme.  She doesn't appear to have problems directly with him.  He could take a bit more ownership of an issue which is clearly causing discomfort though.  The advice to talk to this woman, and if that doesn't work then be more blunt seems reasonable.

Michelle

The problem is, the writer doesn't want this woman in her home at all.  But yeah, short of explicitly telling this woman she's not welcome (which could backfire with the other friends since they're inviting her to tag along, and they'll hear about it from her), or calling her on her sexism and racism, there isn't going to be much she can do.  I agree with Ms. C., and think her best bet would be to take this person aside (not in front of others) and explain to her that she is uncomfortable with the things she is saying, and would she please stop.

It's hard when you're a host to call your guests on stuff because you don't want to seem inhospitable or seem rude to your other guests.  It's a real quandary! 

alex alex's picture

But why is this guy so oblivious that he doesn't talk to his friend himself? Why is he not finding these comments offensive...? If this new friend is clearly upsetting his partner shouldn't he be the one having words with the friend? 

Michelle

Oh, I misunderstood 500's question.  I thought he was asking "what exactly is the problem" about the letter writer, not about Ms C's answer.  Heh.

He probably should, alex.  But on the other hand, I've always felt like if I have a problem with something someone is saying, then I shouldn't depend on others to speak for me.  That also means, however, that boyfriend can't complain if partner takes it into his or her own hands and talks to the friend him or herself.  (I assumed in the post above that the writer was a woman - heterosexist assumption!)

KeyStone

She should make a citizen's arrest against T for hate crimes, as well as her boyfriend for tolerating this. Get the HRDC involved and make sure that all parties involved do hard time.

Then again, given her tolerance and acceptance of such bigotry, perhaps charges should be filed against her as well.

Michelle

Why would Human Resources Development Canada get involved in a hate crime case?  You want to sentence them to Employment Insurance payments or something?  ;)

remind remind's picture

Well, as most know, I am really upfront when people are outright racist/sexist in front of me. However, given this is a new circle of friends, of my partners, I would approach it obliquely. And have a ready made incident in my past, or use this person's instance with modifications, as a story about racist/sexist etc. attitudes that really are socially unacceptable, in a completely unrelated way, and not immediately after she says something off, but upon another occasion, and would even direct the conversation, so I could get to my point.

Clearly the women is up for education and learning new things, so in that spirit, I would approach it from a learning curve and not a confrontational one. Give a person reason to think and they will.

al-Qa'bong

What I wonder about all this is a boyfriend who is in his 40s and has "recently returned to school."

 

What is he studying?  Why is the writer attracted to this mouth-breather?  What more does she expect from him?

remind remind's picture

People return to school all the time, at many ages, especially currently in BC where a 100thousand forestry workers are seeking retraining and different careers.

WTF is with the classist shit??

Cueball Cueball's picture

Which brings us to the real question: Why is this mouth breather attracted to this mimsy woman who can't defend her own personal space without the mouth-breather's intervention.

This is definetly a job for the HRDC, I agree.

al-Qa'bong

remind wrote:

WTF is with the classist shit??

Huh? How do you know the mouth-breather isn't going for an MBA?

 

Quote:
People return to school all the time, at many ages, especially currently in BC where a 100thousand forestry workers are seeking retraining and different careers.

 

My brother was one of them, but he was in his 30s at the time. Now he builds Twin Otters.

Michelle

I have a friend whose job is helping people who get laid off in the manufacturing sector to get government funding for retraining.  These people are of all ages.  I used to work for an office that had EI clients coming for employment counselling.  Same thing - a lot of them needed retraining, and these people were of all ages, particularly people who had been employed for two or three decades in the same field and then suddenly got laid off and found that their skills were either not needed, or in need of updating.

People also do career changes in midlife.  Like my stepmother, who retired from her job in her mid 50's and is now taking courses in divinity school so that she can become ordained.  

The world is changing and people don't keep the same job or career from their 20's into their 60's.  Doesn't make them "mouthbreathers". 

al-Qa'bong

So sue me!

 

Geez, that's the last time I try to wake up a dead thread.

 

Or maybe not...

DrConway

The amount of headdesking-inducing stuff involving the most irrelevant and, frankly, self-righteous commentary in this thread has just brought home to me why I never 'got radicalized'.

