Let’s face it; some people are simply a pain in the a--. It’s a shame, really, especially when you are dealing with a difficult medical challenge. The last thing you need is something else to worry about!
I’m not talking about mean-spirited people, but rather those who have your best interests in mind but show it in a way that you find annoying. Here are a couple of types…
First: those who think that they know what’s best for you. They mean well, but insist that you do certain things a certain way. For example, we had a friend that was adamant my wife try some vitamins and herbs during her breast cancer treatments. We appreciated her interest and the trouble she went to to determine what my wife “needed,” but we weren’t comfortable with that approach.
The problem arose when she wouldn’t stop bugging us. Over and over she insisted we try her way, and whenever Chris (my wife) had some new ache or pain she, insisted that it was because we weren’t taking her advice. It became very stressful and she wouldn’t let up.
The next type of annoying people we have are those who won’t take “no” for an answer. People wanted to help, and that’s very considerate of them and we appreciated it. But sometimes we were offered help that we didn’t want or need; when we politely declined, we were told that they were going to do it anyway.
For example, Chris had to go to radiation every day, Monday through Friday, for six weeks. It was 25 miles each way, and all those trips was becoming a grind. A friend said that she wanted to take Chris to radiation a couple of times. That was greatly appreciated but Chris didn’t want anyone to take her but me, for a variety of reasons. When she politely declined, the woman was incensed and pointed her finger in Chris’s face and said, “I’M TAKING YOU TO RADIATION!”
What to do?
Above all else, remain calm. There is nothing quite as intimidating as making matter-of-fact statements in a quiet, calm tone of voice. It’s easy to dismiss someone who is hysterical, but if you stay calm it’s much more intimidating. “I appreciate your offer but that’s really not something we’d like to do. I would be grateful if you would respect my choice even if you don’t agree.”
Don’t get defensive: you don’t have to explain your reasons. If you attempt to explain, you are opening up the discussion for debate and that’s probably not what you want to do.
Try to refocus the energy. “We really don’t need you to clean out house, but if you’d really like to help it would be great if you would make us some food.”
Stop the badgering by saying you will call them about it, implying that you will accept the help that you really didn’t want. We found that that pretty much stopped the conversation and they never said anything when we didn’t call!
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