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  1. #1
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Default Being the afterthought/fallback - how do you feel?

    I guess I was especially curious how NFs may feel about this, but anyone is welcome to weigh in!

    You know how you may sometimes get a last-minute invite from a friend to do something – because they turned out to have one space left, one extra ticket, etc? Does that ever actually make you end up feeling insulted?

    It really depends on the circumstances, I know. Yesterday I texted a friend about a concert we’re planning to go to next week, and he thanked me for letting me know the details. A little later, and quite late in the day, he texted me again and said “I don’t know if you’re doing anything tonight but I’m having a few for dinner and you’re welcome to come.” I said that would be great except my friend from out of town had just arrived for a few days, so really only if she could come too – but I acknowledged that might just not be possible numbers-wise. He said he wasn’t sure and would let me know. A little later he texted me back and said he was really sorry but didn’t think it would work if I came with my friend – they just didn’t have enough room, plates, etc. Which basically was perfectly fine – it was nice of him to invite me, and asking if my friend could come too was a long shot and he had no obligation to say yes, and I am sure the room/plates thing was true (he doesn’t live in a huge space). But the thing that kind of got me was that he apologised and said they wouldn’t have room, but then added “With you it was pushing it.” ie. I was very much an afterthought, probably just because we’d been in contact that day already, and there was barely room to fit me in on top of the more important people (I’m afraid this is kind of how I interpreted it). By the way, the other people who were coming were mutual friends/acquaintances, at least some of them.

    I know that probably sounds incredibly petty and I may just be feeling sensitive at the moment because I am very stressed about a number of things in my life. I should probably just view this sort of thing in the best possible light. But I have known a number of people in my life who I’ve considered friends, but have realised eventually that they usually only call on me as an afterthought when there is space, or when it seems convenient for them. I don’t particularly like being “fall-back girl” or the person who only gets called when someone needs to fill a space/sell a ticket etc.

    What do you think?

  2. #2
    triple nerd score poppy's Avatar
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    Personally I would have interpreted "with you it was pushing it" as "there wasn't a lot of room but we really wanted you to be there and were willing to sacrifice some of our convenience". Might sound like a leap, but that's how I'd see it.

    However, I don't think it ever feels good to be second choice, and if that's the kind of message you get from your friends (consistently) I wish you the best of luck in working that out with them.

    "There's no need to be embarrassed about it, Mr. Spock. It happens to the birds and the bees!"

  3. #3
    Member tess2008's Avatar
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    I can relate to this.. a lot.
    I have always been (or I have always perceived myself to be) an afterthought too. Since I can remember I've been the last one picked, or the one left out etc.
    and I've always been so frustrated by it, because I've always been the one who nobody was ever having a 'fight' with, because I kept everyone's secrets, and I myself never left anyone out.
    and yet, in school, at camps, when people had to pick people to be in their tent or cabin, and there were six of us, and only five spots, immediately they would be 'sorry Tess, we've kinda already promised we'd all be together (a lie)'
    And the WAY I've been rejected/ excluded has been so mean and phony most of the time too. When a bunch of us friends arranged to stay at a beach house together (and I was the third person who signed up), 12 people ended up wanting to go, and the house was verrry small, so they all got together and said to me 'sorry Tess, but you didn't tell us you were going until last (complete lie, known by all), so if you don't mind can you sleep in a tent outside?
    lol.. when I was nine years old, a friend invited me over and her PARENTS said in front of me and my parents 'yeah, olivia called three or for of her other friends first, but they were busy, so you're the last resort, ha ha ha.'
    gosh. and I could go on and on and on.

    and I think this is the reason I am so shy, and so unwilling to let people see 'the real me' anymore. I've been trying to understand why this stuff happens to me for a long time, because I find it bizarre and absurd that people behave like that.

    lol.. anyway, this post wasn't supposed to be my little therapy session, but yeah. I am always the afterthought.
    hmmm..

  4. #4
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppy View Post
    Personally I would have interpreted "with you it was pushing it" as "there wasn't a lot of room but we really wanted you to be there and were willing to sacrifice some of our convenience". Might sound like a leap, but that's how I'd see it.

