Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

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Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Thu May 16, 2013 6:57 pm

Well folks, I just got into a little bit of dispute. A friend got a little too insistent on having things his way, and I said no for once. We had a dispute, and I want to know if what I did would give me a stronger position, given that he has more social influence than me.

You see, when we were having this dispute, he threw my food that I was cooking on himself and all over the kitchen, burning himself in the process. Of course, no one else was there at the time. At the time, I thought he just wanted more of my attention. Then when everybody came around, he accused me of having burnt him. Then he stalked off, muttering something about getting me kicked out of the dormitory.

You must understand, this particular guy has managed to build up quite a few social circles, and so he has quite a bit of social influence. Knowing this, I had to make sure my argument was more convincing than his. I took precautions (i.e. photos of the scene), and I thought that cleaning up the mess he made in the kitchen would be overall more beneficial to my argument than his. He came back with a towel, whilst I was cleaning up with a friend who was sympathetic to my cause, he said he was going to clean up, but then he ranted on some more about how I could've hurt him so, and left without cleaning (when I asked him wasn't he gonna help clean up like he said, he said "are you kidding me? I should break your bones")

So I finished cleaning up with my friend, and then we parted ways and said goodnight.

Here's his position:
1. I threw the food and pan at him, burning him in the process
2. He will thus call the police or something claiming bodily hurt, or complain to the woman who manages our dorm.

What positions can I, or should I take? Was it really a good idea to have cleaned up the kitchen afterwards by myself? I have a few counterarguments lined up, which hinge on people knowing our respective personalities, and a cost/benefit analysis to him hurting himself. But I want to know if there's anything else I can do.
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Thu May 16, 2013 7:30 pm

Geez, how awkward. I don't have much experience with this kind of thing, being kind of a wallflower/doormat in real life, so I can't offer much advice unfortunately. However, just from his behavior, if you have mutual acquaintences, it sounds like you should be able to rustle up a character witness or two.

It's your word against his, and why would you throw hot food against him when he's the one making the demands? Obviously he's the one more upset, since he stormed off and left, and then refused to help clean up the mess that HE made.
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Thu May 16, 2013 7:32 pm

I don't understand how you throw a pan of hot food on yourself, do you mean he knocked it from the stove onto himself?

Frankly its just his word versus yours, he sounds like a jackass. Just stick to the truth and you will be fine
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Thu May 16, 2013 7:48 pm

He grabbed the pan, and threw it across the kitchen, although, judging by the way in which it splashed around the kitchen, his primary objective could very well have been to scald himself.

Yeah, I hate situations like this too. So you're saying basically it's a wash, and who actually did what to whom is not really going to be an important point with any authorities that might get involved, right? Thanks, this makes me feel better.
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Thu May 16, 2013 7:58 pm

Crayon Shin Chan wrote:So you're saying basically it's a wash, and who actually did what to whom is not really going to be an important point with any authorities that might get involved, right? Thanks, this makes me feel better.
What? Wrong. I'm not even sure how you got that out of either of our posts.

OBVIOUSLY determining who did what to whom is the most important issue at hand. We were both merely saying that determining that is going to be a matter of his story vs. your story, and since nobody else was there, it's just a matter of the people around you hearing your story and his story and saying "no, [your] story sounds more believable."
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Thu May 16, 2013 8:04 pm

Ah OK, thanks. If it comes down to that, I guess telling what I just told you is all I can do then.
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Thu May 16, 2013 10:20 pm

The thing that concerns me is that you call this person a friend. This person is in no way your friend. From your description they are on the road to being a backstabbing politician. Circle of friends they can set up their story to and be instantly believed. Setting the stage to push any blame off on any one else so they look good no mater what out come.

In this situation I don't think you can do anything more. In the long run I would get the word out and have people observe your so called friend and look for the pattern of behavior. If you keep it in the back of their mind it will get noticed, since this seems to be the way your friend reacts to any obstruction to what they want. This is a long term solution though.

Now that you have had this experience, use it to pick your friends more wisely.

A friend is some one you can trust. They will come to help when there is nothing to gain from the situation for themselves. Sounds to me like the real friend is this is the one who helped you clean up.
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Thu May 16, 2013 10:29 pm

First of all stop calling him your friend. Anyone who would injure themselves just to get you in trouble is an enemy. Write down exactly what happened and what time of day, what the argument was about, etc. Your going to have to explain how someone could throw a plate of food on themselves. So far from what you explained it sounds like you are the one who is lying. Don't wory, I am not the one you need to convince.

Second, you don't really want make a bad thing worse by pressing charges. I would avoid said person like the plauge if possible. You should be able to move to a different dorm wing or something.

