Author Topic: Am I rude to mutter?  (Read 4240 times)

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ettiquit

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Am I rude to mutter?
« on: January 21, 2013, 03:38:38 PM »
When I'm working on my computer, cooking, cleaning, etc., sometimes I will quietly mutter to myself if something annoys me.  Example, if a program is slow to load on my computer, I may very quietly say something to myself or just sigh heavily.  Or, I'm loading the dishwasher and having trouble getting something to fit in right.

I have two people (roommate and MIL) in my life who will never let me mutter to myself without asking me what's wrong.  It drives me crazy.

Obviously a slow computer is annoying, but nothing is "wrong" and I don't need anyone's help or support. 

I feel like I can't quietly vocalize to myself without being questioned.  It confuses me, because when my roommate mutters to herself while on her computer, I don't care or respond.  I figure if she wants help with something, she'll ask - otherwise whatever she's doing is none of my business.

I think "muttering" is a fairly common practice, but I feel like I need to make a concentrated effort to stop so I can avoid the "What?", "What's wrong?", "What's going on?", What did you say?" responses when I grumble because my checkbook is off by 3 cents.

Is the muttering rude, or am I just dealing with two people who don't "get" that me making sounds with my mouth doesn't necessarily mean I need/want their help with something?


Yvaine

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Re: Am I rude to mutter?
« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2013, 03:44:00 PM »
I think they can't hear what you're saying, so they don't know it's muttering to yourself, and they think you were talking to them but that they just didn't hear or didn't realize it quickly enough to pay attention. I've been on both ends of this. When I'm the mutterer, I just respond with something light, like "Oh, nothing, I'm just yelling at inanimate objects again."

Marguette

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Re: Am I rude to mutter?
« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2013, 03:47:59 PM »
 It’s not you, it’s other people in their past. Your roommate and MIL have probably had to share space at some time (who hasn’t?) with people who do PA muttering; that is, they mutter “messages” of annoyance directed at the other person(s) present, that can be barely heard, but when you try to respond or ask them what they said, they are all, “Oh, I was just talking to myself.”

That being said, I don’t think you can change their perception, and if I were in your place, I would work at getting into the habit of just saying those things in my head when other people are present.

EMuir

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Re: Am I rude to mutter?
« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2013, 03:51:27 PM »
I have a coworker who mutters and I just let him know that if he wants to actually talk to me he needs to call me by name first so that I know to pay attention.  I can tune him out. :)  Just let them know that if you need their attention they'll know, otherwise just ignore you.

Marguette

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Re: Am I rude to mutter?
« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2013, 03:53:07 PM »
Another point from the other side: as someone who is a tiny bit hard of hearing, and has sometimes-mutterers in my home, I wish they would stop doing it, because I can’t always tell if they are muttering or talking to me. After a string of getting annoyed responses for responding to mutters, I stop listening and answering. Then they get annoyed because I don’t listen when they are actually talking to me.

CakeEater

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Re: Am I rude to mutter?
« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2013, 04:00:38 PM »
It drives me nuts to have heard talking, but not what was said. And it's not anything to do with caring about what was said, it's just that it feel like I have cotton wool in my ears when I hear muttering; like my head isn't clear.

And like Marguette, once I tune out his muttering, I tune out all his talking, then he gets annoyed that I'm not listening.

ettiquit

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Re: Am I rude to mutter?
« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2013, 04:06:53 PM »
Interesting, so this could just be a frustration over not being able to hear something that's said, and their response is almost more involuntary than anything.

I wonder if I could just say something like "I was just muttering to myself.  Anytime I talk this quietly, it's just to myself, so you can totally ignore me". CakeEater and Marguette - do you think this kind of response would be helpful?

I know I asked if I should just stop muttering, but on second thought...this is my house - I should be allowed to mutter!  Mutterers of the world unite!  ;D

 

JeanFromBNA

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Re: Am I rude to mutter?
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2013, 04:13:08 PM »
Another point from the other side: as someone who is a tiny bit hard of hearing, and has sometimes-mutterers in my home, I wish they would stop doing it, because I can’t always tell if they are muttering or talking to me. After a string of getting annoyed responses for responding to mutters, I stop listening and answering. Then they get annoyed because I don’t listen when they are actually talking to me.

