Author Topic: Friend is annoyed with my answer to small talk questions of where I am from...  (Read 9007 times)

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CakeEater

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In Australia, the suburbs are considered part of the city. Is that not the case in the US?

I grew up in a suburb of Brisbane. The inner city centre is generally called 'the city' by those in the suburbs. But if asked by anyone from Sydney where I lived, I'd still stay Brisbane, even though it takes about 1/2 an hour to drive into the city from where I lived, and I can't imagine anyone contradicting the accuracy of my statement.

If asked by someone for more detail, then I'd add the suburb.

Sharnita

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Like the example, I used, it kind of depends.  It isn't legally pary of the city if it isn't in the city limits.  What the public considers it depends on what segment of the public you ask.  For example, the Detroit Pistons actually play in Auburn Hills, not within the Detroit city limits.  And the Detroit Lions used to play in Pontiac.  Now for some people, Auburn Hills and/or Pontiac are "in the area" enough to be considered "Detroit".  Others would say, "No way".  Then you have Royal Oak, Dearborn, etc. which are all in the Detroit metropolitan area but aren't technically Detroit.  SOme people might not want to be described as living in Detroit if they don't because of the city's reputation.  OTOH, for people who do live there, hearing somebody claim to be from there when they won't go into the city for love or money - it could be a bit annoying.

Promise

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Yes, your friend is nutty. Just say, "I live outside of CITY." She can't correct you since you admit you don't live IN the city but OUTSIDE the city.

Lynn2000

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Another angle you could take is--ignoring the whole geography thing--why is she correcting you about something trivial/your personal information in front of a stranger? I mean, would she jump in to correct your age, occupation, whether or not you like the kind of drink he's offered to buy you? ("Oh, you don't have to spring for a cocktail, she prefers cheap beer!") If you don't want to get into the city snobbery thing you could frame it as, mind your own business!
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WillyNilly

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Like the example, I used, it kind of depends.  It isn't legally pary of the city if it isn't in the city limits.  What the public considers it depends on what segment of the public you ask.  For example, the Detroit Pistons actually play in Auburn Hills, not within the Detroit city limits.  And the Detroit Lions used to play in Pontiac.  Now for some people, Auburn Hills and/or Pontiac are "in the area" enough to be considered "Detroit".  Others would say, "No way".  Then you have Royal Oak, Dearborn, etc. which are all in the Detroit metropolitan area but aren't technically Detroit.  SOme people might not want to be described as living in Detroit if they don't because of the city's reputation.  OTOH, for people who do live there, hearing somebody claim to be from there when they won't go into the city for love or money - it could be a bit annoying.

^ NYC has suburbs in New Jersey (Hoboken and jersey city for example), which are in fact as often as not quicker commutes to mid-town then the outer boroughs of NYC itself!  And both our football teams, NY Giants and NY Jets actually play in NJ.

NYer's love to rag on Jersey, friendly ribbing about how isn't as cool, smells, etc, and yet I can't imagine if traveling outside the metro area any NYer taking umbrage to someone from Hoboken saying they were coming from NYC.

Tea Drinker

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In Australia, the suburbs are considered part of the city. Is that not the case in the US?

It's complicated, and not just because of weirdos like the woman who keeps correcting the OP about where she lives. Not only are there people who live inside city limits who will get snobby about borders, some people in the New York city area use "the city" to refer to Manhattan. Someone elsewhere in the city might answer the small talk question by saying she lived in New York, and then in a conversation with other New Yorkers say something like "I don't go into the city very often, the traffic is a hassle."
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cheyne

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If I were the stranger you two were talking to, I'd think your friend was a whack-o and quickly finish the conversation and move away (which is really too bad, as I find it very interesting to talk to people who actually live in places like NYC and LA). 

She is being extremely rude by correcting you (especially in front of strangers), and I would call her on it using one of the PP's suggestions.

I live outside of a town of 5,000 people in an extremely unpopulated area in a near western state.  I usually say, "I'm from Northwestern [part of] State" when someone asks.  If they are familiar with the area, or ask me why I live in such a Godforsaken place we can get more detailed from there.

I, too, lived in Wisconsin as a teenager.  Central part of the state.  My sister graduated from Wisconsin Green Bay.  Lovely city in the summer.


gramma dishes

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Your friend is being obnoxious, but if you wanted to, you could always say 'I live in a suburb of City X' - also small talk, not getting into any major details, and it will stop your obnoxious friend from having to say something.

That's how I usually answer the "where are you from" question.

But your friend seems to be trying to imply to total strangers that you are just so far less sophisticated and cosmopolitan than she is and that would annoy me no end.  But I suspect the strangers find it weird and bizarare too, so she's not making the "cool" impression on them she seems to think she is.

jaxsue

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Is your friend my SIL?????  Dh and I deal with this from my SIL all the time.   I just chalk it up to her problem.   My scenario is that I grew up in NYC and she grew up in the suburbs.   She has this extreme hatred of the suburbs, it's mind boggling to me.  Anyway She now lives in the city, divorced her dh because he wouldn't move to the city, and we now live in a NYC suburb as I want to raise my kids here.  I love NYC but seriously...... I laugh at anyone that thinks they are superior because they live there.   
I actually go out of my way to say I live in a NYC suburb and how fab it is (even though I don't really feel that way) when I am around her just to counter balance her "how could anyone live in the suburbs" attitude.   If she were to correct me I would call her on it immediately, usually in a non e-hell approved way such as "why do you have such an problem with the suburbs, it's beautiful and quiet and we love it". 
Anyway...   back to you, I would be peeved as I hate anyone correcting me for a ridiculous reason, so I would call her on it.