    However, I don't think it ever feels good to be second choice, and if that's the kind of message you get from your friends (consistently) I wish you the best of luck in working that out with them.

    Thanks! Yeah, that would be a nicer way to interpret it. I mean, maybe I should concentrate on the fact that he did want me there, even if it was last minute/afterthought. Like I said, I am feeling sensitive at the moment. I have enough friends with whom this sort of thing isn’t an issue.

    With this particular person, I could be paranoid but I do feel a bit too often that he calls on me when it’s useful for him, when he doesn’t have a better invite, or when he thinks I feel left out and feels sorry for me, which I don’t really appreciate it. Although we have a lot of mutual friends/acquaintances, he doesn’t often include me in things with them (even if it’s as simple as “come for a drink”), but he does semi-regularly want to do things just with me. Which is a whole other weird question. So there is a bit of a back story as to why I may have reacted that way (and I didn’t react that way to him – just thanked him for asking me and said no worries about not being able to fit me and my friend in.)



    Quote Originally Posted by tess2008 View Post
    I can relate to this.. a lot.
    I have always been (or I have always perceived myself to be) an afterthought too. Since I can remember I've been the last one picked, or the one left out etc.
    and I've always been so frustrated by it, because I've always been the one who nobody was ever having a 'fight' with, because I kept everyone's secrets, and I myself never left anyone out.
    and yet, in school, at camps, when people had to pick people to be in their tent or cabin, and there were six of us, and only five spots, immediately they would be 'sorry Tess, we've kinda already promised we'd all be together (a lie)'
    And the WAY I've been rejected/ excluded has been so mean and phony most of the time too. When a bunch of us friends arranged to stay at a beach house together (and I was the third person who signed up), 12 people ended up wanting to go, and the house was verrry small, so they all got together and said to me 'sorry Tess, but you didn't tell us you were going until last (complete lie, known by all), so if you don't mind can you sleep in a tent outside?
    lol.. when I was nine years old, a friend invited me over and her PARENTS said in front of me and my parents 'yeah, olivia called three or for of her other friends first, but they were busy, so you're the last resort, ha ha ha.'
    gosh. and I could go on and on and on.

    and I think this is the reason I am so shy, and so unwilling to let people see 'the real me' anymore. I've been trying to understand why this stuff happens to me for a long time, because I find it bizarre and absurd that people behave like that.

    lol.. anyway, this post wasn't supposed to be my little therapy session, but yeah. I am always the afterthought.
    hmmm..
    I’m sorry you feel that way… You know, sometimes I wonder if being (or trying to be) the person who is easy-going, who nobody fights with, etc, is a bit of a two-edged sword. I think because of that people will sometimes view you as a pushover, as the one who will always accommodate others, or the one who can be pushed aside and you won’t throw a giant screaming hissy fit. I seriously try to avoid being someone who forces myself on others, but you know, for some people that seems to work out better. For me it would just be pushy and embarrassing but for them it means they get included in things, people invite them/pick them first because everyone expects it with that person…etc. If that makes sense.

    I think if you’re a bit shy and reserved and a bit of an introvert, some people won’t look below the surface and they just conclude that you really do want to be alone and do your own thing – most if not all of the time. This is a real problem for an INFJ, I think, because although we do need our alone time (and occasionally at weird moments) we also want to know that others are thinking of us and would like to include us, even if we say no sometimes or can’t join in for some other reason! Maybe it’s too complex for the average person to work out…

  5. #5
    Junior Member Cheat1011's Avatar
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    I feel insignificant, so in turn, I have to make that person feel insignificant.

    "Hey, Cheat, we didn't have enough people to [insert whatever], and then I thought of you, wanna [insert whatever]?

    "[Insert whatever] is stupid, why would I do that? You're stupid, don't call me for stupid reasons, stupid."

    This is exactly how it goes down.

  6. #6
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    I find it completely ironic that introverts are complaining about being the "fallback."

