Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: bah12 on April 19, 2013, 11:03:27 AM

Title: But you have a husband...
Post by: bah12 on April 19, 2013, 11:03:27 AM
Last night there was an event held for a woman I know to celebrate her transitioning jobs.  When I received the invitation to her party, from the organizer, I immediately sent a note to both the organizer and the woman letting them know that I would not be able to attend.  I did not give a reason for declining but I did wish her well on her new endeavors in my note.

Apparently only a few people showed up to this party and it was upsetting to the guest of honor...she was especially upset about people that she has worked in the past were not there. This was all relayed to me by someone at work who did show up to the party (Lisa).  Lisa was saying it was rude of so many of us to not come and say good-bye and thank her for the work that she has done for us. 

Although I didn't owe her an explanation, I did tell her that I had already RSVP'd 'no' and that I had to pick DD up from daycare by a certain time and take her to a scheduled activity.  I also told her that, as usual, doing anything after work in most circumstances, is just not possible for me.  Her response "But you have a husband that can help you."

I hear this from her a lot.  She's a single mom and I get that it's tough for her to balance a career and kids with no other adult to help her manage it all.  And she did find a way to be at this party.  But, I also feel that she thinks that having a husband means that he is somehow at my disposal to do whatever it is I need so that I can do whatever it is I want.  This is not how it works.  My DH has a career and a schedule...and when it comes to who does drop off/pickup and events for our child, we have a committed schedule.  Sure, sometimes things come up and we need to call each other and ask for help, and it's nice to have someone I can lean on for those things and vice versa, but it's not a fail-safe.

The truth is, this party wasn't that important to me.  And while I never said those words out loud, obviously, my choices have reflected that.  I don't necessarily feel bad about it.  I shut down the conversation with Lisa pretty fast..basically saying that my DH is under no obligation to rearrange his whole schedule to do something I committed to any more than I would go to work late (DH does drop off) just so that he could have breakfast with friends.

Questions:

1. How rude was it that those of us who worked with her in the past did not make more of an effort to attend?
2. Is there a better way to end the "but you have a husband' conversation when Lisa starts it?  She is someone that I work with often and we often have conversations about our kids.  I'm weary of her always dismissing my schedule with comments on the fact that I am married and she is not.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: Sharnita on April 19, 2013, 11:09:48 AM
I think that in part she was pointing out that there seemed to be evidence that you might have been able to make an effort to change some things around so you can attend.  It sounds like the reality was that this party was not improtant enough to do so.  Because of that, I don't know that I would respond in this case.

There are all sorts of varieties of this.  Somebody else might hear "but you don't have kids" or "but you are single" as an implication that they should have done more, be available, etc. I think I would just use the phrase "I had/have a prior commitment" and leave it at that.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: sweetonsno on April 19, 2013, 11:31:14 AM
I agree with Sharnita. Lisa probably didn't mean that having a partner means that you can do whatever you want, only that you could probably have made it work had you wanted to. As you said, the party (and by extension, she assumed, the coworker) was not particularly important to you. It wasn't that you couldn't make it work; it's that you didn't want to. I think Sharnita's advice about not specifying why you can't come is a good one. You have a prior commitment. That's all that you need to say.

And no, it isn't rude to not attend a party that is after-hours, but I'm sure you can see why the coworker was hurt. I think that if you worked with her directly, it would have been nice to send her a personal note if you couldn't attend.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: LazyDaisy on April 19, 2013, 11:33:39 AM
It's in cases like this that I think the polite white lie that you have other plans/commitments is more of a problem than the truth that you just didn't want to attend. The conversation would have been over if you had politely indicated that, while you wish the coworker well, you weren't interested in attending the going away party. You can't change Lisa. The best way to shut her down is to not give her an opening. Stop having those conversations about your kids and schedules. If she starts the conversation about her kids, try to change the subject to something work-related or find a reason to leave.

"Lisa was saying it was rude of so many of us to not come and say good-bye and thank her for the work that she has done for us."
It was not rude for anyone to skip the party. Coworker's reward for all the work she did was a paycheck. It's nice to be acknowledged for work above and beyond what is expected in the job description, but a sincere "thank you" expressed in person or in a card should be sufficient.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: bah12 on April 19, 2013, 11:41:11 AM
I think that in part she was pointing out that there seemed to be evidence that you might have been able to make an effort to change some things around so you can attend.  It sounds like the reality was that this party was not improtant enough to do so.  Because of that, I don't know that I would respond in this case.

