Is it ever acceptable to ignore someone?

ignore

The church youth group I went to was fairly typical as far as the kids who attended.  There was one girl in particular that no one seemed to like though.  I couldn’t stand this girl, and most likely made it very clear on more than one occasion.

The girl (I’ll just call her C), would drive people crazy.  At one point, my sister was a youth leader and started talking to C.  C then gravitated toward my sister, always wanting to be around her or talk to her during youth group, and calling her about 20 times a week.  It finally got to the point that my sister would check the caller ID on her cell phone and if it was C calling, my sister would quickly open and close the phone, to cause the call to hang up.

Apparently this is common behavior for C as I have heard of her doing this with other people as well.  Looking back, I believe C may have some form of mid-functioning autism.  I’m basing that on what I know about autism and the different behaviors I have seen from people on the spectrum, not on any kind of medical proof or information from a doctor.  Regardless, C almost certainly has some mental disability in one form or another.

These days, C attends the same school as I do.  She rides the city bus, but not the same bus as me.  I quit riding that bus when I realized C would be riding as well and take a different bus to school.  I sometimes hear her yelling across the table to people she knew from high school.  I have been known to leave the cafeteria if I hear her talking.  I either leave the cafeteria or roll my eyes while thinking Shut up, C.  Seriously, just stop talking.

I have warned other girls I know to steer clear of this girl and not give her their contact information.  Really, I tell girls not to talk to C, as I believe not talking to her is the best way to handle the situation.  When I was talking to my brother-in-law, he agreed with me that ignoring C is the best thing to do because of the situation and previous experience with C.

What do you think?  Is ignoring her and advising others to ignore her the best thing to do, given the circumstances?  What else can be done in this situation?

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0 thoughts on “Is it ever acceptable to ignore someone?

  • July 6, 2010 at 1:55 am
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    @typewriterss@xanga – no.  she’s not required to like this person.  but she shouldn’t be persuading others kids to start an anti- group.  that’s where the high and mighty comes in.  

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  • July 3, 2010 at 1:58 pm
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    This post breaks my heart a bit. It seems so cruel to encourage others to alienate someone because you find them a bit annoying. You don’t have to be friends with her but at least be decent and don’t “warn” others to ignore her. Maybe sit her down and explain that when she calls 20 times it is a bit over the top for most people. If she hadn’t had many lasting friendships in life she might not know any differently, and it could help her if someone approached this with her in a caring way.

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  • July 3, 2010 at 10:36 am
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    If you don’t want to be her friend, you don’t have to be. Some people are just so quick to condemn on here. If you hadn’t mentioned that C had some sort of mental issue & had just described her as obnoxious, etc, many people wouldn’t have had an issue but because she is special.. now things have changed (NOTE: i have nothing against people with disabilities but i have a problem with other people pretending to like them simply because they’re mentally disabled. I have met many mentally disabled people who regard that type of behavior with the same disdain; like someone for who they are, don’t feel sorry for them for what they aren’t. For all you know, they feel sorry for us.) because she “could possibly be autistic”. The point i’m trying to make is sometimes you meet people who rub you the wrong way. They could just have issues, or they could be perfectly “normal” people with personality quirks others don’t like. C would find a new friend. Like every kid, she would bounce back resiliently & find people who like the things about her that others don’t.

    There was a girl in my school who i disliked a lot. She had complications at birth that resulted in her having developmental issues. She’s nice but she’s very touchy. As someone who doesn’t like to be hugged every 5 seconds, i didn’t like her one bit. I would tell her repeatedly i didn’t like to be hugged & she’d do it anyway. This blatant disregard for my discomfort when she was most certainly smart enough to understand just pissed me off. If she wasn’t mentally disabled i still wouldn’t have liked her.

    Point is, everybody has a personality. Not all personalities mix. Pretending to be her friend will only make you unhappy & let her know that this obnoxious behavior is acceptable. There are so many children without any disabilities who have no friends & get bullied. How is that right but it’s not right for a mentally retarded person to not have friends?

