Now with less Jezzies and more STFU! So you may have heard that I am no longer doing STFU Jezzies. I will still be doing Ask STFU Jezzies to fulfill my desire to tell other people what to do with their lives, but I will be changing the name. (Creative suggestions welcome!) So I’m here at my regular time with some good questions. Come along and read my great advice, won’t you?
How do I deal with a former friend who keeps making sexist and misogynistic comments and absolutely refuses to reconsider or learn when I confront him?
We used to go to the same college, I’m now a post-grad somewhere else but still see him for sports competitions a few times per year. Last summer he set up a guy’s-only poker night and only invited some female friends (but not everyone) after two of us pointed out he was being sexist. Some quotes from him during that discussion were “feminism would not need to exist if women just ignored sexism and got on with their lives” and “I was unpopular and got bullied at school so I know what oppression feels like, I just ignored it and now I’m fine”. Most recently we had a fight on Facebook when I asked him to reconsider his use of the word “rape” in situations where it is not appropriate but he just rationalised him using it, took offence and did everything to avoid actually having to think about it. Add to that a pseudo-macho sports attitude and some concealed homophobia and I think you get the picture.
Needless to say I avoid talking to him and frequently consider completely blocking him on Facebook (now I still see his interaction with common friends etc.) Since we share some friends and participate in the same sport I get to spend the occasional competition weekends somewhere in his proximity and I am tired of fighting on this. I am beyond caring what he thinks of me and I am surely not holding back on my opinions and politics (that piece on Persephone came at the right moment).
I don’t think I have to tolerate his remarks and do nothing when I feel offended but I no longer see the point in asking him to consider his point of view when he is taking offence at the suggestion that his experience and opinions may not be as infinitely wise as he thinks. I can’t avoid seeing him on some occasions but every time it is taking all of my willpower to be civil.
So, any thoughts?
Blech. DTMFA. Seriously. I am so over people like that. At this point, it’s up to him to change his attitudes and behavior. He may never do that, but I don’t think the burden needs to be on you to continue to educate him. He’s just going to continue to dismiss it. For me, being Officially Fucking Finished means not only choosing not to mince words or ignore my own beliefs just to be polite…it also means knowing when I need to cut my losses and walk away for my own sanity. It means not trying to maintain a civil relationship or acquaintance-ship with someone just because we happen to run in the same circles sometimes.
I say unfriend, ignore him when you see him at sporting events. If for some reason you are forced to engage in a conversation with him and he wants to say something obnoxious, just walk the fuck away, if you can. Cut him off as completely as possible, you won’t regret it and your blood pressure will thank you.
I’m leaving for college in September, which I know is kind of a younger audience than Persephone really goes for but my problem could apply to any age, I guess: I’ve never had a boyfriend, and find making friends incredibly difficult. How do I go about doing these things in college – or anywhere, really – in a way that will actually work and not scare people away?
We love our teenagers and younger ladies, here! College is seriously the best and easiest time to make friends. There are seriously clubs and groups and activities for every interest. You’ll meet people in your classes and in your dorm. Get involved in something you’re interested in, or try something new! I guarantee you’ll find your niche in college. The key is to be open, but not to try too hard. My freshman year in college I decided it was a time to reinvent myself. I had been so insecure in high school and never really liked any of the people that I hung out with. In college I decided I would be confident and outgoing. And I was…to the point that I was super obnoxious and eventually people got kind of tired of it. The next year was a difficult one and I spent a lot of time by myself. But by my Junior year I think I had really figured out how to balance everything and I was outgoing and friendly without being annoying or loud about it. It does take some time, if you’re coming from a history of having a hard time making friends, but I promise you that you will figure it out. I don’t know what your specific trouble making friends is. When you say that you scare them away it seems like maybe you feel like you get too intense or clingy and they feel overwhelmed? It’s easy to do that when you feel like you don’t make friends easily, because you want to really hold on to anyone who seems like they might be a good friend. But the sooner you can find the balance the better. But, really, it’s so much easier to make friends and find people with similar interests when you’re in college. Good luck and let us know how it goes!