Author Topic: Friend is annoyed with my answer to small talk questions of where I am from...  (Read 8903 times)

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LifeOnPluto

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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!

I agree that the BigCity question is a red herring. The real issue is that she's correcting you in front of new acquaintances. And what's more, the information that she's correcting is personal to you. By correcting you like that, she's implying to everyone that either (a) you don't actually know your own address; or (b) you're a liar. And that (to me) is extremely rude.

Even if she's technically correct, it still doesn't make it right. For example, if you told someone you were 29, when you were actually 34, it would still be rude of her to jump in and say "No you're not! You're really 34 years old". If your inaccuracy really bothered her, the polite way to handle it would be to talk to you about it in private. Not correct you in public.


baglady

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I've found it's just easier to answer "the Bigcity area," or "near Bigcity" or "about __ miles from Bigcity," even without the insecure friend factor. It saves backpedaling when the other person says, "Oh, what part of Bigcity? I grew up on the Upper East Side of Bigcity!" ("Um, well, actually I don't live *in* Bigcity, I live in Nearbytown.")

Insecure friend is insecure. The behavior needs to stop. But if I have the option to stop it by not provoking it (by saying "I live near Bigcity" instead of "I live in Bigcity"), rather than by confronting her on it, I'll take the former option.
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Raintree

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Yes, it would annoy me greatly. It's rude (you were just making small talk and didn't need to be interrupted and corrected with unimportant details) and it's patronizing ("you, country bumpkin, know nothing of the Big City, like sophisticated, BigCity me.") It's a sign of insecurity. I've lived in the middle of a large city all my life, and I'm really not sure what there is to brag about. Many people move AWAY from the city to escape the noise and chaos.

fluffy

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I have to admit, it does bother me when people say that they're from my city and it turns out that they actually live 45-60 minutes away. But that's just because I went to a college a couple hours from here and everyone there would say they were from "right outside $bigcity." And then it would turn out they lived an hour away, sometimes in an entirely different state! It was a running joke at my school that everyone there was from "right outside $bigcity." I actually WAS from right outside that city, but you'd say that and people would roll their eyes at you!

I now live about 15-20 minutes' drive from $bigcity and I tell people that I live just north of there. Nobody wants to hear your life story when they make small talk, so giving people all sorts of extra information about where you live is just silly. But I do like to be accurate. So "just north of $bigcity" it is.

The farther I get geographically from where I live, the less it bothers me if someone says the big city name and not the suburb. Most people don't know the names of suburbs of places where they don't live.

Your friend is being a donkey's back about this. Even if it irks her that you say you're from a Big City, correcting you in the moment is most decidedly not the way to do it. If you were my friend, I wouldn't let it bother me. But if I found that it annoyed me, I'd chalk it up to being one of my own particular quirks and I'd ask you politely, in private to use an extra qualifier or two to explain where you're from.

cicero

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your friend is weird for making such a fuss about this and she is rude for berating you in public.

i now live in a major city but many years ago i lived in a place that most people had never heard of. so i would give the general geographic area and say "we are near X". it just made life simpler.

on a different subject - i work for an organization that many people have never heard of. we are housed in a building that *everyone* knows (which is funny, because it's actually *our* building but most poeple don't know that). so when people ask me where i work, i say "at X building". if they want more info, then i can go into more detail but for most "strangers" that is enough.


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artk2002

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Human beings are very tribal and spend a lot of effort defining who is in their "tribe" and who isn't -- in a lot of ways, the "isn't" is more important than the "is." In this case, your friends tribe is "urban residents of Big City." When you give a vague reply, to her thinking, you're trying to define yourself as part of her tribe. She has to make it very, very clear to everyone that you aren't part of her "tribe." In a way, you're attacking her identity.
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something.new.every.day

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I think your friend is behaving badly, because she's calling you out on it.  However, I will admit to inwardly rolling my eyes when suburban acquaintances of ours say they are from our city.  Yes, it bugs me.  But no, I would never say anything. 

Mrs. Tilney

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Your friend is definitely behaving badly, but at the same time, it's really not hard to say, "I live just outside X." I live just outside of DC and work and socialize with a lot of people who live near me but never go into the city itself. If we were somewhere and they said they were from DC, I'd inwardly roll my eyes, too.