I'm just not that obtusely obnoxious as part of my personality.

Really, making judgements about why someone's going back to school! Why the boyfriend is attracted to the writer! And so on.

My god, casting the first stone? More like casting a fucking brick wall, people. 

al-Qa'bong

I can see your point, Doc.

 

I don't think I was judging anybody, though; I plead boredom.

saga saga's picture

Then what were you asking for, alQ?

 

Boy, she actually left the house because this T was so offensive.

Well, boyfriend has a choice: either T is there or his girlfriend.

Or he socializes with T and the group away from his home.

Or, they bite the bullet and talk to T about her inappropriate comments, give her one chance to improve, and don't invite her again, if she blows it. At that point, you have to let the others know she's not welcome, and they can make their own choice.

I'd be inclined to gently confront her during the offensive talk, "We don't talk like that here", etc., (then go get drinks). It alerts the group, who can join in trying to rein her in.

I think you have to let all concerned know it is an issue which may just confirm their suspicions.  

 

Michelle

Well, I can see that the writer is in a strange situation since they're the boyfriend's friends from school.  It might be awkward for the writer to say anything since he or she doesn't want to turn the boyfriend into a pariah at school (or encourage his friends to talk about the writer as if s/he's a pariah to the boyfriend).

(Edited because we don't know the gender of the letter writer.)

Cueball Cueball's picture

I really don't see why here boyfriend has any special obligation to resolve the situation. I really don't like the feel of all this. It sounds like GF here is depending on BF to do all the talking. She feels this is justified on the very tenuous grounds that this person, not invited by the BF any longer, is loosely associated with BF through other friends.

It is not even clear that BF and "T" are actually even "friends".

This situation is so bad that GF is leaving the house, yet she has said absolutely nothing at all directly to the person who is annoying her.

The whole thing feels very oblique, and passive agressive, and sound like it is conducted in hushed tones and looks of disapproval made on the sly.

Cueball Cueball's picture

And, so why isn't she now "friends" with them as well, since they have all been showing up on a regular basis for some time now? Sound to me like she is annoyed that her BF has suddenly opened up his social life by going to school, and she feels alienated by this whole process and is distancing herself from this and is using "T" as a focal point for her annoyance.

She actually abandons her own house, making a covert stink to be sure, rather than making some kind of stand to defend her space? At some point this woman has got to assert herself.

Michelle

I see your point.  It sounds to me like the boyfriend is too uncomfortable to say anything to the woman (otherwise he would have by now), and so the writer is in the tough spot of either making the boyfriend uncomfortable by saying something, or making him or herself uncomfortable by not saying something.

I agree, though, that the onus shouldn't be on the boyfriend in this case.  The boyfriend is not the one who is so uncomfortable that he is leaving the house over it - that's the writer.  And so the writer has to tell the boyfriend at this point that he has a choice - he can talk to the friend or the writer will, but the writer does not want racist and sexist remarks made in their home any longer.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Not necessarily Cue, while I agree it is likely, the GF also mentions a friend who agreed.  It could have been the friend who made the quote, "So I guess we won't be inviting T over again".

 

All that said, this clearly is simple,

 

There is a failure to communicate.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Well, this is one of the odd things about this story. It is he who first raised the issue with her. 'After everyone went home he said "So I guess we won't be inviting T over again" and I agreed.'

In fact the boyfriend has taken action, and no longer invites T. And has indicated, quite clearly that he does not like T.

 So it does not seem that she has any reason not to believe that he will support her in this, but there is no evidence she has even mentioned the issue to him since, and she is now passively waiting for him to stop being "oblivious" to her needs, and sending "signals" -- leaving the house, smashing things, slamming the door, putting pine cones on his side of the bed, and so on.

Cueball Cueball's picture

Well, you know, Tom Lehrer once said "the very least people who can't communicate can do is shut up."

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

It'd be awfully quiet in this world.  Sealed

Cueball Cueball's picture

Yes indeed.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

So, this is more of a relationship problem than the offensive friend.

 

What to do?

Cueball Cueball's picture

We can skip these peoples party and go over to Remind's, the conversation would probably be more interesting from the sounds of it.

al-Qa'bong

saga wrote:

Then what were you asking for, alQ?

