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  • FIRST POST
    • Peter333
    • By Peter333 18th Oct 16, 3:41 PM
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    Peter333
    Advice please... Very pushy woman at the Church my wife goes to. (Very long post.)
    • #1
    • 18th Oct 16, 3:41 PM
    Advice please... Very pushy woman at the Church my wife goes to. (Very long post.) 18th Oct 16 at 3:41 PM
    OK some advice please. My wife has been attending the local Church in our little village since we have lived here (several years,) and she goes maybe twice a month.

    She was asked when we first came here, if she wanted to attend a monthly Group that met for worship and singing and a general chat. She went, and thought it was OK, but as she is not great in big groups, and not a hugely sociable person, she wasn’t a massive fan, especially as there were several loud, rather obnoxious characters there who liked the sound of their own voice. She generally just sat and listened. As the months passed, she grew to like it less, and went to it less.

    It got to the point where she was just getting bored with it, and she said although half a dozen of the 18-20 people who attend are quite OK, there are quite a few people there who are just snobs, who spend time bragging about their villa in Australia, and their holidays in Lapland, and how many material possessions they have, and there are also a few bigots.

    She said she felt relieved if it was cancelled, and felt her heart sink at the thought of going if it wasn’t. I said this is no way to live, dreading something every month. But she couldn't find a way to say she didn't want to go anymore.

    However, after getting so bored and fed up with it for so long, coupled with the fact that we have a lot going on in our lives right now, (from good happy stuff to quite stressful challenging stuff,) my wife decided to tell them she was withdrawing from the Group. She decided she would say ‘I have a lot going on right now; I wish to withdraw from the Group.’

    But she knew she couldn’t say it to the leader’s face, or even ring her, because this woman always tries to find solutions and remedies. She would have come up with a reason why my wife CAN attend this Group, or she would have said, ‘oh come to Prayer Morning instead,’ or, ‘The over 50s Group,’or ‘House group every Monday,’ when in actual fact, my wife doesn’t want to go to ANYthing. Just Church.

    So anyway, she decided to write a letter, and pop it through the leader’s letterbox saying ‘I am sorry I can't make the Group next Tuesday, as I have something on, and I can’t make November’s either sorry, and December and January is out for me too, as I have other plans for the dates.‘

    And then she went on to say ‘I am sorry to say this, but I am going to withdraw from the group. I have missed so many of the meetings this year because of other things getting in the way, and I feel bad every time I have to tell you I can't come, and it’s not fair on you or the group for me to keep not attending, so I am withdrawing. Also, as I have a lot going on in my life right now, I cannot commit to anything else – like any other groups or regular meetings. Thanks for everything and for inviting me, and I will see you in Church sometime.’ (She didn't have the heart to say 'I just don't like it,' so she just said she won't be coming anymore as she finds it hard to regularly attend anything at this point in her life.)

    Well, this was 2 days ago. Then this morning, the leader of the Group rang and we didn’t answer as we were in the garage, and she left a message saying ‘You don't need to leave the Group, and you don’t have to feel bad if you don’t come every month, just come when you can make it. And you sounded stressed in your letter, I hope everything is OK. Let’s meet for a coffee; I am in all afternoon and tomorrow, so ring me back, and we will arrange to meet for a coffee and a long chat.’

    Argh! Did she even read the letter? Or did she read it and just pay no attention? My wife said she was withdrawing from the Group, and has a lot going on in her life right now, and doesn't want to commit to anything. Yet, now this woman has put my wife under pressure to still attend the Group 'when she can,' and she has also put her under pressure to ring her back and arrange to meet for a 'chat!' My wife shouldn't need to explain herself any further.

    I don't think this woman means any harm, but she is so pushy, and can’t seem to take the hint! My wife just wants to relax and regroup and have some peace, as we have had so much going on lately, and this woman has just put her in an awkward position. Why could she not have just said ‘thanks for the letter, sorry you’re leaving the Group, you are welcome back at any time, ring me if you need to talk!’

    Not ‘well, you can still come to the Group, no-one said you had to come EVERY month, and ring me and we will arrange to meet for a coffee and a chat about everything!’

    My wife is almost back at square one now!

    This is the same women BTW, who (some months back,) made half the Group members put their private phone number on a piece of paper, and the other half pick them out, and said they had to ring the person whose number they had, for a coffee, to get to know them better. Loads of people felt awkward. I know the woman means well, but I found what she did very manipulative.

    I know my wife didn't tell the leader that she simply doesn't like coming, but even if she had, this woman would still have tried to remedy it, and find a way to make her keep coming!!!

