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This difference in values sometimes does get me down.


Ginevra
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I was at another infamous family dinner with my infamous SILs about whom I can never seem to stop talking. :glare: It just got me down that I couldn't contribute to the conversation(s) and it's all because of different values. Talking about expensive stores where I never shop, restaurants I never go to, things I am not interested in buying and TV shows I've never seen. These people are generally not going to be excited for me that I'm getting chickens, don't care about the series The Bible which we've been watching and at least one or two would be horrified to hear of my Goodwill scores of late. I'm just :nopity: for myself because I feel out of step with them. We used to be close and have similar values, but things have changed and now I feel like nobody but dh and my MIL would be able to have a conversation about things that matter to me.

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I actually am in the same boat. My IL's feel like strangers to us.We used to have dinner at each other's houses and talk on the phone quite frequently. Now we see them on holidays, and we all live 5 miles from each other.

 

I have always said that I try not to be the same person I was yesterday. I read and learn something all the time. These people are the same as they were 5 years ago. And they disagree with every single parenting choice we make, including shopping at thrift stores. One of my IL's actually told me that they thought you had to show proof of income before you could shop at thrift stores :huh:

 

I'm always excited to hear about great thrift store finds..... :thumbup:

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I'm sorry you had such a miserable time. But I must ask, do you really see it as a difference in values? It seems more like a difference in lifestyles.

 

I guess it's both. If you value having, say, an expensive shirt from Whatever Store more than you value having an inexpensive shirt from Anything Store, then it leads to a difference in lifestyle. If you value having been to the coolest new restaurant in town, but don't value making a homemade pie, then there will be a lot of restaurant dining and no pie-making in your lifestyle, right?

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I actually am in the same boat. My IL's feel like strangers to us.We used to have dinner at each other's houses and talk on the phone quite frequently. Now we see them on holidays, and we all live 5 miles from each other.

 

I have always said that I try not to be the same person I was yesterday. I read and learn something all the time. These people are the same as they were 5 years ago. And they disagree with every single parenting choice we make, including shopping at thrift stores. One of my IL's actually told me that they thought you had to show proof of income before you could shop at thrift stores :huh:

 

I'm always excited to hear about great thrift store finds..... :thumbup:

I'm sorry you're feeling that way.

 

I know I'm not a relative or an IRL friend, but I would love to hear about your chickens and your thrift store finds. :)

 

I have eight hens and a rooster. Most of my wardrobe comes from second hand stores. :)

 

Thanks...hey, guess what? I got two barstools for $10 at Goodwill! :thumbup:

 

And I'm ridiculously excited for my chickens!

 

All weekend, dh and I have been planning our garden, the berry bushes we're putting in, the herb garden and where the chickens are going to be sited. :D I wanted to say that all weekend! ;)

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I totally hear you. It's especially fun when they roll their eyes at what you do because it isn't mainstream- like homeschooling. Maybe I should start saying, "You aren't REALLY going to keep them in public school for high school are you? Please tell me you are going to homeschool them. You don't want them to be promiscuous drug addicts, do you?" ;) Would that be the equivalent?

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I guess it's both. If you value having, say, an expensive shirt from Whatever Store more than you value having an inexpensive shirt from Anything Store, then it leads to a difference in lifestyle. If you value having been to the coolest new restaurant in town, but don't value making a homemade pie, then there will be a lot of restaurant dining and no pie-making in your lifestyle, right?

 

I see your point.

 

I was thinking of the morality definition of "values".

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I run in both circles.

 

Just say it.

 

The looks you get are ridiculously fun.

 

If you don't want to, talk to me. I miss my chickens, and totally SCORE at the auctions and love thrift stores.

 

Look, they are good people in both circles. Some say that stuff to brag because YOUR choices are taken as a personal judgement against them. But, I bet you if Cat were at your table, she'd ask you to make a pie, talk about your chickens, AND she'd be genuine about her interest.

 

So really, it's just your SIL.

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This is the first holiday season in years that I didn't feel that I had to keep my mouth firmly shut. It's probably because we were not with my family this year, which has completely changed the timbre, feel, and belief system from when I was growing up.

 

I totally understand the OP's feelings. For fear of riling up people who might be just like my family of origin, I will choose to keep my mouth shut like I do at home. :)

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I run in both circles.

 

Just say it.

 

The looks you get are ridiculously fun.

 

If you don't want to, talk to me. I miss my chickens, and totally SCORE at the auctions and love thrift stores.

 

Look, they are good people in both circles. Some say that stuff to brag because YOUR choices are taken as a personal judgement against them. But, I bet you if Cat were at your table, she'd ask you to make a pie, talk about your chickens, AND she'd be genuine about her interest.

 

So really, it's just your SIL.

