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How to ostracize a value-taker

Hello guys,

I'm sad but this was bound to happen. As I posted in another thread, a friend is too insecure and too much of game-player and I have to kick him out of my life. It's sad because he has good sides. However, he's too much of a value-taking individual when we're in a group. I don't want to have my guard up all the time in a private setting when I'm around him.

I already do it at work and with my family, I don't want to do it with my friends. Some game, some teasing and some one-upping is fine, if done in good spirit. But too much is too much. Private life is for recharging.

Short history

A. introduced me to 2 of his friends, who were neighbours. We also met 2 other friends together. and now I put together this group of 6 people. There is one more as well but he's a friend of mine.

My problem

If I start to organize events without him, it will make me look like a d##k. The thing is that he had it coming. He brought it on himself. I created a whatsapp group. However, I will be organizing events from now on without the group because he's in it.

My solution

First, I need to have more high-quality people around me. So I can pick and choose better. I think I have to plant the seed in other people that I want value-adding people around me. So next time I organize a game and he's not there, people will better understand. I could also invite him every other game. And then less and less. Now I see him as only one player I can add to the game. Not as someone I want to be friends with.

Any input on that?

My question is also more general: in life it happens that some people introduce you to other people with whom you get better along than the original person. If you hang out more with this person or you don't invite the original person it can be perceived as not having loyalty or betray people.

Also with someone who's value-taking if I have to fight him all the time I can do that but then it's not friendship anymore.

It's a bit early in my relationships with the other members, but at the same time I cannot let him be cemented as part of this new group. I did not know taking the leadership would be so dirty. And now I think it's not worth it to fight him all the time. Better to make him leave the group.

Very interesting situation.

A few notes (and strategies below):

I could also invite him every other game. And then less and less.

It's a possibility, but it presents some risks.

People start talking about "that last game", and A. realizes he was cut out, and then he might start something nasty, or who knows, maybe even organize his own events and cutting you out.
And then it becomes a battle for inclusion/exclusion, rather than just about his exclusion.

One way to mitigate it is to organize when he cannot be there, so it looks natural.
Then, you make it a real good environment, and from then on, you just stop inviting him.

in life it happens that some people introduce you to other people with whom you get better along than the original person. If you hang out more with this person or you don't invite the original person it can be perceived as not having loyalty or betray people.

Not necessarily.

I think this is a case where you can be direct, without being mean.

For example, if you're not seeing A. anymore and A. comes up as a topic of conversation, you can just say "OK, I'm glad he's doing well, we're not seeing each other much these days" (= no hating here, just not seeing him anymore").
If the topic of you two not meeting anymore comes up, it's a great opportunity to say "yeah, he's an interesting guy, we're not seeing each other much anymore though (I guess we're different in some ways)".

Or you might say it yourself first: "yeah, I'm not seeing him much anymore, but I'm glad he introduced us".

It's a bit early in my relationships with the other members, but at the same time I cannot let him be cemented as part of this new group.

This could work both ways.

If others also don't like him too much, then that time together isn't really doing much good for him, but actually proving to everyone else that he's better gone.

If others are OK with him, then yes, it's something to think of.

HOW TO PROCEED WITH OSTRACIZATION

I'm curious to hear other people's opinions here as well.

I think a first important step is asking yourself:

  • How do others feel about him? The more people dislike him, the easier the job will be

If they don't dislike him enough, then it's also possible you can influence that.

So far we've already seen one option.
Let's plot a few more:

  1. Clear cut 1: Organize when he can't be there, make it better than it usually is when he's there, then stop inviting from that time on
  2. Clear cut 2: Organize without him, point blank (risks: he might fight back, or some people might wonder, so better making sure others don't like him)
  3. Muscle strategy: Fight him openly, then cut him. Whenever he one-ups or covert-aggress publicly, respond every time. You make it obvious that, at least to you, he's an annoying cunt. So when you cut him out, nobody will wonder about the betrayal, or think you were being shifty: it's clear to everyone you didn't like him. Make sure the group is more on your side, and you should be good to then go with "clear cut 1"
  4. Fade progressively: stop seeing A. individually. See the others more individually. The goal is to decrease the bond with A. while increasing it with the others. Then, the group on your side and A. on the outside, you can safey use the group fade strategy of inviting him less and less, or either 1, 2, 3

And here's a Machiavellian power move:

  • Tell the woman who banned A. to organize a dinner 

That will be the event where for sure A. won't be there.

