My gentleman friend from many years (we’re “just friends”) and I often have dinner at each other’s homes. Or go out for a coffee at a cafe.
When I’m a guest at his home, he’s constantly texting or spending the entire time that I’m there, calling his friends on Facetime.
I’ve said that I find it rude and he responded, “You have attention or rejection problems” because you’re an only child, and to get over it.
He’ll sometimes even bring the computer to the dining room table to check if any new text messages have arrived.
Or, he’ll carry his computer or phone to another room to check for messages.
The most constant texting to him is from a neighbour whose boyfriend’s often absent, especially on major holidays.
So, it’s more prevalent and upsetting to me when it’s on Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, etc.
It’s not of an urgent basis, just bantering back and forth.
Meanwhile, I’m being completely ignored and wonder, “Why was I invited?”
Sometimes, I’ve just left his house and let them continue their conversations. If I question him, I’m reprimanded.
Periodically, he distances himself from me for a few days to prove the point that he’s going to continue his habit with this neighbour.
I’ve never questioned his talking to family, which is also constant. But if I call him when this neighbour’s visiting his home, he’ll text-message that he’ll call me after she leaves.
When he’s invited to my place, he brings his computer and does the same thing. Arguments have arisen over his rudeness.
We’re both in our 60’s; and I’ve now expressed that it might be better for me to back off from this longstanding friendship.
I wonder if other people are experiencing the same behaviour.
This man is rude and disrespectful to you. He invites you over for dinner, but he ignores you. He’s even openly dealt with you on a lower priority level than his married neighbour.
Worse, he’s dismissed your valid objections with a pop-psychology analysis of your being needy because you’re “an only child.”
He’s not a true friend.
It’s time to enjoy your 60s, as so many of your age-cohort do, by finding people interested in shared conversations over coffee or dinner, by attending local theatre and discussing the plays, or signing on to an affordable, neighbourhood concert series, etc.
You don’t have to accept this man’s obsession with social media controlling your so-called “visits” together.
He’s adding nothing positive to your life, and worse, as an “old friend,” shows no caring.
Don’t dismiss his behaviour as being part of the times. Rude is just rude, period.
Dear Readers – Yes, we all know that social media has hugely affected social connections, much of it in a positive way.
We can now reach family and friends across continents through texts, across generations through Facetime, find lovers through a swipe of the finger, and far more.
But for those with no social boundaries, all these possibilities can be turned negative through technological abuse. This letter-writer’s so-called “friend” is a prime example.
So, too, is the too-familiar sight of couples sitting at a restaurant table, with each focused on their own phone, never talking to or looking at the other.
Now, I suggest that we use this space which is meant to help improve relationships, to look at our own and others’ social media behaviour.
Send me your stories (anonymous) of how you found love, or lost respect, or recognized a truth about someone, through a social media connection.
FEEDBACK Regarding a single mother being harassed by an older man, considering asking police for a restraining order against him (December 23):
Reader – “I’ve been harassed/abused by someone for years. Sometimes several weeks pass, then suddenly it all starts again.
“At my local Police Station, I learned that it’s almost impossible to obtain a restraining order, unless you’ve actually been physically attacked.
“I’ve written my political representatives, both of whom are women. Both offered to help. In France, they passed a law making it illegal to harass women on the street. Here, the laws in place aren’t specific enough.
“Most only kick in once a woman has been injured or killed. It’s pathetic. The number of women injured or killed in Canada continues to climb.”
Reader #2 – “After a break-up, my ex-partner stalked me electronically, emails, Facebook, texts, etc. I considered filing for a restraining order but learned that it’s neither easy nor straight-forward.”
Tip of the day:
Rude, controlling behaviour isn’t friendship.