Jump to content

Menu

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


Quill
 Share

Recommended Posts

 

I suppose. But you can't win. Either it's too much info or not enough info. I think different people have different ideas about this.

 

When I decline stuff I feel the need to give some sort of reason, but I will often lie if I think my reason doesn't sound reasonable enough. Is that better? That I'm lying? I dunno. 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.

 

lol Yep.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've set myself up so that I almost HAVE to do this. You see, I'm the friend who advises her overtaxed friends to bow out of things by saying. "I can't. I have plans." even if those 'plans' are sitting on the couch with your husband. Since they KNOW I do this to acquaintances, I feel compelled to give my close friends my actual reasons. ðŸ˜

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

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

Speaking gently, I wonder if some of what irritates you about this woman is no more than a cultural difference. Your personalities are polar opposites (extrovert/introvert). The way she speaks or behaves may not necessarily be wrong--but it may be so different from the way that you operate that you find it both abrasive and hard to understand. With that irritated response on your part will often also come a moral judgment or a judgment on her character.

 

People do this all the time when relating to those of another culture, whether that be nationality, race, rich/poor, or even region (city/suburbs, etc.).

 

It may help your relationship with your family if you ponder this and find a way to think the best of her, rather than defaulting to a response that seeks to interpret what she says/does as being wrong.

 

That said, of course I don't know either you or them, so my thoughts may be off-base. However, it wouldn't surprise me if your differences have more to do with simply being opposites (introvert/extrovert).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would not reply that way with a mere acquaintance. With my own sister or brother, I probably would fill in details because I tend to keep my family aware of what is going on in our lives.

 

It would never occur to me that telling a sister (brother/in-law) what we have planned is showing off. It actually sounds like sour grapes to ding ones own sister for just mentioning she has certain plans. I understand too much detail can be annoying, but just the basics.

 

I don't know. Sibling relationships can be complicated. I may annoy mine more that I know. But it is hard for me to imagine my sisters or in laws would be happier if I didn't tell them we had travel plans.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Well, THAT explains everything!

(FWIW, I am an extreme extrovert as well. No wonder we have opposite points of view on this one)

 

 

Much is explained by this in general, I think.

 

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:

 

 

Haha! She does do this! :laugh: I doubt anyone would remember the post, but this is the same SIL who declined going to my 40th birthday dinner because she was "seeing a movie with a friend."

 

 

: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.

 

 

It is. If it wasn't what she does all the time, I probably wouldn't notice.

 

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?

 

 

I'm not jealous. I could go skiing if I wanted to. It annoys me because this is what she always does and it has an air of, "We are SO social. We're just always busy going out with friends or flying off somewhere." It's one of those have-to-see-it-for-yourself things. It's not that I never want to hear a friend or family member mention that they're going on a trip or a dinner or whatever. It's this SIL. It's the way she does this ALL the time.

 

Speaking gently, I wonder if some of what irritates you about this woman is no more than a cultural difference. Your personalities are polar opposites (extrovert/introvert). The way she speaks or behaves may not necessarily be wrong--but it may be so different from the way that you operate that you find it both abrasive and hard to understand. With that irritated response on your part will often also come a moral judgment or a judgment on her character.

 

People do this all the time when relating to those of another culture, whether that be nationality, race, rich/poor, or even region (city/suburbs, etc.).

 

It may help your relationship with your family if you ponder this and find a way to think the best of her, rather than defaulting to a response that seeks to interpret what she says/does as being wrong.

 

That said, of course I don't know either you or them, so my thoughts may be off-base. However, it wouldn't surprise me if your differences have more to do with simply being opposites (introvert/extrovert).

 

 

Well, we have some seriously bad history, so I think it's amazing headway that I can be in the same room with her. Honestly, I have tried at various times to be okay with her, but it doesn't last. She does a lot of things that I don't think much of. That's pretty much why any of us come here to vent about folks that rub us wrong. It's safer than setting her hair on fire.

 

I would not reply that way with a mere acquaintance. With my own sister or brother, I probably would fill in details because I tend to keep my family aware of what is going on in our lives.

