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  • December 09, 2016, 06:40:53 AM

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71 general / Re: S/O "He has sucked the joy out"
« Last post by RhetorToBe on Yesterday at 11:44:41 AM »
This is such an interesting discussion! I need to check out the "Love Languages" info mentioned here.  :)

I have a slightly different perspective, based on my and my husband's Christmas experiences with his family (his parents, sister, two sets of aunts/uncles/cousins, and a few friends who are treated as family).

His family is invested in gift-giving, but are in the "quantity over quality" camp. I think they love seeing a room absolutely overflowing with wrapped gifts, gift bags, etc. Experience gifts don't seem to be a part of things. My husband and I are rather the opposite: we choose experience gifts first, but, if we are to give one another something "tangible," it tends to be really thought-out (over-thought, most of the time, in fact!). Also, in his family, everyone buys for everyone - my husband suggested drawing names, but it was shot down immediately. (Note: All of the "kids" are adults at this point.)

We spent several years putting a lot of time, money, and effort into putting together gifts that reflected our needs, as givers, to do something somewhat personalized but respected their needs, as receivers, to get a lot of "stuff." It was really wearing on my husband - I recall one year when we received three identical car wash "gift sets" - pre-packaged towels, cleaners, etc. - from his mother and two aunts, respectively. I tried to laugh it off, with a"Great minds think alike" line, but his mother replied, "Oh, we were together when we bought them. This just seemed easiest." It really hurt my husband.

Over the last few years, we've managed to avoid the situation, as his work schedule has precluded our attending their Christmas party, and we've just gotten together for a lunch or dinner in the days after Christmas. Luckily, anyone who isn't in attendance at the party is left out of gift-giving, so we've dodged the bullet that way. And frankly, seeing them individually tends to be a lot more enjoyable anyway.

All this to say: presents are HARD, and I have no good solution except complete avoidance!  ;)
Family and Children / Re: Required to invite?
« Last post by Twik on Yesterday at 11:43:45 AM »
I did but they never responded or would make vague comments if visiting again. He is my twin. I have asked them straight out to come visit or we could come over there but he says "Oh I have to check with SIL" and never gets back. When I was still friends with SIL on facebook I would see them out frequently with friends and sent my brother a facebook request which he never accepted. So I gave up.

For goodness sake, you have done everything you can. For some reason, they are not interested in maintaining a relationship. I know it hurts, but you can't control other people. You've given them every opportunity to clear up any misunderstanding, and they've not taken it. You cannot fix this, because you're not the one who broke it.
73 general / Re: "No-host" gathering
« Last post by NFPwife on Yesterday at 11:37:40 AM »
I was afraid he was right. I should have asked here before I sent the e-mail. Well, you all can help me with the follow-up e-mail :D

To clarify - DH and I aren't announcing ahead of time that we're buying a few apps. We're going to order for the table when we get there. We'll take a look at how many people are there and then say "We're getting a couple apps for the table," then to the server, "We'll have an X, Y, Z for the table, put them on our check." That tends to happen often in my circles. Typically, one or two people will order an app or two for the table.

The restaurant will do as many checks as we need. I asked when I did the loose reservation.
Family and Children / Re: How to get relatives to back off
« Last post by lowspark on Yesterday at 11:36:05 AM »
There is no need to be either confrontational or oblique.  Don't just hope she will take the hint, and don't waste your last years with Grandma avoiding her over this. You can get your point across politely and respectfully. 

Just say, "Grandma, I know you are asking about this because you care, but it makes me really uncomfortable when you do.  I'm sure you didn't realize that, but it does, and I know you don't want me to dread this coming up every time we talk.  So I'd like to ask you to please stop asking me about my love life, okay?  I promise that I will tell you about any important developments!"

Oh Joy, I love your brilliant, tactful, and respectful deflection trick.  What a diplomatic technique!  It assumes the best about the other person, keeps the conversation pleasant, doesn't JADE, and gets the job done perfectly well.  Thank you for sharing it with us.  I look forward to using it.

I totally agree that this is the way to go.... if it works. It's polite, respectful and kind.
So I would try that first.

If it doesn't work, I'd go with MrTango's solution. I used to do something similar with my kids when they were young. The rule was that I would not answer the same question more than twice. They were trying the old "keep asking and we'll wear her down" technique. So on the third and subsequent tries, I just did not answer. I totally ignored the question.