 

Why, thank you! :001_wub:

 

I run in both circles, too, and I think there's a huge difference between people who LIKE to shop in certain stores and LIKE to eat at the newest restaurants, and the people who LIKE TO BRAG about doing those things, and it sounds like Quill's SILs may be among the braggers.

 

Personally, I think Quill is better off feeling like a bit of an outsider, because I wouldn't doubt that the SILs spend most of their time trying to impress each other with how incredibly successful and trendy they are, and while they seem to get along great at family gatherings, they may very well start gossiping about each other the minute they get in the car to drive home.

 

It is terribly stressful to try to impress and out-do others all the time, because no matter how much you have, someone else has more. (It's also incredibly obnoxious. When we grew up, we were taught that you Did Not Talk About Money, and that if you got something new, you waited politely for someone to notice it; you didn't show up at a party and ask everyone how they liked your dress or invite them outside to see your new car. And if no one complimented you, it wasn't a problem, because you'd bought the thing because you liked it, not because you were trying to impress everyone else.)

 

I also find it terribly rude that the SILs don't try to include Quill in their conversation, and that they don't try to find topics that they all have in common. And if they don't have things in common, how about asking Quill about the things she likes, anyway??? How will the SILs ever learn anything new if they're so caught up in themselves?

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See I don't even know if I see any of it as bragging. If a person spends a lot of time on whatever it is they do that is what they have to talk about.

 

I don't know what people want to talk about anymore. Or maybe I never did know. The only people I can talk homeschooling with is other homeschoolers (and not even all of them). Other people think you are bragging, insulting them, etc. if you talk about it.

 

I just don't talk to people most of the time.

 

 

I just got the feeling they were bragging because they didn't try to include Quill in their conversation. It seemed as though they might be trying to act superior to her by talking about things to which they knew she couldn't relate. I think that if you're sitting around the table with someone, you should try to be sure she feels like she's part of the discussion. Also, this isn't the first time she has had difficulty dealing with

them, so it seems like it's a pattern for them not to treat her well.

 

Ordinarily, I'd read a post like Quill's OP, and say that just because a person likes expensive things, doesn't mean they don't have good values or strong morals and that having more money isn't an indicator of being more or less of a nice person, but because I remember Quill's past difficulties with the SILs, I'm less inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt.

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Fortunately my family isn't like that but it seems that 90+% of the people here are so I have learned just to smile politely and roll my eyes inwardly at all the oneupsmanship.

 

Back when I was growing up, it used to bother me but I have finally matured to the point where I have realized that Eleanor Roosevelt was right in her famous saying, "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Different people have different priorities in life, and mine is to be home with my kids rather than having to stick them in daycare so that I can have fancy status symbols.

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It is hard to feel that family members can't relate or are not interested in you.

 

I would love to hear about chickens and would love a family member who is more in tune with me.

 

But I seriously hate Goodwill. Hate it. My sister is always finding great stuff there, so I know it is possible, but I always find my visits to be a massive waste of my time. I would rather go to a department store, find everything I need, and get out. I hate shopping and I think my time is just as precious as my money, so any more time spent shopping than necessary makes me contemplate the fleeting nature of life and my desire to take it slow and smell the roses. Homemade pie? All over it. Goodwill? Not so much. I think your overall dislike of your SIL is probably the thing driving your thoughts here.

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Is there anything you have in common or can find that you might be able to create something in common? Perhaps there is something you can all relate to? If they are purposely excluding you, that's just being rude. If that's the case, it might be time to pass the bean dip or just avoid them.

 

Sometimes I can, but mostly only if it's a neutral conversation I have no particular stake in. For instance, one SIL's son just got engaged, so I talked to her a while by just mentioning it and then listening while she told me every detail. From her perspective, that was probably a wonderful conversation. :rolleyes: I'm mildly interested in the engagement, so I don't especially care if she blabs away, but obviously, this isn't fulfilling for me. (Which is too much to ask, apparently.)

 

I don't think it's a matter of them purposely excluding me. Two of the SILs (and Cat is right; she remembers they are thorns in my side to begin with) are just unpleasant to talk with if I know they will not agree with me or find it exciting. They aren't good at sharing my joy, if you KWIM. The one SIL would never consider having chickens, but worse than that, she would be one to say, "Why would you want all that messy, awful work to do? You can go buy eggs for a few dollars." Two different times, she brought up THE Store that she likes. Even mentioned that the shirt she was wearing was bought there.* I think she's trying to goad me into saying I don't shop there because it's too expensive. She talked about how she took her future DIL shopping there and DIL commented that she can't believe she bought something there because it's a lot of money. So SIL says to me, "I mean, it IS expensive, but DIL makes plenty of money and you just have to treat yourself. She deserves it." I just don't think this way...she knows it, so I feel like she's poking me for a remark about expensive clothing. This SIL is pretty much the anti-frugal, anti-DIYer. Needless to say, she thinks little of homeschooling. So - anyway...I don't bring up topics that I know are just going to be shot down, and I can't contribute to the restaurant topic, so I said little and just sat there.

