Fake Thank Yous


Do you communicate passive aggressively when you are annoyed?

Yeah?

Well, stop it.

It is a bad tactic and not useful at all. So just stop.

Now.

Like, make the decision and commit to it.

See? That was easy.

A few weeks ago I was invited to "hang out" at #78's place and "watch a movie" for our second date. Given the amount he had been messaging me and the fact that it seemed like he was actually interested in getting to know me, I had thought things were going in a different direction so it hurt my feelings that that was what he offered. I am pretty sick of rushing things. I want to go out on proper dates in the beginning! I want to get to know each other outside of our apartments!

I told him it was too soon for that type of invitation and that to be honest, my feelings were hurt.

He was surprised that he hurt my feelings and asked me why he had. I explained that after two years of dating, I knew what that kind of invitation meant and that I had thought he might have been interested in more than just that.

His response?

"Well thanks for assuming I'm like all other guys. That feels good."

Um, what am I supposed to say to that? "You're welcome?"

I didn't appreciate his fake thank you. It wasn't helpful. Or gracious, which is is what a thank you is supposed to be.

Whether his intention was to Netflix and chill or not (or he had not read my Desperation post and didn't realize I wouldn't necessarily have self control if I put myself in such a situation) is irrelevant. The point is, that isn't a proper response.

A proper response would have been, "I am sorry I hurt your feelings. That wasn't my intention and I wasn't trying to give you 'that type of invitation' although I can understand how you might have understood it like that. Now I am a little annoyed that you are assuming I am like 'all other guys.'"

See how easy that was? Just like, recognize someone's feelings and then explain your own. It's way better. And if you hurt someone's feelings, just apologize! It's not that hard.

Yeah, and what about apologies? Do you know how to do those?

Well, here's a simple rule: Apologies start with "I am sorry I..." NOT "I'm sorry you..."

Me: You hurt my feelings.
You: I'm sorry your feelings got hurt.

WHAT??

No.

That implies that you had no participation in the hurting of the feelings. And maybe your intentions were not to be hurtful (I hope they weren't!) but that doesn't mean you can't first apologize nicely and then nicely explain yourself.

Apologies should also include a recognition of what you did wrong and a stated intention/plan to not do it again.

"I'm sorry I hurt your feelings by making you feel like I was lumping you in with all other guys. That was not my intention but I get you could take it that way. In the future, I'll make sure to be aware of your sensitivity around that and try to avoid making you feel that way."

See? How hard was that?

What about clarity? Do you offer that?

I myself am very direct and straightforward. It is one of my character traits I am most proud of, actually. However, I have noticed through my dating experience that men are not used to women being that way and on various occasions I have been asked, "What do you really mean?" Um, EXACTLY what I said.

So, how about if we all help each other out and say what we really mean and really mean what we say? I don't want to have to keep clarifying that when I say something is fine with me I actually mean it is fine with me.

We all know the narrative that if a women says something is "fine" it means the opposite. Well, ladies, let's change that narrative! If something isn't "fine" don't say that it is! Use your words! Use phrases like "I am frustrated." "I am angry." "That hurt my feelings." "I don't like that idea." Not "Fineeeeeeeeee."

Speaking of which, please don't make me read between the lines! This is not a talent that I have. Please, just give it to me STRAIGHT. Don't make me work to understand what you are really trying to say because I am not going to succeed. I'm just going to be taking you at your word as I am expecting you will taking me at mine. Please don't set me up for failure. I don't like to fail!

Finally, sometimes when someone hurts our feelings through their poor communication, we might think of a lot of clever, mean things we want to lash out and say. It is so tempting because sometimes these insults are so good, right? Well, don't give into temptation. I know, I know. It is so hard sometimes! But, just lead by example. You don't want someone to say mean things to you right? So just don't do it. Please. Just be nice, even when someone isn't communicating with you as their most emotionally mature self. If you respond nicely I bet they'll eventually feel bad about their own tactics which I'm pretty sure they won't if you just escalate the situation with additional unkindness.

So there ya go: don't be passive aggressive, be clear, say what you mean and mean what you say, don't expect people to read between the lines. Basically, just don't be mean.

You're welcome.

***

Give me some examples of bad communication tactics that get on your nerves!



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Comments

  1. Woof... used the fake i'm sorry way too much in the past. Online dating leads to a lot of miscommunication and intentions being taken the wrong way. Hard to spot the good people from the bad ones.

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    1. Yeah, this is a whole other topic I would write a blog about. :)

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    2. I find that if you assume the best of people and have a positive and not hypersensitive attitude, things work pretty smoothly.

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  2. When he responded with "Well thanks for assuming I'm like all other guys. That feels good.", it should have been YOUR cue that YOU hurt HIS feelings by assuming he was like all the other guys. YOU were passive aggressive in your explanation. You should have asked, "Are you asking me to come over to your place to hang out because you want sex?" If he had said, "Yes," then your frustrations would have been validated and he wouldn't have become offended and you wouldn't have become offended. THAT is clear communication. Never make assumptions. You made the first one. No wonder he responded to you with sarcasm, which is NOT the same thing as responding passive aggressively. :)

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    1. Actually, Anonymous, you are making the assumptions. No, I was not passive aggressive. I stated clearly that my feelings were hurt and I clearly told him why. Passive aggressiveness is not being clear. And, as I explained above, no matter what his intentions were, I wasn't actually making assumptions about them. I was stating that I know what those type invitations mean, as in, I know what they result in. I explained to him that whether or not those were his intentions, it's pretty sure that if you put two adults together on a couch watching a movie and cuddling (cuddling was his suggestion) one thing is pretty much going to lead to another, whether he was the instigator of that of if I was, I didn't want to move at that pace. Women are capable of being the ones who pounce, you know. :) I was not lumping him in with "all guys," that was his incorrect assumption/accusation and since my feelings were the ones hurt first, it would probably have been nicer if that had been addressed before passive aggressively responding to me. And by the way, of course I addressed HIS feelings and clarified that that was not what I meant.

