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Advice greatly needed

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by gailnyc, Jul 4, 2013.

  1. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    I am struggling with a dilemma that I hope some of you can offer advice on.

    As some of you know from other posts, I have been on a walking program for the past three months or so, increasing my daily walk from 5 to 40 minutes during that time. I would have to say that it has been one of the key elements in my ongoing recovery, and has turned into one source of joy in my life.

    The other day, I invited my next door neighbor (I live in an apartment building) to accompany me on my walk. I know she likes to walk and she is retired now (I am on summer break) and has time, and I thought it would be fun to have a companion.

    It was fine, and afterward I said I enjoyed it and she should just knock on my door any time she felt like coming on my walk again. She knows what time I usually go and where I go.

    Well, I didn't expect this but the very next day (yesterday) as I was getting a drink at Starbucks for my walk (part of my routine), she shows up in her walking outfit! She says she heard my door slam around 4 and knew I was going on my walk and thought she'd head me off at Starbucks.

    The walk was ok but definitely not joyful, and now I am sort of regretting my invitation. I value my alone time during my walk and don't really want a walking partner EVERY DAY. Now I don't know what to do. I don't want to lie to her, change my routine, or evade her, but I'm not sure how to let her know kindly that I really don't want a walking companion every single day.

    Help! What would you do?
  2. Lori

    Lori Well known member

    Hey Gail.

    How about "I'm glad you enjoy walking as much as I do and it is great to have a companion most days. However there are some days where I just need to be alone with my thoughts. How would you feel about walking together certain days and certain days be on our own? I would really appreciate your understanding". I like to think I would understand if someone said something like that to me. It is soft, truthful, and to the point I think.

    I think if you say it kindly and maybe even add in "you can understand" or "I'm sure you appreciate" . etc. something like that. :)
    James59 likes this.
  3. AngK

    AngK Peer Supporter

    I don't mean to sound like a jerk but I don't think just b/c you told her to ask anytime that obligates you to accept every time.
    So, since we're here to mainly talk about TMS - do you like how I'm dovetailing this? :) - I don't think you should feel guilty about not wanting to walk with her every time or turning her down. I'm sure there are times she's going to see you go for a walk and she opts out for whatever reason ... and I bet she doesn't feel guilty about that.
    So, I think Lori's suggestion is good. And regardless of her reaction, you shouldn't feel bad about wanting to walk by yourself sometimes or your initial invitation. I'm sure if you thought you were entering a legally binding contract you would have drafted it more carefully :) But as it is, you're just human. Maybe overextended yourself. It happens. I ended up taking 6 young boys to the public pool the other day & getting them all to practices & fed them dinner etc b/c I basically did the same thing. Lesson: if you offer moms to "take the kids for the day"... they will all take you up on it!:eek:
  4. Jim D.

    Jim D. Peer Supporter

    Your situation with the walking companion is just the sort of thing I get entangled in all the time. If you have any goodist tendencies, they will likely all come out. It is very difficult--especially for people who want to be nice and liked and charitable--to say no (particularly after having given a "yes" that your neighbor is misinterpreting). Lori's suggestion seems the only sensible way to go. Saying it is sensible, however, does not mean I myself would be able to do it. My mother tried to be nice to a neighbor after his wife died and invited him to come over, watch TV, and have a snack. She was the quintessential goodist but did not really mean he was invited every day! But that is how he took it. He would appear daily, ask what she had fixed to eat, and then walk over to change the TV to the quiz shows he liked to watch. This situation continued for years, during which my mother never said a word--except to me and to my sister. She was furious, and it came out in aches and pains, including incapacitating joint pain, dizzy spells, headaches, etc. The neighbor meanwhile was blissfully unaware that he was being a pain in the a**. The situation ended only when my mother became quite ill and eventually died. Now that is a goodist! I have recently moved into the house my mother occupied, and when I first moved, that neighbor was still living nearby. I was so determined to avoid the pitfall that I never said anything to him at all. A bit of an overreaction, but I knew I could never do what Lori is recommending to you. So I end up not acting like a goodist, but agonizing because I don't want to be bad.

    I really sympathize with your plight and hope you can find a solution that doesn't leave you grinding your teeth as you walk with your neighbor. Let us know how it goes.

  5. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Some great answers above but if all else fails close your front door really really quietly ;)
    gailnyc and James59 like this.
  6. yb44

    yb44 Beloved Grand Eagle

    That is such a sad story, Jim D. Your mother paid the highest price for her goodist mature. Gail, I would also try out Lori's suggestion. Practice your speech first in the mirror, if it will help.
  7. gailnyc

    gailnyc Well known member

    Jim D., that is such a sad story about your mom! You are absolutely right that it's our goodist tendencies that lead to these situations. Also, AngK is right that this situation generated tremendous guilt for me--I felt terrible about not really wanting to walk with her all the time.

    It's funny, the responses I've gotten here and with RL friends are split into two camps--people who say I should face the situation head on by saying something like what Lori suggested, and those who suggest I do things like shut the door quietly (thanks, Huck) or change my walking schedule. I am going with a sort of blend of the two. The past couple of days I've just avoided her by walking at different times. But the next time I see her I will explain that sometimes I just like to be alone with my thoughts while walking. Then maybe suggest a specific upcoming day when we can walk together.

    Do I need to be in control much? :)
  8. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    My suggestion was sort of tongue in cheek but there are those times when we don't feel we need or want to explain ourselves and on those occasions a tactical avoidance can indeed be the best policy. A mix of approaches dependent on mood sounds about right.

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