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She told me to be quieter because I was embarrassing her - do I say something

(95 Posts)
Notalone Wed 10-Apr-13 20:58:28

I had an old university friend over to stay last weekend. We had a nice weekend though I have felt for a while now that things are not the same as they used to be between us which I have attributed to the geographical distance between us.

At the end of the weekend I walked her back to the train station and while we were waiting for her train I was talking about something my ex did a while ago. There was no swearing and it wasn't a "too much information" type tale but when was I mid flow she told me I was being too loud which was embarrassing her and I should speak quieter. I was gob smacked and felt like she had hit me. Dramatic I know but no-one likes to be told they are an embarrassment. I never said anything as her train was on the horizon and it there just wasn't the time, but to me it was like the opinions of total strangers mattered more than hurting my feelings. And she did.

So do I say something. We haven't really spoken since aside from the odd text. One of my other best friends has said she needs to know how much she hurt me. My ex was abusive which both of these friends know and my other friend has said if she were the one standing at the train station she would have been shouting it from the roof tops with me because she knows how awful my ex was. Another friend has said saying something is only going to stress me out and make me feel worse therefore I should leave it. I feel like she needs to know that she upset me but I just don't know how to go about it or even if it is the right thing to do. AIBU to say something so much later and how do I do it if not?

firawla Thu 11-Apr-13 01:12:48

What a massive overreaction OP. She said you were a bit loud - it's not a massive insult is it, just a small comment. It would be a bit weird to go back and bring it up now saying how hurt you are.
I have told my friends to talk quieter while walking in the road sometimes. It's fine to say these things between friends, you don't have to walk on egg shells so scared of hurting feelings by asking them not to be so loud??? okay "embarrassment" is a bit mean but you are still overreacting. I would just forget it.

olgaga Thu 11-Apr-13 01:18:22

Sorry to say but it sounds as though this "friend" had more than enough of your company after a whole weekend. I think if she actually felt more for you she'd have let it go. She was after all about to get on the train anyway, so the conversation would have ended very soon without her being so blunt.

Let it go, it sounds like this is a relationship from the past and should probably stay there from now on.

CarpeVinum Thu 11-Apr-13 01:22:26

Dramatic I know

That bit stood out.

In this context particularly.

Some behavoirs are learned. But they don't always work so well when we want to spend time with other people who come from differnet enviroments and exposures. It might be that she has given you a heads up to something that has slipped in without you noticing.

Try taking it on board and toning things down for a while and see if this has a generally postive impact on your social interactions. If it does, then maybe she has done you a good turn, albeit a not painless one. If not, then maybe she is just really rather unusually reserved and needs to be around similar people. In which case if it works for you, go back to a communication style that you feel more confortable with when not around her. Even to the extent of spending less time with her for everybody's sake. But give it a good crack of the whip. If she has hit upon something that you don't even realise is casuing tensions, irritation and distaste on a wider scale, and you can knock it back a bit, it can be quite a help.

I'm the child of a total "plays for the unwilling crowd who just happened to be on the platform at the time and wish they weren't" drama lama. I picked up some bad habits and for the longest time didn't even realise I had them. So it might be worth a second look before dismissing it as her issue alone. Just in case.

Doinmummy Thu 11-Apr-13 01:32:49

It sounds to me that there may be other things that irritated your friend over the weekend and your talking a bit loud was the last straw . Like previous posters have said , I'd let it go, especially as you are not that close any more. Not worth stirring up a possible row.

LemonPeculiarJones Thu 11-Apr-13 08:32:23

I think you've had a really hard time on this thread OP.

It's all about how we do things really. She could have touched your arm gently and whispered, "Darling, you're shouting." I think you would have instinctively lowered your voice at this, and she could have then said, "Carry on, so then what did you say?" etc.

It sounds like she expressed herself in an irritable way at a point you were telling her about something difficult/important to you.

Her reaction was incongruous - I would have felt jolted out of my mood of trust too. Not because she asked you to be quiet, but how she did it.

I'm not sure you should raise it with her or not - if you do decide to then be aware it may end the friendship. Although if you don't say anything then you won't be able to restore trust between you.

Sorry you've had such a battering here!

ThoseWomenWereInTheNip Thu 11-Apr-13 08:40:43

I have shushed friends on occasion. I don't want other folk knowing that I'm friends with someone who frigs herself off at work or buys 12 pink donuts and troughs them at the back of Asda's car park.

trinity0097 Thu 11-Apr-13 08:43:05

Public places like that I feel have an unwritten rule that you wait quietly, if with someone else then hushed chatting may be appropriate if not wildly personal stuff which the whole platform shouldn't have to hear.

