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I and one of my friends play a game 'X' and we play equally well. Whenever we have a team (pair) event, both of us pair up. However, in presence of others, he often says that I am in 'his' team. In fact, he once remarked while playing with another team that he chose me in his team because I played very well.

How can I make my friend understand that such comments make me uncomfortable?

I feel I shouldn't talk to him about this directly as I don't want to escalate (he is very nice to talk with in general and it isn't a major issue). It's just that I don't want to listen silently and let others take my silence for granted. The next time it happens, I want to prepare myself for a tactful response in order to make him realize that such comments are unwelcome.

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    Which part of the comment is making you uncomfortable? Is it just the choice of words? – Erik Oct 28 '18 at 6:56
  • In this pair-up situation you are a team, aren't you? So could this wording be not more than a colloquial way of expressing he appreciates you as a good player and likes to play together with you? – puck Oct 28 '18 at 7:02
  • The choice of his words as well as the timing of his comments convince me of his competitive behavior towards me. However, he does so in a smart fashion so that not many take notice of his intentions. – Pikachu Oct 28 '18 at 8:45
  • Is the problem that he calls it “his“ team? Or what exactly is the issue? – Hakaishin Oct 28 '18 at 10:31
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    The issue is that he wants to portray to others that he has 'accepted' me as his teammate rather than we decided to play together as equals. I, on the hand, neither like captaining somebody nor being captained by somebody else. – Pikachu Oct 28 '18 at 11:32
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Next time when he says:

Pickachu is on my team

You can reply as it happens:

Our team, we are both on our team.

That is non confrontational and objective and should clear things up. There is no need to make this into a bigger issue than it is.

Unless he has explicitly said otherwise it is likely that he does not in fact want to portray that he has "accepted" you and has another reason. For example: people think about things from their own perspective first usually.

Be very careful of mind reading.

If you want to bring it up directly (which you absolutely can - it's fine) you can say something like:

Hey FRIEND, I noticed that uses of "Pikachu is on my team" sometimes. Would you be OK saying "Pikachu and I are on the same team" instead because that would clarify we are partners and friends in the team?

It's entirely possible he has no idea of the subtleties - or he does and calling him on it would make him pay better attention to the issue.

Focus on the facts (what wording was used) and not the subjectives or unknowns (his intentions). Contrast it with positives (we're friends and partners) and emphasize your shared success.

Best of luck with your friends and good luck with your chess :)

  • Thanks. It seems a good idea to just say "Our team, we are both on our team." as suggested by you. Especially since it is very less likely to be confrontational. – Pikachu Oct 28 '18 at 12:38

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