Now, I can also see that backfiring somewhat if Grandma really tries to insist you answer her. In that case I'd answer with "Grandma, I already answered." Period. No elaboration or JADEing. If you do go this route, you have to stay strong and never actually answer the question again unless there is an actual update you want to share with her. Although I'd be wary about doing that because it would open up the door again...
Time For a Coffee Break! / Re: S/O Beggars, Moochers and Scammers
« Last post by EMuir on Yesterday at 11:31:43 AM »
The latest scam in Canada only applies to one situation, but it's heartbreaking.  If an older relative has a live in caretaker and the relative passes away, the caretaker claims they were in a relationship and common law married.  So they get any proceeds if there is no will explicitly naming who gets what.

76 general / Re: S/O "He has sucked the joy out"
« Last post by NFPwife on Yesterday at 11:31:32 AM »


And I'm kind of the same way.  I only like certain types of clothes, don't wear much jewelry, mostly I prefer more specific hobby related things.  The first birthday after we moved in together, I asked for a nice bamboo knit nightgown I saw when we were at the mall together.  And he said that was overpriced and he'd make he one instead (he also sews a lot as a hobby).  I said ok, but I wanted the nice bamboo knit, I only really wear knit nightgowns.  And then I notice him doing some measuring and starting to cut some horrible black plaid flannel that he'd gotten at the dollar a yard bin a walmart, that was supposed to be lining for some cloaks or something.  And I said, I wanted knit, not flannel, and most definitely not black plaid flannel.  And he forgot, and made it out of black plaid flannel, and it wasn't even the right length so he put this weird ugly black knit ruffle around it.  And I was so hurt, and had to pretend to be grateful because it was a present.  After I'd just spent so much effort, and money, tracking down this fancy, expensive high tech leather punch for his birthday a few weeks prior.  Since then, I've been super clear about what I've wanted for gifts.  Which I guess could come across as really selfish.  But it was just so hurtful, getting this awful ugly thing as a gift that I'd been clear about not wanting, and having to pretend to be grateful and be kind about it because it was a gift.

Oh I feel for you. I've experienced this as well, where someone thinks they are doing something wonderful by buying or making you something sort of kind of like you wanted, but it falls short.

And I hear you about the coming off selfish by being specific, but some people just need that.

Dragonflymom, if you change the nightgown to another piece of clothing, you described last Christmas for me.  Except my disappointment didn't have any warning whatsoever and hit me smack dab in the gut on Christmas morning.

My DH wanted a list from me.  I was having a hard time, so I told him "You know what?  There is one thing that I really want.  I want a bright (color) sweatshirt.  As bright as you can get.  Neon.  Blindingly bright.  He was looking online b/c I was going to get the kids some of a certain brand of sweatshirts (UA, with the big logo), and he brought up the ladies section with my specified color.  I looked at them over his shoulder and pointed out probably six of them that would be fine with me, and specifically told him that.  I know picking out women's clothes isn't his favorite thing to do and was trying to make it easy on him, you know?

So on Christmas morning, I was anxiously awaiting the gift (because I know he got one) to see which one he chose.  Remember, this was the ONLY thing I asked for (and it wasn't a break-the-bank item), so I was actually very excited about receiving it.  So....all presents are opened, but I don't have a sweatshirt.  I had to ASK for it, because he used recycled wrapping paper to wrap it that had one of the kids' names on it, so one of the kids had opened it and tossed it aside.  So he found it and casually tossed it to me, wasn't anything like any of the six that I'd showed him on the computer.  Nothing.  It wasn't the same fabric, it didn't have even have the trademark big logo.  And most importantly, it wasn't anywhere near the color I'd asked for.  So despite the fact that I pretty much spoon-fed him what to get me for the ONLY thing I asked for, he instead searched around more to get something that was NOT what I wanted at all, presumably (I can only guess) because it was a little cheaper.  I even asked him why he didn't get one that I pointed out with the big logo, and he said "Why would you want one of THOSE?"

