Author Topic: How To Handle This Politely  (Read 1819 times)

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Figgie

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How To Handle This Politely
« on: February 06, 2013, 12:36:01 PM »
I apologize for the lengthy background, but I'm not sure what is important and what is trivial, so thought it would be better to err on the side of too much information rather than too little. :)

I belong to a group that is putting on a fundraiser for the group.  I am a member of one of the subgroups responsible for one aspect of the fundraiser.  We have been having meetings at various coffee shops, but because of scheduling issues, I offered my home as a place for the last meeting.

I only know one other member of the group fairly well...the other women are more acquaintances that I have worked with fairly casually in other situations.  None of them but the member I know has been to my home before.

We have two cats, so I checked to make sure that no one had any issues with allergies/fears and was assured that that was not a problem.  So, everyone comes to my house and the two cats come out to meet them. 

People were patting the cats (who are both attention hogs) and then, just as we were about to get started on the meeting, one of the women I don't know very well said in a very accusatory tone:  "Why have you been so cruel shaving the white cat?  Don't you know how incredibly awful it is for them to be shaved?"

While I wasn't thrilled with her tone, I did politely tell her that that particular cat had had surgery to remove her entire large intestine and due to the surgery, was unable to deal with hairballs.  The vet had told us to keep her shaved to eliminate the problem and she had three heated beds as well as our heated waterbed to choose from if she got cold.

And then the woman launched into a lecture about how wrong I was, how my vet knew nothing and I could see everyone in the group getting more and more uncomfortable.

The only way I could see to stop the conversation was to tell her that I was just going to have to agree to disagree with her and that we needed to get started on the meeting.  She interrupted me (and this is where I fear I was rude) to start in again and I said:  "My vet and I have this under control and I do not wish to discuss it further, please stop."

She did stop (thank goodness!) but the rest of the meeting was fairly uncomfortable with people just hurrying to get it finished and leave.

What could I have done and said differently other than keeping the cats shut up in a separate room so that no one could see that one of them has a clipped coat?  It really bothered me that the other committee members were made so uncomfortable by the exchange, but I couldn't think quickly enough to figure out a more effective way to shut down the conversation! 


siamesecat2965

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Re: How To Handle This Politely
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2013, 12:40:46 PM »
Nothing. She was rude, especially when she kept going on about something she didn't know anything about, and was asked (politely) to stop.

People like that sometimes just don't get it. I think you handled things fine, and judging by everyone else's reaction, they too were uncomfortable with her "tirade" about the health of your cat.

WillyNilly

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Re: How To Handle This Politely
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2013, 12:43:22 PM »
I think you handled it perfectly.

Figgie

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Re: How To Handle This Politely
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2013, 12:44:09 PM »
I just felt so badly that everyone was made uncomfortable in my home.  I just would love some ideas about how to shut someone like that down without making everyone else feel awful about having to witness it.  I guess I just see it as me failing at being a good hostess!

MorgnsGrl

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Re: How To Handle This Politely
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2013, 12:46:46 PM »
I think you were as polite as you could be under the circumstances! You didn't do anything wrong. She was entitled to her opinion but honestly I have no idea why she felt the need to continue after you explained why your cat's fur is kept short, since it's a perfectly reasonable explanation.

acicularis

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Re: How To Handle This Politely
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2013, 12:47:05 PM »
You didn't fail at being a good hostess --she failed at being a good guest!

I doubt the rest of your guests thought you did anything wrong. They probably felt badly for you, and perhaps wondered if there was anything they could have done differently.

KarenK

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Re: How To Handle This Politely
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2013, 12:54:38 PM »
Figgie, you were fine. In fact, I'm impressed with how you responded to her. First, you explained, then you agreed to disagree, and finally, you told her you would not discuss it any more. The next step would have been to say you are sorry she is so agitated about this and tell her it might be best if she left, so as to spare herself the aggravation.

I just felt so badly that everyone was made uncomfortable in my home.  I just would love some ideas about how to shut someone like that down without making everyone else feel awful about having to witness it.  I guess I just see it as me failing at being a good hostess!

I know it probably doesn't help, but it's not your fault that people were made uncomfortable. I'm sure the rest of your guests knew that it was the fault of the guest who refused to MHOB on the subject of your kitties. It would have been more uncomfortable to sit there while she continued to berate you about how horrible you are to your kitties.

Is it really awful for them to be shaved? I know some people do a summer cut on their Persians because of the heat. We had our old girl shaved a bit because she had terrible mats caused by a growth on her thyroid (caused excessive hair growth). She seemed none the worse for wear and was much happier without all the matted fur.

