Author Topic: You should have a yard sale! (was I rude?)  (Read 2724 times)

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amylouky

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You should have a yard sale! (was I rude?)
« on: January 21, 2013, 02:24:36 PM »
BG: We have an aquarium in our front room with no fish, right now. It is all set up, water and everything. We had a fish that was pretty aggressive, so we decided to wait until he died to get more fish (he was an only fish for about six months). Well, he died a month or so ago, and we are trying to decide if we want to bother getting more fish, or just get rid of the tank, so.. there it sits.

More BG: Our boys have a relative that we maintain contact with. While she is a good person and I know that she loves the boys, she is about as opposite from me as a person can be. She's textbook type A, and a neat freak, and I'm neither of those things. She has made several comments on different occasions about how much STUFF we have. Really, we don't.. typical house of preschoolers, I'd say. Yes, it's cluttered at times but we're very far from hoarders. Still, she'll say things like, "Oh, I don't know what to get the boys for Christmas.. you already have so much STUFF in your house."   ::)  I usually just ignore it.

So, this relative came for a visit recently. While there, she asked about the fish tank, if we were planning on getting more fish. I told her that we weren't sure, that we were considering just getting rid of it. She answered, "Oh, yeah, that's great! You guys could have a really big yard sale and get rid of a lot of stuff that you don't use any more!"

I should probably have just smiled and bean dipped, but this slipped out.. "Oh, I don't know, we're pretty happy with our house. I was just talking about the fish tank." I tried to use a light tone but I guess it sounded kind of short, because she just said "Oh. Okay." and changed the subject.

I feel a bit bad, and am wondering how I could have responded more politely?

cicero

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Re: You should have a yard sale! (was I rude?)
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2013, 02:30:47 PM »
I don't think you could have answered this any more politely!

she feels free to comment about your home and possessions. she thinks you have too much stuff. not her business. she thinks you should have a yard sale - you set her straight. and you were polite to boot.

you did fine!

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guihong

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Re: You should have a yard sale! (was I rude?)
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2013, 02:31:39 PM »
I don't see anything rude in what you said.   To me, that WAS a bean dip.



Yvaine

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Re: You should have a yard sale! (was I rude?)
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2013, 03:04:56 PM »
I wonder if, in addition to being a neat freak, she wants some of your stuff and wants you to give it to her or sell it to her for cheap.  ::)

Your answer was great!

oceanus

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Re: You should have a yard sale! (was I rude?)
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2013, 03:12:32 PM »
 ???

I see nothing wrong with what she said, and I see nothing wrong with what you said.  Nothing at all.

Why is this bothering you, and where is the rudeness?  I'm not seeing it.

bansidhe

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Re: You should have a yard sale! (was I rude?)
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 03:23:20 PM »
???

I see nothing wrong with what she said, and I see nothing wrong with what you said.  Nothing at all.

Why is this bothering you, and where is the rudeness?  I'm not seeing it.

I can't speak for the OP, of course, but I definitely see rudeness in the relative's comments about "stuff." There's a big difference between saying something like, "You have so many neat things in your house" and "You have so much stuff in your house." The latter implies that you have way more than you need and/or that the place is cluttered or messy.

At least, that's what it would mean if I said it, and I'm a Type A neat-freak. :)
(But I wouldn't actually say it out loud.)

I think the OP handled the situation just fine and perhaps the relative got a clue.
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Lynn2000

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Re: You should have a yard sale! (was I rude?)
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2013, 03:31:54 PM »
The OP said she was afraid her tone was kind of "short," and indeed it shut the relative up, so maybe she was wondering if she said it in a rude way. Of course those of us who didn't actually hear it can't really judge that. :) It sounds to me like the wording was fine, though, and the way you drew it out--not just a short, "My house is fine" but something longer--seems like it should have been soft enough. Maybe she stopped talking about it because she finally got the message that you don't like her criticizing your home! So well done.
~Lynn2000

gramma dishes

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Re: You should have a yard sale! (was I rude?)
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2013, 03:33:28 PM »
To a lot of people the word "stuff" = "junk" --  which isn't a flattering description of the contents of one's home.

doodlemor

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Re: You should have a yard sale! (was I rude?)
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2013, 04:04:50 PM »
In reading your post, amylouky, I remembered an old fashioned word that pertains here - busybody.

I'm not sure why some people feel so entitled to poke their noses into other's lives and give unwanted, unwarrented advice. 

You did fine, OP, and were no doubt politer than she deserved after her numerous and irritating repetitions of the same statement.  Feel free to firm up your responses even more, if the pointed statements continue.

oceanus

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Re: You should have a yard sale! (was I rude?)
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2013, 04:08:21 PM »
To say that “stuff” = junk is really reaching, and splitting hairs unnecessarily.