 

*And it was a cute shirt, but it wasn't an amazing shirt, it wasn't some unique item such as I've never seen before. It looked just like any shirt I could buy in any average store.

 

P.S. My nephew did talk with me about chickens. :001_smile: He had chickens for a couple years when he was a kid for 4-H. So that was nice.

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I think she's trying to goad me into saying I don't shop there because it's too expensive. She talked about how she took her future DIL shopping there and DIL commented that she can't believe she bought something there because it's a lot of money. So SIL says to me, "I mean, it IS expensive, but DIL makes plenty of money and you just have to treat yourself. She deserves it." I just don't think this way...she knows it, so I feel like she's poking me for a remark about expensive clothing.

 

I'm glad to hear you didn't take the bait -- and I'm sure that was exactly what she was trying to do. Fortunately, you know her and you know her personality, so you're able to see right through her.

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I'm stunned when people decide they have nothing to chat about at get togethers because they're so different. It's also shocking to see people who are so busy talking that they don't do much or any listening. Um, wouldn't it be more interesting to meet someone different than you? If you're already familiar with something, there aren't many questions to ask the other person. Asking about it doesn't mean you have to adopt that way of thinking or that lifestyle. I find it far more difficult to maintain much conversation with people I have things in common with and that I see frequently. Send in someone very different and I have lots of questions for them.

 

I think the issue with the OP is not that the SILs are different, I think they're self absorbed. Anyone who went to a get together and didn't ask the others there about what they're doing these days and why and what interests them (with an attitude of genuine interest and kindness) fails to understand the purpose of get togethers. It's to catch up on what others are doing and to get to know them better-not to approve or disapprove of them and not to spend the whole time talking about yourself and your interests. It's give and take. It's focusing on others and others focusing on you. Most social events that are not specifically interest driven are supposed to be about meeting other people and being exposed to new ideas whether you accept some or any of them or not.

 

My side of the family is pretty good at this. With my step-sister and brothers and their spouses I spent hours yesterday rotating tables catching up on what's going on with them and they asked about my life and what was going on with me. We're VERY different people, the five of us, but we always find ways to laugh and talk together.

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I would love to have a place to have chickens, but I am not much into cloths shopping expensive stores, goodwill or elsewhere. My favorite cousins on my dh's side of the family live very frugally and are raising and homeschooling their 4 children although the oldest is now in college. We always find things to talk about and I don't think that either of us excludes the other. I was around them a lot more before I had kids and while I was still working. They are some of my favorite people to be around. It is all a matter of attitude more than it is differences in where to shop.

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Fortunately my family isn't like that but it seems that 90+% of the people here are so I have learned just to smile politely and roll my eyes inwardly at all the oneupsmanship.

 

Back when I was growing up, it used to bother me but I have finally matured to the point where I have realized that Eleanor Roosevelt was right in her famous saying, "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Different people have different priorities in life, and mine is to be home with my kids rather than having to stick them in daycare so that I can have fancy status symbols.

 

True, but it's not even that. I am very happy with my frugal ways. It just bums me out that I don't have anyone there to have a rapport with anymore. I used to, but things changed. In my early marriage, one of my SILs was very frugal. She used Larry Burkette's envelope system (very similar to Dave Ramsey method), was debt-phobic, rarely spent money on entertainment and was very frugal about things like buying clothes. She grew a garden and canned tomatoes and string beans. But now they make rather a lot of money and she changed. She grew to like eating out and vacations and expensive symbols. She doesn't grow a garden anymore or do any of those things.

 

The only person who is still frugal and into DIY kind of things is my MIL, but she is declining now and, though she was present, she either can no longer follow a conversation between several people or she just doesn't feel like talking, but either way, she doesn't say a word. :sad: I guess I just miss feeling like we're this tight family who are also friends.

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You really can be *too* different. For example, my Dad was a mechanic, did home renos, etc. I'm completely, blissfully, clueless about such things. So, if he started talking about rebuilding an engine, I had absolutely *nothing* to contribute at all. I don't even drive, LOL!

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But I seriously hate Goodwill. Hate it. My sister is always finding great stuff there, so I know it is possible, but I always find my visits to be a massive waste of my time.

 

There was a wonderful Goodwill in one of the towns close to where we used to live. I used to score some crazy deals on boutique outfits that had clearly only been worn once or twice and then donated.

 

The Goodwill here where we live now has a terrible selection. I don't even bother with it most of the time because I so rarely find anything worth paying even thrift store prices for. :( There is a Plato's Closet, however, and I think that's where the good stuff tends to wind up.

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There was a wonderful Goodwill in one of the towns close to where we used to live. I used to score some crazy deals on boutique outfits that had clearly only been worn once or twice and then donated.

