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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

How do I tell my friends without offending them? 

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"Dear Ai,
I eat out often with my friends. Because our nationalities are different, we pick different restaurants each time. It was fun for a little while, but I feel overwhelmed recently. My friends usually order expensive food and a lot of amounts, but at the end we divide the bill equally. I feel cheated. They are from rich families and they use their family's money. On the other hand, I came to Vancouver with my hard-working money. How do I tell my friends without offending them?" Toshi - Japan


"Hi Toshi, thank you for your e-mail. Sometimes it is hard to tell friends what you really think because you care about them, you are too embarrassed, or you don't want to disappoint them. People assume other people would think, feel or act the same way as them. Your friends might assume that their spending habit is normal and never question about how you feel about the ritual. But from your point of view, this dining out activity causes you stress. There is a popular saying in English, "You cannot assume because it makes ass out of both you and me". You need to tell them how you feel because they are not mind-readers! They are your friends. If you tell them your money situation, they will understand.

Or if you are embarrassed to tell them the truth, then you can say 'no' sometimes. You can avoid your current situation this way. Make a plan in advance, like signing up for a hobby class, so you don't feel you as though you are betraying your friends when you leave them.

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