Author Topic: Easter dinner trouble?  (Read 6121 times)

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SleepyKitty

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Easter dinner trouble?
« on: April 08, 2012, 04:24:57 PM »
BG: My BF has always felt like the black sheep of his family, and feels like he is always unfavorably compared to his Older Brother. OB and BF's Dad were working on a project today, and called BF early in the morning with no notice telling (not asking) him that he was to come help with it. BF hesitated, as he had had no idea he was going to be doing this and had been up quite late the night before, BF Dad's said nevermind, and that was the end of the conversation.

So BF called his mother to find out what time dinner was, and there was some conflict about BF not helping. BF says it's likely dinner will be tense, and an argument might break out, particularly since OB may fan the flames. He wants to attend dinner anyway since not going will be held against him. He has specifically told me he wants me to stay out of it if that happens, since he doesn't want his parents to feel hostile toward me.

My question is: what is the acceptable thing for me to do if an argument starts up? It would feel beyond rude to just sit there silently and stare like I was on the set of Jerry Springer. But it's not my house and I'm not very comfortable there - if I quietly slipped out to another room, what would I do there? It's hard to describe the set-up of the house, but it's quite small so what would happen would be me, standing awkwardly doing nothing, listening to the argument from another room. Should I pretend like I don't notice there's an argument going on and act like I'm watching TV? Pretend to be super interested in my phone?

(And I know I will likely not get replies before dinner, but I'm very interested to hear advice/suggestions anyways as this may happen again!)

NyaChan

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Re: Easter dinner trouble?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2012, 04:30:42 PM »
I would ask your BF what he wants you to do and if you are comfortable with it, try to comply with that.  Otherwise,

I would say quietly, "I think it is best if I leave the room."  and then leave.  It doesn't matter if you can still hear - you saying that and leaving may give them the clue by four that they are arguing in front of a guest.  Even if it doesn't, at least you won't have to watch. 

shhh its me

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Re: Easter dinner trouble?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2012, 04:31:20 PM »
   I'd start with " I'll like a bit of air" and go outside or your is Phone very very intersting(if your alone) if your not alone talk to the person in the room with you as if nothing is happening. 



ETA  to add phone 
« Last Edit: April 08, 2012, 11:49:22 PM by Merry Mrs Martin »

cabbagegirl28

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Re: Easter dinner trouble?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2012, 04:45:58 PM »
In that situation, I would fake a sudden and urgent need for the bathroom.


"To study and practice the goodness of life, the beauty of art, the meaning of music...To speak the words that build, that bless and comfort...And again, to practice./This is to be our symphony."

gmatoy

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Re: Easter dinner trouble?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2012, 10:31:08 PM »
Please update. And Thank You. ;D

JoyinVirginia

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Re: Easter dinner trouble?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2012, 11:32:49 PM »
I agree with cabbage and Mrs m, I would have to go to bathroom or go out for air. Maybe offer to help in kitchen if dinner was almost over.
Hope dinner went well without confrontation.

SleepyKitty

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Re: Easter dinner trouble?
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2012, 09:17:52 AM »
Thanks everyone for your replies! Dinner was indeed a little tense, and about halfway through there was a little argument that broke out. I took cabbage's advice and suddenly needed to use the restroom, and when I came back a few minutes later they fell silent and stopped, so that was good advice! I think the small disruption of me getting up and then coming back stopped the flow of the argument. After dinner, though, everyone seemed to relax and we ended up having a nice time over dessert (homemade cheesecake, yum!).

It helped having some ideas of what to do. I haven't been in this situation often, but I do remember one time in high school watching my best friend and her mother have a melt-down screaming fight in front of me, and once two years ago watching a friend and her boyfriend do the same. I always felt that same kind of helpless bemusement - what on earth was I supposed to be doing that's polite while a fight is going on? Thanks again everyone!

Lynn2000

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Re: Easter dinner trouble?
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2012, 11:27:06 AM »
Seems like it all worked out in this case and, as you say, you getting up may have disrupted the flow of the argument. I think it's okay to let people know when they've made you (general) uncomfortable, like if they start arguing in front of you.

I wonder if this is a good plan for the long term, though? Even if my SO had specifically asked me to not get involved in an argument should it arise, I would not feel very good about wandering off during it--I would worry that I was abandoning him, when we were supposed to be a unit (this would be a serious, long-term relationship, which the OP may or may not have yet). Especially if the argument was about something that affected me--for example, if my SO had refused to assist his family with something because he already had plans to do something with me/our home. I might be able to sit there and listen to the argument without saying anything; but I wouldn't feel right leaving, as that might suggest it has nothing to do with me at all, and I would want my presence to show my support of my SO.

But, I do admit this is very situational and dependent on the personalities involved. Thoughts?
~Lynn2000

SleepyKitty

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Re: Easter dinner trouble?
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2012, 12:53:17 PM »
It's a good point, Lynn, and part of why I was so unsure what I ought to be doing. I mean, wandering away makes me seem really uninvolved, and BF and I are definitely a committed, long-term unit. I think part of why he asked me not to intervene is because I do feel a strong urge to show I've "got his back" - but in BF's family, it seems like there are flare-ups but then once the fight is over, everyone kind of pretends it doesn't happen. I tend to remember things, though, so if I involved myself into the argument and heated words were exchanged between say, Older Brother and myself, I'm not going to forget about it. That doesn't mean I'll necessarily hold a grudge, but I will be cooler towards OB than I would have otherwise. FWIW, in this case the reason BF didn't help out had nothing to do with me, but quite a bit to do with his relationship with OB and his father.

Anyone else have this kind of experience? I agree it doesn't seem like it will work long-term.

O'Dell

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Re: Easter dinner trouble?
« Reply #9 on: April 19, 2012, 01:08:39 PM »
I agree long term leaving won't work. They might start thinking you've got health problems if they argue a lot. :D

You might ask your bf what he thinks. I prefer that my husband not interfere but observe so that he can give me feedback later on if I want it. Did I go to far when I said...? or Was I interpreting this statement from that person wrongly? And I resist any attempts to drag me in except if my partner asks me to get involved. So ask him what he wants. You can suggest my option or others and work out a strategy from there.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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Chivewarrior

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Re: Easter dinner trouble?
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2012, 11:45:37 PM »
I have experience on the other side of this-- in my family, we loudly argue and then pretend it never happened. (Or in some cases, actually seem to forget it happened; I've occasionally mentioned fights to my mother the next day and gotten a very blank look and "what are you talking about? We never had a fight" in response.)

If they're getting into it because of longstanding issues, they've probably completely forgotten you're there at all and you leaving reminded them. But they're probably not paying enough attention to you that walking away makes you look uninvolved-- it seems very possible that you return and they go "oh, she's here!" It takes a certain degree of not paying attention to (or not caring about) the world around you to get into a loud fight in front of other parties. But I'd suggest asking BF not just what he doesn't want you to do (getting involved) but also ask him what he does want you to do. It's his family; if he wants you to just sit there awkwardly listening to people argue then it might be something you need to talk about... but if he's adamant that you not get involved, it seems like breaking up the fight like this might be a useful thing, or pretend your phone is on vibrate and you just got a call every time the argument breaks out.