Author Topic: Outsiders latching onto inside jokes *clarification post #68*  (Read 8813 times)

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gramma dishes

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Re: Outsiders latching onto inside jokes
« Reply #30 on: January 07, 2013, 08:25:22 PM »
...    However, after hearing Sue and Sally say "That's spicy" several times casually, she asks what it means. ...

Sounds to me like Sue and Sally were enjoying intentionally using "their" word around Mary, repeatedly, hoping that she'd notice and ask.  But instead of telling about the incident which precipitated the phrase, they just told her the meaning and that's not quite the same thing.

Okay, so now she knows the 'meaning' of a new use of the word spicy, even though she doesn't know exactly where it got that meaning.  I don't see how she can be faulted on that.  She IS trying to fit in with Sue and Sally  --  and they apparently are trying to leave her out. 

If they don't want her using "their" special word, then they shouldn't have used it so often around her that eventually she felt prompted to ask about it.  I think wanting her not to use the word while they continue to do so around her is cliquish.

TootsNYC

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Re: Outsiders latching onto inside jokes
« Reply #31 on: January 07, 2013, 08:37:18 PM »
I've had an "inside joke" sort of thing get picked up by someone who simply overheard it. It was annoying.

I think the way to handle it is to simply never use it in front of them again, and to go totally "dead" when they try it.

It's also permissible, I think, to say something: "That's a phrase that the two of us use together, and I'd really rather you not use it." Soften it by saying, "I'm sure we'll end up with our own catch phrase soon enough."

Surianne

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Re: Outsiders latching onto inside jokes
« Reply #32 on: January 07, 2013, 08:45:12 PM »
I think it is more situational, much like nicknames.  Meaning that someone calling a family member a nickname which might be heard by others would not automatically mean that name could be used by a new acquaintance who happened to hear it, without suggesting an attempt at level of intimacy which is not yet there.  In such a case, one might choose not to say anything to the new acquaintance (assuming they already knew the given name), but it can feel a bit awkward.  Or, for someone who is generally known by a nickname, that would be the name used in introduction, and a new acquaintance using it would be expected. 

Neither a limited, nor a general use of a nickname is "wrong" but who uses it and how can differ.

The OP offered an example, but seemed to be speaking to a more general type of occurrence, and I can think of situations where a newer acquaintance eagerly beginning to use some phrasing, or generally adopting ways of doing or saying things would read as "trying a bit too hard."

This is how I see it as well.  It's kind of strange and annoying when someone tries to jump forward to a certain familiarity level that you don't feel is appropriate yet.  It feels very awkward and uncomfortable.

It's hard to ask someone not to go there, unfortunately, without other people jumping to the same conclusions as some posters in this thread -- that the in-joke or nickname is deliberately exclusionary.

I think Toots' suggestion is the best way of handling it.  Stop using the in-joke, and don't respond favourably when the other person (Mary) uses it.  Just shut it down completely when she's around, and continue to use it away from her. 


Lynn2000

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Re: Outsiders latching onto inside jokes
« Reply #33 on: January 07, 2013, 08:46:14 PM »
I can see both sides of it. In the example given in the OP, I think it does seem a little petty of Sue and Sally to try and prevent Mary from using a term they've repeatedly used in her presence, and explained to her. I would expect that by using it repeatedly in front of her, they were perfectly okay with her knowing about it, asking about it, and finally using it herself--like they were (subconsciously, perhaps) giving her a way to become more part of their group.

But, I also think buvezdevin has a good point about the nicknames, which IMO fall into the same general type of situation. They are more personal, as CluelessBride says, and therefore it's all the more jarring if Outsider overhears John being called "Jackie" once, by his mother, and then immediately starts calling John "Jackie" himself.

When an outsider jumps on an inside term after hearing it only once or twice, especially if it wasn't even said in conversation with Outsider but rather just within their hearing, I think that can be very awkward, and gives off that "trying too hard" vibe. I'm not sure I could really call it "rude" though...

I think you can ask someone to stop calling you by a certain nickname--"Actually, only my mom calls me Jackie, I would appreciate it if you just called me John"--but with something more like a slang term, I think once it's out there, you can't really call it back. As TootsNYC suggests, if you stop using the term for a while, it will probably lose its "value" to the outsider, and they'll stop using it, too; but now, knowing the outsider's tendency to pick up on these things, I think you have to be careful not to mention anything else you don't want them using.