    Perhaps you weren't initially the fallback but after repeated attempts to involve you in activities, to invite you places, to engage you people just stopped for whatever reasons because of a lackluster response.

    I know this is definitely the case with me. After I've tried to involve certain people x amount of times and they just act uninterested or decline I'm like eff it. You're Plan D. Think about the times you've been actively engaged and how you reacted and behaved and if people began taking cues from your behavior.

    It rankles a bit to be fallback but sometimes I'm like at least they thought of me. I have my fallbacks too, those who I know will ALWAYS be at home on the weekend and will almost never have anything they're doing so I call them up. And doesn't it depend on who you're second fiddle to? One of my girlfriend's husband will be out of town for the rest of the month of August and she invited me to to this really nice restaurant they were supposed to go to later this month. Why be offended if you're replacing a SO or someone who's emotional ties to a person legitimately trump yours?
    Relationships have normal ebbs and flows. They do not automatically get better and better when the participants learn more and more about each other. Instead, the participants have to work through the tensions of the relationship (the dialectic) while they learn and group themselves and a parties in a relationships. At times the relationships is very open and sharing. Other time, one or both parties to the relationship need their space, or have other concerns, and the relationship is less open. The theory posits that these cycles occur throughout the life of the relationship as the persons try to balance their needs for privacy and open relationship.
    Interpersonal Communication Theories and Concepts
    Social Penetration Theory 1
    Social Penetration Theory 2
    Social Penetration Theory 3

  7. #7
    Lay the coin on my tongue SilkRoad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    I find it completely ironic that introverts are complaining about being the "fallback."

    Perhaps you weren't initially the fallback but after repeated attempts to involve you in activities, to invite you places, to engage you people just stopped for whatever reasons because of a lackluster response.

    Well…I think this is a bit unfair. Perhaps not all the time, but overall, yes. I can think of plenty of people who I’ve invited to do things anywhere from a few to many times, and who may or may not join in with me (or in some cases it’s been fairly obvious that they’re ignoring me to wait for a better invitation), but when it comes to them including me in maybe even a large group, where numbers wouldn’t even matter, they just don’t bother. I have to admit that I have given up with quite a few people after those experiences, because I take it a bit too personally and feel rejected.

    I have asked myself if this can be part of the problem, believe me. Frankly, I think it’s a bit of a two way street. Sometimes I may put people off a bit by turning them down, but there are enough people out there who I have made the effort with and who don’t make it with me. Someone once told me years ago that I “exclude myself from things” (though she had her own perception of reality, and I was far from being the only one who felt that way) but that hasn’t happened to me recently, or maybe even any other time.

    Anyway, the point was not that this happens to me all the time with everyone. It doesn't. I have a good number of friends who mostly/a lot/always think to include me, which is great. It was more a question of whether you feel insulted when the fallback situation arises or seems to arise, how your type might affect that, and how circumstances might affect that. Apparently it isn't much a problem for you, which is fine.
    Last edited by SilkRoad; 08-13-2009 at 08:12 AM. Reason: additional information

  8. #8
    reborn PeaceBaby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    You know, sometimes I wonder if being (or trying to be) the person who is easy-going, who nobody fights with, etc, is a bit of a two-edged sword. I think because of that people will sometimes view you as a pushover, as the one who will always accommodate others, or the one who can be pushed aside and you won’t throw a giant screaming hissy fit.
    This; it's this. That's how I see it when stuff like you describe goes down.

    But as far as being the fallback, I think with some friends you are closer than others and that's just natural. You're on the team, just not on the starting line-up. No doubt you have friends equally positioned.

    Sending you a big !

  9. #9
    Habitual Fi LineStepper JocktheMotie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by proteanmix View Post
    I find it completely ironic that introverts are complaining about being the "fallback."

    Perhaps you weren't initially the fallback but after repeated attempts to involve you in activities, to invite you places, to engage you people just stopped for whatever reasons because of a lackluster response.

    I know this is definitely the case with me. After I've tried to involve certain people x amount of times and they just act uninterested or decline I'm like eff it. You're Plan D. Think about the times you've been actively engaged and how you reacted and behaved and if people began taking cues from your behavior.
    There is so much truth to this.