    Society is twisted.

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  • July 3, 2010 at 8:49 am
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    @aspergers2mom – I agree. Of course everyone can’t be a perfect saint or perfectly tolerant or what have you, but if it’s a youth group (especially a church-based one), people should at least make the effort to help someone like her fit in better and feel welcome.

    My brother runs a self-defense school for troubled teens living in bad neighborhoods, and I’m always amazed to see how welcoming and supportive everyone is towards even the most awkward members, and they don’t even have religion to dictate that that’s how they’re supposed to act. They do it because they’ve been taught the importance of valuing others. Shame on any youth group that would condone the opposite.

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  • July 3, 2010 at 8:08 am
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    @GuruBishisama@xanga – Exactly! But then everyone insists you’re super-mean for not throwing everything you have into being some chick’s bestest-buddy forever. My friends seriously thought I was like the most terrible person in the world for wanting to have nothing to do with this girl. I know two girls who are like that…demanding without being proactive. One is constantly complaining at lunch about how no one’s talking to her or saying we’re not talking about anything interesting (i.e. boys) and another one would always sit at another lunch table by herself and cry even though there were plenty of seats at our table, just to get her one friend to go over and comfort her.

    And seriously, why are all these people insisting C just needs to be taught the error of her ways? These types of people are not taught the error of their ways. Either they get defensive and get ten times worse just to be spiteful, or they just don’t get it. Maybe one in a hundred annoying people can actually be taught the error of their ways before they just grow out of it.

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  • July 3, 2010 at 12:58 am
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    @typewriterss@xanga – I really liked what you had to say on this subject. Some people seem to confuse the idea of being friendly and being friends. If someone annoys me, I have no desire to increase the amount of time I spend with them, point blank. Like you said, I’m not going out of my way to be mean to anyone who doesn’t deserve it, and a lot of times, annoying people are just that–annoying, but ultimately harmless.

    In High School, I was introduced to a girl in my grade whose mother worked with mine. My mom told me that she had “some sort of learning difference” (this girl’s mother never specified exactly what) to my mom and it was clear that it made a number of things difficult for her, including aspects of social interaction. When we had a class together, I never went out of my way to exclude her, and when it turned out she had my lunch period, I never told her that she couldn’t sit at my table. I don’t think I ever did anything to give her the impression that I wanted to be friends with her, but apparently she felt otherwise.

    This girl wouldn’t have been much of a problem if she weren’t so annoying. She managed to be demanding without being proactive (she’d make comments like “I’m bored” at lunch without offering solutions, as if I was supposed to somehow keep her entertained.) We had no common interests, she was leechy, whiny, and ultimately, as bad as it sounds, too stupid for me to have a stimulating conversation with her.

    Could I have befriended her and taught her the error of her ways? Yes, I could have–but quite frankly, I had other things I’d rather be doing and babysitting a peer I didn’t really like for their benefit was not one of those things. I didn’t want to make her my responsibility and I don’t think that’s a crime for anyone. Kudos to the people who do step up to bat in a situation like this, because it’s not something everyone can do.

    In all honesty, her micromanaging mother should have been the one to tell her these things, but instead, she tried to improve her daughter’s social life by guilting her coworkers into making their kids hang out with her.

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  • July 2, 2010 at 11:25 pm
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    I think it is perfectly fine to steer clear of her HOWEVER I dont think you should be telling other people to ignore her as well, it just sounds like to me that C could prob just really use a friend. After all doesn’t everyone deserve a friend?

