Sunday, 8 July 2012

A little tact goes a long way.

A few months ago, a friend of mine asked me for some help. As she is a friend, I agreed, even though I knew the kind of time it was going to take. Like most people, time is a hot commodity in my life. If I had to pay for it, I’d be several million dollars in the hole. Instead, I always seem to be trying to “catch up.” But that’s another blog.
However, she’s a friend, and friends help friends, right?

So, after hours (days, more like) of working on this project for her, I am anxious to show her the result. It’s about 8 pm. After dinner, not too late, her kids are teenagers so it should be okay to just cross the street and knock on the door… at least, one would think.

I only planned to drop by, show her what I had done, and return home to put Lily to bed. Five minutes tops.

With eBook reader device in hand, I walked across the street, through the gate, and knocked on their kitchen door. Well, you would have thought I was an intruder they didn’t know the way her husband responded. He ripped into me, asking me why I didn’t knock on their door like a normal person, who did I think I was, I should have called first, blah, blah, blah.

No, I didn’t call, but we’ve never done that. They’ve never asked me, too. And I did knock on their door, but it wasn’t their front door. A front door I’ve never used because they have always invited me over through this gate. (No, I’m not exaggerating. If I’ve been through their front door more than once or twice in the ten years I’ve known them, it’s only after I’ve entered through their kitchen door. Heck, I’ve even helped my neighbor break into her own house when she accidently locked herself out.) So, to suddenly insist I knock on their front door, call before I come over, and chew me out because I didn’t? That went over well with me.

Um, no.

When he finally stopped ranting, I told him that all he needed to do was tell me and not be an ass about it. He continued to rant. I left several minutes later. (Really, all he had to say was, “We are having a family discussion right now. Can Laura come over when we are done?”) Instead, he takes his frustrations out on me as, apparently, he feels that Americans are very intrusive. (I am not the only one who comes over without calling and uses their back gate.) It’s been going on for ten years, and no one has ever said anything about calling before dropping by. For Pete’s sake, we are across the street from each other. I need to call? It’s not like I come by every day, or even once a week. Not even once a month, sometimes, if we are both busy. Now, I don’t stop by at all.

I have not talked to him since. I don’t see Laura that much either. It may seem petty, but I wasn't raised that way. I was raised that if you are a friend, you are always welcome. You never need to call. If I’m not there, still in my pajamas with my hair standing on end, in a rotten mood, busy, etc., then that’s what you get. But I am available to you. If you need me at 3 am and come over to my house at that time, I will get up to help you. Yes, I will. I’ve done it. (Of course, that can be abused, but I’ve never had a friend who did, nor have I ever abused it.)

The saddest part about this is that the two of us used to get along and enjoy having lively discussions. Those won’t happen anymore. Not until he apologizes. And since he expects me to apologize (HAHAHAHAHAHA), it’s not going to happen.

Tact is essential in business. Heck, it’s essential in life. (And knowing when not to use it as well.) With a little tact, none of this would have happened. Yes, a little tact goes a long way.

18 comments:

Faith said...

I have a quick temper, Marci, and although I try to control it, there are a handful of things that will hit my PO button:

Rudeness aka that neighbor.

Public schools.

Politics.

The welfare system.

Oh, and stupidity aka that neighbor again.

I don't know how you kept your cool with him.

Nicole Morgan said...

I am with Faith on this one. I try to remain even tempered and treat people with respect. Although sometimes people press all the wrong buttons and while I may not blow up at the neighbor I am agree in your not associating with them. WHAT on earth is the wife thinking that she allowed him to talk to her good friend that way? It sounds to me like a classic case (I know from which I speak) of dominance in a marriage. He rules the roost and she has no opinion on anything. I'm sorry you had to go through that. GREAT POST though. :)

Cassie Exline said...

He's a #$@%#@% but what I wondered was, did she come to apologize to you? Not at that moment, which was not good time for "him" but later? What horrid behavior especially when you were helping her. She should have been over to your house with lots of chocolate and tons of apologies several days in a row.

Nicki said...

Wowwwww...some people are assholes. I'm so sorry that happened, Marci. You're a really professional and nice person...it's sad that he treated you like that.

And I agree with Cassie, she should've apologized a LONG TIME for that one. -_____-**

Anthology Authors said...

Faith,

He was lucky. Honestly, a few days before that, I was a powder keg waiting to blow. (This was a few days after all the eclipses.) Had he caught me the day before, I'd have blasted him. Instead, I calmly told him that I didn't appreciate being talked to in such a manner. Laura was shocked at how calm I was because of my Mars-i nature. (g) I have a lot of planets in Mars, my name is Marci (a derivative of Mars), etc. (g)

Nicole,

I've taken him to task for his treatment of Laura. She was much more of a pacifist when I first met them. And I felt the same way you did, but I know Laura. She did get on him after I left, and he showed his son how not to talk to someone. Since that confrontation, his son has been more friendly with me. LOL (He's a teenager. Most adults are of little interest to him.)

Marci

Anthology Authors said...

She came over a few minutes later and apologized, Cassie. Apparently, after I left, she told him that he was out of line. She sort of said it while I was there, but old habits die hard.

I forgot to mention they are Argentinian. So, their culture is different from ours.

Nicki,

I'm with your there. Laura has told me that he doesn't have any friends. Well, no wonder. He still thinks I was wrong and should apologize. It boggles the mind.

Margie Church said...