 

The Goodwill here where we live now has a terrible selection. I don't even bother with it most of the time because I so rarely find anything worth paying even thrift store prices for. :( There is a Plato's Closet, however, and I think that's where the good stuff tends to wind up.

 

I don't like Goodwill because they don't actually help anyone with the money they make. They are a business. I use Salvation Army and St. Vincent de Paul because they're on the top of the "help others" list and more money per dollar goes to helping the poor.

 

Our Goodwills also are very junky.

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You really can be *too* different. For example, my Dad was a mechanic, did home renos, etc. I'm completely, blissfully, clueless about such things. So, if he started talking about rebuilding an engine, I had absolutely *nothing* to contribute at all. I don't even drive, LOL!

 

You could easily have asked him what he enjoyed most about his line of work, how he learned it, what his favorite projects in the past were and why, what he'd like to do in the future, what he finds most challenging and frustrating about it, how his field of work has changed over the years, who he was mentored by or who he admires most in his line of work, how his work varies from region to region, what his favorite materials are to work with and why, what kind of skill set his line of work requires, what are the best methods of learning that skill set, etc. etc. etc.

 

I don't expect someone to contribute on a topic they know nothing about, I expect them to ask questions about a topic they know nothing about so they can learn a little about the topic and to use that topic to get to know the speaker better as an individual. As you can see, those types of questions are not limited to a single topic-they're easily adaptable and generally applicable to extremely wide ranges of people's interests and experiences in all walks of life and corners of the globe.

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I get it. I do. I lived in Orange County, CA for a long time.....one-upmanship is almost like breathing there. I know there are plenty of genuine people there, but they can be hard to find.

 

It sounds like maybe your lifestyle reminds your formerly frugal SIL of those days and she has some regrets perhaps even guilt about changing so much. It might have nothing to do with you. Who knows.

 

:grouphug:

 

I guess it's where you live and who you hang around with. Too bad we didn't find each other when I lived there. :)

 

I lived my whole life (48 years so far) in Orange County CA and I rarely ran into that type of person. Maybe I was just really lucky! :) I'm actually seeing a lot of that here in NV....moreso than in my little insulated bubble in the OC.

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You could easily have asked him what he enjoyed most about his line of work, how he learned it, what his favorite projects in the past were and why, what he'd like to do in the future, what he finds most challenging and frustrating about it, how his field of work has changed over the years, who he was mentored by or who he admires most in his line of work, how his work varies from region to region, what his favorite materials are to work with and why, what kind of skill set his line of work requires, what are the best methods of learning that skill set, etc. etc. etc.

 

I don't expect someone to contribute on a topic they know nothing about, I expect them to ask questions about a topic they know nothing about so they can learn a little about the topic and to use that topic to get to know the speaker better as an individual. As you can see, those types of questions are not limited to a single topic-they're easily adaptable and generally applicable to extremely wide ranges of people's interests and experiences in all walks of life and corners of the globe.

 

Perhaps you missed the part where I said this was my *Dad*

 

Also, for my Dad, discussing the minute details *was* what he wanted to discuss. That was interesting, exciting, absorbing for him, going into the smallest detail of the tools used, time it took, etc, etc, etc. That was what he wanted to talk about, period.

 

It would be like listening to Sheldon talk about physics.

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I get you.

 

Husband and I were once good friends with a couple we knew in school. The wife and I shared a similar background: white, poor, and rural upbringing and the accumulation of multiple graduate degrees in fields our family could not hope to understand.

 

We and the other couple were both constantly strapped for cash at the time, but while I used my knowledge of my parent's penny-pinching ways to keep a tight lid on our money, the other wife seemed to think that buying something on sale was beneath her. The staff at the local restaurants knew her by name and her favorite meals, she thought getting money for returning bottles was ridiculous, she sniped about getting a nickel discount for bringing her cloth bags grocery shopping with her. The thing is, they were up their eyeballs in debt and constantly whining about their money situation. It was so frustrating for me to see that, because it's not like she didn't understand what it was to be poor, she just thought she was too good to live at her income level. It put a real strain on our friendship after a while.

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Perhaps you missed the part where I said this was my *Dad*

 

Also, for my Dad, discussing the minute details *was* what he wanted to discuss. That was interesting, exciting, absorbing for him, going into the smallest detail of the tools used, time it took, etc, etc, etc. That was what he wanted to talk about, period.

 

It would be like listening to Sheldon talk about physics.

 

Millions of people tune in every week to hear Sheldon and the guys talk Physics. We have since Season 1 episode 2. My brother called me and said, "Your life is on TV." My husband is a mix between Leonard and Sheldon. All the funniest episodes are about the physics.