 

It would never occur to me that telling a sister (brother/in-law) what we have planned is showing off. It actually sounds like sour grapes to ding ones own sister for just mentioning she has certain plans. I understand too much detail can be annoying, but just the basics.

 

I don't know. Sibling relationships can be complicated. I may annoy mine more that I know. But it is hard for me to imagine my sisters or in laws would be happier if I didn't tell them we had travel plans.

 

 

She is not my sister. She's my husband's brother's wife. Although I have my share of complications with my own sisters at times, so I hear ya.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Well, we have some seriously bad history, so I think it's amazing headway that I can be in the same room with her. Honestly, I have tried at various times to be okay with her, but it doesn't last. She does a lot of things that I don't think much of. That's pretty much why any of us come here to vent about folks that rub us wrong. It's safer than setting her hair on fire.

 

 

As I said, I don't know either one of you, so my thoughts can only be a guess at the situation. Of course it's fine to vent here--my suggestion was only one possibility that occurred to me when I saw that you are so opposite (introvert/extrovert). It wouldn't be the first time I saw misunderstandings based on that. Sorry that there is such an unhappy history between you.

 

A different example would be in my own family. I happen to love reading, studying, poetry, opera, and classical music. Many of my relatives perceive me as pretentious or stuck-up, and I have learned to just not talk about the things I love because they take it as a personal attack on what they love.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I thought of this some more last night. Do you guys remember when I posted about my "cursed" New year's Eve party where almost everybody canceled?

They did so by email, in response to my emailed invitation. Only one person simply said they can't make it. (They were hosting a party, and it might have been a bit awkward to say, well, we are having our own party but did not invite you). Everybody else who was declining gave a specific reason: prior invitation elsewhere, playing a show, sickness, road conditions in bad weather, trouble with demented MIL, travel. The people who were out of town did not only write that they were out of town, but also where they were, what they were doing there, and when they would be back.

 

Their sharing extra information showed me that they genuinely regretted not to be able to join us, and it made me feel much better about the cancellations than a mere "can't make it" would have.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I would tell a sibling where I was going. I would assume the sibling would be interested in what's going on in my life. The only difference is that I'd probably say "I have a dinner that day" versus "dinner with friends."

 

If I received such a message from a sibling, I would feel happy for her that she has fun stuff planned.

 

ETA: I just saw this is your husband's brother's wife. I had initially assumed this was your husband's sister. So this is a bit different, but still your husband and his brother are siblings, and I would not think anything odd about one being informed about the other's plans. For that matter, I don't see anything wrong with anyone telling anyone they are going skiing in Colorado, depending on the context.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe we have the same sil? I totally get what you are saying. I couldn't understand for years why I felt so drained and defeated after spending time with my sil and then around Christmas time I saw this article: http://www.divinecaroline.com/35/98734-nobody-better-handle-one-upper

and I had an aha moment.

 

While I don't think there is anything wrong with telling people your plans and I usually appreciate it, my sil gets the trophy for one-upping.

Conversations with her are all about "Anything your family can do, mine can do better".

 

And well, it gets old after awhile.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

She must be chattier on email than most people. On email, I agree with you- most people would just give alternate dates.

 

I have the opposite problem. Someone close to me frequently will say in person, "I can't make it then- we are going to be out of town (or have other plans, or whatever)-" With rapidly shifting eyes as if hoping against hope I won't ask what the plans are. In that situation, I would usually briefly describe the plans (since we're super close), "We're going to an amusement park, " or "One of the kids' friends has a birthday party," or "My parents want to get together that day." The way it's been done is a touch on the hurtful side, as if there's an unspoken statement, "You're not included in these plans, so don't be curious about them."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think some people just feel like giving more of an explanation. Eating dinner with friends sounds like a normal week to me, not a jetsetter thing. :) Does she annoy you in a lot of other ways? I ask because sometimes you just reach a stage with people that no matter what, they are going to rub you the wrong way. It's not your fault or theirs, it is just how it is. (Eating crackers stage. ;) )