HollyBerryBush Thu 11-Apr-13 08:48:15

Rule of thumb. If a stranger can hear you then you are too loud.

It kind of reminds me of commuter journeys where you always have that gaggle of loud females discussing the weekends alcohol fuelled exploits on a Monday morning or that braying bloke who persists is shouting down his microphone into his mobile.

No one wants to hear someone elses inane and pointless drivel.

firesidechat Thu 11-Apr-13 08:50:31

OP, you have my sympathy because I sound a bit like you.

I'm not loud, as it attention seeking, but I do have quite a carrying voice and it gets worse if I'm in a good mood. I've never been told to shut up by a friend because I think they are too polite and too used to it by now, but my family tell me to ssshhhh all the time. I think I embarrass them, poor things.

It does bother me sometimes, however I would rather they told me as I honestly don't know when I'm doing it. My family are lovely so I must be very loud for them to bother telling me.

Personally I wouldn't say anything to your friend and just forget about it. You were loud, she told you, it was a bit embarrassing and you now put it behind you. It's really not worth making a fuss about.

CoteDAzur Thu 11-Apr-13 08:56:23

Would you have been so offended if she had only said "Please lower your voice" without mentioning the obvious, that it was embarrassing?

YABU, I think personally, but if you want to kill an old friendship over this, that's your call.

whiteflame Thu 11-Apr-13 08:56:57

While it was done in a totally tactless way, are you aware of how loud you actually are, OP?

I have one friend who has a loud, powerful and projecting voice. I cannot go out to a restaurant with her, it is just too embarrassing. She will be telling a personal story and EVERYONE can hear. And because it is a to-and-fro conversation, they can essentially hear what I'm saying from her responses.

To put it into perspective, I am not easily embarrassed. We used to work together in a large square building, and you could hear her talking (the actual words, not just a talking noise) in our office from the lift on the opposite side of the building.

Not saying you are this loud (!), but I would think carefully about how loud you are. Has anyone else said anything? Because IMO it is a problem and one that you can quite easily sort. So maybe she has tactlessly done you a favour.

Samnella Thu 11-Apr-13 09:03:11

YANBU to be hurt but I think you are perhaps louder than you think. Can you ask a close friend?

TumbleWeeds Thu 11-Apr-13 09:03:56

Notalone I think, as it happens so often on MN, that most people has jumped on the fact your friend has said you were loud and that it must have been so because they would have never dreamt to say so in similar circumstances iyswim?
I have seen that happening again and again on MN. Nothing to do with you. Just the fact that, depending on how you set your OP up, it sort of 'direct' the posters one way or the other and you will get one type or answers or another. Which means that you can say after that again and again that you you know you weren't loud, people will not take it into account, thinking you just don't want to hear you need to change your attitude.

I have been wondering if your friend isn't the sort of being embarrassed about talking about more 'private' matters in 'public' so her comment has more to do with her own embarrassment rather than the fact you were loud (or not)? Similar than the woman next to you moaning about the train being late. Showing your displeasure for everyone to hear, even if it's not loudly, makes her feel uncomfortable.

I would let it go and see how the friendship goes. You have said yourself that things aren't as good as they were, that you hardly see each other anyway. On the other side, you are part of the same group of friends and making a big fuss about it could potentially create some strain with your other friends (which I suppose you get on well with?).

Good luck OP.

eatmydust Thu 11-Apr-13 09:06:15

Think it is just that your friendship has reached a natural end. I wouldn't say anything to her, and would probably just wind down contact. Suspect she will do the same. Maybe you were loud, but there are much nicer ways of telling you that than the way she did it.

Just wondering, as you said you lived some distance away if you are from different parts of the country?

I now live in deepest Surrey, where we commute in silence and talk ever so quietly, because talking on public transport is just not done.

I grew up in a Northern city. I never noticed when I was younger, but now when I go up to visit friends and relatives the noise levels are massively louder. On the train north the noise levels rise when it stops at the northern stations and people get on. What is acceptable and normal is just different in different parts of the country.

TumbleWeeds Thu 11-Apr-13 09:12:30

Rule of thumb. If a stranger can hear you then you are too loud.

How far from you you should the person be though? If they are several meters away, fair enough. But in a train station, lots of people around you (all waiting for the train to come), close to you (by default), lots of noise which means you can't just whisper because the other person wouldn't be able to hear you otherwise.... What actually IS being loud? Certainly not the same volume than in your own living room iyswim.

As the OP's friend was also unhappy with another woman who wasn't particularly shouty either, I would be inclined that the problem is with the Op's friend rather than the OP.

