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When people drop massive hints for favours ..

112 replies

domesofpillows · 02/10/2022 00:12

What do you do?
Do you acknowledge it? Answer as if they've asked you? Ignore it?
I have so many people in my life who drop massive hints for favours. I have to say it's mainly my mum who does this.

Such as things like: going to an event a family member has messaged me "Bob won't be able to come tomorrow because he can't get a lift and has no way of getting there".
I KNOW they want me to say "oh I'll pick Bob up".

Or "I was going to come to your house tomorrow. It will take me a while to get there. I'm not sure how many buses I'd need to get or which buses they are. Hopefully I won't get lost and I hope I'll eventually get to yours at some point in the day. I really don't know which bus to get. Do you know which?"

Usually I'll say "it's fine, I'll pick you up". Or something. But it's happened again today where I know it's a massive hint for me to do someone a favour. I'd rather they just ask that all this fannying about.
And half the time it isn't a favour I actually want to do, but feel like I should.

OP posts:
BMW6 · 02/10/2022 00:17

Just play along and keep a straight face 😆

Defaultsettings · 02/10/2022 00:17

I have a personal policy of ignoring hinting. I find it embarrassing for the person hinting.

Either ask me outright or don’t bother at all. Again my mum is the worst culprit. If I call her out on a hint, she says that she didn’t want to be rude by asking, as if hinting for what you want is better.

wherearebeefandonioncrisps · 02/10/2022 00:21

If you get ' Bob won't be able to come tomorrow because he can't get a lift' you need to say ' oh that's a shame.'
You really need to be assertive which is easier said than done.
Feigning difficulties in visiting you needs to be rebuffed.
Maybe a ' I can't pick you up as im waiting for a phone call from ( insert doctor , solicitor, insurer or whatever)

DixonD · 02/10/2022 00:22

This drives me mad! Depending on who it is, I’ll ignore it. Just ask!!! It’s infuriating.

mondaytosunday · 02/10/2022 00:23

I would never expect my mother to take a bus to visit me.
As for 'Bob', then that's his problem.

wherearebeefandonioncrisps · 02/10/2022 00:24

You need to take control of your availability.
Every once in a while is fine.
Being manipulated ( ie controlled) into doing her bidding is not.

Isaidnoalready · 02/10/2022 00:26

I'm pondering this at the moment the message received was are you walking to school on x day I literally walk every day they know this what they want to say is can you take my kid to school because I'm sick and the unemployed love of my life doesn't want to take our kid to school and I can't cope with them both home because I'm ill

Thing is they have burned many many bridges lately with many many people me included 😕 I'm just not sure I want to open myself up to being used and dropped again

I think I might have an "appointment"

Delilahonabike · 02/10/2022 00:27

I hate this, it feels manipulative and only serves to make me dig my heels in and refuse to play ball. Ask me directly and I'll help if I can, drop hints and they will be ignored!

Blobblobblob · 02/10/2022 00:27

Ignore it!! It's manipulative and annoying.

AnneLovesGilbert · 02/10/2022 00:32

First example: that’s a shame

Second: sure you’ll work it out/I can’t pick you up mum but let me know if you want to come anyway

Ignore hints or interject and shut them down. It’s not grown up communication.

Ximenean · 02/10/2022 00:32

This winds me up so much.

DD does this and these days I just ask her try again. She knows I mean frame it more directly, because it's way less irritating. I cannot be doing with games or emotional blackmail.

However, she's my daughter so I expect her to need favours, and it's my job to bring her up to be less annoying!! It's harder when it's your mum. You could argue it's easier to ignore a "subtle" hint than say no to a direct request. I just hate that feeling I'm being manipulated.

k1233 · 02/10/2022 00:34

The first one I'd respond "that's a shame". The second I'd direct them to the online public transport site that allows people to plan their trips.

I don't "get" hints and I tell people that. If you want to ask / tell me something, then say it directly. Otherwise it will take more than three repeated comments for me to get that you are actually hinting at something.

RainbowSlide · 02/10/2022 00:41

Agree with the "that's a shame" for uncle Bob, why on earth should you feel responsible for collecting him?

With your mum, it's a tricky one. You might just be direct with her and say "mum are you asking for a lift? Or shall I show you the way on google maps?". Call her out on it but just to acknowledge it and then to find a solution. She might have the sense that asking directly is rude, but that's not your feeling, so either you ignore it or call it out and find a way.

Vecna · 02/10/2022 00:50

It's precisely because you don't have to answer as though they've asked that it's polite. It doesn't put you on the spot. Also saves them the embarrassment of rejection and gives them the ability to pretend they weren't asking.

Obviously when it's very transparent that they want you to offer it can be embarrassing. But still totally ignorable.

melj1213 · 02/10/2022 01:08

If anyone hints, subtly or otherwise, then I will usually ignore it or will match their hinting with feigned ignorance or just "hint" back at them to put the ball in their court again.