And you will have the biggest weapon available to help you ostracize A.

Make that dinner as good as you can.
Tell the lady who banned A. to bring some of her girlfriends (that always attracts the boys), then bring the best wine, and your A game.

And then ask her openly in front of everyone: "look I've never asked this, but what's the issue with A.?".

Important: make it sound like it's a big thing you're asking, a big thing she's going to share: that way everyone will listen.

Boom, that's the power move.

Let her tell the story for everyone to hear while you expand on that thread.
Nod, ask follow-up questions.
When she says something that frames A. in bad light, make facial expressions as if to say "not cool".
Machiavellian power move: your expression is disappointment as if to say "man, it pains me to hear he's such a POS".

Now you're showing everyone you're better, and that a guy like you can't spend any more time with a POS like A.

After that, you cutting A. out is framed as "it's confirmed A. is a POS, and I don't want him anymore around me" (and everyone will be fare more inclined to follow you in the ostracization, since now it's public A. is a value-taking POS).

Now that's some Machiavellian strategies :).

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Ali ScarlettMatthew Whitewoodblueskyselffriend
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Next level stuff. It will take me some time to anwer, this is dense. Thank you very much.

  1. Muscle strategy: Fight him openly, then cut him. Whenever he one-ups or covert-aggress publicly, respond every time. You make it obvious that, at least to you, he's an annoying cunt. So when you cut him out, nobody will wonder about the betrayal, or think you were being shifty: it's clear to everyone you didn't like him. Make sure the group is more on your side, and you should be good to then go with "clear cut 1"

This is what I'm doing my best not to do anymore. I see the point. However, I found out that when I put out negative energy into the World, it comes back to me. That's why I avoid it so much. On this point it is selfish. I do good because being aggressive f##ks up your life. Besides, I'm a peace-loving guy. I can fight, yes. But not for these kind of stuff. I'm learning, though. Oh. I just found a limiting belief: "I don't like to fight". That's why I'm screwed up. That what makes me avoid fights. I must change it by: "I like to fight to protect my integrity" or "I like to fight to protect myself and the people I love."

The Machiavellian strategy is next level. And yes, because I've been such a strong authority regarding the events in the group (my strong point), he attacks me verbally (my weak points). He already proposed a bicycle tour of the lake this morning. So he realized he's behind in terms of value brought to the group. For instance, the game we played yesterday was awesome. Everybody was laughing their ass off.

Another plan is to discuss individually with members of the group when I'm 1-on-1 about my values. Something like this: "for me respect is very important, that's why I don't like too much when people bring their friends down in front of other friends" and have a honest conversation on this topic. So this accomplishes 3 things I believe:

  1. I can bond around a common value with a friend
  2. I can learn from his perspective on the topic
  3. We can expand on the thread: "it's bad to put people down"

On the long run, it's more difficult for me because he has more free time.

Going back to the Machiavellian strategy: actually, because I bought so much food last time, F. invited me yesterday to his place for a dinner with his GF.

The more I learn about this stuff, the more I understand why I was behind socially: I was clueless about many of those things.

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Tell the woman who banned A. to organize a dinner 

Wow this is some high-level Machiavellian strategy.

Befriending the enemy of your enemy.

I came across this quote before:

The enemy of my enemy is my friend.

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John Freemanselffriend

Talking about that, I’m starting to understand why she did that. Maybe he did really behave like an asshole with his ex-GF?

I’m not saying her behavior (banning) is justified. In first instance of course I gave the benefit of the doubt to my friend. Being a guy myself and having done his own share of stupidity and selfishness and hurt other people, I empathize. But I do regret my behavior and have been critical with it. I’m starting to question if he did question his behavior. Whatever it was. I’m not sure. I mean: everybody makes mistakes, right? But if you hurt someone and pretends you did nothing or don’t admit it to yourself, that’s an issue of another level. And this would be an anti-social behavior. You don’t admit to yourself you did something wrong so there’s a high likelihood you’ll do it again.

I’m hypothesizing here. But I’m also considering an alternate reality where he’s been a POS and he hurt a vulnerable girl. And does not admit it to himself. I’m not going into the savior-perpetrator-victim here. I’m questioning whereas he portrayed the events accurately.

selffriend has reacted to this post.
selffriend

Really great thread here. And, that Machiavellian move Lucio gave, what a top-notch strategy. Sounded like something you'd see in a movie :D.