Me too.

rose red

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Re: Am I rude to mutter?
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2013, 04:40:21 PM »
I don't know if it's rude, but I don't like to hear muttering.  I much prefer loud venting than muttering.  I can tune out loudness, but muttering is like a mosquito to me.

ettiquit

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Re: Am I rude to mutter?
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2013, 04:41:34 PM »
I don't know if it's rude, but I don't like to hear muttering.  I much prefer loud venting than muttering.

LOL - I'm the opposite.  I don't feel like I'm "allowed" to ignore loud venting, and most times I want to tune stuff like that out.

rose red

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Re: Am I rude to mutter?
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2013, 04:46:00 PM »
I don't know if it's rude, but I don't like to hear muttering.  I much prefer loud venting than muttering.

LOL - I'm the opposite.  I don't feel like I'm "allowed" to ignore loud venting, and most times I want to tune stuff like that out.

Ha!  You posted while I was adding to my previous post.  Sounds like we are complete opposites in this issue. ;)

oceanus

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Re: Am I rude to mutter?
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2013, 04:46:35 PM »
OP, I get what you’re saying.  I also assume if you’re saying something you want a response to you speak louder and say the person’s name.

However, I don’t have the best hearing, and there is a cashier at the grocery store where I shop who constantly – and I mean constantly – mutters under her breath.  Several times I have had to say “Excuse me?”, “What was that?”.  (She is as bad as the low talker in the famous Seinfeld Puffy Shirt episode.) She always responds “Oh, nothing.”

I avoid going to her lane because of her muttering.

People also often mutter when expressing anger, frustration, etc. at another person but they don’t want the other person to hear what they’re saying.  When asked, they reply.  “Nothing.”  (very PA)  I know you weren’t doing that, but just something to think about.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2013, 04:48:16 PM by oceanus »

ettiquit

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Re: Am I rude to mutter?
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2013, 04:53:00 PM »
OP, I get what you’re saying.  I also assume if you’re saying something you want a response to you speak louder and say the person’s name.

However, I don’t have the best hearing, and there is a cashier at the grocery store where I shop who constantly – and I mean constantly – mutters under her breath.  Several times I have had to say “Excuse me?”, “What was that?”.  She is as bad as the low talker in the famous Seinfeld episode.  She always responds “Oh, nothing.”

I avoid going to her lane because of her muttering.

People also often mutter when expressing anger, frustration, etc. at another person but they don’t want the other person to hear what they’re saying.  When asked, they reply.  “Nothing.”  (very PA)  I know you weren’t doing that, but just something to think about.

The grocery store scenario would drive me nuts too because you're in the middle of an active transaction with her. 

In a situation where my roommate is watching tv and I'm working on my computer, we're not actually conversing so it would be rude of me to mutter something to her and expect her to stop what she's doing to talk to me.  If I really wanted to say something to her, I would be much louder (and more polite if I'm interrupting something).  I guess that's why it surprises me that she does it so often.  I ignore her mutterings because I'm usually focused on something else and don't want to be distracted.

Yvaine

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Re: Am I rude to mutter?
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2013, 05:03:34 PM »
OP, I get what you’re saying.  I also assume if you’re saying something you want a response to you speak louder and say the person’s name.

However, I don’t have the best hearing, and there is a cashier at the grocery store where I shop who constantly – and I mean constantly – mutters under her breath.  Several times I have had to say “Excuse me?”, “What was that?”.  She is as bad as the low talker in the famous Seinfeld episode.  She always responds “Oh, nothing.”

I avoid going to her lane because of her muttering.

People also often mutter when expressing anger, frustration, etc. at another person but they don’t want the other person to hear what they’re saying.  When asked, they reply.  “Nothing.”  (very PA)  I know you weren’t doing that, but just something to think about.

The grocery store scenario would drive me nuts too because you're in the middle of an active transaction with her. 

In a situation where my roommate is watching tv and I'm working on my computer, we're not actually conversing so it would be rude of me to mutter something to her and expect her to stop what she's doing to talk to me.  If I really wanted to say something to her, I would be much louder (and more polite if I'm interrupting something).  I guess that's why it surprises me that she does it so often.  I ignore her mutterings because I'm usually focused on something else and don't want to be distracted.

I think what it is, is that she's focused on something else, vaguely hears sound coming from you, and doesn't know if it was something she was supposed to listen to or not. I think this is just one of those annoying-but-not-rude things that just sometimes happens when people share space.

LeveeWoman

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Re: Am I rude to mutter?
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2013, 05:04:54 PM »
'Am I rude to mutter?'

Are you rude to fahter?