Rose

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Re: How To Handle This Politely
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2013, 12:56:57 PM »
I have to keep my cat shaved due to hairballs as well.  Our Mimi seems to enjoy it.  Hang in there, the woman does not have a clue.  Your response was perfect. 

bansidhe

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Re: How To Handle This Politely
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2013, 12:59:41 PM »
You handled everything just fine - both the way you treated your very rude guest and the way you're treating your cat. Not only was your guest rude, but flat-out wrong.

I shave my eldest cat every summer. If I don't, he gets mats all over - which of course can be very painful - and he hates to be brushed. After the shave, he struts around looking terribly pleased with himself for a week or so.
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bah12

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Re: How To Handle This Politely
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2013, 01:00:01 PM »
I agree with everyone else. You hadled this perfectly.  She was rude.

Figgie

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Re: How To Handle This Politely
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2013, 01:07:22 PM »
Thanks everyone!  I tried to keep a smile on my face, but I have to admit, there was no smile when I told her to please stop.  Knowing what I know now, I would just shut the cats away during the meeting.

And this cat has been shaved every six weeks or so for almost four years.  She not only doesn't mind it, she appears to enjoy it, especially the part where I take the brush attachment on the vacuum cleaner and use it all over her to get rid of any loose hair left from her clip job. :)  It is very amusing to see her standing up trying to grab the vacuum cleaner hose so I can use it on her just one more time.

When people as me about her surgery (megacolon with a full colectomy), I tell them that her surgery was our 35th anniversary cruise. :)
« Last Edit: February 06, 2013, 01:10:10 PM by Figgie »

wolfie

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Re: How To Handle This Politely
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2013, 01:52:39 PM »
Is it really awful for them to be shaved? I know some people do a summer cut on their Persians because of the heat. We had our old girl shaved a bit because she had terrible mats caused by a growth on her thyroid (caused excessive hair growth). She seemed none the worse for wear and was much happier without all the matted fur.

I had to have Leo shaved once because he didn't clean himself properly and the mats were too much for me to deal with. He was very unhappy when he came home from the groomer, but other then that it didn't seem to bother him and he got over it in a few days. I think if you live in a cold area you just have to make sure that the house is warm enough and if it is summer and they are allowed out you have to make sure to put sunscreen on them so they don't get sunburned - basically the same things you would do if you had a Sphynx  - one of the hairless cats.

gellchom

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Re: How To Handle This Politely
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2013, 02:02:20 PM »
The guest was wrong.  And I don't think that what you said was over the line.

But your other guests were uncomfortable.  Good for you that you care about that, no matter that it was the other woman's fault, not yours. 

If I understand you correctly, you're not asking who was wrong (that's obvious), but how you could have avoided the discomfort of the group.

What you said wasn't bad, but maybe next time (I hope there isn't one) try tweaking it a bit -- if you haven't run out of patience yet, which I wouldn't blame you for doing!  Something like, "I really appreciate your concern; I'll have to look into that.  But we really can't make everyone wait to start the meeting while we talk about pet care, so let's get the meeting started now."

Do you see the difference?  The focus is off stopping the discussion because she is out of line and onto stopping it simply because of the need to move on to the meeting.

bloo

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Re: How To Handle This Politely
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2013, 02:13:39 PM »
The guest was wrong.  And I don't think that what you said was over the line.

But your other guests were uncomfortable.  Good for you that you care about that, no matter that it was the other woman's fault, not yours. 

If I understand you correctly, you're not asking who was wrong (that's obvious), but how you could have avoided the discomfort of the group.

What you said wasn't bad, but maybe next time (I hope there isn't one) try tweaking it a bit -- if you haven't run out of patience yet, which I wouldn't blame you for doing!  Something like, "I really appreciate your concern; I'll have to look into that.  But we really can't make everyone wait to start the meeting while we talk about pet care, so let's get the meeting started now."

Do you see the difference?  The focus is off stopping the discussion because she is out of line and onto stopping it simply because of the need to move on to the meeting.

I totally agree with this.

OP, may I add that you appear to have a shiny, titanium spine. Good on you! :)

gramma dishes

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Re: How To Handle This Politely
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2013, 02:14:17 PM »
I think you handled it just fine.

I'm sorry though that your other guests were made uncomfortable by the exchange.  I'm not sure though that even if you had handled it a little differently, that part would have changed.

Again.  You were fine.  The other woman was incredibly out of line.