"Why didn't you *tell* me?"

So, here’s a conversation:

  • Rachel: I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping for the past several months because I’ve been worried about school.
  • Sarah: Why didn’t you *tell* me? I could have helped!

And another:

  • Dan: It’s going to be really weird going home for Christmas this year now that my sister isn’t talking to us.
  • Dave: Why didn’t you *tell* me that your sister did that? I could have helped you! My brother did that too!

If you react that way, it shifts the focus away from your friend who needs help, and onto your self image as a helpful person.

Do not do this. They’re coming to you now. Be there for them now. Don’t be angry on behalf of an imaginary situation you feel cheated of.

Someone else’s personal problem is not about you.

They’re telling you now. Don’t make it about you. Offer support. Not like they owed it to you to want your support all along.


Social skills for autonomous people: hedgeclippers: Social skills for autonomous people: Borrowing…



Social skills for autonomous people: Borrowing computers


Hi… I have a suggestion I’d really like to see: a post with more about people asking to borrow your computer and similar issues and why this…

hellolittledeer said:

I know the fact that I make visual art with my computer has made it come to seem like an extension of my brain.  It’s not difficult to imagine others feeling this way.  Most of the people I know have good computer boundaries, but some people may not even know what is and is not a problem.  A few years back a friend’s partner asked to look something up on my computer and I said “sure,” unaware myself that they wouldn’t even process the firefox icon as being an internet browser.  Fifteen minutes of Internet Explorer browsing later, I was stuck with spyware and general weirdness that resulted in a complete re-install of Windows.  I’ll take partial credit for that mess, as I could have hopped over and opened firefox, but at the same time I wonder *how* they could have done all that while trying to look up an address on google maps and checking e-mail.

unquietpirate said

I liked this thread because it helped me put words to why I don’t like lending people my phone.

A couple of kids on the street the other day asked if they could borrow my phone to make a call, even offered to pay me and “you can hold my wallet while I do it. I’m not gonna run off with it.” (Not that it would do anyone much good to run off with my beat-up, blurry-screened, five year old flipphone.) I told them sorry, I didn’t have any minutes. Which was a lie because obviously I have Unlimited Everything.

I felt like kind of an asshole after they walked off. If they’d asked me for a cigarette, or directions, or money, or even a cup of coffee, I would’ve said yes without hesitation. But I just don’t like anyone else touching my phone unless we’re very, very intimate. 

On the flipside of this, my current computer was a gift from someone I love, a hand-me-down that has all kinds of wear on the keyboard and case from his years of use, and I’m particularly attached to it for that reason. It makes me feel connected to him. :-)

realsocialskills said:

Someone who puts intense pressure on you to let you use their phone, and who says “I’m not going to steal it or anything” probably in fact has every intention of stealing your phone.

re: ‘I’m not being abusive!’ – I’m concerned I’ve done this in the past because I grew up around someone very verbally/emotionally abusive and am trying to work through those behaviors. I feel like I flag myself sometimes that way to check in with others, but get the feeling this is a really bad way of dealing with things. Any advice on what I can do in these situations when I’m very worried I *am* being abusive and want help to stop?
I think there’s a couple of things:
First of all, recognize the difference between asking for feedback and asking for reassurance:
  • Trying to find out whether something is wrong is one thing.
  • Trying to get someone to reassure you that nothing is wrong is a different thing.
  • It’s important to be open to the possibility that something is actually wrong.
  • If you’re not open to that possibility, then don’t ask.
  • Because pressuring someone to tell you that everything is ok makes things worse
  • Work on learning how to be open to the possibility that things are wrong
  • And ask in a way that makes it clear you actually want to know.
  • Eg, don’t say things like this: “You’d tell me if something was wrong, right?” “Nothing’s wrong, is it?”
  • Things like this are better: “I feel like something might be bothering you. Is something wrong?”, “Did I mess something up? I feel like I might have.”

Don’t rely too much on people you might be hurting to teach you how to act right:

  • It’s important to listen
  • But it’s also important not to make them responsible for your actions
  • You are responsible for learning how to treat people well. People you might be hurting are not responsible for teaching you how to stop.
Get outside perspective of some sort:
  • Outside perspective is important because it is a way to get feedback without putting pressure on people you might be hurting to tell you things are ok
  • It’s also an important way to protect yourself against gaslighting. People who worry that they might be abusers are particularly susceptible to gaslighting. Some gaslighters prey on this worry really aggressively.
  • It’s important to care about treating people well. It’s also important to care about protecting yourself and being treated well.
  • It’s also a way to learn things that no one involved knows
  • Outside perspective is important for other reasons I’m having trouble articulating
  • For some people, therapy is a helpful way to get outside perspective. Therapy is not for everyone, and it can be actively harmful for some people, but it works really well for people it works for
  • For some people, it helps to talk things over with friends outside the situation
  • Reading fiction and watching TV can also be helpful
  • So can reading blogs and books that are explicitly about interpersonal dynamics, although unfortunately there are not many good ones.

Any of y'all have other suggestions?