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  • July 2, 2010 at 10:18 pm
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    this is tough. here’s my opinion.

    ignoring her is not right but sometimes it’s the only option. what the hell, you can’t have her harassing you constantly when you don’t like her – you don’t have to be friends with her and it seems you have nothing in common and she just annoys you, so why force yourself? I mean of course be nice, but no avoiding her is not bad because you need to do it for your own mental sanity.

    you don’t need to tell other people not to talk to her, though – even though she may be annoying or clingy, it’s up to them to find out for themselves because who knows – maybe C can find a really good friend and won’t be so annoying to everyone anymore! I know you’re trying to help, but let them make that decision on their own.

    as for the mother who’s giving you advice on here – do not listen to that. it’s not your job to sit down with the girl and her mother and be her freakin’ mentor. you’ve got your own things going on in your life and it’s not your job to be someone else’s babysitter. maybe if you were friends with the girl, sure – but you’re obviously not and it’s not your job to make sure she acts correctly in public.

    sorry if this comment sounds bossy, I realize I’m so used to writing persuasive papers and making arguments I don’t use words such as “I think” or “in my opinion” hahaha I just kinda state it as fact.

    well, good luck!

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  • July 2, 2010 at 10:10 pm
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    I think you all handled the situation poorly. Nobody wants to be ignored and lonely and rejected like C, and perhaps that’s why she comes off as a bit “annoying” or “needy”. Be a friend, not an enemy. It was very immature for you to “warn” people about her. Grow up.

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  • July 2, 2010 at 6:50 pm
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    As many of the first comments have said, ignoring her, and telling other people to ignore her is down right cruel. SHE DOESN’T KNOW ANY BETTER, and all your doing with ignoring her is making the situation first. The fact that you posted this at least tells me your trying to be a good person, but your behavior up until now is reprehensible. That girl needs your help, and ignoring her is not the answer. The CHRISTIAN thing to do, since you claim to be a Christian, would be to include her and try to explain “the rules” to her so she’s not flying blind. all ignoring her does is make her a social outcast and makes it that much harder for her to develop social skills as she gets older.

    And I don’t know if you meant it to be or not, but this post sounds extremely judgmental on your part, so you might want to consider that when your reading people’s reaction to your post.

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  • July 2, 2010 at 2:27 pm
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    I don’t know. Personally, I think its kind of a mean thing to do. But, maybe part of the reason C talks so much to anybody who will listen is because rarely does anyone listen…Maybe that’s also while she attaches to people who give her attention. Just food for thought.

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  • July 2, 2010 at 11:26 am
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    Well, don’t bother telling other people not to talk to her; if she’s really as bad as you say she is they’ll figure it out on their own.

    I know a girl like this and frankly, I don’t care if she has a mental thing or not. I’m not required to be her friend. I don’t feel in any way obligated to talk to her or be nice to her just because no one likes her. I know people who put up with her so they won’t hurt her feelings; well, good for them.

    Now, I’m not supporting being mean to people (whether they have some form of autism or not), but all these people that are now convinced you’re a horrible person have to consider that you don’t owe this girl anything. You don’t have to be her friend or talk to her or anything. I mean, really, just because she might have autism and doesn’t have any other friends doesn’t mean you should treat her differently than anyone else who annoys the piss out of you. But really, don’t go out of the way to warn other people away from her. If it’s really a big deal to you, maybe just mention that you don’t really like her if someone else brings it up?

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  • July 2, 2010 at 10:17 am
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    In my opinion I think it’s really mean and messed up you’re telling other people not to talk to C. Who knows C might be the one who changes someones life one day.
    If you don’t want to talk to C because she’s annoying or w/e reason it is then that’s fine, but you don’t know the damage you can be causing from talking about her behind her back and having others who didn’t even give her a chance to not like her.
    Karma is a bitch, so be really careful with your actions.

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  • July 2, 2010 at 10:08 am
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    As someone with friends and acquaintances who have different levels of autism, I’m going to disagree with most of the comments here (to an extent)

    I cannot be too much help because other than the calling, what does C do that annoys you?

