Sunday, August 31, 2008

Blog post #2 Interpersonal Conflicts

B has a friend, A and they had been good friends since B's secondary school days. Coming from a complicated family, A had always felt insecure about herself. She was also irresponsible in her work.

Once, B and A were working part time together at a retail shop. A was irresponsible and would always go for long toilet breaks, leaving B to tend the shop. As one of them had to be inside the shop to tend it, they had to have staggered lunch breaks separately. Usually, A would fight to go first and then come back late (in an hour when they were only supposed to have half an hour lunch breaks). Moreover, there was once when she came back late, but still telling B that she wanted to shop at the other shops as there was a dress she wanted to buy.

A also had a habit of showing-off her branded belongings to my sister, claiming that they were gifts from her many suitors and boyfriend. A had expensive sweaters that costed a few hundred dollars, handbags that costed a few thousand dollars, and even keychains of a few hundred dollars. She also always claimed that her 20 year old boyfriend is extremely rich and often sponsors her travel trips with him to places like whole of Europe, for 3 months. B, however, was certain that she was lying as whenever her group of friends asked for a picture of the boyfriend, she would reject, claiming that "my computer just crashed, all data gone". No one in the group of friends ever saw "her boyfriend" even though they had been close friends for more than 7 years. Everyone asserts that A was lying but did not confront her. B is worried that A spends all the money she work on branded products.

B is afraid that confronting A would definitely sour their friendship since A is extremely defensive and has strong pride that would crumble if her lie of 7 years had been contradicted. What do you think B should do in this case?


GuangYi said...

This is indeed a tricky one.

It would take a lot of maturity on A's part to take any form of confrontation in the positive light.

From the entry, I feel A is not ready for any form of "realization" yet.

However, if we can't burst her bubble, we can still try to deflate this sphere of hyper realism that A created for herself.

For starters, drop hints that her actions (like coming back late from lunch) is not a very responsible thing to do. As for the imaginary boyfriend, we can make it harder and harder for her to lie each time. For example, if she mentions like she is going out for a date, try to tag along to her meeting place with her "boyfriend", on the pretext you are heading in that direction, and volunteer to wait with her till her boyfriend turns up.

Hopefully, it would then be harder for her to lie each time and make her come to her senses.

I feel head-on confrontation would not be effective in this case as B might end up not helping her and losing a friend at the same time.

Guang Yi

r. said...

Hi Xin Yu,

with regards to the work situation, B could send subtle signals in their conversations to hint to A that she has to be understanding that B has to have her lunch also and it's not fair that A goes for lunch first all the time, and always come back late. Also, if ever B has the chance to go for lunch first, she could come back late on purpose just to let A understand how B feels each time A does it and hopefully A would be sensitive enough to see.

From your description of A, it seems that A is a person who is insecure and has low self-confidence and she uses this imaginary boyfriend as a way to keep in the loop. Well confronting her in about this would then deflate her confidence and I believe there's a high chance she would become defensive. If I were in B's position, I would just leave it and not bother about whether or not A's boyfriend is for real. At the end of the day, even if A's boyfriend really exist, I believe it doesn't really matter to B or any of her other friends. One day, I'm sure the truth will come out as it is really not possible for such a secret to be kept forever, especially when your clique of friends move on after school and getting married.

Shao Bin said...


I feel that these days lots of people have "imaginary" things around them. One of my friend will brag around about how good is her life and her bf, but in reality, it is not at all.For me, i will let her brag too as i feel that secrets wont keep dark for too long. Maybe it can keep it dark for sometimes nit not forever.

As for A coming back from lunch late issue, i feel that B should tell her indirectly about it, about how she feel. Or maybe B can suggest that let her go for lunch first due to important appointment on some particular day and made her have a tinge of it.

I feel that by confronting her straight is not a wise thing because she still have not come to any sense yet.

It takes time! :)

oxy said...

Hi Xinyu,

After reading your blog, I think your is a tricky problem. I think it is important to find out why she wants to make up story. Is it her way to get attention from her friends? Or is it something else?

Personally, I think it will be good to have a chat with her because I think that is the only way to find out how she thinks and feels. If you find it difficult to do so, perhaps you can get her closer friend to talk to her. I feel that perhaps talking over the phone may be a good solution so she will have a space of her own. If you think she is a friend worth keeping, I feel that you should let her know how you feel. Try not to pin point that whatever she had said are all lies as this definitely will worsen the relationship. Explain to her that you really like her as a friend and hope she can confront to you whenever she needs help.

Hope this may help you..