6

How do I interact with a person at a bare minimum level without seeming excessively rude?

Background:

I had an incident a couple months ago where a friend of mine told me that a person Yanny from our university had accused me of doing some rather horrible things to my ex from two years ago.

This person is quite close with my ex and they might be having some sort of relationship. After some probing of my friend for what was said, I found out that Yanny hadn't said much, but implied that I had done terrible things (terrible enough that my friend assumed physical abuse or worse).

Our break up was not pretty, and we did some stupid things, the both of us. My worst mistake was not breaking it up sooner and getting to the point where I rummaged through her things and read through her texts at some point when my trust in her was completely gone (yeah really dumb I know definitely a low point in my life). Under no circumstances did I ever though, in any way, threaten her physically or anything of the sort.

Anyhow, over the following three days I had an extended talk over text with this Yanny. He initially wanted me to profusely apologise for what I had done to my ex in the previous relationship (the invasion of her privacy). I explained to him that this is between me and her and none of his business (in a more polite way).

When he wouldn't listen I told him that we had already talked about all these things with my ex and that I thought that I had definitely crossed a line and apologised for it and stated that if she ever wanted to talk about this I'd be open to that. I also still added that this was none of his business and it was a two year old matter anyhow, him opening old wounds would not bring anything good to anyone's life. I also stated that it is a really sucky thing to do, to imply that I'd have abused my ex or something worse.

Finally he did come around apologising himself. I asked if he had said similar things to other people during these two years and he denied it at least (I don't know whether to believe him though, it's not an easy thing to admit).


My friend who brought this to my attention is now more cautious around me (we weren't super close to begin with but he's an honest guy), maybe looking for signs of me to be some sort of covert abuser. My friend also contacted another mutual friend of ours on this and she advised him to have a little faith me and talk to me (and good that he did). I feel like this put some strain on my relationship with that other friend as well.

I have had a couple of months from this incident, but university is starting soon. I'll have to inevitably spend time with this Yanny person but I find myself still feeling angry and hurt. I feel like this person has crossed boundaries and I have trouble forgiving him.

I don't know how I can handle being with him in the same space and social circles (he's well enough liked). I will see him quite a lot in different extracurricular activities since we share a lot of friends in university. For example we go running together for an hour or so each week and have movie nights together. Also in the student commons area we see nearly every day.

I'd really prefer to just not interact with him at all and forget about him and this nonsense, but it's hard since we have so much overlap in university life. How do I interact with Yanny so that I can seem as little rude as possible and still minimize any contact with him, especially in events that last longer periods of time?

  • 2
    Hey Jumala, Welcome to IPS.SE! It might seem that Y crossed boundaries, apologised and assumes that you forgave him. So only speculations are left to be done for "the future". There are a lot of incidents/ meetings both of you would have. If you have specific one in mind, please narrow down the question, to ask how to handle that specific one. As of now, it is very broad and answers will be based upon how answerers imagine their base situations. It would be hard for you to determine which is correct. – ankiiiiiii Jul 31 at 13:12
  • 1
    Thanks for the feedback! I try to learn to ask better questions. I edited the end of the question to specify more what sort of interaction we have. I hope this adds clarity, but just let me know how I can improve. – Jumala Jul 31 at 13:56
  • 2
    Hey Jumala, Welcome to IPS! I'm afraid that your question is still too broad and it's hard to understand what you would like to accomplish in term of interpersonal communication. Could you edit to tell us what you would like to communicate? – Ælis Jul 31 at 14:07
1

It would seem that some level of interaction with this person may be unavoidable. I would recommend that rather than ignore this person entirely, simply avoid seeking out unnecessary interaction but behave as you normally would when you cross paths. An example would be, don't avoid your weekly running activity just because he will be there. Once you arrive say hello as you normally might to an acquaintance but maybe just choose a spot in the group where you won't be forced to have conversation with him. As outlined in violetleaf's answer being friendly in this manner will also help this situation in its own way.

I certainly understand your feeling about wanting to avoid him in order to forget, but in my experience making active changes to your lifestyle in order to avoid something or someone will not aid in the process of forgetting/accepting an issue. Although you may avoid the encounters which you might perceive to be awkward or uncomfortable, it will be difficult to forget since you have to continuously be taking avoidance measures and you will might find it difficult to accept/forgive what happened since you are removing the possibility of a positive encounter. This may also lead to this situation manifesting itself in an even more detrimental way as it begins to effect parts of your life that it does not relate to.

Even though it has been a couple months, since you have been away from the situation it could still feel fresh once you return to University. It may serve you well to have another discussion with this person if you are continuing to feel weighed down by this situation (although, you should not feel pressured to do this).

You might also want to consider having a conversation with your ex. Obviously, she has the right to share with people whom she trusts about past experiences so it is not right to be upset with her that she told someone about what happened between you and her. At the same rate, it is not unfair for you to ask her to not tell people and explain that you regret the behavior and would appreciate an opportunity to put it in the past. You may also want to tell her that someone (i.e. Yanny but it could be best not to use names, avoid blame games) whom she told about the situation has told enough other people that it made its way back to you. I do imagine it was not her intention for more than who she told to find out.

Once you get back to school just gauge the situation as best you can. Hope it helps! Best of luck at school.

  • Thanks for the advice. I agree with both you and violetleaf. I and my ex are not really on speaking terms, and to avoid unnecessary drama I'll leave her out of this. Although in another situation that part of your advice would most certainly be excellent. The problem with this Yanny was more not with him sharing our problems but down right unfactual slander. Although on a side note I find it troubling how personally he has taken something that happened two years ago, to someone else and without even considering my side of the story, but that's another matter. Thanks for the good advice! – Jumala 2 days ago
3

I had my share of fights with friends or friends of friends over the years, as my personality might not be the best. As they are still friends of friends most of the time, and I have to interact with them sometimes as well, I started to try out different things to keep the conversations / atmosphere around us as natural as possible. Here are some things that have normally work out for me in these situations:

  • If you want to avoid him, don't sit next to him in class / while eating / in the common area or anything; that usually discourages conversation (even if just one person is between you).
  • Something I do, that might seem strange: I make sure to especially greet the people that I don't like in the hallways when I meet them. So let me explain: I can be a quite harsh, forward person, especially if I don't agree with them (this is what usually leads to people not liking me). So, if I put up this nice civil act, they are usually way less hostile towards me, even if something of the harsher sort comes from my mouth from time to time, when I have to work with those people.

Generally being friendly like this can save you some future headaches, because people you are usually polite to don't think bad of you. It might be hard in your case and I don't know if it works for you, or better the two of you, but broadly speaking I would just make sure to have a 'polite, friendly aquaintance'. At least that is how I understand the situation.

I hope this helps you in any way, and even if it doesn't I hope you find a way to resolve your situation. Good luck!

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.