General Etiquette > Family and Children

Being grilled at the table.

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VltGrantham:
We had dinner at my Mom's house on Saturday and in addition to our regular party (myself, DH, our DD, her, and my father--they are divorced) she invited an elderly neighbor, Ms. Brenda, who doesn't get out much.

I was seated next to Ms. Brenda and the meal was extremely stressful for both myself and DH.  She kept grilling us, but most especially me, all evening long.  I tried bean-dipping, I tried to pretend I hadn't heard her, I tried changing the subject--nothing worked.

To make matters worse, my Mom encouraged the problem by giving information we didn't particularly want shared.

For example:

Ms. Brenda (to me):  Are you going to have more children?
Me:  Oh no, I don't think so.
Her:  Why not?  Don't you want to give your mother some more grandchildren?
Mom:  Oh, they had some fertility issues so we're very grateful for the grandchild we do have.
Her:  What kind of fertility issues?

Thankfully, Mom remained silent on that subject and my DH spoke up and said "that's not really something we discuss with other people."

She asked me about our finances, whether DH or I ever argued about money, if we had known each other long before marriage, and at one point, whether DH had ever been tempted to cheat on me or did I worry about it when he was traveling.  (He travels a lot.)

DH reminded her that our DD was sitting at the table and that wasn't an appropriate topic of conversation in her presence.

Normally I would have shut it down quick or said something about how I found her questions to be invasive and personal.  However, since she's my elder, my Mother's guest, in my Mom's home--I tried using alternatives, but couldn't get my point across.  Typically we stay for coffee and dessert and I help my Mom clean up, but that night we left as soon as dinner was done.

Since the typical suggestions didn't work, what do you do in a situation like this?

Hmmmmm:
Oh my.... what a busy body.  I was expecting closer to my aunt who grills people but it is not nearly to that extent. 

It doesn't matter that she was a guest of your Mother's.  You were too and have just as much right to an enjoyable experience as any other guest.  You would have been well within your right to shut her down or treat her questions as humor and laugh.  But I believe turnabout is fair play.  "My Miss Busybody, you've got a lot of questions.  How about you?  Did you cheat on your husband?  No, then he must have had a wandering eye.  How did you learn about it?  How many kids did you have.  Well that doesn't sound like nearly enough for your generation.  Why didn't you have more?"

Black Delphinium:
I'm pretty cool with respecting my elders, but if they're being disrespectful to me, not so much.

Let people think me rude, I would have clammed up and my dinner would have been the most interesting thing in the world at that point.

RingTailedLemur:
First I would have rubbed my chin, because it would have hurt after dropping onto the table so hard.


--- Quote from: VltGrantham on December 03, 2012, 10:03:25 AM ---Normally I would have shut it down quick or said something about how I found her questions to be invasive and personal.
--- End quote ---

I'd have done this, or left much earlier than you did.  I am appalled at your mother's behaviour, too.



--- Quote ---However, since she's my elder, my Mother's guest, in my Mom's home--I tried using alternatives, but couldn't get my point across. 

--- End quote ---

That wouldn't make any difference to me.  It's not rude to stand up for yourself because it can be done in a polite way.

I'd have said, "Brenda, your insistence on interrogating us on intimate details of our lives is intrusive and makes us very uncomfortable.  Please stop."

rose red:

--- Quote from: VltGrantham on December 03, 2012, 10:03:25 AM ---DH spoke up and said "that's not really something we discuss with other people."

--- End quote ---

I would just say that to each and every question.  For questions like cheating, I would say "That is completely inappropriate." and keep repeating it.

I don't care if she is older or your mother's guest.  You and your family are guests too and don't deserve to be grilled by another guest.

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