I really like this post.

sammycat

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This would irritate the heck out of me because I don't want random people to know exactly where I live. Okay, chances are they'll never be anywhere near my town, but still. I'd tell her "I say I live near City because that's as much information as I'm comfortable sharing with strangers. Please stop correcting me, it makes me uncomfortable."

Yes, the privacy thing is the main thing that occurred to me too (after thinking how nutty and rude the friend was). 

I think I'd approach friend with this angle - 'hey, please tell stop telling people exactly where I live. Most of them really don't care, and I really don't want complete strangers knowing all my business. And also, I'm curious why does it matter to you so much that people know where I live?"

If she plays down your concerns and says that no one's going to use the information to turn up on your doorstep I'd say "that may be true, but it is important to me and I'd thank you to respect that. I'd hate for this to become a 'thing' between us, so I hope you'll respect my wishes from now on".

jaxsue

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No matter where I live, I will always be a small town girl from the upper midwest, a place that is known for its natural beauty. Suburbs? Hardly! And the closest city is a few hours away. So if someone asks where I grew up, I say Northern Michigan. If they know the area I can get more specific.

Now I live in Central NJ. I don't tell people I live in NYC or Newark. I just say central NJ. If people need an idea as to where I live, I say I'm about 30 miles from the Jersey Shore. Most people seem to know where that is.  :)

When my NYC friends rag on me about being in the dreaded suburbs, I just remind them that my family lived in Manhattan a couple of centuries before theirs did!
 

johelenc1

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I think your friend is batty, but I don't see why you couldn't answer, "I live in X (suburb).  It's near Y (big city)."  You've given the most correct information, you've given others a frame of reference, and Friend should be happy. 

Seriously, though, your Friend is nuts and you are in no way required to give an answer to make her happy.  I would just suggest the above since it's true and accurate and serves the same purpose.

strawbabies

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When people ask where DH and I are from, we tell them the name of the large city close to where we live.  We don't even live in a suburb.  We live in a somewhat rural branch-off from a suburb.  Nobody who isn't from around here is going to know where our middle of nowhere town is, and we see no reason to explain it every time somebody asks.  It's just easier to tell them we're from the large city. 

yokozbornak

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I always answer that I live in the "BigCity area" because I live in the metro area of a large city, but not the city itself so that's another idea about how to answer. 

I do think your friend is a bit nuts to get worked up about this.  It sounds like she is very insecure and wants to come across as a sophisticated city girl, but she really sounds insecure.  I think it's okay to let her know that you don't enjoy being corrected in front of people and to ask her to stop doing it.

Bijou

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My dear friend of 20+ years and I recently took a vacation together.  While overall it was lovely, something has been nagging at me ever since, and I would like unbiased opinions as to whether I am legitimately annoyed, or if I am being irrational :) 

Background:  She lives in a major city, and takes GREAT pride in being an urban dweller, to the point where she can be disparaging about people who live in the suburbs or, heaven forbid, rural areas.  I live in the outskirts of a major city in another state.  My area is slightly more urban than a stereotypical suburb, but it is definitely not urban (my mailing address is a town, not the major city).  I am finding it hard to explain without naming the exact area, but essentially I live in the very outskirts of "MajorCity Metro area" and while there is a train I can take to the downtown of MajorCity, it is inconvenient and I find it much easier to drive.  Basically, I am within 30 minutes of downtown if I don't hit traffic.  We both grew up in an area that was suburban, tending toward the more rural side of suburban, and I know she is proud of herself that she moved alone to her city.

While traveling, I find it common that fellow travelers will ask "So, where are you from?" in making small talk.  As these are people who seem perfectly nice, but have no real need to know, I generally say "MajorCity" or "Outside of MajorCity."  There is no reason, in my opinion, to engage in a lengthy description of where I live in answer to a stranger who honestly is unlikely to either know exactly what I am talking about unless he/she had been to this area, and probably doesn't really care that much about the answer. 

If she is around for these exchanges (think either waiting to board a plane, eating breakfast at a B&B, getting drinks at the hotel bar, etc.), she immediately interjects "No, you're not!  You live in a SUBURB!!!! *I* ACTUALLY live in a CITY, and it is NOT the SAME!!"  In response to this, in order to lessen the awkwardness, I say something to the effect of "Yes, that's right!" with a cheery smile, and then change the subject.  She particularly takes umbrage when I say "MajorCity," and is very keen to correct the stranger and everyone within earshot that I do NOT live in the city, and I am NOT urban, and she is MUCH more urban. 

Frankly, I find this weird and childish.  I am not sure why it matters so much to her, but it happened often enough that it clearly is a big deal to her (it happened every.single.time, not just, say, when she had had a drink or was trying to impress a particular stranger).  I love her dearly, and I would like a way to address this without being overly hostile.  I did not bring it up at the time because I didn't want to potentially cause a scene, and then I didn't bring it up while we were traveling in case it ended up being a big issue and would dampen the rest of our trip, and now I fear I have waited so long that it will be strange to bring it up. 

So, if you have read this far, thank you!  My questions are:

1)  Would you find this annoying?

2) Should I address this with her, or just let it go?  If I should address it, do you have any suggestions as to how I can do so?
I would find it kind both sad and annoying that she would be so insecure that she has to flaunt something that isn't a claim to fame (living in an urban area) and that she would actually comment on something that has nothing to do with her...like what you tell a stranger about where you are from.  I would say something to her only because she is sharing personal information about you with a total stranger...like exactly where you live.  I would tell her that I don't readily share information about my private life with strangers and would appreciate that she not do so.
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