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I play badminton with my roommate Scott regularly in a nearby court. Sometimes he brings his office colleagues to play. One of his friend Amy joins us from time to time. I would say I don't know her too well and have always considered her as a friend of friend. Recently I went to watch a movie with Scott and Amy. While returning I stopped to buy cigarettes. Seeing this Amy started acting all weird and said she is very disappointed in me and will not be talking to me until I quit smoking .

I totally appreciate her concern and am myself planning to quit but her actions have left me puzzled. We weren't talking a lot in the first place, just formal Hi hello, so her not talking to me wouldn't have mattered. But her actually saying this have affected me in some way. I initiated a text to talk about all of this, she texted me back by setting deadlines for me to quit.

My question : How should I convey that her saying something like this is totally inappropriate and have unsettled me. And I would quit smoking on my own timeline and don't need the incentive of talking to her be the reason for my quitting.

  • Can I know the subculture of you and your friends? I mean traditional Indian or do you have some mix of western and Indian traditional culture? This is very uncommon situation in traditional Indian culture. – I am the Most Stupid Person May 21 '18 at 10:55
  • @IamtheMostStupidPerson not traditional but a mix of western and Indian traditional culture – kattappa May 21 '18 at 11:19
  • Did she offered to help? – lukuss May 23 '18 at 7:31
  • @lukuss no she said let's talk when you are smoke free for 2 weeks – kattappa May 23 '18 at 8:43
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I think that Amy has your overall best interests at heart but is seriously overplaying her hand.

One thing to keep in mind is that her comment is designed to unsettle you and, in the course of doing so, make you want to quit smoking. So I'd say that telling her that produces part of exactly what she wants and encourages a behavior you want to stop.

Truth be told, even though I would never take it up, your decision to smoke is precisely that - it's a decision, and it's yours. And quitting is up to you as well. I can tell you from personal experience that nagging someone into quitting, when they are not 100% committed to quitting, fails and poisons the relationship.

I'd start with this:

Thanks for your concern. This is my decision to smoke and I'd appreciate if you stop your attempts to make me quit. I'll quit when I'm ready to.

Most likely she will try to give you the health benefits of quitting - I'd respond here with,

I thought you weren't talking to me?

If she's texting you and setting deadlines for you, then it's time to take a stronger stance:

Stop it. Once more and I block you.

If she threatens to not talk to you until you do quit, I'd say something like:

We really don't know one another. This won't affect me very much other than to make badminton uncomfortable for you.

The point here is to not argue with her or to get overly defensive about this. I'm not going to say smoking is a good thing - far from it - but like any other action it's completely your choice to do so as long as you're willing to accept the consequences for doing it.

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    Great answer! Tho, I'd suggest a softer approach, something like: "Quitting smoke, it's more like a process. It takes time, faith and will. Setting deadlines won't help me, and even more, I couldn't quit at these deadlines, that's not how it works. I see in you a person that can understand and I hope I'm not wrong but if you want to stop talking until I quit, It's not what I want but it's your call, and I'll respect it." – lukuss May 22 '18 at 8:28
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    @lukuss That's a great suggestion. If Amy were less direct and less demanding, I think that would be a superior way of dealing with her. In light of her setting deadlines and, IMHO, attempting to force OP to quit, I'd (personally) choose to be equally direct with her in this case. If she were to do something like start out by saying "Quitting smoking would help you and I can help you quit", I would definitely make that edit (and credit you, of course) – baldPrussian May 22 '18 at 20:16
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Recently I went to watch a movie with Scott and Amy. While returning I stopped to buy cigarettes. Seeing this Amy started acting all weird and said she is very disappointed in me and will not be talking to me until I quit smoking.

How should I convey that her saying something like this is totally inappropriate and have unsettled me. And I would quit smoking on my own timeline and don't need the incentive of talking to her be the reason for my quitting.

If she is not talking (and listening) to you until you quit smoking then you either need to quit smoking first or presume this person you do not know is prone to exaggeration.

It seems like an unfortunate choice of approach on her part. Does she confront strangers and make demands and empty threats to them, it seems like there is little to be gained and a lot to lose by hanging around with her - explaining that to Scott is probably a better course of action.

In the event that she would choose to listen simply explain that making demands of you is hardly a very sympathetic way to deal with someone whom has a very difficult to deal with addiction.

How would she feel if you demanded that she undertake the lawful action of smoking, it makes little sense to deal with strangers that way. Does she think your life was empty until she came along to tell you she wants nothing to do with you - hey, thanks for sharing.

Politely explain, if you care to, that if she wants to advance her position she needs to learn more effective ways to advance her argument.

I smoke, I know it's neither a good choice to have made nor one I wish to continue doing; I have reduced my smoking significantly the past couple of years.

Why not tell her 'random guy' on the Internet continues to smoke, despite her threatening not to talk to you - by her logic, that will fix her.

Quiting smoking is my advice, and not hanging around with others whom have poor judgment makes as much sense as suggesting to an alcoholic not to associate with drinkers.

Maybe Scott needs to make better choices too.

Does she do things you don't approve of, do you have an entitlement to tell her how to live her life - if you didn't before you do now, she has opened that door.

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