Third, don't take advice from the internet on this one. Talk to your parrents or a some other mature adult.
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Thu May 16, 2013 11:12 pm

A true friend will help you dispose of the body.
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 12:02 am

Pardon me if I'm reading too far into this. That said, here goes.

Between your location and your posting name, is this also a Malay/Chinese thing??
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 12:17 am

Haha, no, I'm studying in Germany! But I'm glad you asked. The truth is, most Malaysians are pretty cool with each other's race, and nobody wants a repeat of May 1969. The politicians like to play it up around elections, though, since there are more Malays in Malaysia than Chinese or Indians.

Thanks Khali, it's good to have some feedback on how I sound. I admit an older person would be the right one to consult here, but i like the community in the forums here, really appreciate the support. Plus, no adult's gonna be up at this time to hear my story!
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 12:34 am

I don't know what happened but if it happened like you said then it would be beneficial for you to remain calm (and present the image of such).

Unfortunately, in the end it's his word against yours so you better be absolutely clear on what happened. The suggestion to write it down is a good one, you need to be certain here, without omission or adjusting.

I'd also try to avoid the issue that started it in the first place for now and focus on what happened in the altercation. I don't know German law but throwing hot food on someone is assault^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H battery so you better be clear you didn't do it if you didn't and worry less about the argument (which is absolutely less important now).
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 5:56 am

It sounds like you've met a true, self-serving jackass!

I'm confrontational, if someone screws me over I will verbally fight my corner - but that's perhaps because I have a reputation for being brutally (almost psychopathically) honest and it maybe helps that I'm a 6'3" athletic gorilla;
Even though I don't believe violence ever really solves anything, demonstrating a will to defend yourself when attacked is also important be it verbally/physically/socially or emotionally.

I guess if you want to be seen as a pacifist (and perhaps a doormat to be abused by the asshats and jerks in this world) do nothing.
If you want to accuse him of being a jerk you will probably earn yourself a little more (self) respect and people may think twice about walking over you again in the future.

It depends on whether you think the hassle to yourself is worth the gain in social respect you will get from broadcasting your side of the story;
I'd start with Facebook/Twitter/Google+ etc; If he's trying to climb social ladders that will matter to him.
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 6:07 am

Two observations:

1) This person wants to be more than your friend. You need to accept that.
2) You need to find a new place to live.
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 6:47 am

I know this sounds like a broken record but he is no friend....Cut your ties to him quickly since he sounds like a psycho.
To make the cut clean and deep go to the police and tell them your story and get a restraining order against him if possible if you feel he is going to be a long going problem.

BTW out of curiosity what were you cooking?
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 7:29 am

Talk to the Resident/Hall Director of your dorm. Let them know what is going on. As someone who has worked in that position, just getting a heads-up makes all the difference in the world. Let them know exactly what happened, the threat that was made regarding "getting you thrown out of the dorm" as well as how the food/burn went down. Make sure it is documented. You don't have to insist that action be taken, because you were not injured or anything. However, you want to ensure that this doesn't come back to bite you. You do not want this person telling their version of this story first. Get in there without being called in. The sad truth of the matter is that the person who speaks up first is more generally believed completely. It then becomes an uphill battle to find out what really happened, and in cases like this, they may determine you are the risk.

The other side of this, is that you do not know if other incidents like this have been reported on this individual. That isn't ever public knowledge.
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 8:03 am

The proper channel would have been to report it before he did, tell them he was threatening to hold it over you as extortion.
For the law a delay on his part proves the extortion.
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Fri May 17, 2013 3:05 pm

Since you are evidently a foreign national studying abroad (student visa, presumably?), you should immediately contact your nearest embassy or consulate, explain the situation as you perceive it, and ask for their advice. They should be able to help you in the event this becomes either a criminal matter or a civil law dispute, and may also have advice for taking preventive steps in the meantime.
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Sat May 18, 2013 7:22 am

Thanks to everybody who replied! (I was cooking spinach with whipped cream and gorgonzola... relevant?) I also figured that getting to the authorities asap would be beneficial to my cause, so the very next day I got up early in the morning and went down to talk with the secretary in charge of the dorm. I learned that the dorm administration tends to take a very hands off approach to disputes of this kind.

It seems that his main MO is to go around telling his story to everyone, and the ones about the police and such were just empty threats. That's the overall feeling I get, because he is the type of person to realize the power of a line like "well I could sic the police on him, but I won't because I realize he's not such a big deal/I'm cool and generous".

