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Who pushes your buttons?
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TOPIC: Who pushes your buttons?

  • Femme Folle
  • "Live every day, people. Live every fucking day."
  • Posts: 5755
posted 23-11-2012 18:37
I have a friend who lives here in my building. I use the term 'friend' loosely--I know her because she has two dogs who sometimes play with my dog. My dog and her older dog are BFFs.

Anyway, she's a little nutty--one of those people who believes everything she reads on the internet--you know the type ("OMG, did you hear? Drinking water causes cancer! I read it on Facebook."), and she claims to be psychic and she does reiki (she says she once did it on her dog's stomach and he threw up a bunch of bolts--personally, I don't think it was the reiki that made him puke). The other day, we had to stand for over three hours while waiting to get into an important meeting held by our homeowners association. When I complained about my back and leg hurting, she said I should let her do reiki on me. I declined. With all due respect to anyone who does believe in it or practice it, I think it's a bunch of hooey. I just needed to sit down. That's all. Chair. Butt. Down. Nothing magical about that.

She's very knowledgeable about our homeowners association, which is why I talk to her more than I would like to. She has been very nice to me, and I would like to be her friend, but I can't stand being around her. She's one of those people who says things in such a way that trigger my brain into resistance mode. She could tell me that the sky is blue and my brain would reject it outright, just because she said it.

She's one of those people who always has a suggestion for what you should do, even if you haven't asked for it. It's impossible to make small talk with her for this reason.

If she calls and asks me what I'm doing, and I answer with something like, "Just trying to decide what to eat for dinner", she would say, "You should have [insert food item here--usually not anything I would normally eat if given a choice]".

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and I've come to the conclusion that I'm just a weirdo. She's not a bad person, and she only tries to be helpful, but she annoys the hell out of me, and that's the only explanation I can come up with. It's not her, it's me.

Is it just me?
posted 23-11-2012 18:44
It's just you I'm afraid. Could I get her phone number?
posted 23-11-2012 18:58
It's not just you. My stepmother is a person who knows what's best for others, and whatever conversation I start will end up with her giving me advice that I did not solicit and have no intention of following. She's not as wacky as your friend, and her advice is usually harmless and sometimes even quite sweet; her manner is perfectly polite; but there's something superior and coercive about treating every conversation as an opportunity to give out tips. The goal is always to help me improve myself (in ways that are not, frankly, of any use to me) and above all it's exhausting.
  • Femme Folle
  • "Live every day, people. Live every fucking day."
  • Posts: 5755
posted 23-11-2012 19:07
Exactly! It's exhausting. Even if they only have the best of intentions.

Also, I like being with people who don't mind being with other people and not talking. She is not one of those people.
posted 23-11-2012 19:33
There's a guy I know because he's a friend of a friend. I can only take so much of him, because nothing is ever a conversation with him...you talk to him, and it's all a bunch of stories of him drinking, or someone else drinking, and he always seems like he's trying to be "on"...on top of that he seems like he's refusing to grow up. His new job is being a personal chef at a frat house at a local college, and while he's nearing his 30s, he seems to want to still be in his early 20s, and talks about his job like the actual work is secondary, and the most important part is that he hangs out with the guys.
  • Wyatt Earp
  • This whole imbroglio is epiphenomenal
  • Posts: 23259
posted 23-11-2012 19:37
Femme Folle wrote:

She's one of those people who always has a suggestion for what you should do, even if you haven't asked for it. It's impossible to make small talk with her for this reason.


Ah, God, my cousin Terry does that. Plus he's a massive fucking bullshitter.

So him, definitely.
  • WOM
  • Going to call for the transcript.
  • Posts: 19582
posted 23-11-2012 20:28
I was just on a plane, for three hours, with a guy behind me from (hard to tell...) either northern England or Scotland. Three solid hours of ...

'You know, mate, that fookin' Obaaaamy is a Muslim. His fookin' father was a Muslim priest, so Obaaaaamy is a Muslim too, whether ye like it or not. And I tell ya, he says he was born in Hawaii in...dunno....1963 or summat....but the hospital he says 'e was born in wasn't built until 1965. And why don't they fookin' look into that?'

And so on. At three times the volume of anyone else on the plane, and I swear I never heard his friend utter a word in reply. My head was ready to explode.

