Fed up 9.5 on a Scale of 10

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

For the better part of this year I have spent Tuesday afternoons
playing bridge in a drop-in game. Many of the people have known one
another for decades and also play in the clubs for master’s points. I
don’t do any of the fancy conventions but I was brought up by sharp
grandmothers who taught me to get the most tricks out of any hand.
One of the people there is very annoying. She wants to be personal
friends with me, closer friends than I want to be with her. She’s asked
about movies and dinner and I’ve hidden behind being busy. She’s
made a point of sitting opposite me every week because we both get
there when it starts. But then she is nit-picky and instructive about all
the fancy stuff that I have said I do not want to learn I think she
thinks she is being cute or funny but I find her a pest. Also she keeps
bidding us higher into un-makeable contracts and then gives me a
hard time for failing. Do I say something explicitly about not wanting
to play together or stop going. I don’t think other people find her as
irritating as I do.

Fed up 9.5 on a Scale of 10

Dear Fed Up:

People have the right to choose their friends. In your card-playing
circle you might not always get the right to choose your partner. But if
you have played with her for several weeks in arrow, and it is not
working out well, now’s the perfect time to open your mouth and say
something simple like, Let’s diversity. I’d suggest doing it one-on- one,
not in the group, and also to anticipate her saying “[Your name]
doesn’t want to play with me any more” or some other socially clueless
thing. People who keep trying for attention to the point of annoyance
are rarely subtle when rejected.

If she approaches you for one-on- one time, say very simply, My life is
very full and I don’t really have time for new friends. That’s as global a
brush off as you can give. It also makes it clear that you don’t want
her to pursue it any more. But even that may not be enough for
someone persistently annoying, so be prepared to say it more than
once. Also, if you are social with other people in the group, be careful
about making plans in her hearing or she’ll ask to tag along. It turns
out that rejection isn’t easy to accomplish, let alone to hear.