Monday, November 20, 2017
Parenting & Relationships

Say 'no' to unwelcome friends, but do it with decency

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Q: The type of thing in this column ( wapo.st/XY6vi6 where an unwelcome friend invites herself along on a vacation) happens to my husband and me occasionally. While he takes it in stride, it drives me nuts!

I would never think to say to someone, "Your Saturday plans sound great, I'll come along!" At the very least, if you're going to do this, ask, don't just assume.

How do people even think this is okay? Or are they just not thinking?

Inviting Myself Along

A: I suspect 2. Not thinking.

Or, 2a. Feeling confident in the friendship, and not thinking about the possibility that people can like you bunches and still have good reasons not to have you along on their trip.

Also, for everyone who feels too comfortable saying, "I'll come along!," there's someone else who doesn't feel comfortable enough saying, "Ooh, I'm sorry, this isn't the best time for that — but I'd love to set up something else with you for next weekend."

Granted, it feels a lot harder to be the one who says no, but the self-inviter is the one taking the bigger emotional risk.

The answer you come up with needs to take that into account — decency demands it — which includes saying "no" when you genuinely don't want that person along (and therefore won't show the kind of enthusiasm a friend has a right to expect).

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