I'm sorry this happened to you. Your friend must be horribly embarrassed, too. And no, you don't need to apologize.I hope it doesn't ruin your friendship or make you stop helping those you care about. At night, that guy is trying to figure out how to make his wife apologize for him.

Kate Richards said...

I just hate that it probably cost you a friend, to me that is one of the saddest things that can ever happen.

He's a jerk, no question, but it sounds like he's the kind of jerk who will drive her friends away one by one until he has her alone and miserable...or until she gets tired of it. Sorry, Marci! You were much nicer than I would have been about it. I would have had something to apologize for.

Tali Spencer said...

Something very like this happened to me. My husband tied into one of my friends whose only crime was to stop over and he, not I, answered the door. I went outside as she was getting in the car and tried to apologize, but she would have none of it. She said I didn't need to apologize for anything unless I insisted on making excuses for such a jerk. He was driving all my friends away.

I felt awful. That my husband would even do that was a sign of the terrible worsening of our marriage, but I was so desperate not to appear as anything but a good, supportive wife, I made excuses all the time. But my friend stood up to him and I admired that.

Maybe your friend admires you. What she thinks, about him, about you, might surprise you. If she comes to you, please don't turn her away because of him. That may be what he's trying to do.

I'm still friends with my friend. Can't say the same about the husband. :) I guess I'm just hoping you can salvage a friendship, even though you went through something awful, and certainly didn't deserve his abuse.

Anthology Authors said...

Thanks, Margie. It's definitely not Laura's fault. I won't let it ruin our friendship. She is a sweet woman.

Kate,

He has driven her friends away. They don't go over to her house any more. She's way too hard on herself. I keep telling her it's okay to be mad at him AND to recognize that she's human having a human reaction. He's an ass. It's that plan and simple.

Tali,

I definitely haven't abandoned her at all. If she, or any of my friends, need my help, I'm here. She did admit that she'd prefer for me to call before coming over. It's their culture. I get it, but for me, even if it's not the case in her mind, it makes me feel like she sees me as less of a friend. Where I come from, good friends are akin to family. If you're a good friend, you might end up seeing my warts. If you have issues with my warts, that's okay, but they may not go away. So, you got to love me the way I am or not at all. :) I am constantly growing (or moving in that direction) into a better person (or so I hope. LOL)

And, Nicole, I am glad you liked the post. :)

Marci

Patricia said...

All I can say is this would not only have made me mad, but it would have hurt my feelings as well. And I would think that after a few days of thinking about it, they would apologize to you. It would be a loss of 10 years of friendship to do otherwise.
Patti

Miriam Newman said...

Wow. I was JUST having this discussion on FB and the answer I got was that people don't like to feel "imposed on." "Hospitality only applies when you extend an invitation." "It's not rude to tell someone you're busy and ask them to leave." Like you, I've been imposed on at 3 a.m. by distraught friends, I've been interrupted by census takers and people wanting to leave religious pamphlets, but sheer good manners would prevent my ever reacting the way your neighbor did. Basically, though, I was told I was wrong and it's OK. I just say again, wow. Sorry for your experience!

Anthology Authors said...

Miriam,

Truly? Imposed upon? I'm just stunned! Truly stunned. Once again, someone forgot to teach them manners. And it's all about "me." They obviously have no hospitality at all.

Where are they from, anyway?

Marci

Kate Richards said...

I work at home. I'm like a puppy when I get a guest, all wagging tail and running for beverages...while insisting they aren't interrupting. Not census takers though...or people pushing other agendas...but friends and neighbors? Love them.

Anthology Authors said...

I work from home, too, Kate, and sometimes I've got so much going on that I don't really have time for a guest, but I always make time. It's about being a good host. Now, people who are trying to sell me something? Not so much. I will let them know I am too busy, but family, friends or neighbors? I just do. It's the way I was raised. Do I think it's better than how those others were raised? Damn straight. (grin) But, you know, most of my friends, family and neighbors know I work from home and are courteous about how much time they stay for.

Anthology Authors said...

One thought for these people: Some day, if they ever need help from someone or drop by a friend's house unexpectedly, they might be turned away. Karma has a way of doing that.

Now, that's not why I do it, but for those who are so intent on playing the "me" game, it is a thought. (g)

Dawn Chandler said...

I work at home and I am antisocial for the most part, but even at that, I would never dream of talking to someone like that. I have more dignity than that. It would have been at least slightly understandable if they had told you repeatedly over the last 10 years that you had to call first and use the front door. It would at least have had a slight aura of making sense, but even at that it is unexceptable to go off on a rant on someone. I would do anything for my friends and if I had ask them to do something for me, then I definately would have been angry at my husband. He doesn't like some of my friends, but he knows they are my friends and he doesn't have to like them. This man sounds like he was somewhat a friend as well before all this happened. I am glad she is not letting it hurt your friendship any more than it is.

Anthology Authors said...

Not one word had ever been said to me, Dawn. Apparently, he'd said a lot to his wife after I'd leave. Laura, his wife, said she was kind of relieved when he did unload on me. Not because she approved of it, but because I finally saw how he treated her--the whole Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality of an abuser. She feels vindicated somewhat.

I have debated on saying something to him like:

"You know, I just wanted to tell you how sorry I am for you behaving the way you do. You must alienate a lot of people, and that's really sad for you. What a miserable life you must have."

However, I think that will just cause more problems for her, so I'll leave it at what it is. :)

Marci