 

 

 

Like I said, boredom.

 I couldn't give a rat's rectum about anyone involved.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

So cavalierly and succinctly.

remind remind's picture

I am with cue on the whole relationship issues as that is what I saw in T's words too!

However, I disagree with ceding space, couples are allowed to have friends that the other one doesn't like, and are allowed to have them in their space. And if the partner does not like it, well, then they are free to go somewhere else in the meantime, or do something else.

People who do not understand this right to privacy and freedom of association, are not going to be in a relationship for long.

Hell, when the Harley's used to rumble into our driveway, I would use it as a great excuse to go do what I wanted too. However, one day I stayed, shut myself in the office, and my partner had been busy vacuuming the living room and rearranging it. He answered the door all excitedly said; " I changed the living room around, it looks great come see it". They all dutifully remioved their boots and followed him into the living room where numerous minutes were spent debating how good it looked amongst them all. While I was just dying trying to hold the laughter in. Each and every one of them would be considered to be "manly" men, all dressed in leather and most likely would be frighting to a large % of the population.

My partner has disliked many of my friends over the years too, but the key word is "my" friends.  Though he would cook breakfast, if we had been up playing poker all night and were still going strong, after he woke up. ;) Nothing like a good night of politics, poker and religion, with a peppering of social discourse.

 

 

 

 

 

Michelle

P.S. I think we've established up the thread a bit that we're all coming to your place, remind, so get the cards ready!  And let your partner know I like my eggs over medium. ;)

Michelle

Hmm, that's a good point, remind, about people feeling free to associate with whom they choose, whether they're in a relationship or cohabiting or not.

remind remind's picture

K,  anytime, the cards are always ready. ;) He does your type of eggs perfect, as that is the way he likes them too, and they are even free range. Though he does great waffles, with wild blueberry preserves and whipped cream, too.

 

 

al-Qa'bong

saga wrote:

Then what were you asking for, alQ?

 

 

Like I said, I was bored with this politically-correct, holier-than-thou finger-wagging discussion.

 

My job involves working with 40 year-olds who go back to school for training.  They're the best.

Michelle

You already answered that further up the thread. ;)

I think I like remind's answer best, about it not necessarily being a bad thing to leave if you find you can't stand someone's presence.  I remember being in a cohabiting relationship where he didn't like ANY of my friends and didn't want me to invite anyone over because they "disturbed" him with noise.  Not the same thing as racism and sexism, of course, but still, my answer SHOULD have been, "Tough.  Go somewhere else if you don't like it."

Unfortunately, my answer was, "Yes, dear."

Never again! :)

al-Qa'bong

Quote:
You already answered that further up the thread. ;)

 

Yeah, well I'm old and forgetful.

mahmoud

just ignore them and stay away,

 

i have a lot of family that talk about killing and hating ..only words... and too much full of hate

i just ignore them and make a joke about something to change the subject...cause i cant talk about hating others all the time

Lost in Bruce County

I think that Difficulty Socializing (DS) should talk to T about how the things she said were hurtful. T cannot and probably will not change unless DS tells her what is bothering her. T probably senses that DS does not like her, and probably does not know why or has concluded that DS dislikes her for other reasons. An excellent book that could help DS initiate and navigate through such a delicate discussion is Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. (Forward by Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mohandas Gandhi). This book talks about resolving conflicts peacefully by drawing on mutual respect, compassion, and cooperation. I'm not sure that it's fair to write T off as permanently racist or sexist. As a teenager I called everything "gay" until my mom's friend pulled me aside and told me how it bothered her. As an adult I continue to change my mind when others offer differing points of view. The point is, T can't change unless she's given a sincere chance to change. Ultimately DS may decide that s/he is not ready to have a conversation with T. DS should have a conversation with her boyfriend about issue whether she decides to speak with T or not. Most importantly, DS needs to realize that her needs cannot be met until she expresses them. 

Infosaturated

There is too much missing information.  The writer says that her boyfriend will probably stay in touch with this classmate after graduation. Why?  Also, she says that other's assume she is welcome so bring her along. The other people seem to like her well enough so it doesn't sound like she is an awful person. Either that or the group likes sexist racist people who take up emotional space in which case why would she want to welcome any of them?  When you are part of a group of friends you don't get to exclude one of them.