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Bel's thoughts

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Thank you so much Lucio,

it makes much sense.

I think I will maybe apologize now, for my personal sake and not for him.

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Lucio Buffalmano

Cheers Bel.

Of course, albeit you already know this, but: not necessarily saying you must or that it's necessarily better, just saying I would have -as an external observer, and you know better-.

BTW, amended and improve the message in the meanwhile.


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I did apologize to him.

Still, I think I will for now choose to have no relationship. I am not (yet?) able to forgive, in fact I keep discovering more things they did, and I prefer to stay emotionally stable without them.

I think this is a fair choice to make. And a way to get emotional distance without going counter the blood tie. And, probably, the subconscious reason for what I was doing so far, ie the conflict I was creating.

Thought I could reestablish a communication, but no. I’m not ready, and I don’t know if I ever will.

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Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on December 15, 2022, 6:03 am
Quote from Bel on December 14, 2022, 11:49 am

On Christmas cards triggering power moves


Personally, I also wouldn't personalize them to save time and I wouldn't add any title for myself there -but then again, I tend to be very informal and to save on time I don't even send wishes and gifts to family on any holiday, so I wouldn't take myself as a role model-.

This comment was extremely helpful and spurred some additional reflection on this "birthday and holiday wishes dynamics".

I put the long reflection in the other thread here.

Here below a summary for my reference:

Quote from Bel on December 25, 2022, 7:11 pm
  • sending birthday and holiday wishes in a medium that allows for an easy answer (eg text message, Whatsapp, LinkedIn message, and worst of all phoning) is mostly going to be interpreted as being low-power and also annoying by other high-power people;
  • and it is also going to subcommunicate "not being busy" to everyone;
  • the more the receiver is busy and high-power, the more he will be annoyed and get distant; but, the "not being busy" will be subcommunicated to everyone;
  • while, sending birthday and holiday wishes in a medium that does not require an answer (eg postal card) may be interpreted as a kind thoughtful gesture.


  • it is, in any case, probably best not to overdo it, and thus do it extremely sparingly (eg limit oneself to Christmas wishes by postal card)
  • if one wants to subcommunicate being a busy professional, best not to send any wishes to potential (ie not already established) clients
  • best to only send wishes (by card) to people who are established clients, ie where a relationship has been established.

From the "always answer bids for connection" principle, it can also be inferred that:

  • if the wishes come from the other person, best to respond in any case (it will not be interpreted as "not being busy", but mostly as "taking the time to answer notwithstanding being busy")
  • if I send a card and a client responds via email, it is extremely necessary to respond: otherwise, the other person may think I sent a card to subcommunicate I was busy, and I am spurning his email to power-move [and this explains my client who sent back a card to me reversing what I wrote on the envelope (ie putting his title in but not mine): I remember the previous year he had sent me an email to thank back, and I had not responded!]

Some experiences of mine that seem to prove this:

  • I sent a whatsapp birthday wishes to a high-level CEO of a company and received a plain and annoying-sounding "thanks"
  • I sent birthday wishes to a company employee and received no answer
  • I tried to phone for wishes to two distant relatives and one didn't answer the phone, while the other told me she was working
  • I sent a LinkedIn message for wishes to another board member and didn't receive an answer
  • When I sent Christmas wishes on whatsapp to some former clients, I sensed them "getting more distant"
  • On the contrary, the Christmas cards I sent often spurred positive responses; in any case, them being "ignored" did not make me think people were spurning my wishes
  • After going through PU, I recently started being somewhat annoyed myself by people sending me Christmas wishes on Whatsapp, and started concentrating my answers to all messages in a specific time in the day!
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From here for my reference: A way to respond to "dominance touches made by someone while saying goodbye and going away"

Quote from Bel on December 25, 2022, 6:48 pm

I'm thinking of the possibility of responding by framing the touch-back as an "affectionate goodbye" in response to their "quick exit".

In the case above, I could have done this:

Him: Well, best wishes! (he gives me two-three forceful pats on my arm, and he's gone)

Me: (turns around, goes to him, saying): Wait! (tasking, but the following will socially justify it.) I want to tell you that it's really been a pleasure to meet you again. (this bridges into the touching-back and provides a frame to normalize it, and also increases rapport at the same time) Take care! (touch him back similarly to what he did, in this case eg two pats on the shoulder)

I believe if I start doing this, there's really nothing they can do to try to reestablish dominance.