Bob won't be able to come tomorrow because he can't get a lift and has no way of getting there" Oh no what a shame! Has he asked anyone for a lift? I'm sure people would be happy to give him a lift if he just asked them directly but if nobody can do it then I guess we'll see him next time"

Depending on the person, or how much patience I have at the time, I will sometimes just be really blunt.

"I was going to come to your house tomorrow. It will take me a while to get there. I'm not sure how many buses I'd need to get or which buses they are. Hopefully I won't get lost and I hope I'll eventually get to yours at some point in the day. I really don't know which bus to get. Do you know which?" "If you want a lift then just ask me, but if it's too much hassle with the buses then you don't have to come over."

blubberball · 02/10/2022 05:04

I can't stand this. Just ask directly. Hints are usually ignored, but occasionally I'll bite unfortunately, because I can be a push over

Mummybear888 · 02/10/2022 05:10

Like others have said, play along or say 'oh that's a shame :('

Good luck though. I know how you feel, it is soooo irritating!

StClare101 · 02/10/2022 05:18

I’m much better at ignoring hints these days. And if people try to create more work for me in a roundabout way I call them out on it. One of the benefits of giving less fucks as I get older!

ChagSameachDoreen · 02/10/2022 05:20


If someone wants something, they can use their words ask. I can't bear hinting.

petridishmystery · 02/10/2022 05:28

I was awful for this as a teen/young adult, makes me cringe now. I get overly embarrassed/upset when someone refuses me something (I’ve read it can be an ADHD thing) so if I didn’t ask outright, I didn’t run the risk of being told no. But like I say, I was young! I am 35 now. I still have the same reaction to being told no, but now I’ll either make myself ask, or just get on with whatever it is without asking for help.

it is so obvious when someone else is doing it, which like I say makes me cringe as I must have been so annoying back in the day!

Olivetreebutter · 02/10/2022 05:28

I hate this.
For Uncle Bob I would say "then perhaps he should ask if he wants or needs a lift".
For your mom I'd say "mom, if you want something like a lift in future please just ask for it, I can't guarantee I'll say yes when you ask but I will help if circumstances allow, but being hinted at isn't going to work."
She might say she thinks it's more polite or whatever so I'd just say "well i prefer a direct question, so please just ask in future".

If you think about it, any other response is 'hinting' that you don't like hinting. It's quite hypocritical. Better to be up front.

Eviebeans · 02/10/2022 05:35

Sounds like Bob stays home this time.
Presumably you’d have known that someone was going to be coming to your house tomorrow as you’d have invited them. In that situation I’d say “so glad you let me know - would hate for you to have a wasted journey- we’ll arrange something another time”

FangsForTheMemory · 02/10/2022 05:42

I ignore hints. My mother was a serial hinter and it drove me mad.

Hearthnhome · 02/10/2022 06:03

I hate when people hint at things. maybe it that I was married to someone who hinted all the time and I never got the offer right. But when people hint, I have found in the past that when I then pick up on the hint and offer, my help hasn’t been quite what they were looking for. Or I end up overthinking later and convince myself what I offered wasn’t right. It causes me a lot of stress.

I remember exh once saying ‘oh we could have gone seen my parents today’ it was 11am and they lived 2 hours away. I took the hint that he wanted to arrange to see them so said ‘oh why don’t we go next weekend’. Never entered my head he wanted to go that day. I presumed he meant ‘if we had planned earlier we could have gone today’, didn’t occur to me that at 11am he would want to start packing the kids up to drive 2 hours there and 2 hours back to spend a couple of hours there. Then the next he was annoyed and said I never do anything he wants to do. I was genuinely shocked because I thought he was hunting to arrange a visit. But not that day. Thought I had picked up in the hint, but turns out I hadn’t

Now, to avoid the stress and overthinking it causes me, I completely ignore hints.

Depending on who it is, I may just say ‘if you need me to do something m, let me know what it is’. To dp I use to say ‘I get the impression you are hinting, I don’t mind helping but can you tell me what it is you want’. He understood why and started just asking instead of hinting and it works.

Also these things make life difficult for ds who is ND. If you tell ds ‘Bob can’t come because he can’t get there’ he wouldn’t pick up on the hint as was being told ‘Bob can’t get here’. That’s it. It makes him frustrated when he finds out that there’s a subtext, he has missed. Social interactions are hard enough for him without people trying hide a meaning in it.

PatchworkElmer · 02/10/2022 06:16

I can’t bear this either. I have a acquaintance who doesn’t drive but will do things like accepting a group invite to an event (which has been forwarded to about 100 people with the same interest as an FYI). The event will be miles from home. She will then say nothing until a week before when she’ll message those of us she knows are going to ask something vague like what our plans are for the day.

We know she’s angling for a lift, she knows she’s angling for a lift. But she doesn’t ask. Which really gets on my nerves! I think it’s partly a defence thing- if we say we have full cars or something then she can pretend she didn’t want a lift- and also partly to avoid owing us in any kind of way (‘I didn’t ask, they just offered’). I’m a bit fed up at the moment as the last trip was some distance away, I went out of my way to collect her and drop her home, and I’m skint so I asked if she could give me a couple of quid for fuel. She still hasn’t.

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