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It all depends on how she says it. What can sound apologetic and genuine from one person, can sound completely snotty and rude from another. It's all in your tone. I'm guessing she has a snotty, superior, "oh, we're just so busy, but I know YOU wouldn't understand what having a real social life is like" tone. Makes all the difference. ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Declining and trying to change the date/location is annoying to me. Saying "I can't come on Tuesday because we are supposed to go to choir practice/dinner with the Andersons/leave for our vacation that night" etc don't bother me in the least. For me, I don't take issue with the fun things that other people are doing. They don't have to keep their plans a secret unless there is something odd about the dynamic.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It all depends on how she says it. What can sound apologetic and genuine from one person, can sound completely snotty and rude from another. It's all in your tone. I'm guessing she has a snotty, superior, "oh, we're just so busy, but I know YOU wouldn't understand what having a real social life is like" tone. Makes all the difference. ;)

 

This is what I was thinking - that the SIL's tone of voice, and even perhaps body language was conveying something more than can be expressed in just words. Hang in there, Quill, and kill her snotty attitude with honest politeness! Smile big and sweetly, say "Oh, I'm sorry to hear that you can't make it", and change the subject (preferably to something neutral, if possible). I'm guessing that the more it bothers you, the better she'll feel.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe we have the same sil? I totally get what you are saying. I couldn't understand for years why I felt so drained and defeated after spending time with my sil and then around Christmas time I saw this article: http://www.divinecar...andle-one-upper

and I had an aha moment.

 

While I don't think there is anything wrong with telling people your plans and I usually appreciate it, my sil gets the trophy for one-upping.

Conversations with her are all about "Anything your family can do, mine can do better".

 

And well, it gets old after awhile.

 

 

What a great article! SIL is at least three of those: The Gourmand, The Downer and The Workhorse. When it comes to work, she has to be recognized for every single thing she does, especially if - heaven forbid - she had to spend extra time on it or do it on her day(s) off. The Downer: I remember one time, at a New Years party, SIL was talking to a friend of hers. They were both talking about how they were recently sick with the flu or something like it. The friend said she was so sick, she considered going to the ER. Believe it or not - and I know you can barely believe it - SIL said, "I was so sick, I almost died!" :nopity: The friend, who is a nurse, just did this: :confused1:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It all depends on how she says it. What can sound apologetic and genuine from one person, can sound completely snotty and rude from another. It's all in your tone. I'm guessing she has a snotty, superior, "oh, we're just so busy, but I know YOU wouldn't understand what having a real social life is like" tone. Makes all the difference. ;)

 

That's exactly the way I read it. If she'd sounded apologetic and genuine, I'm sure Quill wouldn't have started this thread! :)

 

 

Declining and trying to change the date/location is annoying to me. Saying "I can't come on Tuesday because we are supposed to go to choir practice/dinner with the Andersons/leave for our vacation that night" etc don't bother me in the least.

 

:iagree:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It seems fine to me - well unless she sounded snarky or boastful when she said it - it's all in the tone I guess :laugh:

 

When I decline invitations I usually always tell people what I'm doing unless it's private (no one needs to know you are going for a PAP smear) :laugh:

 

Honestly - when people say to me" Oh I can't make it because I have other plans" I always take it as a polite way to tell me they don't really have plans but they don't want to come. :laugh: Telling people specifics makes it more believable.

 

"Oh sorry we are going skiing that weekend" sounds more believable then "Oh sorry I can't make it because I have ..umm.. PLANS" :glare:

 

Maybe its just me but I use the word "plans" as a polite way to say "I'm not doing anything but I don't want to come so this is my lame way of trying not to hurt your feelings" and the funny thing is when you use the word "plans" in your excuse the other person always looks at you like they know you are making it up to avoid them.

 

Specifics are always better ..well unless the specifics are said in a "tone" meant to show off :laugh:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I decline invitations I usually always tell people what I'm doing unless it's private (no one needs to know you are going for a PAP smear) :laugh:

 

 

Yeah, but if you use that one, you probably won't get any more unwanted invitations from that person for a while. Providing way TMI can work to your advantage.

