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Do you decline invitations this way? (Mostly just me griping about a relative!)


Ginevra
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Just bear with me. Dh and I were just talking about how one SIL always does this. It is so annoying. This is what I think normal people do:

 

"Well, the 16th of February will not work for me/us, but we could make the 17th. Unfortunately, the weekend of the 24th is out as well."

 

This is what SIL does:

 

"Well, the 16th of February, we're going to dinner with friends. We could make the 17th. Please don't plan it for the weekend of the 24th, because we're going on a ski trip in Colorado." :glare:

 

Notice the subtle difference?

 

Dh said, "Why does she always include a bunch of unnecessary information on what they are doing instead? It's like she wants us to think they're such jet-setters or something." :cheers2: Right on.

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Huh. I actually find myself telling my SIL what we're doing on days we can't get together because I want her to know we really do have plans and aren't just blowing her off. I also give those kinds of details with close friends because it's just what we do. If my close friend just said, "no, I can't do that date" with no explanation, it would be awkward and odd.

 

ETA: It has never dawned on me that anyone would think I'm trying to be a "jetsetter." But maybe that's because my other plans aren't ever exotic!

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Huh. I actually find myself telling my SIL what we're doing on days we can't get together because I want her to know we really do have plans and aren't just blowing her off. I also give those kinds of details with close friends because it's just what we do. If my close friend just said, "no, I can't do that date" with no explanation, it would be awkward and odd.

 

ETA: It has never dawned on me that anyone would think I'm trying to be a "jetsetter." But maybe that's because my other plans aren't ever exotic!

 

Well, you're probably not annoying in general! :laugh:

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I find it terribly rude that she not only declines the invitation, but also tries to get you to alter your plans for her convenience.

 

Nervy, nervy, nervy.

 

So I have to ask... why do you ever bother to invite her to anything? She's obviously way too busy to waste her time with the likes of you. :glare:

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Hm. I definitely wouldn't do that if I was planning a time to get together with acquaintances or with, say, the parents in my co-op. With family... maybe I would because I would assume they might want to know what's up with us. And it wouldn't occur to me that they would be rubbed the wrong way by it. I tend to treat email like a conversation and be a bit chatty on there - if I'd say it in person, I'd probably go ahead and "say" it on email too.

 

On the other hand, there definitely are people who are trying to one up all the time and it's kind of subtle sometimes where the line is between chattily telling what's going on with them and trying to show off how awesome they are.

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I find it terribly rude that she not only declines the invitation, but also tries to get you to alter your plans for her convenience.

 

Nervy, nervy, nervy.

 

So I have to ask... why do you ever bother to invite her to anything?

 

I'm stuck with her. :glare: For starters, we are partners in business with them, so she is my joint secretary. God, that is so much fun.

Also, there's a lot of family things, so this particular recent thing is one of those. We do birthday dinners every month and we also need to meet to strategize what we're doing to help our MIL.

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Well, you're probably not annoying in general! :laugh:

 

I don't think so. But you never know!

 

Seriously, I get it though. There are plenty of things my SIL does that irk me to no end because they are part of a much bigger picture. If your SIL seems to enjoy flaunting what she has/does, I could see this being irritating due to a probably less-than-innocent motive.

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Sounds like this is something that's really minor, but the fact that she's an annoying presence in your life for other reasons amplifies how negatively you take it.

 

 

Word up. :coolgleamA:

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I don't see anything wrong with the added information or the suggestion for a time that would work for all. That's how it goes in my family and I would rather them suggest a time that would work than just decline. I definitely don't mind the added information either because we're just keeping up with each other's lives. I do get though that not all families are like that and there may be other issues at play.

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Interesting. I confess I'm a little surprised many consider that normal/conversational. It doesn't seem to me that others do that - for the most part, I am used to people saying "This will work; this won't" without the details.

 

I will grant you, though, I have some issues with her to begin with, so it surely colors the lens.

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In the right context, I could see how it could be useful. Like, if the weekend of the 24th, she's saying it's out because she'll be away the whole weekend, that's different from if she's saying it's out because her son has a soccer game, for instance. The former means she really is unavailable the whole weekend; the latter leaves room for you to say, "oh, the rest of the family is only available that weekend -- could we fit in dinner one night?" I agree with the PP who said that she might just want to avoid seeming like she's blowing you off; she really does have concrete plans.

 

But if she's often like that, it could just be seen as bragging.

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If I decline an invitation because I have plans, *I* consider it rude to just say "we have plans"; I prefer to say why exactly I can't make it. It has not occurred to me that people take offense to that. ("I already have plans" sounds to me like the thing you say when you really don't want to attend, but have no actual reason other than not wanting to go.)

