Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Family and Children => Topic started by: Last_Dance on April 01, 2013, 11:45:49 AM

Title: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: Last_Dance on April 01, 2013, 11:45:49 AM
My mother has been lecturing me about going out with my own friends with my BF, but lately this has come up whenever we meet "Ellen," my oldest and dearest friend.

Just to clarify, I'm not dragging him along to Girls night out, it's just the two of us meeting "Ellen" for dinner - and I got lectured even when it was Ellen who invited both of us!
(According to my mother, I shouldn't have told Ellen I'd ask BF about his work schedule and call her back, I should have made plans with her right there and then and if BF couldn't make it, too bad). 

This week we're going to see Ellen again: it's not exactly a social call, we need her advice on Important Topic I Don't Want to Discuss with Mom Yet (Importat Topic for short).

Today I stopped at home to grab some clothes and ended up asking mother's advice about the bag I chose: when I said we're having dinner with Ellen, she immediately wanted to know whether BF is coming. Stupidly, I said he is, which immediately started her on her lecture/rant again. 
I stopped her in her tracks by telling her that we both need to talk to Ellen, which was a mistake because now she wanted to know why: at first I replied not-too-gently that it was our business, then I lied and said we're thinking about organizing a sort trip somewhere together.
Mom snarkily asked if Ellen and I couldn't manage alone, I said that no, we couldn't and mercifully this was the end of the conversation.

I've thought that next time I should just ask her why she wants to know, but that's likely to end with her calling me out on my defensiveness or telling me I'm being rude and she was just curious...

Now that I think about it, she has done the lecture/rant thing before, specifically about what I'm doing/should do in my relationship with Dear Boyfriend. I pointed out that it was between BF and me, things worked fine for us and it was none of her business - again, I had to put my point rather forcefully.
Perhaps that's why now it's Same Thing, Different Topic...

Needless to say, in both cases her lectures/rants are neither appreciated nor wanted. Any advice on how to handle this?

Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: scansons on April 01, 2013, 11:56:51 AM
My first reaction was that she doesn't like your BF.  Probably that's just me. 

How old are you?  Cause if you are an adult say 18+ you have every right to tell her that it's your business and then refuse to discuss it.  But you have to actually refuse to discuss it, and then not discuss it.  Right now, you are letting her know it's sensitive, and then giving her what she wants, you're discussing it.  And why exactly are you sticking around to listen to her lectures and rants.  If you can walk away, you probably should. 

If you're younger, that is more difficult.

ETA: Very often I've found that the reason she's calling you on defensiveness is because she just wants to have her say.  Not because she wants a particular outcome. 
Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: Last_Dance on April 01, 2013, 12:03:47 PM
I'm 25  ;D

As for BF, I realize it might sound like that, but they do like him: they often say he's like a son to them and we have been dating for 5 years, so it's not a new thing. Thinking back on both type of lectures, they seem to concentrate on what I was/am doing wrong and what I should do differently.
Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: Hmmmmm on April 01, 2013, 12:10:19 PM
I think your mom has experienced being the friend who got pushed to the back after a friend started a new relationship. Or at sometime maybe she lost some friends because she didn't try to maintain her friendships separately from a boyfriend.

Ask her "Mom, why is this so important to you?"  Or be more direct "Mom, I'm 25, I don't need to be lectured on my relationships."
Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: Surianne on April 01, 2013, 12:13:13 PM
I think your mom has experienced being the friend who got pushed to the back after a friend started a new relationship. Or at sometime maybe she lost some friends because she didn't try to maintain her friendships separately from a boyfriend.

That's my guess too.  I've had friends get boyfriends who are suddenly invited everywhere even when I just want to see my friend...so she may be coming at it from that perspective, not understanding that your friend Ellen is happy to see your boyfriend and invites him.

If you don't like discussing it with your mother, why bring it up at all?  She doesn't need to know who you're spending time with or what your plans are. 
Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: TurtleDove on April 01, 2013, 12:19:00 PM
In my opinion, this is none of your mother's business, and there is no reason for her to know that much about your social life.  You cannot stop her from having an opinion, but you can make it clear that her opinion does not matter to you and you can limit situations in which she is even casually aware of your social life. 
Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: Auntie Mame on April 01, 2013, 12:23:05 PM
I would stop sharing any information with your Mom.  If she can't treat you with respect then she losing the privilege of knowing anything about your life.
Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: Cami on April 01, 2013, 01:13:05 PM
I think your mom has experienced being the friend who got pushed to the back after a friend started a new relationship. Or at sometime maybe she lost some friends because she didn't try to maintain her friendships separately from a boyfriend.

That's my guess too.  I've had friends get boyfriends who are suddenly invited everywhere even when I just want to see my friend...so she may be coming at it from that perspective, not understanding that your friend Ellen is happy to see your boyfriend and invites him.

If you don't like discussing it with your mother, why bring it up at all?  She doesn't need to know who you're spending time with or what your plans are.
My guess as well.

OP -- Have you asked your mom why she's taking this tack with you? Perhaps if she fesses up to a reason like the one above, you can assuage her fears and have a useful conversation.
Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: artk2002 on April 01, 2013, 01:21:10 PM
In my opinion, this is none of your mother's business, and there is no reason for her to know that much about your social life.  You cannot stop her from having an opinion, but you can make it clear that her opinion does not matter to you and you can limit situations in which she is even casually aware of your social life.