 

Another good one is, "We'd love to come! You know I have that colonoscopy scheduled for the next day, though, right? So you don't mind if I do the "prep thing" at your house, do you?"

 

You. Will. Never. Be. Invited. Again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

 

She is not my sister. She's my husband's brother's wife. Although I have my share of complications with my own sisters at times, so I hear ya.

 

Her husband is your husband's brother. They are brothers. In my family there would be nothing strange about them or their wives giving specific information about plans. That said, sometimes it is hard to explain what makes an annoying person annoying, but I think we can all agree that if you say she is annoying, she is!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have an aunt like this. A simply "How are you?" begins with a sigh and a laundry list of how busy and exhausting her life is. Get over yourself, I say. We all are busy.

 

Or like when I really needed help after surgery and she ask if there was anything she could do to help. I asked if she could let the kids come play one afternoon so I could rest and she responded with every minute detail she had going on that week. I can't stand that! Blah! Guess this post struck a nerve.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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:

 

 

 

But that's exactly what the sil isn't doing. She made plans with her friends for dinner. If she cancels with them to do the family thing, she's canceling for a "better offer." I do this all the time, but it's because I'm running through my calendar in my head. Our job is to plan events so we have a busy schedule. It's never to be rude or boastful. It's more like, "Let's see, dh is working this weekend, we've got an event on this day, we have another event on this day, but we're free on these days!" It sounds more like a personality difference. Or else I'm extremely rude and had no idea! :laugh:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

 

This is me, too. I almost feel that I *have* to include what I'm doing (to a point). To say less makes me feel that the other person will take it an affront. I will 'simplify' our plans, though if it's something I don't want the world to know about or if it's something that could be uncomfortable. Like, instead of saying "we're going skiing that weekend", I might say "we'll be out of town, but the next weekend would work if that's good for you". Maybe it's the *detail* she is giving that gives you the bragging vibe?

 

As an aside, could she simply be thinking out loud? Like "well, the 10th is Timmy's birthday and the 24th we'll be skiing in Colorado that weekend".

 

It could also simply be that she does other things to sound "jet setty" (yeah, I just made up a word!) so pretty much everything she says will get on your nerves.

 

I'm sorry you're stuck working with her. That makes it more difficult to ignore. :grouphug:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This is me, too. I almost feel that I *have* to include what I'm doing (to a point). To say less makes me feel that the other person will take it an affront. I will 'simplify' our plans, though if it's something I don't want the world to know about or if it's something that could be uncomfortable. Like, instead of saying "we're going skiing that weekend", I might say "we'll be out of town, but the next weekend would work if that's good for you". Maybe it's the *detail* she is giving that gives you the bragging vibe?

 

As an aside, could she simply be thinking out loud? Like "well, the 10th is Timmy's birthday and the 24th we'll be skiing in Colorado that weekend".

 

It could also simply be that she does other things to sound "jet setty" (yeah, I just made up a word!) so pretty much everything she says will get on your nerves.

 

I'm sorry you're stuck working with her. That makes it more difficult to ignore. :grouphug:

 

I'm sure that she has no idea her constant inclusion of the details of their schedule comes off the way it does. Like I said, she is a full-on extrovert and, to my way of thinking, an over-talker anyway. There's even an element that annoys me in the fact that she said, "Please don't make it for the weekend of the 24th..." It's like she thinks they are so essential that it cannot possibly happen on the weekend they won't be in town. There are four other families to coordinate. It could be that the 24th is the only weekend somebody else can make it, kwim? Fortunately, it didn't turn out that way, but I think she should simply have stated that that weekend would be a no-go for them, not "Please don't..." I would not mind a statement that, "We'll be out of town..." and that does not strike me the same way.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Honestly? Yes, on occasion I have responded in that way. But only BECAUSE of people who don't seem to understand that if/when I decline their invitation, a simple "Thank you oh so much but I already have a prior commitment for that time" is suffiecient according to proper eriquette. I have one in my life who will badger til a full explanation comes forth. So, yeah, sometimes I get wordy like that.

 

But most if the time, no!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...