And let's be honest, none of us can really know for sure if she was or not loud anyway.

But you can say that a bit of tact wouldn't have gone amiss. Going on about the fact she actually really hates people being loud (ie she complained about the OP, the woman next to her etc...) was certainly rubbing salt into the wound. Very different that a quick comment 'Oh be careful everyone can hear you' to make someone realize they're getting loud and then carrying on with the conversation.

Which makes me wonder. Do you think that actually your friend is also finding the relationship a bit strained too so she is getting annoyed over little things quite easily?

hackmum Thu 11-Apr-13 09:15:20

I would have found that very hurtful. (Quite often my DD tells me off for being "too loud" - I'm not - and that always makes me quite cross.) The reason it's hurtful is because you were in the middle of talking about something that was a very important and sensitive issue for you, and she interrupted you in full flow. The way you were saying something was more important than what you were saying.

Oblomov Thu 11-Apr-13 09:17:18

I have a very loud voice and have to be told that I am being too loud. I hate it. I think you are over-reacting a bit. But I think you also really feel that this friendship has reached the end.

Notalone Thu 11-Apr-13 09:18:19

Thank you to all those who have made constructive and helpful comments on here, and that includes some of those who don't agree with me. To those who have basically told me I must have been crap company all weekend and for my friend, this must be the final straw, thanks for making me feel worse about myself than I ever did before I posted on here.

As I have said again and again, I am not a naturally loud person and don't have one of those over bearing grating voices. More people in my life have told me I should speak up because they can't hear me than to be quiet. I have never been told I am embarrassing before and I suspect most of you would hate that too. One of you made a good point about my new boyfriend being hard of hearing, perhaps I have had to modulate my voice to accommodate this, but I stand by what I say. My friend should have been more tactful.

Eatmydust Ha ha - actually I am originally from the home counties but now up north and my friend is a northerner now living down south. Is an interesting point though - perhaps I am now more northern and she is more southern smile

Lemon and Tumble Thank you for seeing the bigger picture because I do feel many people on here have been unduly harsh. But then what do I expect on AIBU, I knew it would be a possibility I guess.

And thosewomen - I was not talking about frigging myself at work, eating 12 donuts or anything remotely cringy thank you

ThoseWomenWereInTheNip Thu 11-Apr-13 09:27:18

I know that. If you'd been able to overhear the conversations Ive had with one particular friend recently you really would be looking for the volume switch.

TranceDaemon Thu 11-Apr-13 09:29:30

She's not your friend. How could you have a conversation with her again after that? Your friends are supposed to make you feel good about yourself, not bring you down and make you doubt yourself, especially knowing your past.

Branleuse Thu 11-Apr-13 09:30:36

i wouldnt write to her, or tell her. I just wouldnt meet up with her again.

hackmum Thu 11-Apr-13 09:41:50

I agree with Branleuse. Just let the friendship go. I've done this with university friendships that went past their sell-by date.

cheeseandpineapple Thu 11-Apr-13 10:14:05

OP, do you think your friend meant to hurt your feelings and was pissed off with you generally? Given that you say in your first post that you had a nice weekend, doubt she has any idea what an impact her off the cuff comment has made to you. You hadn't intended to embarrass her but that was her reaction to what you were doing and she probably didn't mean to hurt your feelings but that's been your reaction to what she's done.

It does sound like you're sensitive to that particular type of criticism because of what you've been through with your ex. Maybe she was careless and should have been more aware that the comment might offend you but if it's a first offence and she's been a good friend, give her benefit of the doubt that she did not mean to hurt your feelings.

I'm constantly being told by my kids that I'm embarrassing them. Fortunately I have the hind of a rhino...

Given your reaction, sounds like there could be a separate issue, maybe your confidence and self esteem are still low from what you've been through with your ex?

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Thu 11-Apr-13 10:20:42

She doesn't sound like much of a friend tbh. What she said was very rude and tactless regardless of whether you really were embarrassing her or not.

On the flip side, it is often embarrassing if you are out with someone and they are very loud. I went on a girls weekend a few months ago with some women I met on another forum. One was extremely loud, day and night, for 2 days and it was both embarrassing and frustrating. I was lucky as she's not a friend as such so I bit my tongue, went home at the end of the weekend and won't be having any firer contact with her. The others all felt the same way too. Everyone looked at us when we ate our evening meals as she talked so loudly, and it was all personal, explicit stuff too, about her sex life, her relationship, her health, her daughters health. Totally cringeworthy.

MrsMangelFanciedPaulRobinson Thu 11-Apr-13 10:21:14

Further contact not firer contact!

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