But, in the Sally-Sue-Mary example, it seems like the term had been used often, and in conversation with Mary, and I think it would be rude for Sally and Sue to claim that it's now proprietary. If Mary just overheard them using it once, deduced a rough meaning from context, and then suddenly sprang it on them in their next conversation, that would be weird and awkward, and trying too hard.
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LazyDaisy

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Re: Outsiders latching onto inside jokes
« Reply #34 on: January 07, 2013, 09:09:45 PM »
I wouldn't jump to the conclusion that Sue and Sally (or anyone with an inside joke) were intentionally trying to exclude, they probably just didn't really think about it when they used it. But after an oops moment where it slips out in Outsider company, I think a slang term can be kept between two people with similar phrasing that Lynn2000 used for the nickname example, but it has to be done right away either when Outsider asks about the phrase or after the first time she uses it and not after several uses. If only Sally had said, "Mary, that's a phrase Sue and I use as an inside joke between us after a specific incident, and now I realize that it was inconsiderate of us to keep using it in front of you when you aren't a part of that. I apologize." I also really like Toots wording ...""I'm sure we'll end up with our own catch phrase soon enough," but really only if that's true and Sally wanted to create that kind of bond. I personally wouldn't be comfortable going cold when she uses the phrase -- that just rubs me as junior high-ish. I would prefer the quick but kind method of letting the Outsider know they've overstepped rather than let them flounder around wondering what happened.
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LifeOnPluto

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Re: Outsiders latching onto inside jokes
« Reply #35 on: January 07, 2013, 09:12:25 PM »
I think it depends on how the "Outsider" hears the inside joke.

If an inside joke is referred to deliberately and repeatedly (as it was in the OP), it's fair game for anyone else to pick up on. Therefore, I don't think Mary is rude for using the expression, and I think Sue and Sally would be clique-ish and petty if they told her she couldn't use it anymore.

However, if the "Outsider" accidentally overhears the inside joke (or otherwise finds out about it by accident), I think it's rather odd, and slightly presumptuous of the Outsider to start using the word themself. In this case, I think it would be ok for the "Insiders" to gently say "We didn't mean for you to overhear that. It's actually a special word that we use - just the two of us."

TootsNYC

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Re: Outsiders latching onto inside jokes
« Reply #36 on: January 07, 2013, 09:31:12 PM »
I can understand the "trying to hard" as a reason to not like someone. You don't have to be a petty, immature Mean Girl to be put off by this.

But I also think that if you use an "inside joke" term in front of someone more than once, it's perfectly logical for them to think that you MEANT to expand the circle to include them.

Because if you did, that's how you'd do it, right?

Bijou

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Re: Outsiders latching onto inside jokes
« Reply #37 on: January 07, 2013, 09:44:37 PM »
Quote
If anything, Sue and Sally are being a little clique-ish by rubbing their inside joke in Mary's face.

That's what I've been wanting to say but wasn't sure how to put it.  I agree.
That's what I want to say, too.  It's clique-ish.
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Coruscation

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Re: Outsiders latching onto inside jokes
« Reply #38 on: January 07, 2013, 09:56:56 PM »
I think it is more situational, much like nicknames.  Meaning that someone calling a family member a nickname which might be heard by others would not automatically mean that name could be used by a new acquaintance who happened to hear it, without suggesting an attempt at level of intimacy which is not yet there.  In such a case, one might choose not to say anything to the new acquaintance (assuming they already knew the given name), but it can feel a bit awkward.  Or, for someone who is generally known by a nickname, that would be the name used in introduction, and a new acquaintance using it would be expected. 

Neither a limited, nor a general use of a nickname is "wrong" but who uses it and how can differ.

The OP offered an example, but seemed to be speaking to a more general type of occurrence, and I can think of situations where a newer acquaintance eagerly beginning to use some phrasing, or generally adopting ways of doing or saying things would read as "trying a bit too hard."

I think names are a bit different because of their inherently personal nature (and sometimes only make sense in the context of a relationship, e.g. Mamu and Pops ).  But even still, I would find it weird if I were introduced by my friend Jane to someone as "Mr. Doe" but all while we are talking she addresses him as "John" in my presence.

I refer to my boss by his first name (after being invited to do so). However the people I supervise are expected to address him with his title. When I'm conversing with my boss, my peers or his peers I use his first name. But when I'm conversing with my subordinates or with my boss/peers in front of my subordinates I always use his title.  It makes it clear to them what the level of formality is.

