18

I’d like to know how I can make people stop telling others every single thing I tell them.

Here’s a dialog between me and my high-school classmate, in class:

Me: In case you can’t eat any more, can I have the rest? (Out of taste)

My colleague: No.

My colleague: Look, that guy asked me if he can eat my hamburger.

And then my colleague changed her mind and she gave me the hamburger.

I also had an experience similar into this one before, and many times in elementary school. I live in Romania.

Is there a way which you can speak to others in such that others won’t need to tell to others about what I told them or asked them? It’s really disrupting me and annoys me that they act like it is so weird. I wish there would be a way to put an end to this kind of situation.

For example, when you see someone eating something and you would like to how how it tastes, how do you ask your colleague in such a way that they wont tell others what you asked?

The reason I asked my colleague about this, is because I felt taste for it to eat, because I wanted to try how does the hamburger tastes different from shaorma.

Before one of my colleagues invited me and other one with her in one desk, so that we can talk in a break time, and she allowed me to eat from what she eats and she didn’t repeat it to others.

This doesn't seem like a weird request to me. I ask my mother or my sister sometimes this. And according to my logic, it is polite to ask someone. If that person says, no, then I respect their wish. Sharing food is one of the ways you can build good relationship.

Some info: 1. I'm 19 years old, and she's 18 years old. Some of my class are 18 years old. And I'm 1 year ahead of them in grade 12( the final school year).

  • 1
    What I was trying to get at is if it's just one person, you can deal with it by just minimizing what you communicate to that person. If it's a lot of different people in many situations, then you will have to deal with this by changing your own behavior. In short, is the issue with you, or with someone else? – nasch Oct 6 '18 at 21:09
  • @nasch Sorry, my miss understanding. Now I think I understand you. The answer is very simple, it is not me, it is her. I usually asked one of my friends to grant me some of their food and they don’t say anything and they granted me, but she. Instead of saying “No” she suppose to say to me, “Ok, you may have when I can’t finish it” Or, “No, because I want to continue later till I finish it.” Then ok, I understand her. But, it seems like, not all people know how to talk. I hope this is what you want to get. – Alex A Oct 6 '18 at 21:15
67

Don't give them anything to talk about

This is a critical IPS skill that, unfortunately, not everyone comes by naturally. Sometimes you have to really work for it, and it can take a lot of trial and error to understand how your actions will be perceived. A good rule of thumb is if you haven't seen other people doing or saying something before in a particular social context, then don't do that thing. In your example, that means at the type of gathering you were at, if you haven't witnessed people sharing or asking to share food, then you should do neither.

Understanding that you should follow suit in social situations, there are two ways you could have handled this situation better in this particular social setting:

  1. Just eat your own food and don't ask anyone to share theirs. This includes times when someone cannot finish their food and would otherwise throw it out. It is not yours, it might seem like begging, and it is certainly unusual in this setting, so people are more likely to talk about it.

  2. Imply that they should share, but don't outright ask them to.

    "Man, that looks good! I've never had one of those before!"

    "What does it taste like?"

    "Are you going to finish that?"

    These should all indicate that you would like to try some of their food, but doesn't really give them the opportunity to talk about how you were begging food off of them. Note that it might be annoying to them because you are indirectly pressuring them to give you food (and people can often be annoyed by indirectness), but the reason why people utilize these kind of indirect requests are precisely to avoid breaking social norms like the one you broke.

I, too, am a person who is annoyed when people talk about something innocuous I said or did. I just choose to remember that people will think what they will think, and it'll be okay. I also have had a hard time with self-awareness, especially while I was younger, but I still suffer from it every now and again. Thankfully I was blessed with an analytical mind and have been able to figure out the faux-pas by watching how other people act. Look around, observe the behavior of people around you, and emulate it. People will stop acting like you are weird if you act like them.

24

It sounds to me, like the person was surprised by your request and wanted to express that surprise. This is likely due to a difference in cultural norms. Like BlackThorn mentioned, it appears you're breaking some cultural norm by asking for the rest of her food.

When she shared with her friend, not only was she expressing her surprise, but was also subtly (possibly subconsciously) enforcing the social norm you were breaking, by embarrassing you. Additionally, by talking to the third person, she was getting renforcement and validation that you were indeed breaking the social norm.

