Author Topic: Awkward Family Introductions (long)  (Read 4418 times)

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spookycatlady

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Awkward Family Introductions (long)
« on: January 29, 2013, 09:56:09 AM »
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.

cicero

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Re: Awkward Family Introductions (long)
« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2013, 10:04:23 AM »
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 @whatever.com and his cell number is 555-555-5555"

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Perfect Circle

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Re: Awkward Family Introductions (long)
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2013, 10:09:04 AM »
Just pass on the contact information. And talk to your husband and tell him exactly how you feel about this kind of thing.
Maybe he's caught in the legend
maybe he's caught in the mood
Maybe these maps and legends
Have been misunderstood

The map that you painted didn't seem real
He just sings whatever he's seen
Point to the legend, point to the east
Point to the yellow, red, and green

NyaChan

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Re: Awkward Family Introductions (long)
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2013, 10:24:19 AM »
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."

Hmmmmm

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Re: Awkward Family Introductions (long)
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2013, 10:25:03 AM »
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. 

TootsNYC

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Re: Awkward Family Introductions (long)
« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2013, 11:21:20 AM »
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 @whatever.com and his cell number is 555-555-5555"


Yep!

It's not about you--when it is you, you can object. (You're not going on this trip, right?)

(though i would say that his very own MOTHER is a little different from dropping in to visit a cousin, so that's going to be a harder thing to convince him of.)




Deetee

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Re: Awkward Family Introductions (long)
« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2013, 11:41:49 AM »
Yup, as others have said the easiest thing to do is just pass on the contact information (either to or from your husband) and let them decide what they want to do with it.

You aren't going on this trip so don't worry about it.

For what's it's worth, cutting a pre-arranged trip short to visit someone I didn't know would not fly with me, but visiting his mother with you and a friend when you are in the area seems so reasonable (assuming it wasn't cutting into other plans) I just can't wrap my mind around why it's an issue that your friend didn't know his mother. That's how people meet people.

Giggity

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Re: Awkward Family Introductions (long)
« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2013, 12:28:14 PM »
"I should? Why should I?"
Words mean things.

wolfie

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Re: Awkward Family Introductions (long)
« Reply #8 on: January 29, 2013, 12:34:28 PM »
Yup, as others have said the easiest thing to do is just pass on the contact information (either to or from your husband) and let them decide what they want to do with it.

You aren't going on this trip so don't worry about it.

For what's it's worth, cutting a pre-arranged trip short to visit someone I didn't know would not fly with me, but visiting his mother with you and a friend when you are in the area seems so reasonable (assuming it wasn't cutting into other plans) I just can't wrap my mind around why it's an issue that your friend didn't know his mother. That's how people meet people.

I have no interest in meeting my friend's husband's mother during a fun shopping trip. Being a tag-along to someone else's impromptu family reunion seems like a form of torture to me.

spookycatlady

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Re: Awkward Family Introductions (long)
« Reply #9 on: January 29, 2013, 12:39:09 PM »
Wolfie so hit the nail on the head!

To add a bit of further on the MILtown visit.

This detour of his cut did into the day (MIL lives in the suburbs and we wanted to shop downtown).  It was a two hour drive to get to MILtown from our place, it's a 45 minute drive from his Mom's place to the shopping district, and he did this in the middle of the day-- after lunch and two shops. And don't forget that we still had two hours driving to get home that night.

My friend was visiting me from the other side of the country and will never see MIL again.  I love my mother-in-law and have no issue visiting with her, but not at the expense of my friend's vacation time.  And we were both pretty polite when he asked, "Do you want to stop in and meet my mom?" and we both said, "Now is not the time."

Oh! And to top it off, MIL ushered us out (politely) after about a half hour, as she had plans that evening and wasn't expecting company.  Which makes me smile.  And smile.  And smile.

Friend and I learned a valuable lesson that day.  The next time she visits and we want to go to MILtown to shop, we're taking the train and leaving the Dude at home. 

« Last Edit: January 29, 2013, 02:31:41 PM by spookycatlady »

Yvaine

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Re: Awkward Family Introductions (long)
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2013, 01:20:18 PM »
Yup, as others have said the easiest thing to do is just pass on the contact information (either to or from your husband) and let them decide what they want to do with it.

You aren't going on this trip so don't worry about it.

For what's it's worth, cutting a pre-arranged trip short to visit someone I didn't know would not fly with me, but visiting his mother with you and a friend when you are in the area seems so reasonable (assuming it wasn't cutting into other plans) I just can't wrap my mind around why it's an issue that your friend didn't know his mother. That's how people meet people.

I have no interest in meeting my friend's husband's mother during a fun shopping trip. Being a tag-along to someone else's impromptu family reunion seems like a form of torture to me.

This has happened to me. It's especially fun when the family relationship is dysfunctional! I went to a science fiction convention once and had it interrupted so I could attend a parent-child bickerfest about family issues from fifteen years ago.  ;D Yes, they did this right in front of a guest! The daughter had been my ride and I was stuck!

magician5

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Re: Awkward Family Introductions (long)
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2013, 03:19:01 PM »
Why do you have to treat the "giving of contact info" as an ironclad promise to look the person up?

When I've been in such a situation, I know (as you know) that a flat refusal will not go over well. So I've said "Thank you! I'm going to be awfully busy, so I don't know if I'll have time, but I'll do my best." I see this as a polite social fiction, with the meaning that "I have no intention of trying at all", and if I'm asked later if I met the person I'll say "I'm afraid I didn't have a moment to spare, I wish it had worked out." And I won't feel a bit of guilt.

I suppose it's a lie, but it's a social lie of about the same severity as "your cousin's daughter is such a lovely bride" (when your honest opinion is that she looks like a cow in a flour sack) or "I'll do my best to attend your 3-year-old's four-hour ballet-school recital" when your honest reaction should state "when Hades freezes over".
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BeagleMommy

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Re: Awkward Family Introductions (long)
« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2013, 04:08:05 PM »
For those wanting you to pass info to The Dude:  "I don't know his schedule, but I'll pass the info to him.  I wouldn't count on anything because he's there on business."

For those insisting you take info to meet their Uncle's Neighbor's Gardener's Daughter's Hairdresser?  Simply take the info and say "I can't make any promises, but I'll try to contact them if I have time."  You just won't ever have time.

Kiwichick

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Re: Awkward Family Introductions (long)
« Reply #13 on: January 29, 2013, 08:07:46 PM »
'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.'

Simplest solution to that is 'Here's his mobile number give him a call.'  Seems like your DH and relations would like getting together, may as well make it easy for them.

snappylt

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Re: Awkward Family Introductions (long)
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2013, 08:32:30 PM »
{snip}

Simplest solution to that is 'Here's his mobile number give him a call.'  Seems like your DH and relations would like getting together, may as well make it easy for them.

I like Snootkin's idea to put the matter back on the other people by suggesting that they contact your husband directly.  Keeps you out of the loop altogether (and I'll bet you that some of them won't bother to use the number you give them).