 

And no, I didn't miss that you were talking about your dad at all. You can talk to your parent about what he's passionate about and politely listen to him even if you don't find it fascinating. I just think taking an interest in who a person is and getting to know them and encouraging them to talk about what they care about is an essential part of a relationship-I don't consider it optional even if it's not of particular interest to me.

 

That goes for SILs like the OP mentioned. I have 4 SILs and a step-sister who are nothing like me. I ask them to share the details of their interests because I care about them because they're family. I can find the less boring details as they talk and ask them about those aspects more if the rest aren't of particular interest to me, but finding the topic of particular interest to me is not essential. It can be boring to me, but asking lots of questions about different aspects of it (which are not the same as minute details) can make it less boring. It's not about me. It's about showing them I care about them.

 

There's also the opportunity to ask about other aspects of his life that aren't work related (see the paragraph about the questions being adaptable and applicable to other things.) How did come to live where he does? How have his values changed? What was his home life like as a kid? Which relatives are the ones he enjoys most? Where would he like to go? Who would he like to meet? What would he have done if he hadn't gotten into his line of work? Who are his friends? What else does he like to do? What does he think about any given topic related to the news today? What does like to watch or read? Why? What are his most cherished memories about family, school, the younger years, his wife, his kids, his work, his place of worship, his travels, etc.?

 

So what if he's already told you before? Why can't you listen to him again? As people get older their lives become narrower because they can't do as much. It's nice to let them relive their favorite parts.

 

Oldest SIL cares nothing about fashion, but told my youngest SIL that a new outlet mall was opening that carried a particular name brand of bag she likes. That was about caring about people and remembering what they are interested in and letting them in on something they would enjoy-even if it's different than what she would enjoy.

 

My MIL doesn't necessarily take an interest in homeschooling or the explorers but she called and let me know about the traveling Lewis and Clark living history exhibit in my area that she read about in the paper because she had politely asked me about what we were studying in school earlier that week. She remembered me and thought of me and tried to do something helpful and enjoyable for me.

 

My SIL (married to my step-dad's son) got an African Tortoise just like my bio dad's. I knew she wasn't confident about habitat and diet, so I could answer some of questions and gave her my dad's number so he could answer more of them. If I had decided that I wouldn't bother because tortoise talk doesn't interest me instead of just listening attentively to him anyway, I wouldn't have been able to help her or had as many things to talk to her about. They care about their pets so I made arrangements for her to join my bio brother and I on a visit to my dad's (an hour away) so dad and SIL could talk tortoise and she could see a well designed habitat. They both enjoyed the visit.

 

Youngest SIL is a career woman but I ask her about her career because she cares about it. I ask how her interviews, projects, and business are going. I've never been a career woman myself and don't expect to be, but that doesn't mean it's OK for me to ignore that aspect of her life which means so much to her.

 

I've linked up friends with similar interests that I don't share: horses, small acreage farming, whole foods, etc.

 

Two of my brothers heard we were studying Ancient Rome and mentioned the HBO show Rome because they thought I might like something for myself geared to adults. It's one of the best TV series I've ever seen. They enjoyed it too, so sometimes there's cross over, but there doesn't have to be crossover to listen to and encourage people.

 

There are plenty of examples I could give you but these are a good sampling. It's all about the attitude not the content.

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I guess it's where you live and who you hang around with. Too bad we didn't find each other when I lived there. :)

 

I lived my whole life (48 years so far) in Orange County CA and I rarely ran into that type of person. Maybe I was just really lucky! :) I'm actually seeing a lot of that here in NV....moreso than in my little insulated bubble in the OC.

 

I'm always surprised when I hear people say the OC is too image or status-conscious. We are not like the "real housewives" at all! I was chatting with 5 other women recently at a homeschool event when I suddenly realized, "Hey, 5 of the 6 of us raise chickens!" Right here in Orange County. (I was the only one who doesn't; don't think the Landlord would appreciate it as livestock are specifically prohibited in our lease)

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I'm always surprised when I hear people say the OC is too image or status-conscious. We are not like the "real housewives" at all! I was chatting with 5 other women recently at a homeschool event when I suddenly realized, "Hey, 5 of the 6 of us raise chickens!" Right here in Orange County. (I was the only one who doesn't; don't think the Landlord would appreciate it as livestock are specifically prohibited in our lease)

 

I guess it really is where in OC you live. I was in Mission Viejo and Foothill Ranch.

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I feel like I'm a fairly good mixture of two different lifestyles. For instance, I hate thrift store shopping (it's not that I think I'm above it, but I rarely find anything decent, and ours are not ever as cheap as other people mention theirs being - I figure if I'm gonna spend $5 on a used shirt, I'll hit the Gap sale rack). I also really enjoy eating out. We eat out a lot at ethnic places (Mexican, Indian, Japanese for sushi, and Greek) because it would be costly and time consuming for me to prepare similar meals at home (I DO prepare a good bit of Mexican at home, but the others are more difficult and have expensive ingredients). My husband doesn't really care much about it, so I tend to go with my mom, son or daughters during the day when meals are less pricey.