    What should my wife do next?

    Thanks for reading this, and for listening.
    As of 25th October 2016, I am not participating in this site. Until MSE sorts out the issue with insidious trouble-makers, it's no longer a place I wish to be. I can't be bothered with the constant battle with trolls.

    MSE is not a nice place to be at the moment, and hasn't been for a while now. So I'm outta here for the foreseeable future.
Page 2
    • tea lover
    • By tea lover 18th Oct 16, 4:56 PM
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    tea lover
    What I am trying to get across is that no matter WHAT my wife had said, the woman would still have not taken no for an answer.

    She would still have tried to remedy it, to get her to stay.

    Nobody seems to be responding to that though.
    Originally posted by Peter333
    So what do you want people to say? You've decided this woman is awful (for daring to ask if your wife was ok and seeing if she wanted a coffee), you're refusing to acknowledge the posts that say just be honest with people, and apparently you know exactly what the poor woman will do and say in all possible hypothetical situations.

    It seems very unfair to respond to someone based on what you think they may do, and then not be honest with them in the process.

    This reminds me of the film minority report - she's been judged guilty of some sort of future crime that she hasn't actually done.
    • Peter333
    • By Peter333 18th Oct 16, 4:57 PM
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    Peter333
    You could try sending another letter... only this time cut the letters out of various newspapers and magazines and stick them in to make the words.

    That should do the trick.
    Originally posted by Gloomendoom


    Very funny!

    All I wanna know really, (despite all the whingeing from me and the varying advice from others) is what should my wife do?

    Just do nothing, as a few posters have suggested? I mean, what is the point in ringing the woman? Just can't see it. What does she want to talk about? My wife has explained herself already.

    Anyway, my wife will probably see the woman in Church next week anyway!

    But she REALLY doesn't want to ring her and meet 'for a chat!'

    As I said, I and she - felt that the letter was enough to explain herself.
    As of 25th October 2016, I am not participating in this site. Until MSE sorts out the issue with insidious trouble-makers, it's no longer a place I wish to be. I can't be bothered with the constant battle with trolls.

    MSE is not a nice place to be at the moment, and hasn't been for a while now. So I'm outta here for the foreseeable future.
    • Peter333
    • By Peter333 18th Oct 16, 5:02 PM
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    Peter333
    I don't know why she had to write the letter at all, she could have just stopped going and if asked about it say "Sorry, I'm just too busy at the moment"
    By sending the letter to the group leader it's probably sounds a bit like a cry for help to be honest, like she's incredibly stressed. I think any reasonably caring person would have acted the same way as the leader and offered to meet up for a chat.
    Originally posted by fairy lights
    Maybe you're right, but I really feel that my wife explained herself OK, and she really doesn't WANT to meet up with her..... So what should she do?

    So what do you want people to say? You've decided this woman is awful (for daring to ask if your wife was ok and seeing if she wanted a coffee), you're refusing to acknowledge the posts that say just be honest with people, and apparently you know exactly what the poor woman will do and say in all possible hypothetical situations.

    It seems very unfair to respond to someone based on what you think they may do, and then not be honest with them in the process.

    This reminds me of the film minority report - she's been judged guilty of some sort of future crime that she hasn't actually done.
    Originally posted by tea lover

    This is not how it is...... at all.
    As of 25th October 2016, I am not participating in this site. Until MSE sorts out the issue with insidious trouble-makers, it's no longer a place I wish to be. I can't be bothered with the constant battle with trolls.

    MSE is not a nice place to be at the moment, and hasn't been for a while now. So I'm outta here for the foreseeable future.
    • Brighton belle
    • By Brighton belle 18th Oct 16, 5:03 PM
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    Brighton belle
    I get that in RL this woman is pushy and won't take no for an answer Peter. But this is church, and this woman, who is probably very social, has real fears of people feeling isolated and lonely in a community where that is the last thing you would hope someone would feel. Your wife said she had a lot on (so sounded stressed) and didn't want to be unfair to the group.
    So to be honest I think I would also have replied to saying don't feel bad, come when you can, and let's meet for coffee. In fact I would be tempted to be critical of a church who didn't follow up and check someone was ok, someone who did not clearly say they weren't coming because they just didn't want to, but out of anxiety of being 'unfair' to others.
    The reason it feels pushy is because your wife can't stand her company. If it was someone who's company she really enjoyed she wouldn't be feeling like this.
    SUGGESTED REMEDY:
    I'm afraid I think the only solution will be a firm and clear 'I do not wish to attend, and have no need to discuss that, and thank you for your concern but I am fine and happy and only wish to attend church on Sunday". Repeat as necessary. Don't engage in conversation to justify how she feels

    If it was you in this situation Peter, what would you do?
    I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 18th Oct 16, 5:04 PM
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    FBaby
    She can either ignore the message, ignore future phone calls, ignore the other ones who will be wondering if she is ok and then they can conclude that your wife is rude to not have bothered to explain herself and say good bye.