 

ETA: This is also what I am used to from most friends, and definitely from family: if somebody in the family has a conflict, they would definitely share what they are doing instead. Just saying "I can't" would be considered rude or ridiculously secretive by the other family members.

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I don't see anything wrong with the added information or the suggestion for a time that would work for all. That's how it goes in my family and I would rather them suggest a time that would work than just decline. I definitely don't mind the added information either because we're just keeping up with each other's lives. I do get though that not all families are like that and there may be other issues at play.

 

I agree.

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Meh. I think you are only annoyed bc she exists and this just adds to that annoyance.

 

Jet setter? Exotic places?

 

Dinner with friends is not jet setting. Colorado is certainly nice, but I've never thought it exotic.

 

I would expect family close enough to be partners and get together multiple times a month would be more open about what's going on in their lives.

 

Maybe it's time for your side of the family to change careers or something? Idk

 

I guess the polite thing would be to say no thanks and hang up?

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I tell people why I can't do things. I didn't realize it might be annoying. I guess just saying no seems awkward to me, and I'm worried that it might come across as "no, I don't want to" when it's really "no, I can't make it."

 

Mentioning what we are doing depends on the circumstances to me. If we're coordinating the end of the year banquet for sports, I just say yes or no for the dates. But if it's something a friend or family member wants us to do, I will usually mention why we can't come. Like when my friend asked me if we could make her son's birthday party, I told her we would be out of town. The course of conversation would have seemed weird to me if I had just said no and left it at that. Of course my reasons for not being able to go somewhere are rarely glamorous so maybe that makes a difference.

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ETA: This is also what I am used to from most friends, and definitely from family: if somebody in the family has a conflict, they would definitely share what they are doing instead. Just saying "I can't" would be considered rude or ridiculously secretive by the other family members.

 

Hmm. How odd. Everybody else is pretty terse. This is something without a fixed date, so I wouldn't expect anybody to just say,

"I can't." So, there are four other responders saying, "I can do the 17th, but not the 16th. The 24th would be okay, too." But then, there's the one who's reporting her other plans. It seems unnecessary to me.

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Meh. I think you are only annoyed bc she exists and this just adds to that annoyance. Entirely plausible.

 

Jet setter? Exotic places? Hyperbole, of course. What's wrong with simply saying that date isn't good for her?

 

Dinner with friends is not jet setting. Colorado is certainly nice, but I've never thought it exotic.

 

I would expect family close enough to be partners and get together multiple times a month would be more open about what's going on in their lives. It stands out. Nobody else does it like that.

 

Maybe it's time for your side of the family to change careers or something? Idk This I would not mind...

 

I guess the polite thing would be to say no thanks and hang up? This is e-mail. Give the dates that work for you without all the commentary on your activities. JMHO, of course.

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Just bear with me. Dh and I were just talking about how one SIL always does this. It is so annoying. This is what I think normal people do:

 

"Well, the 16th of February will not work for me/us, but we could make the 17th. Unfortunately, the weekend of the 24th is out as well."

 

This is what SIL does:

 

"Well, the 16th of February, we're going to dinner with friends. We could make the 17th. Please don't plan it for the weekend of the 24th, because we're going on a ski trip in Colorado." :glare:

 

Notice the subtle difference?

 

Dh said, "Why does she always include a bunch of unnecessary information on what they are doing instead? It's like she wants us to think they're such jet-setters or something." :cheers2: Right on.

 

Uh oh. I'm guilty of this. I think its bc I feel like I have to justify my reasons. Like an excused absence. However, mine look more less glamorous and more like work or doctor appts.

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I decline like that all the time. I try to be careful in some cases, like if I'm invited to a party at a mutual friend's house and the person making plans is not, I might say, "We have plans that night," or "We're going to a party that night," but I won't say, "We're going to a party at Molly's that night." We're busy, so oftentimes when I'm rattling off the things I'm doing, it's more so I can keep track and figure out what we have when and when we're free. It's not to be a jet-setter (I rarely do anything that could be considered glamorous) and it's not to make anyone feel bad.

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Hmm. How odd. Everybody else is pretty terse. This is something without a fixed date, so I wouldn't expect anybody to just say,

"I can't." So, there are four other responders saying, "I can do the 17th, but not the 16th. The 24th would be okay, too." But then, there's the one who's reporting her other plans. It seems unnecessary to me.

 

So, you don't normally just talk about stuff everybody is doing?