 

In spite of those things, I have raised chickens for 10 years, and am preparing to start a new flock (dh has to build a chicken fortress first), have had dairy goats for years in the past, garden, etc.

 

We don't garden now. I'm sure we will in the future, but we are doing a major home remodel so it's just not happening - we buy at the Farmer's Market and Whole Foods. I don't have chickens now, but, as I mentioned, we will within the year. I probably won't own a dairy animal again because I travel more now to see the grandkids and I don't want to be tied down.

 

I don't really do those things to be frugal though, but to have better quality food, and because I LOVE chickens!

 

Though I have many areas of interest where I might butt heads with family, I also feel like there are quite a few where I can go either way.

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I guess it really is where in OC you live. I was in Mission Viejo and Foothill Ranch.

 

Oh, that's kinda funny. When I saw your post, I thought, "She must be in North OC, because those South County gals are the stuck-up ones." :D

 

I hope I didn't offend anyone. That was my experience.

 

It is where you are and who who know. I was the lonely Geo on the sea of luxury cars. I was in Mission Viejo for a time, then we moved to Costa Mesa....

 

I was guessing you were in South County. :) But then PatchiSusan threw me off. So I don't know...I guess the moral is that you can find genuinely nice people and stuck-up people anywhere.

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Oh, that's kinda funny. When I saw your post, I thought, "She must be in North OC, because those South County gals are the stuck-up ones." :D

 

 

 

I was guessing you were in South County. :) But then PatchiSusan threw me off. So I don't know...I guess the moral is that you can find genuinely nice people and stuck-up people anywhere.

 

Ha ha ha!!! I grew up in MV where it was like the frontier. We had to drive up to South Coast Plaza to shop! LOL

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I have to laugh because I totally know how you feel and I don't think it is the content of the conversation but the fact that they aren't trying to be inclusive. They seem to think that they are better than you, not just different. My mil and some of her minions would look down their noses at me because I didn't buy everything at a thrift store. I was therefore a gold digger who only wanted to be with her son for his money. The irony is that I would find the things I wanted at other stores on the sales rack for less than she would spend for the same item at a thrift store. I actually like thriftstores, but don't exclusively shop at them. She was actually looking for something to not like about me. She even made up a few things. Dealing with difficult family is THE WORST!

 

I have to admit that I have to remind myself to talk to my siblings quiet spouses when we are all together because we grew up together and have the same sense of humor. I do try, though.

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Smile and nod. Smile and nod and talk about the weather. And never forget that they think your values are just as weird as you do theirs. Truly, I say this as someone who has spent less on clothing for my whole family in the last year+ as I did this last Saturday for 4 on super sale decent bras. So I am with you on the chickens and the thrifting whole hog. My favorite shoes were like $4 on sale at the Goodwill! And I am proud of that. I am in a similar situation with some of my in-laws and I just go with live and let live. They are making the best decisions for them and you are making the best decision for you. They will never understand why we choose used when we could afford new and I will never grasp why they would WANT to spend more than necessary.

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Smile and nod. Smile and nod and talk about the weather. And never forget that they think your values are just as weird as you do theirs. Truly, I say this as someone who has spent less on clothing for my whole family in the last year+ as I did this last Saturday for 4 on super sale decent bras. So I am with you on the chickens and the thrifting whole hog. My favorite shoes were like $4 on sale at the Goodwill! And I am proud of that. I am in a similar situation with some of my in-laws and I just go with live and let live. They are making the best decisions for them and you are making the best decision for you. They will never understand why we choose used when we could afford new and I will never grasp why they would WANT to spend more than necessary.

 

 

 

Very astute. This is exactly true.

 

All the talk about Orange County is so funny to me, because as I was out yesterday evening and could not post, I was thinking about nicknaming the various SILs. One of them I was planning to nickname "Orange County." :lol: O.C. is gorgeous like a model, very concerned with fashion and either pretty wealthy or not concerned about debt. Her husband is GQ, too; it seems to me she has become much more O.C. since she met him.

 

The SIL whom I've mentioned the most on here before, I thought I'd nickname "Wannabe." They are solidly middle class, but she has always tried to project a higher lifestyle than that. Her sister is actually wealthy - two high income earners, one child. She seems like she wants to be on par with her sister, though they don't actually have that kind of income. So she is Wannabe. Wannabe constantly talks about topics surrounding money and luxury. She is disdainful of thrift.

 

Then there is ExFriend. I work with her. It's not easy. Used to be frugal and homey; isn't anymore.

