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To be considering changing my mind about helping someone after only one meeting?

(121 Posts)
SirBoobAlot Tue 15-Jan-13 14:01:54

A friend of a friend runs a small business, and is horrendously busy. The three of us all went to a talk a while ago, which is how I know him. We had a great night, and got on very well. He mentioned that he was overwhelmed with work, so I offered to help; research etc, I can do from home. He's not paying me.

So I went along for a meeting with him today, to go over what he needs me to do. I got there and he was really stressed with his accountant. He said, "He's just so disorganised, and rubbish at staying in contact. I think he must have a mental health condition or something." I replied, "Does he just not keep you up to date?". He said, "No, he is just generally crap. I think he must have a mental health condition, and you can't work with people like that. They just don't get it."

So, I said, "Well, actually I have a mental health condition." He looked at me sharply, and said, "We might not get on in that case." I told him I had Borderline Personality Disorder, and explained loosely what that meant. His phone then rang.

Then we started talking over what he needed me to do. Quite a lot more than I was expecting! He talked about a company he had contacted; "The first question they asked me was "are you disabled?". I mean, what is the fucking relevance of that? Some do-gooder set on ticking a box. Would they have helped me if I didn't have any legs?". I bristled again at this, seeing as I walk with a stick, but replied calmly, "I think especially with the current cuts that are going on, people have to give it an appearance of not being a vendetta against disabled people." He retorted, "It's not a vendetta. People have just got used to living outside of their means, and spending too much money, when they don't have it. Everyone can't be a charity case. We're economically fucked."

I don't really know what to do. I feel like I should just carry on and help him, because I said I would. But at the same time, I don't want to either start helping out and then be having to listen to this on a regular basis, or be helping for the wrong reason, ie, an attempt to change his mindset instead of because I want to help.

Currently have a battle between wanting to prove him wrong and wanting to protect myself going on in my head.

Would it be unreasonable to type up what we discussed today, and do what I said I would do before I am due to see him next (Friday), but then say "I'm sorry, but because of your views, I don't feel it will be suitable for us to work together"?

I'm really surprised he came out with this.

twentyten Wed 16-Jan-13 20:31:50

What a @?@>:>:>! Completely lacking in any self-awareness.You do not need to engage in discussing with him.

I would suggest just emailing back that after the meeting you realised that you were not the right person to work in the role described and wish him all the best-DO NOT ENGAGE!!It will just leave you feeling bad.
He is the one with issues-not you. You do not need him.

dreamingbohemian Wed 16-Jan-13 20:33:14


Sorry but seriously, fuck him. You didn't misunderstand him. He's just trying to be all emotionally manipulative (waaaah I'm upset!) not too mention condescending (really, conversation is the way to deal with things? wow!)

I would suggest a reply like:

Dear X,

I think it would be best if we didn't discuss this further. It was not my intention to upset you, merely to note the reasoning behind my decision. Again, best of luck going forward.

............Ok that's not great but something like that...

MABS Wed 16-Jan-13 20:34:06

WALK AWAY and let me know if I can help you sort him Out...

austenozzy Wed 16-Jan-13 20:38:08

Don't get into a dialogue over it. He may be upset, but he may also be trying to manipulate you. He'll get over it. A discussion with him will only turn into an argument as he doesn't seem very self-aware. You've been doing well (from what I gather in your posts), and a load of free work for an aggressive plonker is not in any way beneficial for you or your health.

GoingVerySlowlyMad Wed 16-Jan-13 20:43:39

I wouldn't engage any further. You have explained and given your reasons, I would just ignore from now on and chalk it up to experience. Silence sends out a stronger message than words ever could.

MurderOfGoths Wed 16-Jan-13 20:45:20

I'd probably ignore him, but if I had to reply I'd go with, "I'm sorry, but I don't feel comfortable discussing my reasons with you as they are personal and sensitive"

SPBInDisguise Wed 16-Jan-13 20:56:54

Well done Boob! And well done for pulling him up on his behaviour, he knows exactly what it is. I personally would reply, your views on disability and leave it there

SPBInDisguise Wed 16-Jan-13 20:59:57

Oh and unless you're doing work to further a cause you believe in, you should be paid for work you do. Else you'd be subsidising this git

bumpybecky Wed 16-Jan-13 21:04:10


ArkadyRose Wed 16-Jan-13 21:05:53

Just state "I am sorry, but I will not be able to work with you." No further explanations. If he contacts you again, just send that - exactly the same to every message until he gives up and goes away. YOU OWE HIM NOTHING. No explanations, nothing. He was not even going to pay you. No contract was exchanged. You are under no obligation to even respond to him really.

zipzap Wed 16-Jan-13 21:08:19

He's just realised that him and his big thoughtless mouth have cost him a free researcher... he didn't expect you to take action on his comments by walking out and now he is desperately backpedalling to try and get some more free work from you!