    Or she can go there, say that the group is very lucky to have such a dedicated leader who has managed to keep it going but that she had made the decision to move on to new pastures and she wishes them all well. If they asked questions, she can replies very briefly and then say she has to go.

    Or she can write to her and say that she's never liked her, that she is a bully and it's about time someone tells her. That her attitude is overwhelming and it is because of her she is going. That should also stop any further contact.
    • fairy lights
    • By fairy lights 18th Oct 16, 5:04 PM
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    fairy lights
    Maybe you're right, but I really feel that my wife explained herself OK, and she really doesn't WANT to meet up with her..... So what should she do?
    Originally posted by Peter333
    Phone her up, thank her for the offer and reassure her that everything is ok but she's just rushed off her feet at the moment and doesn't have a spare minute.
    • KiKi
    • By KiKi 18th Oct 16, 5:06 PM
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    KiKi
    The woman responded fairly based on what your wife wrote. I suspect you can't see that right now, because you THINK you know she would have been like this regardless - but the fact is that you don't know.

    Regardless of that, I suggest your wife tries some honesty and assertiveness. Quite simply: "thanks for your letter and concern. I'm not stressed, and I don't need to talk. However, I want to limit my involvement, so I'll see you when I'm at church, but I can't commit to anything else."

    If the women suggests tea and cake: "thanks, but I just can't commit to anything at the moment." If she suggests another group: "As I've just said, I want to limit my involvement." If she persists: "I appreciate that you're looking out for me, but I'm feeling under pressure from all the invites, so please don't invite me to anything else for now."

    KiKi
    ' <-- See that? It's called an apostrophe. It does not mean "hey, look out, here comes an S".
    • KiKi
    • By KiKi 18th Oct 16, 5:07 PM
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    KiKi
    The reason it feels pushy is because your wife can't stand her company. If it was someone who's company she really enjoyed she wouldn't be feeling like this.
    Originally posted by Brighton belle
    THIS. If she liked the woman then her response would simply be seen as a kind friend who's concerned.
    ' <-- See that? It's called an apostrophe. It does not mean "hey, look out, here comes an S".
    • Peter333
    • By Peter333 18th Oct 16, 5:11 PM
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    Peter333
    I get that in RL this woman is pushy and won't take no for an answer Peter. But this is church, and this woman, who is probably very social, has real fears of people feeling isolated and lonely in a community where that is the last thing you would hope someone would feel. Your wife said she had a lot on (so sounded stressed) and didn't want to be unfair to the group.
    So to be honest I think I would also have replied to saying don't feel bad, come when you can, and let's meet for coffee. In fact I would be tempted to be critical of a church who didn't follow up and check someone was ok, someone who did not clearly say they weren't coming because they just didn't want to, but out of anxiety of being 'unfair' to others.
    The reason it feels pushy is because your wife can't stand her company. If it was someone who's company she really enjoyed she wouldn't be feeling like this.
    I'm afraid I think the only solution will be a firm and clear 'I do not wish to attend, and have no need to discuss that, and thank you for your concern but I am fine and happy and only wish to attend church on Sunday". Repeat as necessary. Don't engage in conversation to justify how she feels

    If it was you in this situation Peter, what would you do?
    Originally posted by Brighton belle
    Thank you so much!

    I don't want to come across as expecting people to say only what I want to hear, but I was beginning to feel that people were not hearing what I was saying. (Sorry if that sounds bad, I don't mean it to, and maybe it's me being clumsy, frantic or whatever, and not explaining myself properly!)

    I think the content and constructive criticism in your post is great 'Belle,' and you have some good valid points. Yes of course a Church would care/should care, but they also are in danger sometimes of being too pushy and prodding in when people prefer to be left alone. And yes some of them CAN be pushy.

    I don't know what I'd do if I were my wife TBH.

    Maybe she should give her quick ring and just say 'I am OK, but I just can't meet up for anything at the moment sorry.' Trouble is, this woman WILL NOT take no for an answer and is very pushy, so it's hard. And my wife doesn't dislike the woman but she doesn't love her either.