 

Lastly, there's Yuppie. Yuppie grew up with well-off parents. Yuppie's dad is very frugal, but her mom is spendy. Yuppie is spendy like her mom, but has a good attitude about it. They are uber wealthy. Probably have the most dough in the family. But Yuppie knows she is not frugal and doesn't try and parade around how spendy she is. I have no problem with Yuppie. She would be interested in hearing about chickens, even though she would not have them in her dizziest daydream. If we're all in one place, however, Wannabe's harsh and critical style would win out; Yuppie wouldn't pipe up.

 

We were actually eating at Yuppie's home. Their house was already the most enormous, elaborate home of anybody I personally know. They are putting an addition on. It's pretty shocking. My son said, as we drove up, "Why is somebody building a house right next to their house?" :laugh: The funny thing is, Yuppie herself did not talk about the addition. She never brought it up. But Wannabe and O.C. did.

 

It's just gotten weird. I liked it better when we were on similar pages.

 

P.S. "Homeschool Mom in AZ" - your points are interesting. I would be well-advised to do that. Conversations with Wannabe are "easiest" when I'm just letting her blab about whatever she wants to talk about. At least I'm not having to constantly defend my lifestyle.

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Yea, and SIL is unlikely to return the polite kindness you showed her in letting her talk about her interests by reciprocating and asking your about yours, but that's just her revealing herself for who she is. You can always give her some of your time at a get together and then, after a while stop her in her monologue about herself and say in a pleasant tone of voice, "Well, I'm going to go catch up with ___________________ now." and then move onto the next relative. Maybe that one will have a few social skills and there will be give and take or maybe not. Maybe you'll learn something and maybe you'll be bored, but you'll have been a good example to your children and you'll have earned the self respect that goes with being generous even though others were selfish and being polite even though others were rude. Then go find a group of people who do share your values and appreciate your contributions to the types of conversations you prefer.

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I've never had anything in common with my dh's family. Ever. I've asked dh why he married me as I'm so opposite his family. Well, so is he....now. He changed after moving out of his parents house at 18. He is not who they think he is.

 

Anyway, I never have anything to contribute to conversations when we visit them. We have different religious beliefs, different political views, different parenting views, different values in general.

 

Oh, well.

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I like chickens and stories of great Goodwill finds, so there :D

 

Bill (who is still on a high from finding a $180 lacrosse helmet last week at Goodwill for $3.99)

 

 

It seems lots of people I know are interested in chickens. They might not want chickens, but chicken stories are pretty common, and people buy the eggs. (You put them in a cooler on the side of the road, add a jar of change coins, and when you come home the eggs are gone and the Ball Jar is full. )

 

I live in a coastal community, and come July, the summer people are out in full force. The boats are in the water, and the cost of that has everyone, even the filthy rich, wanting a bargain. I see wealthy folks looking for finds at Savers. I've heard the breathy conversations at the kids' sailing lessons when someone shares the story of finding a pair of new looking Feragamos for $5, or that Halston woolen coat for $9.99. (Oh wait, that coat was my find. lol)

 

One of my best finds was a retro Dansk enamel pot- in orange, with the stylistic lid. Awesome.

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I'm sorry you had such a miserable time. But I must ask, do you really see it as a difference in values? It seems more like a difference in lifestyles.

 

I agree.

 

I hate to be harsh, but your original post sounds rather self-serving and condescending. You make it sound like you are the "good values" person while your relatives . . . are . . . not.

 

In a later post, you attach mean nicknames to your relatives (I won't post in case you think better of it and edit it) that could be hurtful and insulting. That makes it sound like you don't like these people, so your original lament about feeling left out seems rather hollow.

 

The differences you list are much more life-style and $$ related than values related.

 

The things you are listing all sound like consumption related. Is that really all they are interested in talking about? Is that really all *you* are interested in talking about? Shopping and eating? (boooorrrring!)

 

How about kid activities? Politics (if compatible)? Religion (if compatible)? Sports? Silly neighbor stories? Silly customer service stories? Horrible customer service rants? Vacation plans? Hobbies? Good-natured, positive "gossip" about other relatives' comings/goings/successes? How adorable all the kids are? Illness and aging (always fun!)? School successes/challenges? Kids growing up, getting drivers' licenses, applying to college . . . The insanity of SAT/ACT/college essays . . . etc.

 

Even if that is all they want to talk about, can't you be interested and pleasant while discussing their purchases and dining experiences? If people live in different states or countries and are discussing dining or shopping, then obviously the discussion isn't about where ALL of the participants in the conversation dine or shop . . . It can just be one person's story and other people can be listeners. Talking about someone's shopping disaster at Gucci is entertaining whether or not you, too, shop at the same Gucci store.