There are all sorts of varieties of this.  Somebody else might hear "but you don't have kids" or "but you are single" as an implication that they should have done more, be available, etc. I think I would just use the phrase "I had/have a prior commitment" and leave it at that.

This is a good point...I feel that blanket statements like this are rude.  It implies that someone else knows more about our situation than we do and that we are not permitted to use (whatever reason we have) not to do things, because they are more aware than we are that we have it easier than they do.  I do not subscribe to the school of thought that we have to be vague in all things to avoid someone trying to counteract our reasons.  I feel that giving reasons is sometimes necessary, but often just an ingredient in polite conversation.  Yet many people seem to confuse "reason" with "excuse".  I was not searching for an excuse to miss this event.  I had a scheduling conflict...and I admit that this event was not important enough to me to rearrange my schedule for.  Anyone taking my reason not to attend and counteracting it not only makes it appear that my reason is not valid, but also that I have to put their event at the top of my priority list.  And I don't think it matters what event we are talking about.  Doing this is rude. 

I agree with Sharnita. Lisa probably didn't mean that having a partner means that you can do whatever you want, only that you could probably have made it work had you wanted to. As you said, the party (and by extension, she assumed, the coworker) was not particularly important to you. It wasn't that you couldn't make it work; it's that you didn't want to. I think Sharnita's advice about not specifying why you can't come is a good one. You have a prior commitment. That's all that you need to say.

And no, it isn't rude to not attend a party that is after-hours, but I'm sure you can see why the coworker was hurt. I think that if you worked with her directly, it would have been nice to send her a personal note if you couldn't attend.

I did send her a note when I RSVP'd no.  And I also understand what Lisa meant...Lisa, in particular, says this to me all the time though...I am now more curious about the statement in general (or ones like it).  I think the onus shouldn't be on those giving reasons to just not give reasons, but on the rest of us not to feel that it's up to us to argue and counteract them just because of disappointment that we aren't getting what we want.

As for the guest of honor...I can certainly understand her disappointment. I feel bad for her that it doesn't look like she was more appreciated by those of us that have worked with her in the past.  This thread isn't about her, so all I'll say is that it is true that maybe I could have put more effort into attending, but celebrating her and my relationship with her wasn't worth it to me.  And maybe that was the feelings of others as well.  I don't feel guilty that I didn't go...yet, I do have some sympathy for her.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: EllenS on April 19, 2013, 11:41:51 AM
I think the bigger picture here is that not one tiny bit of this is Lisa's business.  Whether or not you attended the party, or your reason for doing so, is not her business.  Whether or not you RSVP'ed, is not her business.  How you do your daycare pickups, is not her business.

I think if you wanted to mention those things in conversation, that's your right, but it is not her place to criticize or tell you what you should do.

Nothing you did here was rude.  Nobody is ever obligated by etiquette to attend a party, just because they were invited.  If the honoree was hurt, she should take that up with the people she is mad at.  If her co-workers, and ex co-workers are not close enough friends for her to have that conversation with, then - hey - I guess that explains why they didn't prioritize the party.

I would suggest coming up with a non-committal stock phrase to respond to Lisa's unsolicited criticism/advice, and just repeat it.  I am particularly partial to the phrases, "Really?  Huh."  and "Well, how about that."  They are non-confrontational, meaningless, and make busybodies feel like you heard them, without agreeing with them or committing to further conversation.  It is the minimum acknowledgment of "oh, a human being spoke to me."
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: LazyDaisy on April 19, 2013, 12:09:20 PM
I think that in part she was pointing out that there seemed to be evidence that you might have been able to make an effort to change some things around so you can attend.  It sounds like the reality was that this party was not important enough to do so.  Because of that, I don't know that I would respond in this case.

There are all sorts of varieties of this.  Somebody else might hear "but you don't have kids" or "but you are single" as an implication that they should have done more, be available, etc. I think I would just use the phrase "I had/have a prior commitment" and leave it at that.