    Thanks to everyone and I am sorry if I have come across as snappy or demanding or like I am not listening. I do appreciate all the advice (honest )

    Thanks I do appreciate all of you.
    As of 25th October 2016, I am not participating in this site. Until MSE sorts out the issue with insidious trouble-makers, it's no longer a place I wish to be. I can't be bothered with the constant battle with trolls.

    MSE is not a nice place to be at the moment, and hasn't been for a while now. So I'm outta here for the foreseeable future.
    • paddy's mum
    • By paddy's mum 18th Oct 16, 5:13 PM
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    paddy's mum
    she made it clear in her letter that she wasn't able to come to the Group
    Originally posted by Peter333
    ABLE and WANT are two very different meanings. I think it's the use of that word able that is the root cause of the problem here since it does not make at all clear that Mrs Peter does not want to attend any longer.

    The reasons given almost invite a sympathetic response and if the woman is bossy but genuinely very big-hearted, what she replied is almost exactly what I would have expected. I am reminded of that lovely Maureen Lipman comment that she "goes around meaning well like anything....!"

    It may well be so that the woman won't take no for an answer but in fairness, I suggest that Mrs Peter learns pronto to give no as her answer! People can be too nice and in trying to spare others' feelings, more misunderstanding and offence arise.
    • Peter333
    • By Peter333 18th Oct 16, 5:18 PM
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    Peter333
    ABLE and WANT are two very different meanings. I think it's the use of that word able that is the root cause of the problem here since it does not make at all clear that Mrs Peter does not want to attend any longer.

    The reasons given almost invite a sympathetic response and if the woman is bossy but genuinely very big-hearted, what she replied is almost exactly what I would have expected. I am reminded of that lovely Maureen Lipman comment that she "goes around meaning well like anything....!"

    It may well be so that the woman won't take no for an answer but in fairness, I suggest that Mrs Peter learns pronto to give no as her answer! People can be too nice and in trying to spare others' feelings, more misunderstanding and offence arise.
    Originally posted by paddy's mum
    Good points. Thank you.
    As of 25th October 2016, I am not participating in this site. Until MSE sorts out the issue with insidious trouble-makers, it's no longer a place I wish to be. I can't be bothered with the constant battle with trolls.

    MSE is not a nice place to be at the moment, and hasn't been for a while now. So I'm outta here for the foreseeable future.
    • Peter333
    • By Peter333 18th Oct 16, 5:18 PM
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    Peter333
    Back later. Off for dinner now!

    Thanks again everyone. See ya later.
    As of 25th October 2016, I am not participating in this site. Until MSE sorts out the issue with insidious trouble-makers, it's no longer a place I wish to be. I can't be bothered with the constant battle with trolls.

    MSE is not a nice place to be at the moment, and hasn't been for a while now. So I'm outta here for the foreseeable future.
    • TeamPlum
    • By TeamPlum 18th Oct 16, 5:26 PM
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    TeamPlum
    Coild she ask for divine intervention?
    • WestonDave
    • By WestonDave 18th Oct 16, 5:35 PM
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    WestonDave
    I'm afraid she's (your wife) has dug herself a bit of a hole here. The group leader might be a bit pushy, but will be expected by the church to use the group as a means of getting people involved - particularly those that are sort of on the fringe - those that only come every other week etc. She would be expected to show concern if people look like drifting away or seem to be struggling in life, so whilst her specific approach might well come across as being pushy she's not really doing much wrong.


    However instead of being honest and saying that one or two people in the group seem to be making her feel belittled etc by going on about their great lives, and that as a result she's come to dislike attending, she's made some excuse about being busy etc. So not only is the leader now triggered to try to resolve that to avoid her further drifting away from the church, but also doesn't know that there is a perceived problem in the group that if perhaps clamped down on a bit might make it more welcoming to others that are equally just tolerating it.


    Probably the face saving way out of this is to have a brief chat with the leader next time she sees her in church, and confirm that at present she is very busy and just wants to confine her church activity to Sunday mornings, that she is generally fine in life and not struggling along in some kind of crisis, but point out that the group had become quite a low priority in her life because she felt that the approach some in the group took to life (overt materialism etc) was at odds with her own and was making her feel uncomfortable. She could then say that when time permits she may return to see whether she felt differently but that if things hadn't changed then it would remain something that she didn't feel she particularly wanted to choose to use her time for.
    Adventure before Dementia!
    • Person_one
    • By Person_one 18th Oct 16, 5:41 PM
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    Person_one


    Very funny!

    All I wanna know really, (despite all the whingeing from me and the varying advice from others) is what should my wife do?
    Originally posted by Peter333
    My advice to your wife.