And their move will probably also sound "petty" to bystanders at the same time, because:

  • they touched me without verbalizing affection, and it's clear (in the perspective of my follow-up) that they did it to establish dominance, especially in light of their "hasty exit";
  • I ask them to wait (tasking), then go to touch them back while verbalizing affection: a more socially-savy goodbye, also indirectly highlighting their nasty move.

This idea is very useful to me, as this "touch while going away" is something I tended to encounter a lot!

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Hi Lucio,
I reread your message and found much solace in it.
On this:
Quote from Lucio Buffalmano on December 24, 2022, 6:44 pm

About your message, I agree with you that it was strong.
... there's no point in blaming yourself because, in a way, it was also a good message in the sense that it spoke your most unfiltered truth.

I think saying that thing was a mistake. But saying that thing + apologizing made me grow, in a way. And I think my relative also noticed it.

I think if I stuck at this I could maybe recover a relationship. I think I will take some distance now, and get stronger before trying again.

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Lucio BuffalmanoMats G

Excellent frame control I saw tonight between two waiters

Young waiter comes with two coffees at our table.

We had not yet eaten our mains, so we politely told him they were not for us.

Young waiter turns to our table’s waiter who was nearby and says, loudly:

Young waiter: (to our table’s waiter, somewhat angrily and loudly) You told me to bring them to table 39!

Our waiter: (without losing a beat: smiles, pats young waiter on the upper back affectionately, and says, with affectionate tone:) You haven’t learned table numbers yet…

I immediately thought: BOOM.

No justifying, no defending, no anger at the “fake accusation”.

Just an excellent, public display of “affectionate frame control”.

Everyone simply knew instantly the young waiter was in the wrong.

And, in responding with affection, our table’s waiter not only gained the respect of everyone present, but also probably gained in rapport and respect with the young waiter as well!

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Lucio BuffalmanoTransitionedMats G

My former manipulative “friend” (who now owes me a dinner) enters again

I met, in the context of a lunch with a group of people, the guy who used triangular guilt tripping on me to try to push me into additional work for him.

I noticed two behaviors that, this time, seemed to be “off”.

1. During lunch he got up, went to a nearby table, and in the presence of others, took two pages of handwritten text out of his pocket.

He then took out his phone, and started typing.

He then said:

Him: Huff, I can’t do this anymore. (At another person present): You see? I have a list of people to whom I want to send Christmas wishes, and this is taking a long time!

2. At a certain point he asked my partner what we were doing for New Year’s Eve.

She said we hadn’t planned yet.

Then this ensued:

Bella: And you?

Him: Well, I have several invitations from people. I now will have to choose where to go.

My thinking:

While formerly I would have believed him on the word (and behavior), this time the two behaviors above had more of a feeling of “artificial value signaling”.


BTW, another exchange that went on with him almost at the outset:

The host of the lunch said that the drinking glasses we were using were originally his.

He didn’t want them, and had given them to the host.

So I said to the host:

Me: Nice! These then seem perfect for eBay!

Him: Yeah, good idea Bel. Why don’t you put them on eBay and I’ll give you half.

Me: Why don’t you put them on eBay and give me half.

Him: They’re mine!

Me: And mine was the idea (smiling)

If this would have happened before PU (and I remember several similar exchanges with him in the past), I would no doubt have interpreted his “power tasking” in the literal sense.

This time I immediately sensed he was trying to socially dominate me.

Two or three of these exchanges went on, and then he stopped trying to power move on me. And I could enjoy my lunch without this guy constantly covertly aggressing me.

When I said goodbye at the end he even said “Hey, we have a dinner to do”.

Which I interpreted as him having regained some respect for me.

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Lucio BuffalmanoMats G

Rock on, Bel!

Handled those dominant tasking-power moves perfectly.

Those games from your "friend" to frames others as bothering him and "having to choose" among the many we once called "social climbing in absentia", such as social climbing on people or groups who are not present.

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Thank you so much Lucio!

The interesting thing is that while these games used to work on me before I got here on TPM (he used to do exactly the same), now the feeling that this guy's social climbing gave me is that he must be so alone...

I think Bella also asked him something to the effect of:

Did you really have to write down all those names, couldn't you just go through your phone contact list?

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