I think the answer to the OP is 'people'.
posted 23-11-2012 20:52
My sister-in-law falls into this category. She's extremely sweet natured and, I think, she likes me. She has never said or done anything to do me any harm and yet five minutes in her company is enough to make me want to lose my temper.

My other half (she isn't her sister, but coupled with my partner's brother) is certain that my dislike for the poor girl is based on her being a little bit thick. It isn't. I think intelligence is overrated in the context of human relationships. I only care that a person is 'nice'.

I think it's the sheer inanity of the conversation she will attempt to strike up with me. "Have you seen any of the soaps this week?" No. "Isn't my two year old son really cute and really clever?" He's okay for a two year old, I suppose.

She only means to be friendly and yet she winds me up far more than many things which are more deserving of my ire by any objective measure. I have toyed with the notion that I'm just not very pleasant. By coincidence both us couples share an anniversary which means in two weeks time I will be sat across a table from her eating dinner. The very thought makes me angry. I've no idea what's wrong with me.
  • WOM
  • Going to call for the transcript.
  • Posts: 19582
posted 23-11-2012 21:16
We had 'couple friends' like that for a while. Her and my wife worked together and got along nicely. Her husband was a turnip, though, and I'd have to spend three hours every week eking out conversation.

One of his opening gambits was "Did you see Dude Where's My Car? It was stupid." and all I could say was "It's called Dude Where's My Car?....what were you expecting?"

One night he (German) and she (Lebanese) both started in on 'The Jews' and I walked out and we never saw them again.
  • Sits
  • Obviously, you're not a golfer
  • Posts: 4447
posted 23-11-2012 21:53
Putting up with people is an easy trap to fall into. I think as you get older you become less tolerant. Well we certainly have, if I consider some of the folk we were having "dinner parties" with 20 years ago who I now wouldn't give house room. Maybe the older you are the less your need to belong, and the more your contentment in your own company, or that of family and real friends. I typed "fiends" first attempt, which I quite like.

Office bores are a whole other topic but not for this thread.
posted 23-11-2012 22:03
The Fox in the Snow wrote:

My other half (she isn't her sister, but coupled with my partner's brother) is certain that my dislike for the poor girl is based on her being a little bit thick. It isn't. I think intelligence is overrated in the context of human relationships. I only care that a person is 'nice'.


I struggle with this, since there's a strong correlation between thickness and the inane conversation you go on to describe. I never judge people by their intelligence or lack of. (Judgment is for moral behavior, but then that, too, is partly determined by intelligence. Minefield.) But that's separate from wanting to be around someone for any length of time.

I have toyed with the notion that I'm just not very pleasant. By coincidence both us couples share an anniversary which means in two weeks time I will be sat across a table from her eating dinner. The very thought makes me angry. I've no idea what's wrong with me.


It kind of sounds like a situation where when you're together, she gets to "be herself" and you don't. That anyway is how I feel when I'm around such people. You'd be or feel less unpleasant around someone who didn't annoy, and maybe she'd be less pleasant around someone who did.
posted 23-11-2012 22:26
I have only made one genuine new friend in the seven years I have been married. That's even though having kids has opened the whole village up in terms of other people of a similar age and younger who have kids in the same class as mine, who you tend to meet via school run/events.

I am conscious that this is my deliberate choice.

That new friend is the husband of someone who runs the village pre-school. He's a football nerd, same age/era/tastes. I think that's all we talk about, which suits me fine. I don't want to talk politics with people any more, and certainly do not want to talk about modern tv culture, village gossip or 'they're taking all our jobs' etc etc.

The parents of the other kids at school are ok enough I suspect, but put me in a social situation with all but two or three of them and I have nothing to talk about past the frankly-fake 'how's your Freddy/Chloe getting on at school then?' banalities. I do not much care how their little precious is getting on at school, unless their little precious is one of my little precious's particular best-friend, in which case I hope the child is happy at school but not as bright as my children.

I've grown out of going to the pub on a Friday to get hammered, unlike many of those parents, so that's left me and my wife as kinda outsiders here. My eldest daughter is quiet and also not in the clique set of Stepford kids in class too, and I'm quietly pleased about that, even if occasionally I do worry about her popularity.

I'm not painting a very good picture of myself am I?

I moved to a new county when I met my now-wife in about 2003, and enjoy the company of her friends and of her friends' new partners who live near here. I have enough established friends who I do not see often enough due to geography and life getting in the way, so making new friends would just mean I see current friends even less.