I would expect our family members to be interested in what we are doing, and am interested at what they are doing as well. We would share that we are going on a weekend trip even if it was not about a date conflict; it would simply come up in casual conversation. I guess you'd consider that unnecessary?

Even now that I live overseas, I know when when my close relatives are traveling - because we talk about what is going on in our lives.

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Hmm. How odd. Everybody else is pretty terse. This is something without a fixed date, so I wouldn't expect anybody to just say,

"I can't." So, there are four other responders saying, "I can do the 17th, but not the 16th. The 24th would be okay, too." But then, there's the one who's reporting her other plans. It seems unnecessary to me.

 

 

Maybe its just her family culture? (I take it that she's married to your husband's brother). My family shares many more details than DH's--our emails trying to schedule events share even more than your SIL.

 

Her plans don't seem that glamorous--its not like she's e-mailing that she has reservations at French Laundry or that they're spending the weekend at their condo in Tahoe. It doesn't sound like she's bragging. Just being chatty. Maybe she specified Colorado plans so that you wouldn't offer another date that weekend?

 

Christine

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I decline like that all the time. I try to be careful in some cases, like if I'm invited to a party at a mutual friend's house and the person making plans is not, I might say, "We have plans that night," or "We're going to a party that night," but I won't say, "We're going to a party at Molly's that night." We're busy, so oftentimes when I'm rattling off the things I'm doing, it's more so I can keep track and figure out what we have when and when we're free. It's not to be a jet-setter (I rarely do anything that could be considered glamorous) and it's not to make anyone feel bad.

 

This exactly.

Just this week, I had to decline an invitation to an evening activity which I knew was very important to the hostess; the same night I will attend a dinner for my husband who will be awarded a prize. I told her this detail when I declined, because I wanted to show that I am not blowing her off for something minor that I might well do another time, but that I had an important commitment. I do not think it even occurred to her that I was bragging (it certainly did not to me); she appreciated that I had a valid reason for not coming to her function. And it certainly made me feel better as well to have a "real" excuse.

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Uh oh. I'm guilty of this. I think its bc I feel like I have to justify my reasons. Like an excused absence. However, mine look more less glamorous and more like work or doctor appts.

 

See, this is something that just bothers me in general (setting aside this SIL for a minute). I remember making a specific decision probably about ten years ago that I would avoid doing what you say in the bold. If I have to decline something, I don't want to seem like I have to have a really good reason.

 

The SIL I'm speaking of does NOT do it from that posture; there's definitely an air of, "I just am so out-going that I always have tons of engagements with my dozens of friends and activities." It's like one of those FB "friends" that is constantly doing that "Went to dinner with X,Y,Z *tag*" thing.

 

BUT - the posture you mention bothers me, too. No justification needed; just tell me when/if you're available and if you're not, you're not. No biggie.

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I remember making a specific decision probably about ten years ago that I would avoid doing what you say in the bold. If I have to decline something, I don't want to seem like I have to have a really good reason.

 

Why?

Is it because you find engagements generally a burden?

I am just trying to understand... if somebody invites me to something, I'd have to have a really good reason to decline, because I like being with people and would not miss an opportunity unless I'm forced to. Can it be that we are having very different personalities?

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So, you don't normally just talk about stuff everybody is doing?

I would expect our family members to be interested in what we are doing, and am interested at what they are doing as well. We would share that we are going on a weekend trip even if it was not about a date conflict; it would simply come up in casual conversation. I guess you'd consider that unnecessary?

Even now that I live overseas, I know when when my close relatives are traveling - because we talk about what is going on in our lives.

Not in that context. It would possibly come up in casual conversation. So, once we are all together, say, then this person or that person may say, "Oh, we're taking a trip to Co to go skiing end of thsi month." That is a typical context. In an e-mail to schedule a date, that's not what anybody else does.

 

This exactly.

Just this week, I had to decline an invitation to an evening activity which I knew was very important to the hostess; the same night I will attend a dinner for my husband who will be awarded a prize. I told her this detail when I declined, because I wanted to show that I am not blowing her off for something minor that I might well do another time, but that I had an important commitment. I do not think it even occurred to her that I was bragging (it certainly did not to me); she appreciated that I had a valid reason for not coming to her function. And it certainly made me feel better as well to have a "real" excuse.

 

I can see things like this. It is different.

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I find it terribly rude that she not only declines the invitation, but also tries to get you to alter your plans for her convenience.

 

Nervy, nervy, nervy.

 

So I have to ask... why do you ever bother to invite her to anything? She's obviously way too busy to waste her time with the likes of you. :glare:

 

What? It sounds like you were trying to find a date that was mutually doable, right? How is this nervy? And how does being busy on several dates make her "way too busy to waste her time with the likes of you"? This just sounds incendiary and I really don't think it's fair.