I remember being ostracized from a group somewhat aggressively. Perhaps we can learn from their mistakes.

I was working at a grocery store. All of my colleagues were somewhat on the younger side, like me at the time, so they were all a bit emotionally immature. I like to think I was more mature at heart since I had endured so many hardships, but I was often using the Jester style of dominance to make and maintain friendships at work. So, you wouldn't have been able to tell either way.

A good friend of mine named A basically looked like an Italian Ryan Gosling with brown eyes. Then, he got blue contacts and actually looked like Ryan Gosling. Girls would come into the store, see him, and leave their number at the front desk with a girl named G, asking her to give him their number for them.

Still, his social skills weren't the best. We had a group chat—all us young employees that had bonded—that the majority of the group had decided they didn't want him apart of. It seemed that his external layers got him far, but he was "too nice" like I was before PU. And, his deeper layers made him overly submissive, which made him an outsider to anyone who knew him at work. Yet, it was that same personality trait that made me so drawn to him because I had so much empathy for him and his situation.

There was a value-taking individual named E that didn't like him. Lots of competitive frames from this one. He would tell others that this one person didn't do any actual work in an effort to build himself up. He got good at trading cryptocurrencies and I asked him how he learned it and he wouldn't tell me seemingly in an effort to keep me from catching up to him. And, in the group chat, he would trash A.

I always had the group chat muted because I was always working, so I rarely checked it. But, at one point, E took it too far. I noticed he had said something about A that I knew I wouldn't want him saying about me behind my back. So, I showed A the group chat. A was furious.

The message, if I remember correctly, had something to do with exposing A's true feelings for another one of our associates in the group chat. Once again, competing by putting A down so he can have a "better" shot.

A immediately took the judge role, casting negative judgment on E. E asked what his problem was when A responded, "I saw the group chat." And, immediately everyone looked to me.

I never checked the group chat. That was the first time I had seen anyone trashing A which is what made me act. Little did I know the group chat was this sacred safe space where "what happens in the group chat stays in the group chat".

So, the immediate reaction was for everyone to leave the group chat. And, come to find out, the next day they were all in a new group chat that I hadn't been invited to. I believe it was smooth because I was a dumbass and thought there was a problem with the group chat itself or deluded myself into believing they were just done with group chats. But, as smooth as it might have been, it wasn't subtle.

As I said, they were young, so they were into the drama of "cracking the case of who really showed A the group chat". And, that's because when I showed the group chat it compromised everyone in the group who had sent a message. So, E being as value-taking as he is, people wondered if it was really him that did it to knock everyone down a peg simultaneously.

HOW TO PROCEED WITH OSTRACIZATION (LUCIO EDITION 🙂

  • How did others feel about me? The more people dislike me, the easier the job will be

Since I didn't check the group chat, there's a chance they disliked me and I didn't know it. Yet, you wouldn't have been able to tell from the warmth they showed me in person at work throughout the day. I was liked, but there was a bigger incentive to ostracize me than to keep me around in their eyes.

It was easier for them to ostracize me virtually. But, I noticed it was hard for them to do it in person. They really didn't want to believe it was me. And, I never defended myself. So, they started to lean more toward believing it was actually E. All that made it harder for them to truly ostracize me on top of the fact we have to see each other and interact to an extent at work.

  1. Clear cut 1: Organize when I can't be there, make it better than it usually is when I'm there, then stop inviting from that time on

If they tried this, I wasn't aware of it.

  1. Clear cut 2: Organize without him, point-blank (risks: he might fight back, or some people might wonder, so better making sure others don't like him)

Yes, they did this. They organized a kick-back/get-together that I found out about the next day when they were talking about it and I couldn't join the conversation.

This did deepen my anger, but, similar to John, I wasn't into fighting. Not because I was a peace-loving guy, but because I had been a bully before and wanted to leave that behind. If in your case, this person is the fighting-type, I would avoid this option considering all the dangerous emotions it made me feel.

  1. Muscle strategy: Fight him openly, then cut him. Whenever he one-ups or covert-aggress publicly, respond every time. You make it obvious that, at least to you, he's an annoying cunt. So when you cut him out, nobody will wonder about the betrayal, or think you were being shifty: it's clear to everyone you didn't like him. Make sure the group is more on your side, and you should be good to then go with "clear cut 1"

No one ever had the balls to do this. But, I've seen situations like this from an old friend group of mine that's now in college.