Conversely, my name is Kate. Only my mother calls me Katie. I don't hate it but I don't particularly like it either. I wouldn't appreciate a workmate or acquaintance calling me that. To go further, one of my uncles likes to burst into song when he sees me after an absence "K-k-k-katie, by the light of the silvery moon..." Although i have never actually found this funny, I would find it weird if anyone other than him did this as it is kind of a personal joke between us.  It wouldn't matter how often they'd seen him do this.

citadelle

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Re: Outsiders latching onto inside jokes
« Reply #39 on: January 07, 2013, 10:00:41 PM »
I can understand the "trying to hard" as a reason to not like someone. You don't have to be a petty, immature Mean Girl to be put off by this.

Maybe. But as a 7th grade teacher, it is the number 1 excuse I hear from mean girls when they want a reason to exclude.

Lynn2000

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Re: Outsiders latching onto inside jokes
« Reply #40 on: January 08, 2013, 11:09:20 AM »
I can understand the "trying to hard" as a reason to not like someone. You don't have to be a petty, immature Mean Girl to be put off by this.

I agree. This makes me think of the thread with the acquaintance who calls and emails the OP all the time with her tales of woe, wanting to be BFF; the OP barely knows her and already wants to keep her at more of a distance because she's so exhausting. I know it's not the exact same thing, but I see it as related. There's Mean Girls, and then there's drawing boundaries about your friendships; we don't have to be friends with everyone who'd like to be friends with us. I would assume Mean Girls express this in a rude, hurtful way, whereas polite people try to back away from someone more gently and respectfully.
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MayHug

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Re: Outsiders latching onto inside jokes
« Reply #41 on: January 08, 2013, 11:28:32 AM »
My daughter's ex-fiance did this the first time we met. She brought him home from college as a boyfriend. My daughter has a pet name for me that some people might find offensive. I don't , it's an inside joke with us. She called me by that name when she came in and later he used it. It felt very off, I didn't even know him. She even looked at him strange. He acted offended that I didn't appreciate him saying it. Not the only reason he became an ex ;-)

TurtleDove

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Re: Outsiders latching onto inside jokes
« Reply #42 on: January 08, 2013, 11:48:11 AM »
With the example in the OP, I can see that there is a backstory that makes "that's spicy!" and inside joke, but really, it's not an odd way of saying "that's shocking."  I would imagine that, especially since it seems the "inside joke" was never really explained, the friend doesn't even realize it's an "inside joke."  To me, without the backstory the friend never was told, it comes across much like Paris Hilton's "That's hot!"  It's not really "special inside joke" material, IMHO, especially if the friend is not told the backstory.

bah12

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Re: Outsiders latching onto inside jokes
« Reply #43 on: January 08, 2013, 12:18:40 PM »
I just don't see how the nickname thing is the same here.  A pretty clear etiquette rule is to call someone by the name in which they introduce themselves until they tell you to call them something else (presuming you both use the same level of formality with eachother...working relationships aside).  So if someone introduces themselves to me as "Michael" and I hear thier SO call them "honey-bear", I'm not going to assume that I can call Michael honey-bear at any period of time.  It's not an "inside" joke more than it's a pet name. 

Now, if everyone called Michael "honey-bear" even when referring to him in conversation, like "Honey-bear just called and he said to meet him at 7" I might be ask why everyone calls him that and I do think it's kind of insider/outsider clique-y behavior to say "Oh, we all have this inside thing where we call him Honey-bear but you aren't part of that group so you have to call him Michael."  Not that I think there's anything wrong with a group having an inside thing or even using it in front of those who aren't in on it, but I do think these things need to be handled with carefully.

The insider joke thing is ok as long as it's not done constantly.  If Sue, Sally and Mary hang out often enough use "That's Spicy" often enough that Mary notices and asks for meaning, I do think that it's clique-y and rude for Sue and Sally to say "that's our thing and you aren't part of it." It makes it very clear that Mary is an outsider in this threesome.  In that case, they need to be more careful not use that phrase very often around Mary.  Not make it so obvious that she "doesn't belong".   Doing it once and having Mary latch on...yeah, it's annoying, but doing it often?  I think they need to be more considerate or at the least less put off by her picking up the slang.

hobish

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Re: Outsiders latching onto inside jokes
« Reply #44 on: January 08, 2013, 12:41:09 PM »
I can understand the "trying to hard" as a reason to not like someone. You don't have to be a petty, immature Mean Girl to be put off by this.

But I also think that if you use an "inside joke" term in front of someone more than once, it's perfectly logical for them to think that you MEANT to expand the circle to include them.

Because if you did, that's how you'd do it, right?

Makes sense to me.

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