    If C makes rude comments to you, then you need to think about yourself. Ideally, it would be great to be nice to someone who needs the friends.
    However, I know from experience that friendship is a two-way street. You
    can’t be doing nice things for the person if they cannot respect you back and sometimes people with autism (depending how if affects them) will not understand, even if you tell them, that they crossed boundaries so there is no choice but to ignore them.

    However, if C is just a little eccentric, show the kindness. Turn C down sometimes but do hang out with C also. I’ve always felt that the longer someone lacks friends, the harder it is to learn how to be a friend.

    With this in mind, something that really angers me is how teachers may sometimes warn other students of a student’s
    eccentricities but it isn’t to hurt that student – it’s to make the
    other students more tolerant, while what you’re doing is extremely and deliberately RUDE AND CATTY and made to hurt C.

    C needs friends. Maybe there are some people with a higher tolerance for C’s actions and wouldn’t mind hanging out with C. However, you are depriving C from this chance. As far as I know, C has never put you in danger and unless that’s the case, I don’t know why you even have to “warn” other people.

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  • July 2, 2010 at 9:47 am
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    I’d have to say that initially I would have ignored her, too. A good friend of mine was like that. She’d call me three times a day, everyday, and wouldn’t stop talking. She’d read me books while we talked on the phone. It got really old, really fast. My mom started to get pissed that our phone kept ringing, so she answered it one day, asked to talk to her mommy or daddy, and told them the situation. They gladly talked to my friend about the constant phone calls and she stopped. We’re still really good friends today, and we even go to college together.

    I think it’s sometimes acceptable to ignore people, but if she doesn’t realize she’s being “pesty”, you should inform her of it and try to make something positive out of it. =)

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  • July 2, 2010 at 9:39 am
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    poor C. maybe someone should go teach/point out what they don’t like much about her and how she could fix that… 

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  • July 2, 2010 at 3:38 am
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    everybody wants to be born healthy and normal.  nobody wants to be born with an impediment.  you need to understand that it was not her choice to be born that way.  if you seriously can’t stand her because you’re so high and mighty, then go ahead and ignore her, but don’t instigate an anti-group against her.  coz if anything bad happens to her, we’ll know you started it.

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  • July 2, 2010 at 3:30 am
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    Personally, what I usually do is tell the person what I think they’re doing wrong. If they’re talking too much, I ask them why they need to keep talking. I ask them to make their sentences concise. I tell them that I dislike small talk.

    Though my method may look harsh to others, I believe in letting others know exactly what they’ve done to irritate me. I believe that it’s unfair to ignore someone without letting them know what they did wrong. It’s like one of those common scenarios that for some reason, keeps happening over and over again:

    Girl: I’m mad at you.
    Guy: Why?
    Girl: If you don’t know why, I’m not going to tell you.
    Guy: ?!

    Just tell her what she’s doing wrong and tell her how to correct that. If her feelings are hurt, well, that’s too bad. It’s much better than finding out that her friend has suddenly begun to ignore her and not knowing why. She needs to learn how to act properly. And the first step to doing that is knowledge.

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  • July 2, 2010 at 12:56 am
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    Hi,

    I personally think that you shouldnt have ignore her, but instead being her friend. Try  your best to understand her.

    We are human being. We are not perfect ourself.

    As for C , You said ” I believe C may have some form of mid-functioning autism.” – She needs someone call a “real friend” to guide her in everyday life. And i know, not everyone of us are willing to be friend with these people.They are annoying people and bla bla bla.. but hey think this way, if all of us are the same, would u think this life will be intresting? I guess not.

    Sorry to say but by telling people not to be friend with her, are abit cruel. So, u shouldnt do that okay!

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  • June 29, 2010 at 11:34 pm
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    I think ignoring her would just make the problem worse. It sounds to me she is just trying to gather attention towards herself. Perhaps she feels isolated from your church group and classmates. Next time you see her, try and talk to her and ask her how her day has been. If she speaks loudly, whisper to her. I am a speech stimulation specialist and whenever my clients yell, I begin to whisper. This helps them concentrate more on what I am telling them and teaches them that a loud voice is unnecessary. I hope you can help “C” get through whatever issues she is facing!

