I work in an office where the closest shops are 1.5km away.
Three times weekly, I swim at lunch-time at a public pool a little further away.
Two-to-three times a month, a car-less co-worker asks for a lift to the shopping area to run errands or he’s tired of cafeteria food. He takes a taxi back to work.
I only have to make a slight detour, to drop him off en route.
However, he’s obese. He cannot walk in moderate weather without experiencing a major sweat.
He gets a ride to and from work with his roommate who also works there.
His odour is unpleasant in my car. I also have to adjust the passenger seat before and after he uses it or there’ll be no leg room left for the back seat.
I’m not trying to discriminate, but how do I decline without being rude or insensitive?
I’m not a very good liar. We get along fine otherwise.
Am I being selfish? It is my car after all.
Yes, it’s your car.
Yes, you’ll come across as insensitive, and rude because there’s no decent excuse for not taking that small detour without telling him he smells and you find moving the seat troublesome.
If you want to re-consider creating an awkward work relationship, you could buy an air freshener for the car.
Also, you could think about what IS “discrimination” based on a person’s weight.
I suggest it includes blaming the person who already suffers health issues and a shortened life-span, for a condition whose origin you don’t know.
I’m single, and went to a close single friend's cottage along with a married couple.
On previous cottage visits, the husband had teased me relentlessly. My friend told him: “enough.” We’re all late-60s.
The women took responsibility for each cooking one dinner. After I prepped my meal, I revealed that my salad dressing was a failure and I had to remake it.
As we were eating dinner, I noticed a couple of the shrimp had a mealy texture. I said I was embarrassed, that I’d never before had problems using frozen shrimp.
Later, and throughout the next day, the husband repeatedly “joked” about the shrimp and salad dressing miss-haps.
The next day, his wife joined in. I calmly said, "That's 15 times.”
That evening, with another female friend added, the husband again raised my cooking goof-ups.
I said that he could make dinner next time. When he started shushing me, twice, I leapt up, stood before him with my finger out and said: "Do. Not. Shush Me."
The next day he kept to himself while the rest of us carried on.
On my return, I wrote him an angry email that if we were ever to be invited there together again I’d require his commitment to not harass me.
He said I wasn’t worthy of his commitment.
It’s caused a rift between my female friend and I. Though I’m okay with the eventual outcome, I’ve been reading about human behaviour to better understand myself and others.
Relentless teasers are bullies.
He’d chosen you as his target, previously. Your friend knew this and you both should’ve re-thought the guest list.
Once there, his teasing prevailed. Short of leaving, you could’ve walked away when he persisted.
Your angry reaction, however, was natural and deserved.
It’s not your behaviour at fault. But you’d benefit from a stronger sense of knowing when to stand up for yourself sooner, and if necessary, leaving.
A Reader’s Commentary Regarding teaching strategies to help people expand their knowledge (Sept. 1):
“I'm a volunteer piano teacher at a local home for troubled teens.
“Gossip – I find tidbits of information about composers or famous historical figures and present it as "celebrity gossip.”
“I try to get people to be curious about, or connect to, a subject, e.g. This concerto is supposed to be about depression and nightmares. What do you think?
“Trivia – I drop information bits gleaned from news, TV programs, radio, books, e.g. I heard that it takes eight weeks for a NASA probe to orbit Jupiter and go all the way around just once! Imagine how big that planet is!
“These strategies usually prompt students to ask how I know stuff. I say that I read a book about it, or watched a program on TV, or that I found it on Wikipedia. Human curiosity does the rest.”
Tip of the day:
The way to avoid discriminating is to recognize when it’s part of your thinking.