This is a good point...I feel that blanket statements like this are rude.  It implies that someone else knows more about our situation than we do and that we are not permitted to use (whatever reason we have) not to do things, because they are more aware than we are that we have it easier than they do.  I do not subscribe to the school of thought that we have to be vague in all things to avoid someone trying to counteract our reasons.  I feel that giving reasons is sometimes necessary, but often just an ingredient in polite conversation.  Yet many people seem to confuse "reason" with "excuse".  I was not searching for an excuse to miss this event.  I had a scheduling conflict...and I admit that this event was not important enough to me to rearrange my schedule for.  Anyone taking my reason not to attend and counteracting it not only makes it appear that my reason is not valid, but also that I have to put their event at the top of my priority list.  And I don't think it matters what event we are talking about.  Doing this is rude. 

I agree with Sharnita. Lisa probably didn't mean that having a partner means that you can do whatever you want, only that you could probably have made it work had you wanted to. As you said, the party (and by extension, she assumed, the coworker) was not particularly important to you. It wasn't that you couldn't make it work; it's that you didn't want to. I think Sharnita's advice about not specifying why you can't come is a good one. You have a prior commitment. That's all that you need to say.

And no, it isn't rude to not attend a party that is after-hours, but I'm sure you can see why the coworker was hurt. I think that if you worked with her directly, it would have been nice to send her a personal note if you couldn't attend.

I did send her a note when I RSVP'd no.  And I also understand what Lisa meant...Lisa, in particular, says this to me all the time though...I am now more curious about the statement in general (or ones like it).  I think the onus shouldn't be on those giving reasons to just not give reasons, but on the rest of us not to feel that it's up to us to argue and counteract them just because of disappointment that we aren't getting what we want.

As for the guest of honor...I can certainly understand her disappointment. I feel bad for her that it doesn't look like she was more appreciated by those of us that have worked with her in the past.  This thread isn't about her, so all I'll say is that it is true that maybe I could have put more effort into attending, but celebrating her and my relationship with her wasn't worth it to me.  And maybe that was the feelings of others as well.  I don't feel guilty that I didn't go...yet, I do have some sympathy for her.

You can't change Lisa, or the Lisa's of the world. Of course it's rude to dismiss or counter another person, but she won't stop simply because that's the way the world "should be." You're free to say what you want, but what you say has consequences -- sometimes good, sometimes bad. So you know that the consequence of discussing your reasons with Lisa is that she will dismiss or counter your reasons. Instead of expecting her to conform to your rules, and then being upset when she doesn't, you can only change your behavior -- either stop giving her reasons she can argue with, or stop caring what she thinks. You don't have to defend yourself because what she's saying is correct. No need to get offended or defensive, just agree with her.

Lisa: "But you have a husband!"
Response: "Yes, I do." said with a smile.
Lisa of the world: "But you don't have kids....But your single....But But"
Response: "You're right, I don't....You're right, I am..." always said with delight.

I've found, as a single and childless person, that this is the fastest way to shut it down. I'm not ashamed of either. When I refuse to play along, the Lisa's stop trying to use that as a weapon to manipulate me.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: Girlie on April 19, 2013, 12:23:08 PM
I recently has a pretty big fight with a friend over this very "but you have a husband" issue.  Without going into detail, I agree that it is presumptuous to assume that someone's marital status indicates anything about their private life other than their marital status.

That being said, if you were to point that out to someone who had just used the "but you have a husband!" argument, you'd likely end up with circulating divorce rumors.  ::)

I agree that the best thing to do is simply to cite "prior committments." If someone insists on your husband spending his time doing the errands you've already said you'd do, I don't think it would be impolite to point out that he also, has prior committments. It really is no one's business what those committments might be, whether hosting the president or taking a nap.

I also don't think it's rude to not attend a party. Would it have been nice? Sure. But a party's not much fun if you don't even want to be there.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: Piratelvr1121 on April 19, 2013, 12:38:02 PM
I think that in part she was pointing out that there seemed to be evidence that you might have been able to make an effort to change some things around so you can attend.  It sounds like the reality was that this party was not improtant enough to do so.  Because of that, I don't know that I would respond in this case.

There are all sorts of varieties of this.  Somebody else might hear "but you don't have kids" or "but you are single" as an implication that they should have done more, be available, etc. I think I would just use the phrase "I had/have a prior commitment" and leave it at that.