Honestly, that just ruined it for me.  I spent a lot of time and effort thinking of and buying things for everyone else (even his FOO!), him included (got him things directly from his list), and he had to cheap out and couldn't even get me the one thing that I asked for.  It's not the present, it's the fact that he couldn't honor the one thing that I asked for even if he didn't agree with it. And of course, I never said any more because it would be thrown back at me as selfish and immature to be that upset over a gift, but I just felt so....unvalued after that.  Completely.  Like an afterthought, especially with the wrapping fiasco.  Honestly, it still brings up bad memories, because it really grates on me this year when he asks me what I want, because I so want to say to him, "what's the point in telling you?  If you don't think it's worthy or it's too expensive, you'll just buy me something else anyway."

So I think that yes, you can let people who aren't good at gift-giving off the hook to a degree, but you reach a point where it's not about the gift, it's about truly LISTENING and making the smallest amount of effort for someone that you care about, even if it might not be to your own personal taste. Bamboo knit was spelled out pretty well by dragonflymom, but her SO/DH just didn't listen.  He thought he knew better.  But if you try to say anything and communicate the hurt or why the specifics of the item matter so much, like Allyson suggests, that can often backfire too (in my experience anyway).  Because what I find infuriating is that some SOs (like mine) don't really make an effort, they just go through enough of the motions so that they can have plausible deniability that they did try but you're being selfish and demanding by not liking their efforts.   I may not understand why he wants XYZ gadget, but I got it for him because HE wanted it.

I'm adding another, "I'm sorry this happened to you," and a suggestion that you bring this up again outside of a gifting time. I think it's fair to say that you were hurt and are still feeling resentful that he didn't get the item and not only did he not get it, but there was a value judgement thrown in as well. It's reasonable to say that, to you, his lack of follow through was inconsiderate - right down to the off handed toss of it to you and that if he's going to insult you with his gift giving, you'll just spend $x on yourself for events. Then, list other ways he can show he values you. He might respond that he didn't intentionally insult you and I'd stick with, "Insulting is in the eye of the receiver. I was insulted and felt (de-valued - or whatever feeling you'd insert.)" Then buy yourself something lovely with the cash and don't exchange with him.
Family and Children / Re: Do you want to stop hosting Christmas? - how to ask
« Last post by lowspark on Yesterday at 11:27:51 AM »
That's just it - nobody else will host in their area, and they definitely couldn't be bothered to make the several-hour drive to us. In almost two decades, his dad has visited us once, and this brother visits occasionally.

So if it isn't at their house, a restaurant would be the obvious choice. But then they (the usual hosts) will still complain about having to transport gifts - never mind that we've done it for years.  ::)

I've also suggested drawing names for gifts, to reduce the expense/effort/stress - you'd think I had suggested barbecuing Rudolph!

I know there aren't any magic words, of course. Looks like maybe we should suggest a restaurant and let them choose which inconvenience they prefer.

Regarding the bolded, it seems like they are going to complain no matter what. Either they host and complain they have to host, or they don't host and no matter where else it is they will have to transport gifts so they'll complain about that.

This is a no-win situation. In your place, I would take a giant step back and evaluate just how much of this I am willing to put up with. Is the complaining and discomfort caused by SIL's behavior worth the time you're spending with the family? If you want to have the holiday with the family at all costs, well, this is the cost. If it's not worth it, maybe you cut back on the amount of time you spend there or alternate years to go or do something else or just quit going altogether.

So yeah, consider carefully how you and your family want to spend the holiday and keep in mind, you can only change your own behavior, not anyone else's.
My first car was a manual, but I took the test in my mom's because it was an automatic.  I still had trouble rolling backward a bit on hills in my car and that would have been an automatic fail on the driving test.  It doesn't matter what you take your test with, you can still drive either.
79 general / Re: "No-host" gathering
« Last post by on Yesterday at 11:24:45 AM »
I agree with your husband. It is important to be very clear about what is being covered and what everyone is being expected to pay for. I actually was not completely clear in your OP, are you and your DH ordering AND paying for the appetizers? I help coordinate social events at my work, so we're always very clear about what is being covered.

Hi everyone. We're having a low-key meeting at [Restaurant]. DH and I will cover 4 appetizers but everything else is up to you and your budget.

You should also check with the restaurant and see how many separate tabs they will allow, its usually a maximum of three so you might want to let everyone know and encourage people to bring cash.
80 general / Re: "No-host" gathering
« Last post by Mustard on Yesterday at 11:22:30 AM »
I agree with your DH that perhaps 'no-host' is a tad subtle, even if it is the correct wording! 
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