General Etiquette > Family and Children

Awkward Family Introductions (long)

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My husband is out of town for work over the next couple of weeks.  It’s a small world—one of the jobs he’s working on happens to be for a cousin of mine.  This town is absolutely thick with my extended family.  Now, cousin aside, he’s there at the request his friend.  Three years ago, he met about 20% of my family and he can’t keep them straight. 

I have a huge pet peeve that when I’m traveling, someone says, “Oh! You`re going to Thatplaceville? I know someone from there, you should look them up!  Here’s their number.”

I don’t want to look up a stranger because of a third party.  Absolutely no desire to do this.  Ever.  And I feel really really strongly about it, mostly because it happens every time I travel and my polite demurring is always dismissed by the person making the suggestion.  As soon as I feel pressured into something, I shut down.

I know that some family will start asking me, “Why doesn’t he come to visit us? We’d love to meet him!”  While the sentiment is very nice, I just see it as incredibly awkward and weird for him to call up on my relations without me there. 

However, my husband is one of the people who say things like, “Oh! You`re going to Thatplaceville? I know someone from there, you should look them up!  Here’s their number.”

I cannot tell you how many times I had to explain to him (in increasingly blunt terms) how I had no interest in cutting a girls’ getaway weekend in half so I could go spend an afternoon with his half-sister’s half-sister.  He once tagged along and provided driving services when a girlfriend and I went out of town to shop.  His mom lives in this town.  He drove us to his Mom’s place to visit, despite me explaining how awkward it is for us to drop in when my friend DOESN’T KNOW HIS MOTHER.  Gah.  (Sorry, that still bugs me).

Anyhoodles…Here’s the dilemma:

* The family doing the pressure obviously doesn’t mind these strange (to me) meet-ups.

* The Dude does not mind these strange (to me) meet-ups.

* I don’t want him to think that by my arranging any of this is my tacit approval for him to do the same to me.  And he totally would.  Even if I were to say, “I’m doing this because you enjoy this sort of thing.  I don’t.  Don’t do this to me later.”  He would only remember that I arranged this family get together.  Selective memory.

Is this a case where my discomfort is outweighed by my familial duty to accommodate?   

Because I'm just the arranger, does etiquette say I should pass on the contact info and let them sort it out? 

Except I don’t have their contact info and the whole thing would become some sort of weird Facebook thing.  I don’t have time for this.  Sigh.

if your husband doesn't mind these intros (and it sounds like he doesn't) - then let him make his own arrangements. "Hubby, if you want to catch up with my mother's best friend from HS's sister's daughter's teacher's neighbor's granddaughter, then here's her contact info".

otherwise - i would just say to the Pressuring Phamily: "I really don't know his schedule, he's going to be there on business and I don't know how much time he'll have for visiting. his email is Hubby and his cell number is 555-555-5555"

Perfect Circle:
Just pass on the contact information. And talk to your husband and tell him exactly how you feel about this kind of thing.

My family does this to me all the time.  It drives me nuts because they don't understand why I wouldn't want to see someone we kinda know or do know when I'm doing something else, and I don't understand why it would matter if I didn't go see them as long as they don't know I'm in town.

I think this is something to first address with your husband, because it is hard to refuse the contact information when your husband is saying yes and you are saying no at the same time.  If you can't come to some consensus with your husband, I'd try telling the suggester that, "Thank you, we won't be able to see them this trip, but I'm glad to have their number for next time." or "Thank you for the information, but please don't tell them to count on us - I truly don't know if we would be able to meet them while in town."  Or say a variation of "This trip is only for spending time together or with OtherPerson/going to Xplace/doing Xthing."

POD the others.  Don't do any arranging just pass on any contact information to him or even better, pass on his contact information to the people doing the pressuring. 


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