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Guest submarines

Just bear with me. Dh and I were just talking about how one SIL always does this. It is so annoying. This is what I think normal people do:

 

"Well, the 16th of February will not work for me/us, but we could make the 17th. Unfortunately, the weekend of the 24th is out as well."

 

This is what SIL does:

 

"Well, the 16th of February, we're going to dinner with friends. We could make the 17th. Please don't plan it for the weekend of the 24th, because we're going on a ski trip in Colorado." :glare:

 

Notice the subtle difference?

 

Dh said, "Why does she always include a bunch of unnecessary information on what they are doing instead? It's like she wants us to think they're such jet-setters or something." :cheers2: Right on.

 

 

Hm, I tend to include my reasons for declining, because I'd like to the person who invited me to know that I have a good reason for cancelling. I wouldn't do it to an acquaintance, but to a friend / relative, sure.

 

I had no clue that this might be considered annoying. Ouch.

 

So why does this annoy you? Is it because she is doing exciting things (I have no clue, is a trip to Colorado exciting? lol) Dinner with friends doesn't sound like a big deal?

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Why?

Is it because you find engagements generally a burden?

I am just trying to understand... if somebody invites me to something, I'd have to have a really good reason to decline, because I like being with people and would not miss an opportunity unless I'm forced to. Can it be that we are having very different personalities?

 

No, it's because I don't like the...submissive type of pleading that this sometimes looks like. I'm not sure I can convey what I mean on-line.

 

I like being with the people I like just fine and sure, I wouldn't want to turn down an opportunity just to watch Harry Potter movies at home. But I don't like it when someone seems like they're groveling for a pass because they can't attend something. (I don't think I'm explaining this well.) I remember once when someone came late to a party at my house and they stood there regaling me with this excessively long explanation for being late and it was just...so silly. I'm not her boss; I'm not going to dock her pay or send her to the gallows for missing a turn. That is the kind of excuse-making I decided I wouldn't do. If I'm late, sure - I will say, "I am so sorry! I missed a turn and got lost." But I'm not going to keep you by the door for ten minutes, proving all the nuanced details of why I was late. It had this begging quality that I found unattractive. Same with invitations (casual invitations - not dinner at the White House ;) ) I don't see the necessity of telling you ten reasons why I can't come; I'll just say sorry, I can't. If you're my dearest friend, I may elaborate, but if you're not, "sorry, I can't make it that night" is sufficient.

 

This thread is making me curious about something though. I'm going to ask my Etiquette teacher friend about declining invitations.

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No, it's because I don't like the...submissive type of pleading that this sometimes looks like. I'm not sure I can convey what I mean on-line.

 

I like being with the people I like just fine and sure, I wouldn't want to turn down an opportunity just to watch Harry Potter movies at home. But I don't like it when someone seems like they're groveling for a pass because they can't attend something. (I don't think I'm explaining this well.) I remember once when someone came late to a party at my house and they stood there regaling me with this excessively long explanation for being late and it was just...so silly. I'm not her boss; I'm not going to dock her pay or send her to the gallows for missing a turn. That is the kind of excuse-making I decided I wouldn't do. If I'm late, sure - I will say, "I am so sorry! I missed a turn and got lost." But I'm not going to keep you by the door for ten minutes, proving all the nuanced details of why I was late. It had this begging quality that I found unattractive. Same with invitations (casual invitations - not dinner at the White House ;) ) I don't see the necessity of telling you ten reasons why I can't come; I'll just say sorry, I can't. If you're my dearest friend, I may elaborate, but if you're not, "sorry, I can't make it that night" is sufficient.

 

This thread is making me curious about something though. I'm going to ask my Etiquette teacher friend about declining invitations.

 

I find the short, "sorry, we can't make it," rude. I would rather know why someone can't make it. I feel better about their decline then.

 

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Maybe she is just one of those people who talk through their thoughts? Some people (I have a couple such friends) add what seems to be extraneous info because they just say out loud what they are running through their thought processes.

 

If she takes other stray opportunities to drop all these wonderful tidbits, then yes, she is just boasting.

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If someone is trying to sync up schedules for several people, I usually assume that more details are better than fewer.

 

"Dinner with friends" means that anything from 6ish on is not going to work, but something might be able to be squeezed in beforehand or afterwards, depending on the event you're trying to set up. "Skiing in Colorado" means the whole time slot is completely out of the question.