“Oceanus, do you mind if I move your stuff off the chair so she can sit down.?” (I don’t consider my purse and jacket to be junk, and I don’t think anyone else did.)

Sometimes when a person is not well-liked, things they say are magnified and taken to be rude and offensive, whereas if someone else said the exact same words it would be okay.  The subject of the initial post may very well be a busybody; I still see nothing wrong with what was said on either side.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 04:23:12 PM by oceanus »

gramma dishes

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Re: You should have a yard sale! (was I rude?)
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2013, 04:57:41 PM »
To say that “stuff” = junk is really reaching, and splitting hairs unnecessarily.

“Oceanus, do you mind if I move your stuff off the chair so she can sit down.?” (I don’t consider my purse and jacket to be junk, and I don’t think anyone else did.)

Sometimes when a person is not well-liked, things they say are magnified and taken to be rude and offensive, whereas if someone else said the exact same words it would be okay.  The subject of the initial post may very well be a busybody; I still see nothing wrong with what was said on either side.

In the example you gave, yes, I would agree that virtually no one (who was not totally paranoid) would equate the word 'stuff' as meaning 'junk'. 

But if someone waved their hand around your living room and told you that you really should get rid of a lot of this stuff, then I think many people would interpret that use of the word as being equivalent to calling it junk.  And in that circumstance, that interpretation would probably be correct and reflect the real meaning of the person saying it.

Junk means something useless and/or unattractive.  Something not desirable to have.  The way some people use the word stuff means exactly that.  For a lot of people the words are virtually interchangeable except 'stuff' sounds a little nicer than 'junk'.   The meaning, if it is used in that way, is the same.

Yvaine

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Re: You should have a yard sale! (was I rude?)
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2013, 05:01:51 PM »
To say that “stuff” = junk is really reaching, and splitting hairs unnecessarily.

“Oceanus, do you mind if I move your stuff off the chair so she can sit down.?” (I don’t consider my purse and jacket to be junk, and I don’t think anyone else did.)

Sometimes when a person is not well-liked, things they say are magnified and taken to be rude and offensive, whereas if someone else said the exact same words it would be okay.  The subject of the initial post may very well be a busybody; I still see nothing wrong with what was said on either side.

In the example you gave, yes, I would agree that virtually no one (who was not totally paranoid) would equate the word 'stuff' as meaning 'junk'. 

But if someone waved their hand around your living room and told you that you really should get rid of a lot of this stuff, then I think many people would interpret that use of the word as being equivalent to calling it junk.  And in that circumstance, that interpretation would probably be correct and reflect the real meaning of the person saying it.

Junk means something useless and/or unattractive.  Something not desirable to have.  The way some people use the word stuff means exactly that.  For a lot of people the words are virtually interchangeable except 'stuff' sounds a little nicer than 'junk'.   The meaning, if it is used in that way, is the same.


This. I've often heard "too much stuff" to mean either "you're messy" or "you're too materialistic" or both. It's all in the tone, and per the OP there's a history of her saying things like this.

And really, you don't just walk into people's houses and start telling them to get rid of things, no matter what word for "things" you use.

amylouky

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Re: You should have a yard sale! (was I rude?)
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2013, 05:16:20 PM »
Thanks! I think she was definitely using "stuff" to mean "junk". I've been to her home before, and it is immaculate.. in fact I'd probably say she's a minimalist. So, just different housekeeping styles.
She is somewhat of a busybody, but I do like her.. I just realize that we're very different people. I really don't know if she can help herself from trying to be "helpful".. it's just that ingrained in her. So I don't hold a grudge, just getting a little tired of hearing about all of our "stuff".
A wrinkle in this, and why I put up with some of her busybody-ness.. she actually is the relative who had temporary custody of our boys before we adopted them (not their parent). So I think it's hard for her to get out of the parenting/decision making role with them, which I can definitely understand.
Thanks for the advice, I'm glad I don't get a window seat to e-hell just yet..

TootsNYC

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Re: You should have a yard sale! (was I rude?)
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2013, 06:31:57 PM »
Hey, at least she didn't say, as a friend of mine did, "what YOU need is a DUMPSTER!"

I think your comment was fine, and I *also* think it was fine that you sounded a little short.

It is not rude to drop a hint that you are offended. It's not rude, actually, to SAY you are offended.

Insulting her in return would be rude, but this is not.

kudeebee

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Re: You should have a yard sale! (was I rude?)
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2013, 08:11:55 PM »
What you said was fine and you were not rude.  Even if you were a little short with her, it was not out of line given what she said to you.  You evidently got your point across as she dropped the conversation.