SPBInDisguise Wed 16-Jan-13 21:13:35

you know that saying about gift horses and mouths? Well you're the horse (a classy one, not a burger one) and he just looked you in the mouth

BreastmilkNewYearLatte Wed 16-Jan-13 21:15:05

Ignore him!!!!!

Easier said than done I'm sure... but he must know why he upset you, surely,

BuiltForComfort Wed 16-Jan-13 21:18:40

Don't dignify him with a reply! He said himself "you can't work with people like that [ie with a mental health condition]". He told you what he thinks. He responded to your openness about your own condition with the view that "you might not get on". He also told you that not everyone can be a "charity case" but he wants you to work for him for free, and not just help with a bit of work, there is a lot to do! He is an arse and he's now putting it back on you with a poor me, innocent face reply. Please don't waste any more time or energy on him.

SirBoobAlot Wed 16-Jan-13 21:47:55

<snort> at "a classy one, not a burger one".

I'm wondering whether I could use this as an opportunity to educate him? I was expecting a nasty email, not a - reasonably - pleasant text, so feel I should reply.

"Having a mental health condition is something that I am not ashamed of, but is also something that I am used to encountering negative opinions towards. I understand you were angry with your accountant, but you either used having a mental health condition as an insult, or stated quite clearly yourself that you ''can't work with people like that, they just don't get it", neither of which are acceptable to me. My illness affects my every moment, I manage it well enough that a lot of people do not guess I am ill, but I am, and it seems that we will conflict on this. So I would rather back out now, rather than after getting further involved, because that would just make work rather more complicated for you. As I said, I wish you every luck for the future."

Or even just,

"I'm sorry to hear you are upset, but I don't feel there is anything to discuss really. You said clearly yourself when I told you I had a mental illness that we may not get on, and I'm afraid that comment will stick with me."

SPBInDisguise Wed 16-Jan-13 21:50:39

Second one. And only if you want to. I would, but do what is best for you. You owe him nothing other than the text you've already sent telling him you wouldn't be doing the work

SPBInDisguise Wed 16-Jan-13 21:52:02

First one allows wriggle room and scope for debate. Second one says very politely "screw you"
Hth smile

SirBoobAlot Wed 16-Jan-13 21:53:26

First one was more of a ''type it out on Mumsnet so I don't actually send it'' option, I'll be honest wink.

I think replying is a better option for me, or I will feel guilty for being rude <fucking idiot emotion>.

SPBInDisguise Wed 16-Jan-13 21:57:38

Has your friend said anything about this btw?

giraffesCantGoFirstFooting Wed 16-Jan-13 22:00:20

Don't do 48

MarilynValentine Wed 16-Jan-13 22:02:06

Definitely the second. Perhaps add 'Good luck with your project.' on the end too, just to make the matter feel more closed?

Well done for confronting this and protecting yourself smile

SirBoobAlot Wed 16-Jan-13 22:05:11

Told my friend this afternoon, and he was horrified. Said he had never seen this side of him before, and apologised for exposing me to it when he knew how hard I have been working on my health.

Good idea Valentine.

Right, wish me luck, he might not respond so nicely to this one...

PureQuintessence Wed 16-Jan-13 22:06:58

Good. You can add one sentence if you want:

"I'm sorry to hear you are upset, but I don't feel there is anything to discuss really. You said clearly yourself when I told you I had a mental illness that we may not get on, and I'm afraid that comment will stick with me. In short you were right: we wont get on."

SirBoobAlot Wed 16-Jan-13 22:12:21

Thanks everyone.

Can't believe I have actually done this, maybe therapy is working..!!

notactuallyme Wed 16-Jan-13 22:13:06

Why do you feel the need to expose so much of your self to him? You met, he acted weird with odd views, after you told him something personal - don't keep engaging!

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