 

Busy people tend to book things this way, because often fitting in something means juggling a bit - where you will be location-wise, and the rough time parameters, are important. The assumption is that everyone else has similar constraints, so the host can say something like "well, what do you guys think about coming for dessert and coffee around 9pm after your school meeting", or "we could do a kind of happy hour thing just after work then you could go to your dinner engagement from there", or "my kid has soccer on Saturday when your kid has dance, how about we take a walk and chat then instead of doing a lunch thing like we'd planned".

 

I wouldn't assume she has any ill intent whatsoever - it's just her style, and not an unusual one.

 

I find a good policy is not to take offense when none is intended.

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It really sounds like this is an idiosyncratic pet peeve for you, even if your sil is annoying to you in general. Most people giving details are either being chatty, thinking out loud, or are trying to make sure the hostess knows they would truly like to come.

 

Around here, saying "I can't make it" to a specific invitation without any other explanation would sound like a brush off. It could well be interpreted as a way of saying, "I'm not interested in socializing with you."

 

In the case of a group email to try to find a common date to discuss something, I can see the "I can't make this, but I can make that," kind of response. But in response to a specific invitation, "I can't make it" would be at least borderline rude around here, if not crossing the line.

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I find a good policy is not to take offense when none is intended.
That's a good policy. Harder to implement with some people than it would be with others. :coolgleamA:
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Interesting. My dh does this. I always figured it was because he was an extrovert. He talks a lot. I don't. I'm an introvert. Could that be the difference?

 

Good point. She's an off-the-charts extrovert. I'm an off-the-charts introvert. So is my dh.

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I interpreted the SIL's comments as meaning that she was too busy and too important to accept Quill's invitation, but if Quill were to completely rearrange her schedule, she might be willing to honor her with her presence. You know, if she didn't get a better offer from someone more important. :glare:

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Huh. It would never occur to me to be annoyed by half a sentence of information. A ten minute diatribe might, but if it is a one time thing then I'd try to give that person the benefit of the doubt that they just *want to be heard* by... somebody, anybody for 10 minutes. I know there are some days that I just want to be heard - and the subject doesn't matter so much as the listening ear.

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Guest submarines

I interpreted the SIL's comments as meaning that she was too busy and too important to accept Quill's invitation, but if Quill were to completely rearrange her schedule, she might be willing to honor her with her presence. You know, if she didn't get a better offer from someone more important. :glare:

 

Now, that's *really* reading between the lines. :tongue_smilie:

And the first time I don't agree with Catwoman. :w00t:

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I interpreted the SIL's comments as meaning that she was too busy and too important to accept Quill's invitation, but if Quill were to completely rearrange her schedule, she might be willing to honor her with her presence. You know, if she didn't get a better offer from someone more important. :glare:

 

Where did you read this? She had plans. Should she ditch the friends with whom she had the prior arrangement, or cancel her trip? In my book, prior commitment takes precedence - except for emergencies like funerals and severe illness.

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Now, that's *really* reading between the lines. :tongue_smilie:

And the first time I don't agree with Catwoman. :w00t:

 

 

:D

 

I guess I interpreted it that way because Quill also said how annoying she was, and that her dh had a problem with it, too and thought she was showing off (or something along those lines.) I got the feeling that this is a regular occurrence, not just a one-time thing.

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Really, I think it's good enough that I just say, no sorry I cannot. Nobody needs to know why. But I know some people NEED to know why. So I make something up.

 

 

 

Yes. I agree no one needs to know why. We have certain family members who don't like to take no for an answer, and they seem to think they can decide whether our reasons for declining are good enough. I'd love to be able to say, "Sorry, we have something else going on that night, have fun!" but that doesn't work... well, why not? What are you doing? What time is that? Way overstepping the bounds. (I'm not talking about holidays or times when we all want or are trying to get together... just random things where it won't work, or where we can't take the time.)

 

So if someone wants to volunteer the information, I don't care, that's fine. If they don't, that's fine too. But I get grumpy when people start peppering me with questions about what I'm doing when I'm not with them. :)

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I am an introvert, though not an extreme one. I do give explanations usualy if i can't attend. I think it is rude to just decline unless you really don't want to have a relationship with that person. I also see it as being more practicle since in case of the trip, you can know the whole weekend is out.

 

It seems like you just don't like SIL and no matter what she does, you still won't like her. I don't understand why you have resentment about someone taking a vacation in Colorado to ski. Why is that rubbing your face into anything? Skiing in Colorado seems like a normal activity to me though in the East Coast, more people go to place like Vermont or NY state. But really, if you like skiing, you tend to take your vacations in places like Colorado or the Sierra Nevadas or some other ski area. Who cares? Why are you jealous?

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