This is a good point...I feel that blanket statements like this are rude.  It implies that someone else knows more about our situation than we do and that we are not permitted to use (whatever reason we have) not to do things, because they are more aware than we are that we have it easier than they do.  I do not subscribe to the school of thought that we have to be vague in all things to avoid someone trying to counteract our reasons.  I feel that giving reasons is sometimes necessary, but often just an ingredient in polite conversation.  Yet many people seem to confuse "reason" with "excuse".  I was not searching for an excuse to miss this event.  I had a scheduling conflict...and I admit that this event was not important enough to me to rearrange my schedule for.  Anyone taking my reason not to attend and counteracting it not only makes it appear that my reason is not valid, but also that I have to put their event at the top of my priority list.  And I don't think it matters what event we are talking about.  Doing this is rude. 

I agree, and also an interesting assumption.  I have a husband but because he typically doesn't get home until 6-7 pm and some nights later than that, I can't really ask him to come back to drop off one of the boys for some activity so I can do something that's not a required thing that I do.   Just because a woman has a husband doesn't mean he's going to be at her beck and call.  In fact if there was something I wanted to do without the boys but he wouldn't be home in time, I'd have to hire a sitter. 

Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: RebeccainGA on April 19, 2013, 02:35:33 PM
I so sympathise - yes, I am married, and have no kids at home (mine is 19). But no, I can't go for drinks after work for whatever dumb reason, including someone that I wasn't close to going to a new job. My partner needs me home immediately, as she can't do some *personal medical* stuff for herself, that can't wait until late in the evening.

You did fine. Lisa is an unthinking idiot, who assumes that her situation is universal, when it is far from it. Just being X doesn't mean that you can do Y without it being a struggle.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: EllenS on April 19, 2013, 02:39:54 PM
No matter what OP's situation - if she was single, childless, a billionaire, had a full-time nanny, whatever - her decision to go to the party or not was a) not rude, and b) none of Lisa's fre-deaky-diddling-do business.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: bah12 on April 19, 2013, 02:55:44 PM
I do agree then when there is someone in your life, such as Lisa, that will always do the "But you're...." comments to any reason, then the easiest thing to do is just be vague with her.  Generally speaking, I don't think that anyone should go around in life and be vague always just to avoid the possibility of someone trying to counteract whatever reason you have for not doing something they want.   I do see that people are trending towards the "you don't owe a reason, so don't give one. You were in the wrong for doing so" vs, the more appropriate (to me) "giving a reason is not wrong when you don't mind sharing the reason.  It does not excuse someone to counteract, argue, or try to shoot it down.  They are the rude ones for doing so."
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: Sophia on April 19, 2013, 03:55:32 PM
In this "But you have a husband that can help you" I think there is an unspoken but definitely there "...so it should have been easy for you". 

There are things I am willing to re-arrange my schedule for and things I'm not.  My husband is a SAHD, who is rebuilding a house for us on the weekends.  I had to leave work early for something at home ( I forget).  He asked if I could come home early one day so he could go to the Habitat for Humanity store without DD.  I said No.  I'm not willing to spend GoodWill Capital at work so he can go shopping in peace. 
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: lowspark on April 19, 2013, 04:01:12 PM
I agree with PPs that you pretty much have two choices in communicating with Lisa. Either you quote the vague "prior commitment" with no further explanation or you repeat ad nauseum a non-committal agreement such as what LazyDaisy suggested.

My first thought regarding the "but you have a husband" retort is that sure, I have one of those, but what I really need is a 24/7 devoted secretary! Because short of that, there really isn't anyone who is willing to do my bidding at my beck and call. And since I'm not willing to be that person for anyone else, including my husband, I certainly can't expect him to be that person for me.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: ladyknight1 on April 19, 2013, 04:16:50 PM
Ignore the Lisa's. We have one person in our department who must work a certain schedule so she can pick up her children from an after-school program. It is no one's business but her family's and her supervisor. However, she gets pointed out by our Lisa's for being inflexible or unavailable when that simply is not the case.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: *inviteseller on April 19, 2013, 04:33:16 PM
An invitation is not a summons.  Even if you RSVP'd no because you wanted to watch your grass go, it doesn't matter and no one is allowed to make you guilty.  I know personally, after work, the last thing I want to do is socialize with the same group of people I just spent the day with.  I want to come home, hear what my kids did that day at school, make a meal and curl up to relax.  Having an adult get together on a week night is almost guaranteed to be a low attendance event due to the fact that most adults do have personal obligations after work, be it a spouse, kids, pets, our aging parents and that is our first priority.  It is a shame the woman who had the party for her spent the evening disappointed about who didn't come instead of reveling in and cherishing who did.  As to your friend Lisa, she obviously thinks husband = toss everything on him so you can do what you want.  Honestly, my married friend (ironically named Lisa) says she envies me as a single mom because I do not have to plan everything out for the kids with the precision of a general planning an attack.  She says sitting down and figuring out who is going to be where when between their work schedules and kid schedules gives her headaches, where as  I just plan around my own schedule and what I may want/not want to do and I don't have to worry about the arguments.  Not as easy as she portrays, but I get her point as I answer to only myself.  Next time Lisa starts her whine tell her your husband and you have a schedule that works then beandip.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: TootsNYC on April 19, 2013, 04:54:14 PM
Sort of an aside:

I wonder if one of the reasons people weren't inclined to attend is that it really was sort of an inappropriate celebration. Like, too fancy for the life change; wrong group of people invited, since they're not really THAT close to her; etc.

People vote with their feet and with their, as we said on another thread, and it may not be that they don't wish this woman well but that they don't consider an after-hours event to be appropriate either for this relationship or this life event.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: Brisvegasgal on April 19, 2013, 06:30:34 PM
TootsNYC has a good point.  As for the husband thing, one this forum has taught me is to never JADE.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: LifeOnPluto on April 19, 2013, 11:43:35 PM
Sort of an aside:

I wonder if one of the reasons people weren't inclined to attend is that it really was sort of an inappropriate celebration. Like, too fancy for the life change; wrong group of people invited, since they're not really THAT close to her; etc.

People vote with their feet and with their, as we said on another thread, and it may not be that they don't wish this woman well but that they don't consider an after-hours event to be appropriate either for this relationship or this life event.

Exactly. In my experience, farewells for co-workers are held during work hours, not in the evenings.

Now it could be that this was an informal, non-work-sanctioned celebration. In which case, I think it's a bit much to expect all your co-workers to turn up. Close friends, sure. But co-workers? I don't think so.

Next time Lisa says "But you have a husband!" I'd reply with "Yes, but he has his own schedule and responsibilities." Then bean dip.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: GrammarNerd on April 20, 2013, 08:45:18 AM
Look at her with a puzzled look and say, "......?"  (You can also substitute 'and' or 'so'.)

Make her explain herself a little.  Right now she gets off scot-free b/c she gets to make these comments with really no rebuttal from anyone.  Perhaps if you start making it a bit uncomfortable for her by drawing her out and making her talk, she'll learn to actually censor herself before she makes them because she won't like the outcome.  Basically, you offer no explanations (or few) and you make HER do the explaining of how it matters.

"But you have a husband."
"Yeah....??"
"Well he could have picked up your DD."
"No..."
"Why not?"
"Why not what?"
"Why can't your husband pick up your DD?"
(Blink at her a few times with a long pause.) "Are you asking me for my husbands schedule?  Really?"
....

She'll either continue to push, or she'll start to get a clue.  You can always counter with, "Wait a minute, I thought we were talking about CW's party."  Shake your head for a moment like you're getting back on track.  "I do hope she had a nice time and she likes her new position."

Then hopefully Lisa will be so frustrated that you never answered her that she'll drop it.  If not, at some point, you can just say, "I don't know what the fixation on my husband and his schedule is all about, but it really has nothing to do with my own responsibilities as a parent and what I can or can't make time for.  By the way, have you seen the latest TPS report?"
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: Jocelyn on April 20, 2013, 09:56:57 AM
Lisa: but you have a husband
OP: Yes, and that means I have to take his schedule into account, too.

Lisa may be thinking about all the ways that a husband could help relieve the demands of being a single mom, without thinking that a husband is another person whose schedule has to be balanced against OP's.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: Zizi-K on April 20, 2013, 11:22:14 AM
Lisa: "But you have a husband!"
OP: "That's right, I do. Life is choices, sweetie, and luckily we don't have to justify them to one another."
(walk away)
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: RooRoo on April 20, 2013, 12:00:37 PM
I've been enjoying thinking up possible responses to the "But you have a husband" line...

