With Friends Like These . . .

Parry the Party-Pooper.

Trent Armstrong,
October 20, 2008

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You may remember that a few weeks back we discussed briefly the travails of dining with a good friend from the city of poor table manners. In that situation, I advised that it is best to "let it go"; a good friend is worth his or her weight in lousy etiquette. The person that our writer discusses in the following email is, I assure you, not that person -- while the last fellow was blissfully unaware of his infraction, this one will not go uncounted.

The Guy is a Force of Nature

Our friend Emily writes:

Hi, Modern Manners Guy. There is this one guy amongst our friends who always tries to run the show ... especially at other people's parties when he's not the host.

He'll either break out his iPod speaker to play music AGAINST the host's, try to run the conversation by cracking lukewarm jokes, hog the grill for all meals during camping when it's a social event to be enjoyed by all, or self-compliment his meager contributions [such as] bringing a bag of chips to a barbecue [and saying] "Boy, those are great chips, huh?"

All [of] this, he does in the most polite and almost conniving way.

We're thinking of not including him in our social events anymore but, in times where we do, how can we rebuttal or eliminate his actions or hunger for compliments?

Thank you!

What About Bob?

Alas, the burden-friend. This is a classic friend type, and I think each of us has at least one. These people are frequently inconsiderate of those around them, must be the center of attention, think their ideas are better than everyone else's, and it would take an act of Congress to find a single person who actually wants to be around them. But still, despite all of this, some how, some way, your friend has endeared himself to you, or those around you, in such a way that you are simply unable to get rid of him.

As I recommended in the last "friend" related question, let us take a moment and see if we can get to the crux of the matter through a little self reflection. Often, we forget the reasons we enjoy an individual's company in the first place. Perhaps it would be helpful to take a moment and remember why you ever decided to spend time with this person. Another aspect of this that we MUST consider is that friendship is not a one way street. Put yourself in Bob's shoes for a moment and imagine if he were to write a letter to me about you. What might he say? It's a good balance to remember that each of us can be alarmingly annoying to someone.

Look, Modern Admonishment Man, Help or Get Lost!

Okay, okay, before you go and label me, "Modern Admonishment Man" or "Super Downer Guy", or something perhaps more, um... colorful, I wholly acknowledge that even if the questions that I've posed above deserve consideration, the things that your friend does to you are simply not okay.