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  • June 28, 2010 at 12:50 pm
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    It is always a lot harder to act “Christlike” than it is to be a Christian.  That is something that seems to need mentioning, based on some of these comments.  Especially for the leader, who has to try to guide the whole group dynamics.  As a beginning youth leader, in my opinion leading teens anywhere is like trying to move mud with windpower.  And trying to move them into something that their natural tendencies will resist strongly? Also, there is less freedom of discipline or such.  A girl’s mother telling her not to talk about something: fine.  Just anyone doing so: not fine.
       Someone should do something.  Okay.  It would probably have to be either someone with significant authority, such as a senior pastor with over 5 years of experience in working with autism and who is close to the family, or a young, enthusiastic someone with the guidance and support of such a person.  But it is partically impossible for a young adult to intuitively be able to handle this, so I totally understand the reaction that hippiechristian did.  I hope things do get better.  Remember, we fail; God doesn’t; and, best of all, God is alive and well and in residence.

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  • June 27, 2010 at 10:34 pm
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    no, ignoring her is one of the worst things you could do.  like many people with social skills deficits, it sounds like C is in some serious need of understanding friends and acquaintances who are willing to be patient with her and help her develop her friend-making-and-maintaining skills.  As a typically developing individual (which I assume you are), social interaction comes naturally, unlike someone like C who needs to learn the rules and will probably have a hard time consistently keeping them.  Ignoring C (and encouraging others to do the same) is most likely not only hurtful but confusing for C.  Plus, it does nothing to help her learn the rules and therefore perpetuates her problem of not being able to maintain appropriate friendships. 

    C sounds a lot like my sister who has a similar disorder.  we have found that the best way to deal with her more annoying behaviors is to be direct with her about them (e.g. “Let’s talk about something else” if she’s perseverating over something, or “bring your voice down a little” if she’s getting too loud).  My husband and I have had to set our own boundaries with her too (e.g. how often we make ourselves available to hang out, etc.).  these things help us because then we are not listening to her talk about full house for two hours every time we see her and also because it is helping to teach her boundaries in conversations and in relationships.  she has been very blessed to be involved in several churches/youth groups that have been accepting of her and have made a world of difference in her life.  she is a talented musician and wonderful friend, and it’s been really great to see her blossom with the support of patient and loving parents, friends, peers, teachers, and loved ones. 

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  • June 27, 2010 at 3:11 pm
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    I have to agree with aspergers2mom. It hurts to be excluded without anyone explaining why, your cruelty may not register at first but gradually as you turn more people away it will. I thought you Christians were meant to love your neighbour and treat others as you would have them treat you, one question, What would Jesus do?

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  • June 27, 2010 at 10:53 am
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    As a mother of a young boy who is hyper verbal, I can see this situation happening to my child all too soon.  I would appreciate someone being tolerant and teaching/helping him in conversations with his peers.  I do everything in my power to educate him on social situations yet I will not be able to ride the bus with him or be in the cafeteria to assist him.  I will have rely on a mature peer of his to help him along.  This is a very hard position for me to be in because I love him more than life itself.  I am sure “C’s” mother feels the same way.  If you are up for it maybe sit down with C and her mom to see how you could help.  Let her mom know that she needs help to figure out the approriate number of phone calls to a friend per week.  To know when to take turns in a conversation, etc.  If you are not up for helping at least stop telling other peers to stay away from her.  You are only worsening the situation.  I am glad you posted because it does show you care even if you choose not to be involved.

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  • June 26, 2010 at 8:48 pm
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    Quite frankly what you should have done, and your “church ” youth leader sister should have done, is try to teach the girl that what she was doing was socially inappropriate. It is possible that the girl has aspergers or possibly some other undiagnosed mental disorder, but you did nothing to help her and by getting others to alientate her, what you have done is extremely cruel.

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