A group of girls where two girls would have negative energy with each other. One would start talking, the other would cut her off while she's speaking with an entirely new branch of conversation (what she wants to talk about), and the first girl would look shocked (even though she really wasn't because she fully understands the bad energy between them).

This girl would then turn passive-aggressive, going quiet, looking for sympathy from the group (as if to say, "I'm the victim of this girl who has no respect for me, are you guys going to sit back and let her do this to me?") and when she doesn't get that sympathy she rejoins the conversation as if nothing happened. Meanwhile, the verbal aggressor would have basically pushed that girl further down as if saying, "This girl isn't important and, by extension, neither is anything she has to say." And, by that other girl silently playing the victim card instead of asserting herself, the group began to believe it and silently push her out.

  1. Fade progressively: stop seeing A. individually. See the others more individually. The goal is to decrease the bond with A. while increasing it with the others. Then, the group on your side and A. on the outside, you can safey use the group fade strategy of inviting him less and less, or either 1, 2, 3

Not sure this would apply in my specific case.

And here's a Machiavellian power move:

  • Tell the one who left the old group chat and started the new one to organize a dinner 

I think this would have worked since it was agreed that I had become a liability. Bringing it up over dinner, surfacing it, and encouraging it would have definitely had people coming back to work feeling like they didn't want to speak to me at all.


Thanks for the valuable information in this thread, everyone! It's helped me better understand one of my past situations and, hopefully, helped you guys work through this one as well.

John Freeman has reacted to this post.
John Freeman

Thank you Ali, it’s helpful!

Feed-back from today. I went for a hike with 2 cool friends of the groups. No power games, just friendship and sharing. As it's supposed to be.

I told them that I did not like people who put down their friends in front of other friends. I asked them what do they think about these people. R asked me why I was asking. He's been skiing yesterday with A. so A. has already started his brainwashing. So I guessed he wanted to know if this was specifically against A. So I did not make it specific. I do not want them to take sides. I want to learn from them and let them know where I stand.

They said that they stopped doing this as teenagers. So I asked them what would they do in these cases, because I'm not always sure what to do.

JB's answer: if it's just for fun, I'll laugh along even if there is a bit of spike (micro-aggression). In case I don't find it funny, I'll send it back to the guy. We do this a lot in my family, hard-teasing, so I'm used to it. If the person takes it personally when you send it back, then it shows it was not for fun. Also if the person you say something to does not laugh, it's because they don't find it funny. So it's mean.

R's answer: sometimes I'm being paranoid at work (means he's not aware he's being micro-aggressed). I also don't like when people are too benevolent. I like when people tease one another a little bit.

So I planted the seed that it's shit behavior and I know where they stand. So this gives me more room now to one-up A. as I know that it's what JB understands.

I also could see that JB has a higher social intelligence than R in this regard of micro-aggression. I think that R does not realize the power dynamics, so he will be easily manipulated by A. I could also learn that JB did not have any complex explanation, so I think he has intuitive knowledge about power dynamics but have not studied the topic.

That's the power of the learner mindset. I did not accuse anyone. I did not blame anyone. I asked my friends what do they think about it and how would they react if it happens to them. I learned from them and they could see where I stand morally.

A. started to organize a lot of events since this week. R. told me: "A. is organizing lots of things". I said: "That's cool!". It's true, I'm happy if my friends are having fun. However, I'm not dumb, I know what game he's playing. He's playing my game back on me. He's trying to provide value by organizing events. The game is going to a higher level now. Exciting.

The good news is that I know now that I can go more aggressive with A. I think one-upping him is the best strategy. But only when he one-ups me. Only to defend. That is the key.

  • Surfacing: not subtle enough in a friendly environment. Around a serious topic yes.
  • Shaming: same as above.
  • Going meta: same as above.
  • Ignoring: not the right environment, it gives him room to continue his behavior. I tried.

So I think my strategy is:

  1. Not to see him 1-on-1 again
  2. Maximize my contacts with other members of the group
  3. Minimize my contacts with him
  4. When he's not there: not talk about him.
  5. When he attacks: one-up or mirror. The reason is that I need first to counter him psychologically. To make him fear to attack me for fear of ridicule (see JB's point of view). Then he'll find another target. And then I can surface, shame or going meta.
  6. Make it slowly clear to the others: that he's a POS and that I don't like him. Otherwise they will think that I don't see through his game.