Yes, and he has a wife. (beandip)

Yes, and I had a prior commitment. (beandip)

Raise an eyebrow; a moment of complete silence, beandip. You could even make it an obvious beandip, like "How about those, um... Broncos?"

 >:D Oh! (slightly horrified) You mean, you don't? (tiny pause) Oh, I'm sorry, your marital status is none of my business! (beandip)

 >:D Yes, (sarcastically) and I have to be home every day in time to bring him the paper, mix him a drink, and change the TV to his favorite channel! (beandip)

...Now that I'm through being silly - the point is to come up with a "Toots Special," and just repeat it every time.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: TootsNYC on April 20, 2013, 02:37:18 PM
Lisa: "But you have a husband!"
OP: "That's right, I do. Life is choices, sweetie, and luckily we don't have to justify them to one another."
(walk away)

Not a good phrase, I don't think. I know many people who are single NOT by choice. They've never really been in a position to choose whether to marry someone.

This is a really presumptous phrase to use to someone about this particular issue.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: GSNW on April 20, 2013, 02:50:05 PM
Sort of an aside:

I wonder if one of the reasons people weren't inclined to attend is that it really was sort of an inappropriate celebration. Like, too fancy for the life change; wrong group of people invited, since they're not really THAT close to her; etc.


Good point.  My dad worked with someone (Jerry) whose wife planned a HUGE retirement party at a very fancy venue.  People were asked to "sign up" to come, and by the deadline, the big fancy party had to be canceled because only 10 people had signed up (they needed at least 50 to book the venue).  This was very embarrassing for Mrs. Jerry, and I felt badly for her, but the truth was that Jerry was an absolute boor and pretty much everyone hated him. 

Back to the topic, if OP's prior commitment was shaving her legs, reading a book, or meeting the POTUS, it's irrelevant.  She RSVP'd in the negative which is polite, and Lisa's commentary is out of line.  If she says this that often, I'd just put her on the spot with it. 

"But you have a husband."

"I'm not sure what you mean by that remark.  I'm not free to xyz."

"But you have a husband."

"I'm not sure what you mean.  I cannot do xyz."

etc...
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: Jaelle on April 20, 2013, 06:12:58 PM
I agree that you were fine. An invitation is not a summons.

As far as Lisa ... I hear you. I've gotten things like this from friends who have a more "normal" schedule, while I work days and DH works nights and we see each other maybe half an hour most days.

Annoying for us, but best for our family. Still, I've had friends get snarky when I say I have to find a sitter if I want to go to a movie one of those evenings. "Can't your husband watch them?"  ::)
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: TeamBhakta on April 20, 2013, 07:29:49 PM
Lisa and the party girl need to put on their big girl panties and understand the difference between co-worker you're polite to / only tolerate out of necessity, a co-worker that's a work friend and a co-worker that's an after work friend. Work friends = I'll say "hey, how about those (whatever sports team) last night", ask how your ailing relative is, share my snack stash and gather with everyone else in the break room for your "Yay, Mary did xyz" party. After work friends = I'll show up for your special event after work, you're on my FB page, I'll give you birthday gifts that don't involve "here, pass this card around the office"

*ETA: Snarky me thinks you should tell Lisa you're in an alternative lifestyle. "Yes, I do have a husband. But I also have to consider my boyfriend's schedule and his wife's schedule. Someone's feelings get hurt if only three of us can go out together."  >:D
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: Raintree on April 20, 2013, 11:53:23 PM
I wonder if one of the reasons people weren't inclined to attend is that it really was sort of an inappropriate celebration. Like, too fancy for the life change; wrong group of people invited, since they're not really THAT close to her; etc.

Or, "it's going to be at a venue that costs $XX per person, and we're all going to pitch in for the honoree's meal, and a present, and afterwards go drinking and dancing at Some Place.."

Most people I know have limited entertainment budgets, and personally, while I'd like to attend more things, I pick and choose the ones I'm willing to spend money on.

As for "but you have a husband.." I've been at the receiving end of "But you don't have kids" or some such implication that this means I can drop everything and work that extra overtime shift. As the OP pointed out, it's presumptuous to assume anything about another person's obligations. I like the idea of shutting them down with, "Yes, I do have a husband. Like I said, I had other commitments that evening."
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: Danika on April 21, 2013, 12:37:57 AM
My impression from your comments about Lisa is that she's jealous that you have a husband. And she feels like her life is more difficult because she doesn't have one. So, I feel like she's just trying to get in a dig and tell you how much easier you have it than she does.