Bingo!
Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: magician5 on April 01, 2013, 03:07:05 PM
"Doctor, it hurts when I go like this!" "So don't go like this!" Stop telling your mother so many details about a topic she can't help annoying you about.
Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: sweetonsno on April 01, 2013, 04:29:50 PM
I agree that your best bet is to not bring it up. (I'm not sure whether you still live at home or not.) However, if it slips out, don't get sucked in. Instead of getting defensive when she asks whether your boyfriend is coming along, say, "Of course he is. Ellen invited him."

I also like the idea of asking your mom directly why she's so worried about this. You're in a long-term relationship, so it's reasonable for you and your boyfriend to sometimes socialize as a unit. It could be that she's worried that your relationship is too serious, or that you are neglecting your friends for your boyfriend. (Maybe one of them has mentioned to her that they missed having you to herself or something.)
Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: Surianne on April 01, 2013, 04:42:39 PM
"Doctor, it hurts when I go like this!" "So don't go like this!" Stop telling your mother so many details about a topic she can't help annoying you about.

Hah!  That describes so many of my incredibly stupid interactions with my parents...at several years older than the OP (31).  I'm going to have to remember that for next time a phone call goes south.
Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: katycoo on April 01, 2013, 05:25:23 PM
I agree that I think your mum has 'lost' friends in the past when they have stopped socialising without their partners.  Not being part of the actual dynamic she doesn't understand that Ellen wants to see you both.

As an aside (and perhaps this is moot as you may already do so), please do make the effort to see Ellen alone.  While socialising with hr and your BF is lovely, especially when you all get along well, it does change the dynamic that when 2 girlfriends just catch up together.  Make sure to do both  :)

If you already do so, perhaps assuring your mum that you do still catch up with her separately which is why when Ellen expressly invited BF, you make the effort to ensure he can go - that they are friends too.
Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: Miss Unleaded on April 02, 2013, 04:56:50 AM
I would stop sharing any information with your Mom.  If she can't treat you with respect then she losing the privilege of knowing anything about your life.

This is exactly what I would do.  I would simply not tell her anything at all.
Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: BeagleMommy on April 02, 2013, 01:03:42 PM
Don't give your Mom any details.  I strongly suspect, as another poster mentioned, that she may have lost friends when they became a couple.
Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: TootsNYC on April 02, 2013, 07:08:15 PM
I agree that this is somehow pushing some button of your mom's.

You can just privately feel sympathetic for her, that something is still getting to her and she has such a hangup, and then ignore her and leave the house. (You don't have to make her agree with you; you don't even have to answer her question. She says, "why are you dragging your BF along?" and you say, "Bye, Mom--I should be back about 9:30." And leave.)

Let her have her hangup. Just don't make her comments become YOUR problem--they're not. Think of the grownups in the Charlie Brown movies (wah wah wah-wah-wah).  In one ear, out the other, and do NOT let it stop in the middle anywhere. "There goes Mom again."


Or you can immediately start quizzing her about what is it that bothers her so much, almost like you're her therapist, and then offer her sympathy. In other words, completely subtract YOU from the conversation and make it be ALL about her and her hangups. That'll be unpleasant enough, maybe she'll stop.
Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: gramma dishes on April 02, 2013, 09:21:50 PM
...   As an aside (and perhaps this is moot as you may already do so), please do make the effort to see Ellen alone.  While socialising with hr and your BF is lovely, especially when you all get along well, it does change the dynamic that when 2 girlfriends just catch up together.  Make sure to do both  :)

If you already do so, perhaps assuring your mum that you do still catch up with her separately which is why when Ellen expressly invited BF, you make the effort to ensure he can go - that they are friends too.

Beautifully stated.  I feel the same way and could not possibly improve on how katycoo said it.  So I'll just say 'ditto'.
Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: Last_Dance on April 03, 2013, 02:37:52 AM
The PPs who suggested it could be her lost friends rather than mine could be onto something: the next time she brings it up, I'll try and talk to her about it.

If she still insists in taking out her issues on me, I'll go with complete avoidance. It's just that I don't how to avoid answering when she asks me a direct question - like it happened this time.
What do you suggest, vague answers or directly "Why do you want to know?" 

I guess what really bugged me was that A) it was by complete chance that BF and I ended up having dinner with Ellen twice in a row, B) she doesn't accept that what worked for her might not work for me.   
Title: Re: Mom's opinions on my social life
Post by: Iris on April 03, 2013, 02:45:00 AM
The PPs who suggested it could be her lost friends rather than mine could be onto something: the next time she brings it up, I'll try and talk to her about it.

If she still insists in taking out her issues on me, I'll go with complete avoidance. It's just that I don't how to avoid answering when she asks me a direct question - like it happened this time.
What do you suggest, vague answers or directly "Why do you want to know?" 

I guess what really bugged me was that A) it was by complete chance that BF and I ended up having dinner with Ellen twice in a row, B) she doesn't accept that what worked for her might not work for me.

Honestly, with my mum I just tell her "I'm not going to tell you that".

I love my mum, she's great in many ways, but she comes from a very different financial position to DH and I and this means that she can get ... erm ... over-involved in things at times. The last time she asked me a question about finances (it was relevant to the conversation, she wasn't just being randomly nosy) I just smiled and said "Uh-uh, not going to tell you that". She asked why not and I said "Because every time I have money you tell me how to spend/save it twice over and it gets very stressful and we end up arguing." Since she is a great mum she just made a humorous "Ohhhhhhhhh! But I want to knooooooooowwwwww!" remark and we let it drop. Of course I am glossing over the YEARS of training that it took for me to get her to that point.