My first instinct is to protect my reputation by going around and doing the same, but my friends all say that this is very stupid and schoolchildren-ish (which it may be, but I never had something like this in school so I'm making it a point to "win" at this new game). At the moment, I'm learning towards simply telling my story and counterarguments only when the issue is brought up, and not making it a point to defend myself. I think this gives me the "high ground". But I'm not sure. Ultimately, this is the place I live in, so it would be nice if everybody wouldn't start to give me funny looks.
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Sat May 18, 2013 7:54 am

Don't play the game. This is the popular person version of subterfuge. You don't win by playing, they simply drag you down to their level.

Deny it, tell your side of the story as it is, the whole truth. Don't go out of your way to point this out, only talk about it if he brings it up or you're asked. If they don't believe you then let them. This is bridge burning stuff and it's pretty obvious that people who really are your friends either wont care (as to what he's talking about) or they'll believe you.

I honestly have kept a very small circle of friends that I can actually call friends and didn't over extend myself into the 'we're friends, but not really friends' territory. And as such I've stayed well away from 'games' like that. People get in arguments all the time, it happens. There is no reason for him to start BS like that. I'm sure the dorm staff wouldn't interfere. They aren't your parents or guardians. They'll call the cops if that's what it escalates into, as any building manager would if there is a domestic dispute, but they wont mediate.
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Sat May 18, 2013 9:26 am

Bensam123 wrote:Don't play the game. This is the popular person version of subterfuge. You don't win by playing, they simply drag you down to their level.

Deny it, tell your side of the story as it is, the whole truth. Don't go out of your way to point this out, only talk about it if he brings it up or you're asked. If they don't believe you then let them. This is bridge burning stuff and it's pretty obvious that people who really are your friends either wont care (as to what he's talking about) or they'll believe you.

I honestly have kept a very small circle of friends that I can actually call friends and didn't over extend myself into the 'we're friends, but not really friends' territory. And as such I've stayed well away from 'games' like that. People get in arguments all the time, it happens. There is no reason for him to start BS like that. I'm sure the dorm staff wouldn't interfere. They aren't your parents or guardians. They'll call the cops if that's what it escalates into, as any building manager would if there is a domestic dispute, but they wont mediate.


Bensam summed it up pretty well. Stick to a small circle of close friends you can trust. There is nothing wrong with having a bunch of acquaintance's, just do not consider them as friends. The key here is Trust, friends are people you can trust. Every one else falls into the acquaintance category.
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Sat May 18, 2013 11:03 am

It seems pretty obvious that you are not looking for legal advice. Pretty much everyone else took care of that.

Friendly caution: Only ask for legal advice from someone that is licensed to practice law at that specific jurisdiction and specialty of law (competence). And guys, If you are ever asked for legal advice, don't give it unless you are licensed to practice law. Unlicensed practice of law is a criminal punishable offense. This is real life consequences. I'd also assume that people know the legal definitions here(if not, look them up).
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Sat May 18, 2013 12:50 pm

Unfortunately it appears that he has you "figured" out already, hence the actions he took.

I did not read everything here but I did catch Bensams post above and he sums it up quite well, wifey and I are of the same mind, we like people very much but deal with as little people as we need to.

Don't get me wrong, we are not that cynical towards mankind but we are more than aware that there are many people who are only out for themselves and further to that we have met even less that conduct themselves as my wife and I do.

Just mention the truth when it comes up and add in how you will just rely on karma to take care of the rest:)
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Sat May 18, 2013 3:31 pm

credible wrote:Don't get me wrong, we are not that cynical towards mankind but we are more than aware that there are many people who are only out for themselves and further to that we have met even less that conduct themselves as my wife and I do.

Just mention the truth when it comes up and add in how you will just rely on karma to take care of the rest:)

You should definitely listen to this guy, he's credible. (´∀`)
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Re: Requesting Help on Handling an Argument

Postposted on Sat May 18, 2013 4:27 pm

Unless he shows sings of contrition/remorse for such behavior in future, your life will be the easier for it if you avoid someone like that as much as possible. Don't engage him in conversation, etc. Be polite, but as terse as possible, and if not with others, exit the general vicinity as quickly as is convenient.

If you really want to put in loads of effort, you could try winning a personality contest over time among your mutual acquaintances. But there are no guarantees. And unless you are the type of person who is naturally socially gregarious and charming, it's probably not worth all the extra effort.

As far as this particular situation goes, there is not much you can do accept be as straightforward, calm and rationale (ie, keep your story as simple as possible and make sure it doesn't change one bit) as possible when dealing with whatever authorities you end up having to deal with.

Then, if he's still given you a hard time and getting away with it a few weeks from now, go to the nearest fish market, by the cheapest piece of fish you can find, cut it up into very tiny pieces (so it's almost impossible to tell what it is), and scatter/smear them in at least a dozen or more different places in his dorm room, staring with underneath the insoles of all of his shoes and the insides of his pillow :P . But seriously. Don't. It's just not worth dealing with people like that.
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