It's likely that the person will continue to use this technique if you do not do something to intervene. What I would suggest, would be to try to get the person to use a more polite way to educate you on the expected social norms in the situation.

Perhaps you could try something like:

Sorry, it seems like the way I asked for your food wasn't something you were expecting. I'm used to everyone sharing any food they aren't going to finish [or some other norm for you]. Is that not appropriate here?

That might lead to an insightful discussion on differences in social norms. This will also show that you are interested in learning openly about social norms. So in the future, if the person witnesses you breaking a norm, they are more likely to explain the social norm and have a discussion with you, rather than embarrassing you.

For reference, this does actually come from personal experience, but from the other side. I used to mock people that did things that I found socially unexceptable. After someone graciously had a conversation with me about differences in culture and perspective, I started slowly changing to a more polite way of letting people know that their behavior didn't fit the social norms I was familiar with.

14

First of all, you won't be able to avoid those situation in the future, but maybe next time you will be more prepared to face them.

My opinion regarding the 'hamburger' situation, you should make the whole thing as coming from their side, not yours. In your example make her offer you the rest of the hamburger without even asking.

I am gonna write you down some scenarios to the 'hamburger' situation hopping it will help you in many other cases:

1: Instead of asking her :

In case you can’t eat any more, can I continue for you?

You should say :

I am really curious how it tastes. Maybe next time I will order the same seeing you eating with such a big appetite. Is it good?

  • and maybe after that she will say:

You can take the rest if you want since I am already full.

(instead of throwing the rest of the hamburger, she will pass it to you).

2: Let's say the scenario you've presented already took place and you want to solve this issue of her being like that. Say:

Oh, I didn't mean to offend you by asking for the rest, I was just curious about the taste. Sorry for the misunderstanding!

or if you are good fellas and not just random colleagues, that share no more than few words a day:

Can you say it a bit louder, maybe they didn't hear you! (and laugh)

Sometimes turning the situation into something funny, shows a sign of an intelligent and relaxed person, who has control over any situation. Just be careful, when choosing to be ironic / sarcastic because not everybody understands it and you might end up being creepy or silly.

3: Just tell them straight that your intention was simple and if they want to mock you, they better find something else to do because you won't tolerate that.

I was asking you politely, you don't have tell that to everyone. Sorry, next time I will think twice before I'll speak my mind.

What you should keep in mind is that you should not tolerate, they mocking you, if it makes you uncomfortable! Sometimes making the whole thing coming from their side or turning an unpleasant situation into something funny, might help you deal with this kind of problem next time.

Best luck!

8

Your Example

In above example, you can communicate in following way,

You: If you don't mind, may I taste it? Next time I will tell my mom to prepare same for us

Your question

Is there a way which you can speak to others in such that others won’t need to tell to others about what I told them or asked them?

Short Answer -

You can't avoid how they think. Just ignore these things and Focus on following 5 points

You can analyze their behavior patterns and accordingly communicate with them.

Further Explanation

Here, measure issue is the perception of the other member that how he/she interpret your communication. It depends upon trust between one another.

You can't change others but instead you can make changes in your way of communication (I am not saying you are bad in communication). I mean, you can change your way of communication according to atmosphere in your organization.

You are talking about grapevine communication which is unofficial, informal and personal communication that takes place in an organization as a result of gossip and rumor. This type of communication can distort facts and create conflict or misunderstanding. It is very important that you identify them ahead of time. When people don’t have all the facts in hand, they tend to speculate information and create distorted facts.

Focus on

You can focus on following things,

  1. Focus and understand on the “why” before engaging in communication to avoid ratholes and side issues
  2. Listen
  3. Make your message as easy and simple to digest as possible.
  4. Avoid using words that can be confusing.
  5. Be clear and direct to the point.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, You can't avoid how they think. Just ignore these things (or if possible make above positive changes in you according to their behavior patterns). This happens in many organizations. you need to concentrate on your work.

5

You can't really prevent people from talking about what they heard or saw. You can, however, prevent people from discussing awkward things you said or did, by not saying or doing awkward things. If you're convinced that your request to finish someone else's meal was not awkward, then you should have no problem that other people talk about it.

Simply put, don't publicly do or say things you wouldn't want your colleagues to know or talk about.

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