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    2. Also, please see above that I don't WANT cues. I want CLEAR communication, not fake thank yous! That is the point of the whole post!

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    3. And yes, sarcasm CAN be a form of passive aggressiveness and it isn't really helpful.

      I think I have responded to all your points now... hopefully you are not bristling over them.

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  3. Anonymous above has a point. OP's misbehavior (getting emotive and accusatory) was unprovoked by date. Date's misbehavior (hostile sarcasm) was provoked.
    OP owes the deeper and more abject apology.

    Both should forgive each other. Date should understand that women get badly treated by cads, and thus have short fuses. OP should understand that nice guys get accused of bad intent *constantly* because of the bad behavior of men who *are* cads. And thus have short fuses.

    Really, either gender can take incomplete or ambiguous information and jump to unfair conclusions. E.g., "you didn't call because you don't really care," "no, actually I was in the ER with appendicitis." When a prospective partner takes ambiguous information and accuses me of bad intent, I start looking for the exit. Giving each other the benefit of the doubt is one of the first rules of a healthy relationship.

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    1. Please see my above response to Anonymous. And yeah, #78 and I are friends now. There was need for "forgiveness" as there were no grave trespasses were made here. It is pretty interesting that both you and Anonymous understood me as being accusatory rather than understanding that I just meant that I know what those types of invitations turn into, not that I meant he was trying to trick me. That's why I said "Whether his intention was to Netflix and chill or not (or he had not read my Desperation post and didn't realize I wouldn't necessarily have self control if I put myself in such a situation) is irrelevant. "

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  4. Very well said. It takes a proper mindset to stay on the positive side. I know it's worked out well for me lately. Good communication is a skill that takes some effort as well. And digging into an issue and maintaining a positive attitude with proper questions will reep amazing rewards.

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  5. I'm pretty sure the friendship boundaries were being tested and can almost guarantee he would have become "one of those guys" pretty quickly if the opportunity presented itself. He wasn't going to say no to you because he'd rather watch the movie, that's for sure! I'm not one of those guys either but I stopped inviting woman over to my place (alone) for several reasons in addition to the perception of the invite.

    1) Inevitably, it almost always does lead to sex. Not cause that was my intention when I made the invite but it's just the way shit goes sometimes when two people of the opposite sex are alone. Your feet always seem to touch or you have to put your arm a certain way so you can "get more comfortable" while the two of you are sitting on the couch. Eventually, the slight arm rub or the sensual stretch happens. Before you know it your dick gets hard and poikes her in the back. I can unequivocally say I've never tossed a beanbag on the opposite side of the room and told her to get comfortable over there while I stretched out on the couch to watch TV!
    2) You can't unhave sex and start from the relationship from the beginning again. You can't recapture the anticipation of that moment and that took a lot of the excitement out of it for me. It then became less about enjoying our next date and more about getting the date over with so we could get back to the house and have sex.
    3) I've never fallen for a girl that I fucked me on the first date.

    Now that I went back and read what I typed I realize I didn't give you an example of what you were asking for AT ALL but I'm not deleting it now.

    Now I HAVE deleted the rest of what I typed in conclusion! Because the "Why" doesn't mean a thing. We are who we are.

    .

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    1. Anonymous, I totally agree with you which is why it hurt my feelings that that was what he offered as a second date. That was my whole point. Things happen even if the intention wasn't in the invitation.

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  6. Anonymous wrote:
    "3) I've never fallen for a girl that I f****d me on the first date. "

    This mystifies me, as does OP's description of disappointment over the misconstrued apparent hint of #78 inviting physical intimacy.

    *Most* of the best relationships of my life included having sex on the first date. Albeit, these first dates were after exchanging some substantial emails and phone calls. So psychologically, maybe they were akin to 2nd or 3rd dates.

    Still, a woman who made a point of not having sex on date #X would be disappointing to me, and less likely to have a second date. NOT because the sex per se was so important. Rather, it suggests to me being stuck in some dowdy pre-feminist mindset, brainwashed by patriarchy into denying herself freedom to act as she pleases when there's no clear reason not to.

    The idea of proceeding to a LTR with such a woman tends to fill me with dread about a future constrained to utter conventionality. House in the suburbs with 2.3 kids and white picket fence and bridge on Thursday nights, until shuffling off this mortal coil. Shoot me in the head now, please. I'd rather share my future with a liberated minx any day.

    \

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    1. Thank you so much for not writing out the curse word. I dislike foul language. I don't know who you mean by OP. Can you please clarify?

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    2. When you say "Most Relationships" how many do you mean? And if they were "The Best" why so many?

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  7. OP is sometimes used in comment sections to refer to the "original post-er"
    As for anonymous'later question, I'm old enough to have been around the bloc more than a few times. Each of these "most of the best" spanned more than two years each. Two marriages and a few LTRs all started that way.

    I'm utterly mystified as to why so many women, and some men, live unhappily celibate lives just because it's hard to find a permanent partner, or for fear of ruining a promising beginning. It doesn't have to ruin anything.

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    1. I agree with your original comment about being rigid about rules. Sometimes going with the flow allows for a much better memory. Thank you for clarifying what OP means!

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  8. Jen Lourie is direct and straight forward. Robert Greene in two of his books says "Your honesty my make you feel good, but you are probably not getting anywhere, try insinuation ."! A Gentlemen from Florida

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    1. Hi Rob Driver. Yes, I am. What do you think of Robert Greene's advice? Do you think it works?

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