I am 17 years old.

There is a girl in my class, let's call her Anne, who is very stubborn. For her to be happy, everything has to be perfect. I have no problem with it, as long as it doesn't affect me.

Here are two examples of what she does regularly:

  • She "forbids" us to close the roller blind, because it would be too dark for her then. To be clear, every other student has no problems with the light, she's the only one. Today she told us to stop at the perfect angle, which lasted us 5 minutes, so that the right amount of light comes through the window. This is most annoying if the sun is shining directly into my eyes or my laptop.

  • She is sitting in the first row and a friend of mine also sits in the first row. Today two girls, who normally sit in the first row were sick so I asked my friend if I could sit next to her. Between me and Anne there is one empty seat. I decided to sit exactly beween those two seats, so everyone has enough space. What does Anne do? She complains that I should move, so she has more space. By sitting between those two seats, she had half a seat more space than normally, but still she was complaining. Finally I moved back.

I tried to talk to her about these things, but she doesn't seem to understand how annoying and time-consuming it is for us others to make everything as she likes. She also is a very grumpy person, although she can be very friendly and nice sometimes.
Also she is very good at school, perfect in many subjects. Her personality is very perfectionist, she always does as the teacher says, but without any creativity and completely unresourceful.

Since there might be a chance, that she and I will go to the same university in a few years, I want to be friendly with her.

How can I talk to her, so that she stops being so freakingly perfectionist but without annoying her, too? How can I talk to her, so we can talk more to each other? If possible, I want to be friends with her and talk to her about her perfectionism, that annoys me (and many other classmates).

  • 1
    I'm not entirely sure what your goal is here. Do you want to be friends, or just get "Anne" to chill out, both, or something else?
    – apaul
    Feb 5 '18 at 19:55
  • @apaul I want both Feb 5 '18 at 20:20
  • 1
    Would you mind editing your question to clarify that?
    – apaul
    Feb 5 '18 at 20:26

Anne sounds like a bit of a bully (or at least an entitled brat), and perhaps you and your classmates should be acquiescing to fewer of her requests. The unfortunate truth is that she is not going to be getting her way out in the "real world", and you're doing neither yourselves, or her any favors by letting her get away with these silly demands.

There is no universe in which fellow employees are going to put up with someone messing with the blinds for 5+ minutes, to the detriment of the majority, for example.

Next time she complains about these sort of things, don't hesitate to establish that her own desires are not the only driving force of change in this universe:

Her: There isn't enough space here.
You: Well Anne, normally you'd have two other people sitting here, and you manage just fine. I think we'll be OK. (and then go back to speaking to your friend)

When she messes with the blinds, and if the changes inconvenience you, don't hesitate to speak up.

Don't worry too much about her not being your friend in university. She sounds like a fickle person to begin with, and you'll be making lots of new acquaintances/friends.

  • 4
    +1 Anyone fussy enough about blinds will likely bring the same characteristics in a friendship. She does not sound like someone who has many friends, or will eventually not have many friends. The jibe about not having space is her bratty way of telling the OP she doesn't want to sit next to them. Feb 5 '18 at 20:43
  • 1
    Your first sentence hits it. Either she's a bully, or she's a spoiled brat. "Forbids" closing the roller blind? HA! Unless she's in a position authority, she can no more forbid closing blinds than she can flap her arms and fly. It's time to stand up to her and help her realize that there's a big world out that that doesn't give a flying fig what she wants. Feb 6 '18 at 14:20

As a casual acquaintance you really don't have much leverage to get her to change her personality for you.

I think the most you can do is to be polite and kind to her. Then tell her no when her requests are unreasonable.

Step 1) Build personal capital (strengthen your relationship) Smile at her when you pass her in the hall. Say hello before class. Occasionally ask her about her day, or what she likes to do. Being nice and showing interest in her will build personal capital between you two.

Step 2) Say no, When she makes a request that is unreasonable just say no, and explain simply why. With your blinds example you might say,

Sorry every one else in the class would like the blinds closed (or open, whatever it is) The light shines on certain peoples computers so they can't see them, and if we get it just right the sun shifts in 5 minutes so it doesn't make much sense to leave it here.

Step 3) Look for a compromise. With recurring issues such as the blinds perhaps you could have them close while the sun is setting but open them once it is behind the horizon (mountains/buildings). This specific example may not work, but you get the idea try to compromise.

Edit 1,

I should also note that you can't control other peoples behavior. What you can do is negotiate a behavior change. Step 1 above is not meant to manipulate Anne, it is meant to build a relationship with her so that she will listen to you when you want to negotiate, what to do with the blinds or how to share space.

I refer to this as building capital because I find it a useful metaphor for building a relationship with someone.

  • 1
    I must admit I don't really like your first point. Being nice to someone just so you have leverage to control their behaviour doesn't really sound like a very nice thing to do. I do fully agree with points 2 and 3.
    – Jane S
    Feb 5 '18 at 21:34
  • @JaneS That is not at all what I was trying to communicate. I will amend my answer to be more clear. Feb 5 '18 at 22:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.