It's kind of like when people find out I got my degrees from expensive private schools and they say "Oh, I had to go to a state school. I didn't have a mommy and daddy who could pay for private school" and I quickly shut them down with "Neither did I. I took out loans and had to pay myself. That's why I drive a 17-year-old economy car." It's like they're jealous and they're trying to put me down and tell me what a cushy life I have.

I had a coworker who was somewhat similar to Lisa. He would tell me how much easier my life was than his because I had a spouse and he was single. How he (coworker) would have to do all the chores himself, but I had someone who could help me with running to the grocery store or taking out the trash.

Luckily, he didn't harp on it too often. And I think I just thought about it and said "Yes, you're right. It is easier to have someone to help me." Maybe that's all he needed to hear because he didn't bring it up again after that.

With Lisa, I like the following approach best. No need to JADE or get into long discussions about why Lisa seems jealous or keeps harping on the same subject. Just don't feed her drama. Give her no reaction:

I would suggest coming up with a non-committal stock phrase to respond to Lisa's unsolicited criticism/advice, and just repeat it.  I am particularly partial to the phrases, "Really?  Huh."  and "Well, how about that."  They are non-confrontational, meaningless, and make busybodies feel like you heard them, without agreeing with them or committing to further conversation.  It is the minimum acknowledgment of "oh, a human being spoke to me."
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: nuit93 on April 21, 2013, 01:08:42 AM
I've gotten similar responses like "but you have a boyfriend and you guys don't have kids!". 

Yes, but we had other responsibilities outside of our day jobs.

"But what could be more important than X/Y/Z?"

We're busy.  End of discussion.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: lkdrymom on April 21, 2013, 01:53:36 PM
And guess what...sometimes have a spouse is MORE work. You can't just decide on a whim that you want to do something without checking with them first.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: Bluenomi on April 21, 2013, 07:48:04 PM
'But you have a husband'
'I know, it's hard fitting him in my busy shuedule at times!'  >:D

OP was fine, Lisa needs to learn to butt out of things that aren't her business
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: jedikaiti on April 21, 2013, 09:05:23 PM
An invitation is not a summons, and a husband is not a servant.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: Fleur on April 22, 2013, 11:40:37 AM
An invitation is not a summons, and a husband is not a servant.
[/quote

No?  ;)

Joking apart, I agree with everyone else. Lisa was pretty rude, and the OP owed her no explanation.
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: BeagleMommy on April 22, 2013, 02:55:26 PM
Lisa:  ...but you have a husband

OP:  (heavy sigh) Yeah, I do. (eyeroll)
Title: Re: But you have a husband...
Post by: bah12 on April 23, 2013, 09:44:11 AM
I wonder if one of the reasons people weren't inclined to attend is that it really was sort of an inappropriate celebration. Like, too fancy for the life change; wrong group of people invited, since they're not really THAT close to her; etc.

Or, "it's going to be at a venue that costs $XX per person, and we're all going to pitch in for the honoree's meal, and a present, and afterwards go drinking and dancing at Some Place.."

Most people I know have limited entertainment budgets, and personally, while I'd like to attend more things, I pick and choose the ones I'm willing to spend money on.

As for "but you have a husband.." I've been at the receiving end of "But you don't have kids" or some such implication that this means I can drop everything and work that extra overtime shift. As the OP pointed out, it's presumptuous to assume anything about another person's obligations. I like the idea of shutting them down with, "Yes, I do have a husband. Like I said, I had other commitments that evening."

So, the event itself wasn't really the issue.  While we do tend to do more lunch time "good-byes" and those definitely get more turnout, it is not completely unusual for someone to arrange for after work drinks instead.  Since I didn't go, I don't know if our ex-coworker's drinks/meal whatever was covered by the attendees or not.

I did not go because the honoree isn't someone I'm very close to, I wasn't overly impressed with the work she did (though it wasn't horrible), and because I had a commtment with my DD.  Had either of the previous two reasons not existed, the third may have been overcome.  I imagine that the others didn't rearrange thier schedules for her for similar reasons as mine.  I do think, in this case, had she wanted a larger turnout, an event during work hours would have gotten it for her.