Winterlight

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I'd probably say, "I live near MajorCity." It's both accurate and simple. Telling someone you live in Wheaton, MD,  or Vienna, Va means you'll probably end up explaining you're near DC anyway.

In any case, your friend is being rude and nitpicky.
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Thipu1

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We live in Park Slope, Brooklyn and always identify ourselves as such because it's such a quirky and fun area.  It makes my hackles rise when a news story identifies the locality of an incident as Park Slope and then gives an address that's way outside any reasonable definition of the neighborhood.  I want to yell at the TV, 'That's Gowanus!' or, 'That's Sunset Park'.  However, I would never say anything

Oddly enough, I grew up in a very tiny town but, when I said where I was from, many people vknew of it because it was also the site of a nationally-known hospital for physical rehabilitation A surprisingly large number of people we met had relatives or friends who were treated there. 

I know it's a tribal response and responses like that can be annoying  but I agree that the friend of the OP is way out of line in correcting her in small talk. 

It really doesn't matter because few people you meet on vacation are ever going to visit you. 

hobish

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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!

A friend's girlfriend is from Central Jersey and they rib her because "There is no such place.There is North Jersey and South Jersey, pick one." :) When we first met they were teasing her and asked me, not knowing the joke, if there is such a thing as Central Jersey, and I said yes and named her town as being there. It's just friendly teasing, though, of the kind that makes for conversation as opposed to making it uncomfortable. And, hey, we're all from Jersey, so we're used to it.  :P Yeah, i'm lookin' at you, Willy Nilly!! LOL.

StareDecisis, welcome aboard. I think if you were going to say something for your friend a good time might be before you go on another trip. That may make it less apropos of nothing since it has been a while now, as you mentioned. There are some good replies already, and total strangers not needing to know the exact location of where you live is a good point. I am also a fan of asking someone why they do a particular thing, although if your friend thinks she is better for living in City i guess that could get pretty uncomfortable  :-\
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Twik

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Human beings are very tribal and spend a lot of effort defining who is in their "tribe" and who isn't -- in a lot of ways, the "isn't" is more important than the "is." In this case, your friends tribe is "urban residents of Big City." When you give a vague reply, to her thinking, you're trying to define yourself as part of her tribe. She has to make it very, very clear to everyone that you aren't part of her "tribe." In a way, you're attacking her identity.

Well, actually, she's attacking the OP for having the presumption to claim to share her identity. There's something very snobbish about her reaction - "How dare you imply that you are as urban, sophisticated and important as I!"

If she merely sounded concerned for accuracy - "Well, she doesn't actually live IN Bigtown, she's about 45 minutes away from the core area, if you're planning on visiting her," it would sound less annoying than, "No, she's an urban poser!"
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kckgirl

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When I lived in a suburb in central Maryland, I'd usually say "Oh I'm from a suburb of Baltimore." Actually it was about 30 minutes from Baltimore but hey, people recognize the name. 

Now I just say I'm about 1/2 an hour from Frederick.  If they blank on that well then I say it's western Maryland. 

I usually say I live in Maryland between Philadelphia and Baltimore. That's close enough.
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inniskillin

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I don't know if this is just me, but I am from a city (the city itself).  Almost every time I've said "I'm from [Chicago]," the other person will say, "Actually [Chicago]? Not a suburb?" to which I say, "Yes. Actual [Chicago]."  It seems strange that their first instinct is to question my statement of where I'm from -- I'm not sure if this is a result of all the people from the suburbs who start by saying they're from the city and then get more specific if questioned further.

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!

A friend's girlfriend is from Central Jersey and they rib her because "There is no such place.There is North Jersey and South Jersey, pick one." :) When we first met they were teasing her and asked me, not knowing the joke, if there is such a thing as Central Jersey, and I said yes and named her town as being there. It's just friendly teasing, though, of the kind that makes for conversation as opposed to making it uncomfortable. And, hey, we're all from Jersey, so we're used to it.  :P Yeah, i'm lookin' at you, Willy Nilly!! LOL.

Or, we ask "which exit"?  :)

I like NJ. Yeah, I said it! And half my neighbors moved here from NYC. People need to get off the dang turnpike. If they did, they'd discover history, natural beauty, and believe it or not, some culture. We're more than snooki, Camden, and Jersey City. And, no, my town is not a suburb of NYC!

Signed, Jaxsue from Central NJ