These are stories from my life (with fake names of course) that confused and bothered me, because I’m not sure what to do about them now or how I should have acted in the moment.
Someone was asking a simple question about code; I tried to help, by showing them, on their computer, a way to solve the problem that made their question unnecessary. They undid my changes, and said that I didn’t answer my question. I then answered the question, and they said “there we go, see, was that so hard?” At least, something like that.
I’m pretty sure I understand their point of view: they value respect, control, and personal space, and saw my actions as “taking control” of their computer. They also saw my actions as disrespectful, as I had ignored the initial question in order to show a different solution. Seems somewhat reasonable, although I definitely don’t empathise with the position.
I didn’t react well to their behavior; I felt personally attacked and shut down, and was pretty clearly hurt. It was super confusing to me why someone would prefer what I saw as a far less elegant and readable solution, and it felt like she was taking a dump all over what I loved. In the moment I couldn’t figure out whether I was in the wrong, whether I was being unreasonable, but I knew I shouldn’t be as upset as I was. I’m still not sure what I should have done; I don’t want to becomme so uninterested in sharing information that I just answer the question quickly and get on with my day. Especially because this is someone who I respect, and consider to be my friend, although I increasingly wonder whether they feel the same way towards me.
My suite-mate Asher had a predicament: he wanted to stop Juuling, but he had gotten to the point where he seemed to breath out water vapor as often as not. He’d already enlisted my roommate Jacob to help him quit, and I was trying to help too.
It’s Mid-December, right before Winter break, and he decides to throw his Juul out into the Hudson river; I ask him to give it to me instead, partly because it seems like a really dumb idea to throw the Juul into the Hudson, and partly because I don’t have a Juul myself and sometimes enjoy a hit or two. He somewhat reluctantly agrees, and I keep the Juul.
Two months pass, and we’re back from Winter break, into the swing of things. He requests his Juul back, and I refuse. To me, the Juul is mine now, and I’d like to keep it. Additionally, he had wanted me to help him quit, and I still felt obligated to keep that promise. He’s somewhat annoyed, but seems to be fine.
Fast forward a day, and he asks again. I say no again. The next day I find my Juul has disappeared from my desk drawer, along with a few pods, and he’s puffing away at it in his room. I take it back from his room when he’s gone, and he retaliates by complaining audibly about the situation to my friends, using the phrase “he won’t give me back my juul” to describe my behavior.
This angered me. I decided then and there that it wasn’t worth the time or energy to keep the Juul, which he obviously was still attached to, even if he had initially wanted to quit. I left it in our common room, and when he questioned why it was there I flat out told him that I had stopped caring. (As a sidebar, what I meant was that I had stopped caring about him, but he definitely did not interpret it like that.)
I know he’s in the wrong, but I can’t tell if I’m in the wrong as well; does him giving the Juul to me not count as him giving up possession of it? Did he have some kind of social right to the Juul that I don’t understand? Or is he just an asshole? I’m still not sure.