 

I personally find self-deprecating stories are often the best ice-breakers, especially if life-style differences could be awkward. So, try telling the story about the embarrassing day at the museum when you lost your toddler, and found him in the women's room . . . or the day you got banned from the library for returning a book full of chewed bubble gum. Or the day you found a huge black snake in the nesting box and had to get a neighbor to move it because you were too afraid and dh wasn't home. And the fact that you spend $100 in feed each month to produce 20 dozen eggs, making your eggs cost over $5/dozen in feed costs alone. Avoid the "perfect homeschooling mommy" stories about cuddling on the couch while the kids are enraptured by reading Shakespeare aloud together . . . No one believes those stories anyway. ;) (I raise hens, too, so no insult to egg-raising intended, lol)

 

Many of my relatives have extremely different lifestyles and even different values than dh and I do. In fact, not a single sibling has had a lifestyle very comparable to ours. Some have (much) more money, some have (much) less, some have zero kids and never intend to have them, some are dual-income working parents with nannies, some Catholic, some athiest, some have their own beach homes and travel overseas routinely, some never vacation at all, some "golf is how I get in touch with nature" and some "backpacking in the wilderness is my idea of a great vacation", some . . .

 

You get the picture. Not ONE of them (out of 6 siblings in both our families) have categorically similar lifestyles to ours, none homeschool, and not even one has even vaguely similar religion. Nonetheless, we enjoy each of our siblings and their families. We can spend entire weekends with one sibling set and never run out of pleasant conversation or meaningful interaction. We appreciate their stories about their lives, even when their choices are very different from ours. We can empathize, support, encourage, and just witness their lives and their person-hood without needing to be identical twins.

 

My relatives will listen to me talk about kids' music activities or homeschooling or my running, and I'll listen to them talk about their careers and travel and nanny-issues. We are interested in eachother because we care about eachother.

 

Variety is the spice of life. Learn to look for the commonalities that matter, and to appreciate the differences.

 

And, if you really dislike them, just keep some distance, stay busy with kids/food at family gatherings, and bite your tongue.

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It seems lots of people I know are interested in chickens. They might not want chickens, but chicken stories are pretty common, and people buy the eggs. (You put them in a cooler on the side of the road, add a jar of change coins, and when you come home the eggs are gone and the Ball Jar is full. )

 

I live in a coastal community, and come July, the summer people are out in full force. The boats are in the water, and the cost of that has everyone, even the filthy rich, wanting a bargain. I see wealthy folks looking for finds at Savers. I've heard the breathy conversations at the kids' sailing lessons when someone shares the story of finding a pair of new looking Feragamos for $5, or that Halston woolen coat for $9,99. (Oh wait, that coat was my find. lol)

 

One of my best finds was a retro Dansk enamel pot- in orange, with the stylistic lid. Awesome.

 

LOL. Mrs Spy Car, who I'm afraid is a little hooked on the thrift store "find" sensation (and who also insists she has the best "thrift store karma), often reports to me on the Hollywood celebrities she sees out there in thrift shops.

 

I had been rather bemused by the whole practice, but I got "the trill" last week when I dug into a pile of beat-up old bike and skate helmets and at the bottom a beautiful (and originally a very expensive) lacrosse helmet emerged. Just when we needed it, as our 8 year old had just outgrown his youth helmet.

 

The odds of finding it in Los Angeles are mindboggling to me. It goes in the "near-miracle" category for me.

 

Bill (who will resist addictive impulses :D)

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Stephanie Z, (not quoting your post because of its length) - a large aspect of it is the two I don't like. Wannabe is impossible to talk with. The category of things I can't discuss with her is very broad. I would not introduce the subject of my kids activities (for example) in my worst nightmare, because Wannabe will just use it as an opportunity to talk about what her kids did at similar ages and always with an air of superiority. If my kids are all in a sport, her kids were all in two sports, or they were on travel teams that had them driving all over the East Coast. At one point, she asked my dd if she had her Learner's Permit yet and then after an affirmative, talked for several minutes about how each of her kids were at learning to drive and what car they had to learn on and how old they were when they first rode the jet ski.

 

I would say more about this, but I need to leave for my class.

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Stephanie Z, (not quoting your post because of its length) - a large aspect of it is the two I don't like. Wannabe is impossible to talk with. The category of things I can't discuss with her is very broad. I would not introduce the subject of my kids activities (for example) in my worst nightmare, because Wannabe will just use it as an opportunity to talk about what her kids did at similar ages and always with an air of superiority. If my kids are all in a sport, her kids were all in two sports, or they were on travel teams that had them driving all over the East Coast. At one point, she asked my dd if she had her Learner's Permit yet and then after an affirmative, talked for several minutes about how each of her kids were at learning to drive and what car they had to learn on and how old they were when they first rode the jet ski.

 

I would say more about this, but I need to leave for my class.

 

I posted this awhile ago. This is my family get-togethers, too. I hate them.

Just for laughs:

http://www.divinecaroline.com/life-etc/friends-family/nobody-does-it-better-how-handle-one-upper

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