    Ring her, say thanks for the offer of a chat and for her concern which you appreciate. Tell her everything is fine, nothing to worry about but you haven't been enjoying the group quite as much as you hoped you would anyway so will probably not be back even when things are less busy. Then say you will see her in Church next time you're there and have a lovely day. Goodbye.
    Last edited by Person_one; 18-10-2016 at 5:44 PM.
    • Happy One
    • By Happy One 18th Oct 16, 6:05 PM
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    Happy One
    Oh Dear!
    Sorry but I think this is a big mountain being built out of a little molehill Perhaps I'm a much older and more assertive person than your wife Peter but I would have just said 'thanks but no thanks' just not interested in attending the meeting as it's not my sort of thing and no thank you but I'm not able to come for coffee One doesn't have to be rude but neither do we always have to fit in with other people's plans for us.
    • iammumtoone
    • By iammumtoone 18th Oct 16, 6:06 PM
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    iammumtoone
    What others have pointed out that this is a church group is a very valid point. A church group will be and should be (if there is concern about a members well being) more difficult to leave than say an evening class.

    Of course your wife should just be able to attend the church without getting involved with the groups but I am sure even she would agree that any member of the church who was showing anxiety and stress so much to the point they have to leave a group due to it, that person should be looked after and someone should be checking that they are ok and not just leaving them to suffer alone.

    Myself and my son attend a church group, once we missed a few sessions in a row due to being busy. I had a note from one of the leaders posted through my door asking if we were ok as they hadn't seen us for a while with her telephone number to ring if I needed to. I didn't think she was being pushy I thought it was a lovely caring gesture, something that wouldn't have happen with his swimming class leader for example. I did ring to explain we had just been busy on those days and she was fine and just said she hoped see would see us soon. I also get notes posted through and the odd knock on the door Inviting us to other activities they think we might be interested in, sometimes we go, sometimes not, I don't feel any pressure, its just part of being involved with a church group, its what they do.
    • ognum
    • By ognum 18th Oct 16, 7:00 PM
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    ognum
    I honestly think this is a bit sad, so many people come on here saying no one cares about them, no one is interested in their welfare etc, etc.

    She may be a pushy woman but she has bothered to reach out to check your wife is ok.
    • Robisere
    • By Robisere 18th Oct 16, 7:07 PM
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    Robisere
    I live in a small village with a thriving Church and Community. I am not a Christian and the only time I attend church is when one of my friends passes away, which is what I will be doing in 6 days time. An old mate of many years finally lost his battle with cancer.

    I am lucky, in that everyone here understands that my wife and I have different beliefs which do not include worshipping a deity. However, I do understand what happens in a village if certain people who see themselves as self-appointed 'caring citizens', take umbrage at someone who does not wish to join their circle, or decides to leave it. There are just two in our village and everyone else tries to avoid the wife, who is the dead ringer for "Mrs. Bucket". Any conversation with herself and/or OH, is studded with their holidays (to the most exotic destinations) their material possessions, their fantastic home and its latest Makeover, and their work for the church. They always try to grab people for whatever charitable impulse is flavour of the month with them, but they have never been known to carry through these episodes. I have actually witnessed our lovely lady vicar, wince visibly as they approach her.

    The problem that can arise, is that people like that in small communities, have been known to attempt to slight the names and reputations of those that they feel has disrespected them or their beliefs and opinions. This is the sort of thing that just rolls off my back and I would laugh at it, but OP I think that is the root of your wife's anxiety here. Ask her this: did she know this woman well, before she began going to church? Or joining the Group? If not, why be afraid of telling her no? Ask other friends in the village (diplomatically) for their opinion, you may get a pleasant surprise.

    You could of course ignore her, by not answering letters or phone messages. But another way is to simply say that "The Group is not for me, I'm sorry, but I still like to attend church. - (Pause) - on my own, in my personal form of worship. But thanks for your concern, it is appreciated."
    There may be more than one way to skin a cat.
    But the result is always inedible.

    • Lbuk
    • By Lbuk 18th Oct 16, 7:12 PM
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    Lbuk
    It seems to me to be one of those situations where inaction would have been the best action.

    Your wife doesn't want to socialise and knew this (probably very well meaning) women would try to maintain contact.

    Your wife should have just stopped going without trying to justify herself with lies. No one would be offended if she was still polite in passing.

    To be honest reading through your replies you seem rather irate about the whole situation. A bit too irate. Mind your own business and let your wife figure things out for herself more and perhaps she'll gain some confidence in dealing with them in future.
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