I'm lucky in that I work mainly from home, but enjoy the company of work colleagues when I am at the office. I do not need to meet strangers in my job, which is a great positive.

tl;dr - it's other people, isn't it?
posted 23-11-2012 22:27
Bruno wrote:
I struggle with this, since there's a strong correlation between thickness and the inane conversation you go on to describe.


Whilst that's true I've encountered numerous people who have tried to engage me in conversation about stuff I have no interest in and I haven't felt like strangling any of them. She just rubs me up the wrong way, really.

I'm a quite placid person. It takes a lot to irritate me. Yet this person manages it without trying. I guess it's the being forced together by family relationships thing. If we weren't linked by the people we love I'd have nothing to do with her. Mind you, I have some blood relatives who fall into that category.
posted 23-11-2012 22:58
I am not sure whether this helps, FF, not least because I have a feeling I may be the internet version of your reiki friend. I always give people a second or perhaps third chance. I realised years ago that, if people generally dismissed people as a sociopath on the first meeting, I would have no friends.

Also, joking aside, there are still too many people that are genuinely openly racist, homophobic and sexist that someone who is just a bit mental and pushy is small beer
posted 23-11-2012 23:05
Not that you are the one that is "a bit mental and pushy", by the way.

I may be too forgiving though. I took against three people at my school placement six weeks ago and have warmed to all three since. Two because they are nicer people than I thought and one because she is someone who points out and revels in the mistakes in others and then makes monumental fuck-ups which make you feel warm and smug for the rest of the day
  • Sits
  • Obviously, you're not a golfer
  • Posts: 4447
posted 24-11-2012 01:20
I found myself making affirmative grunting sounds throughout KGR's post. Or to put is another way, This.
  • Femme Folle
  • "Live every day, people. Live every fucking day."
  • Posts: 5755
posted 24-11-2012 01:46
I'd like to add my sister to my list. I invited her over to watch a football game with my mom and me. She arrived, I offered her something to drink but she said she already had a Diet Coke. She produced a bottle from her handbag and started drinking from it. A short time later, I realized that it wasn't just Diet Coke because she started saying really dumb things. I've noticed that booze seems to make my otherwise intelligent sister morph into an imbecile.

She knows that our mom doesn't drink and that she doesn't like that my sister drinks (especially because she seems to have a real problem--obviously, when a person starts spiking their Diet Coke and denying that it's anything other than Diet Coke, they have a problem), but she just can't seem to not drink for even just a few hours. I think that's really sad, but I've tried to help her in the past and I've just decided that it's not my problem now. We may have been born into the same family, but I'm not responsible for her life or how she chooses to fuck it up.

I just hate that she doesn't care what she's doing to our mother. That makes me angry.
posted 24-11-2012 04:37
Sorry to hear that, FF. Stories like that make me happy that I'm an only child.
posted 24-11-2012 10:25
Actually, FF, my sister can join yours on the list. I love her very much, of course, but on top of having nothing but the obvious in common with her (which is fine in itself) she continuously makes the most imbecilic life choices.

Most recently I discovered she she got back together with a guy who thought it was okay to hit her. She reasons that this is alright because she hit him, too. I've told her that, no, that doesn't make him hitting her acceptable but makes her as bad as him.

This isn't the first time she has made an incomprehensible decision when it comes to men. Some years ago she found out that her partner at that time had been inside for touching a ten year old girl. She stayed with him (she has kids, for fuck's sake). He next dalliance was with a chap who had been convicted of doing unspeakable things to a dog. The current chap, the domestic abuser, was ejected from the US because of his record of violence.

There is a quite sad emotional side to the choices she makes. She does have a personality disorder and is seemingly incapable of going five minutes without some bloke or other in her arms, or in her bed. On a really basic level I think she just wants to feel loved. She is, by her family, but I can see why she would think otherwise when, for her, it feels as though she is berated for very choice she makes.

I try to understand. I really wish I could see things from her rather black and white perspective. But it's difficult because her illness makes her thought processes so different. And of course I become even angrier with her these days because I'm worried about the welfare of my nieces. We were very close as young children. There are several lovely photographs of us sitting, smiling, hand-in-hand, as youngsters. But we're anything but as adults and it saddens me.
  • Femme Folle
  • "Live every day, people. Live every fucking day."
  • Posts: 5755
posted 24-11-2012 16:00
Wow, that's a horrible situation for those kids. I hope she wakes up soon and sees what she's potentially doing to them.
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