I have a few friends who will try to manipulate me with self deprecating remarks.
Perhaps I've been helping them with something for a while and am obviously making moves to leave when they say something like:
"Oh I am sorry, I'm such a burden, I'm so selfish I shouldn't have taken up so much of your time with this. I'm a terrible friend."
As far as I can tell, this backs me into a corner with few good options.
- If I leave soon after I feel like I'm validating that remark
- If I stay and tell them how they aren't a burden or bad friend it takes more of my time and I can only imagine it encourages the behaviour.
This is just a general situation, it is used in many others such as comments about looks, giving them a lift, not being able to visit when they wanted you to.
I know I'm not alone in having people act like this, I wondered whether anyone had come up with a general response to self-deprecating interlocutors that would, ideally, get through to the person that I care but that they can't manipulate me this way.
Edit: Another, work related, question with some good answers is here.