    That being said, I realize the above is the case, so I'm never that concerned when I'm fallback or don't get invited to things. It's nice when they think of me, but I don't blame them for initially inviting people who would have far more fun than I would.



  10. #10
    Plumage and Moult proteanmix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SilkRoad View Post
    Well…I think this is a bit unfair. Perhaps not all the time, but overall, yes. I can think of plenty of people who I’ve invited to do things anywhere from a few to many times, and who may or may not join in with me
    But what is their manner? For example, if I get invitations to go out on a non-pay week I'm less likely to go. Or if I know I have a regular commitment on certain days of the week and if I'm asked to do something repeatedly on those days I'm always going to turn it down. BUT, I offer alternatives. People offering alternatives let me know they're interested but it's just bad timing. So then I know they're not turning me down because they don't want to spend time together and I continue to work with them.

    (or in some cases it’s been fairly obvious that they’re ignoring me to wait for a better invitation), but when it comes to them including me in maybe even a large group, where numbers wouldn’t even matter, they just don’t bother. I have to admit that I have given up with quite a few people after those experiences, because I take it a bit too personally and feel rejected.
    Yeah, that happens and it's hurtful. People are always looking for a better deal. Please don't take this personally, but I can think of a handful of people of the top of my head in my social circle that everyone lets out a collective groan when they come around. These cringe-inducing people have this odd sociability but they're not very fun to be around, in groups or one-on-one. Could there perhaps be a perception of you as a wet blanket?

    Also, sometimes you like a person more than they like you and when you begin to realize where you fall on their list of friends it feels like a rejection, well because it is rejection. They probably like you just not as much as some of their other friends. I don't think there's anything that can be done about that. Is it not their prerogative to prioritize the people around them? It's like speed dial and thinking you're someone's three of four when you're really 56. If you're not being used, mistreated, and/or disrespected maybe your best bet is to start figure out if you want to be someone's 56. It actually may work in your favor because they may not notice that your feelings towards their friendship have cooled. Also there's a certain level of acceptance you have to have about these things. Some friends are just casual friends that you see every now and again and who's company you enjoy but it's not anything more. Can you trump someone's will and make it more when they don't want it to be?

    I have asked myself if this can be part of the problem, believe me. Frankly, I think it’s a bit of a two way street. Sometimes I may put people off a bit by turning them down, but there are enough people out there who I have made the effort with and who don’t make it with me. Someone once told me years ago that I “exclude myself from things” (though she had her own perception of reality, and I was far from being the only one who felt that way) but that hasn’t happened to me recently, or maybe even any other time.
    OK, I understand.

    Anyway, the point was not that this happens to me all the time with everyone. It doesn't. I have a good number of friends who mostly/a lot/always think to include me, which is great. It was more a question of whether you feel insulted when the fallback situation arises or seems to arise, how your type might affect that, and how circumstances might affect that. Apparently it isn't much a problem for you, which is fine.
    Yeah, I have a pretty pragmatic attitude about the fallback. I know that I have my fallbacks and I am a fallback so I've made myself not be offended about it. I've taken the attitude of thank you for inviting me. And also remember your position of a fallback isn't necessarily set in stone. I've uh, "moved up" with some people because I'm just such a damn entertaining person to be around. Pinch someone's nipples or stuff a bunch of hotdogs in your mouth, that tends to up your Q Score!
    Relationships have normal ebbs and flows. They do not automatically get better and better when the participants learn more and more about each other. Instead, the participants have to work through the tensions of the relationship (the dialectic) while they learn and group themselves and a parties in a relationships. At times the relationships is very open and sharing. Other time, one or both parties to the relationship need their space, or have other concerns, and the relationship is less open. The theory posits that these cycles occur throughout the life of the relationship as the persons try to balance their needs for privacy and open relationship.
    Interpersonal Communication Theories and Concepts
    Social Penetration Theory 1
    Social Penetration Theory 2
    Social Penetration Theory 3

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