As I said I'll take more time to answer Lucio's elaborate post as there are plenty of things to analyze. Especially the machiavellian strategy. Expanding on the thread of him being a POS at the dinner is excellent. And also it does not comes from me. It came up during the hike. I said (innocently, I did not bring it up): "I think that it did not end well with his GF. I don't know the details, though." That's true. But I planted a seed. That I can expand on later when I'll have more info from the GF.

That will be my mantra: send it back to him. Every attack he sends, he must feel the sting of the attack back. That he eats a little bit of his negativity. I'll hide under the guise of humor like him. I'm going to fight the dark side with the dark side. I'm going to have to be bad. It will have to be covert. Every spike he throws I'll be ready and either throw it back or amplify and send it back. Each of his attacks must cost him so much in social status that he must regret his attack and re-think his strategy.

About B and F, A.'s friends, they're too close from his sphere of influence. Well, if I lose them, it's ok. Ah! New idea: I'm going to start a new circle with R and JB. It's easier to drop the group and start a new one with JB and R. I'll add other people to it. I think B and F are burned. They will never turn against A. So it's better to start fresh with cool people than to try to win over A's closer friends. It makes sense now! I found the solution: I must remove 3 people from the group and start over. I have N. who's very cool. So we are 4. Quality over Quantity. And I don't have to be so machiavellian as these 3 people I get along naturally with them and they respect me as a person.

@Lucio: you were right. People who don't care about ethics or adding value have an advantage: they have more freedom. However, we must make them pay this freedom. Because it's the freedom to hurt another individual. So it must hurt them as much as they hurt the other.

That reminds me of a covert aggressor at work. As soon as his aggression was made more visible (I ignored his covert attack) he retreated to the victim persona.

Politics is a dangerous game.

PS: Sorry for the lack of structure. Free-flowing thoughts here.

Edit: R also asks me why I was not playing with A. anymore. I said that I was busy enough as it is. This is true (additionally to me not wanting to spend time with him).

Edit 2: It's now clear that A. started to put a negative spin on me behind my back. It's important I do not do the same. And stay neutral about him.

Edit 3: he says he loves betrayal games. I think he's been there before. So better not let him betray me in real life before it's too late. It's clear to me now. Time to cut my losses.

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Lucio BuffalmanoRiley Thomas

Also, I will do the same as I did with a value-taking friend I'm not seeing anymore. If people ask me about it, I'll say with embarrassment (because I don't like to paint people in a bad light, even if it's true): "you know, sometimes in your life when you spend time with somebody, after you go home either you gained something or you lost. And I decided to be around people who give to me instead of taking. Sometimes it takes time to recognize it and it's always very sad when I do. I know it might sound harsh, but I decided some time ago to only surround myself with people who bring me up and not bring me down."

Because this morning I understood what he did on this evening (thanks to you Lucio when you used the POS label, it helped me to see clearer):

  • He attacked me in spot where it hurt: my dating life, my insecurities, so he hurt my self-esteem and my self-confidence.
  • He hurt me and as a friend it is a betrayal and an emotional pain.
  • He attacked my power and status by doing all of the above while being at my place playing at my game eating my food.

So he really shit all over me. And I did not defend. I even tried to befriend him. That was so stupid. But I learned.

That is why I say it's too costly to keep these people around. They make way too much damage, see the list above.

My biggest mistake was that I allowed him to create this nasty dynamics where he one-ups the people he feels inferior to. And that is my biggest failure as a leader. If he would have attacked others I would have probably defended them. By attacking me he targeted the person I was less likely to defend: myself. Which is something I'm working on. And the topic of another thread.

I allowed him to create a negative dynamics by being weak. It's a tough lesson but I'll make sure to remember it. I'm grateful to him for it.

It's when you face "evil" that you see in the mirror where you are at yourself. "Being harmless is not a virtue" - Jordan Peterson.

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Lucio Buffalmano

I liked this one:

you know, sometimes in your life when you spend time with somebody, after you go home either you gained something or you lost. And I decided to be around people who give to me instead of taking. Sometimes it takes time to recognize it and it's always very sad when I do. I know it might sound harsh, but I decided some time ago to only surround myself with people who bring me up and not bring me down.

It's passing judgment and, in a way, it's talking bad about someone.
But it's a high-quality, honest way of doing it.

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selffriend
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
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