General Etiquette > Family and Children

Need Spine Polish for upcoming visit

(1/12) > >>

twiggy:
I am trying to keep this as short as possible and to avoid turning this post into a rant about SIL, who is actually a good person in general, with many admirable traits. The problem is that SIL moved across country several years ago, still keeps in contact with her old friends here in HomeState, usually visits during holidays/special events, and typically has a very full social schedule when she's in town. She has a Good Friend who SIL continues to invite to family gatherings. The problem I have with this is that I am the one hosting, cooking, and paying for these gatherings. I find it irritating to have a random woman sitting at my table eating Christmas Dinner (even if it's served closer to New Year's, that's when we are celebrating the holiday as an extended family), not to mention the rudeness of SIL either ignoring the family to chat with her friend, or ignoring her guest who knows no one else at the house to talk to family members. But I have never been able to bring myself to turn someone away from my door at the holidays. I've also had problems addressing it with SIL, preferring to hope that she won't do it again.

Last summer, DH graduated from college, and I held a party that ended up being at a park. Good Friend turned up, and I literally didn't recognize her when I saw her in the street.

Christmas of 2010 I tried a very passive approach to talking to SIL. I mentioned that I ended up eating a cold dinner because I was scrambling to throw together extra side dishes because of the unexpected guests. That's when I found out that Good Friend lives only a few miles from my house and SIL hadn't been able to arrange any other time to get together with her.

After the graduation party, SIL was complaining that Good Friend hadn't even spent much time with her. GF's son kept running off to other parts of the park and kept trying to join another birthday party. GF was constantly either running after him, or taking care of her baby. I told SIL that I didn't know why GF was even there. SIL made some noises about not thinking I would mind. My tone got a bit cold and I told her I did. Later MIL was telling me how sad and depressed SIL was that Good Friend had ignored her, and I said I didn't really want to hear about it. MIL scolded a bit (not in a mean, bad way, it's just that sometimes she forgets that I'm not her actual child, and that I'm not a teenager for her to correct ::) though she did a lot more raising of me back in my teen years than my mother did) and told me that SIL only has a limited amount of time in Home State, and it's hard for her to make time for everyone. My response was that SIL could choose to spend her time any way she wanted, but if hanging out with her friend was more important than DH's celebration, I wished they would just go to lunch and save me the hassle of feeding everyone. It's like neither of them got that having Good Friend at the party, and socializing with her there meant that SIL was NOT socializing or celebrating with DH. Nor was she socializing with the rest of the extended family: aunts/uncles, cousins, grandparents, kiddos.

The whole family is coming out for Easter weekend. BIL #1 has been looking for a job in HomeState, and has been working at an internship for the past month. He will still be out here for Easter, and their kids have Good Friday off from school, so SIL decided that was a good time to visit. MIL had been planning a trip for Feb, but decided to delay and travel with SIL + kids. FIL couldn't have come in Feb, but work will be slowing down, so he will be able to make it out for Easter. Taking all the scheduling into consideration, DH and I decided to postpone having our Baby Blessed in our church so that MIL/FIL could be here.

So, I will be hosting Easter dinner, and it will be a combination Easter Dinner/Blessing luncheon. There will be lots of family, and I'm worried that SIL will invite Good Friend again. Should I preemptively assume that SIL will invite GF and tell her before they even get on the plane that GF is not invited? I don't see how to work that into a conversation, and it seems off (or maybe just terrifying) to call SIL up out of the blue specifically to tell her that she is NOT to invite GF to my house.

If SIL does invite GF anyway, how do I turn her away?  I can't imagine simply shutting the door in the face of someone who was improperly invited. It seems like punishing the innocent bystander. After all, she doesn't know that her presence is irritating me. For all I know, she's asked SIL if I'm ok with her being there, and SIL has assured her that it is fine. Should I just think of her as collateral damage to SIL's actions?

secretrebel:
Okay, first I think you need to work out what the source of the problem is for you.

Is it that SIL invites people to your house without asking?
Is it that SIL doesn't make more time to see you and your husband?
Is it that you actually dislike the good friend?

I am wondering if the third is playing more of a factor. You describe her as a "random woman" who you "didn't recognise when [you] saw her in the street". But this is someone who shares holiday meals with you often and comes to your parties. I don't understand why you don't know her better. You say that she doesn't know anyone at your family events except SIL but shouldn't the hosts be introducing her to the rest of the family and facilitating conversation. Have you tried talking to her yourself? Did you try but dislike the result? Or are you ignoring her because you think she's not really a guest because SIL invited her?

My advice to you would be either to tell SIL politely that you understand she wants to catch up with GF but you don't want to invite her to your home OR to make an effort to get to know this woman and make her welcome in the spirit of the holidays.

cicero:

--- Quote from: twiggy on February 20, 2013, 03:39:52 AM ---

So, I will be hosting Easter dinner, and it will be a combination Easter Dinner/Blessing luncheon. There will be lots of family, and I'm worried that SIL will invite Good Friend again. Should I preemptively assume that SIL will invite GF and tell her before they even get on the plane that GF is not invited? I don't see how to work that into a conversation, and it seems off (or maybe just terrifying) to call SIL up out of the blue specifically to tell her that she is NOT to invite GF to my house.

If SIL does invite GF anyway, how do I turn her away?  I can't imagine simply shutting the door in the face of someone who was improperly invited. It seems like punishing the innocent bystander. After all, she doesn't know that her presence is irritating me. For all I know, she's asked SIL if I'm ok with her being there, and SIL has assured her that it is fine. Should I just think of her as collateral damage to SIL's actions?

--- End quote ---
yes you need to be proactive and deal with this *before* easter, way before.

*now* that plans are being finalized, call/email your SIL and tell her - "SIL in the last few years you've invited GF to our house for events. I don't know if you were planning to do so for easter but we will have to ask you not to do so. We will not be able to host her at our events any more"

If she whines and kvetches just tell her "SIL, *you* are of course more than welcome but we cannot accommodate your friend any more". if she chooses to go to friend and not to your event, that is her loss (but be prepared that she will threaten/do just this)

We have (and i'm sure many of us have) some *close family friends* who are included in family events - but they are close family friends. not some person i knew a long time ago who ignores me at a family dinner...

buvezdevin:
While I agree that it would be best to address this in advance, I also think it would make a difference if SIL had been routinely inviting her friend(s) to family events prior to your hosting, and the practice became the norm for that family.  While you don't know SIL's friend well, is she known to the rest of the family?  The fact that your MIL seems to have felt it was entirely fine for SIL to invite the friend to your DH's graduation celebration suggests that either your DH's family is used to being accepting of SIL's including one or more friends in family events, or that MIL sympathizes with SIL not having time to see all her friends during her visits to home town more than MIL cares to have celebrations limited to "family only."

At any rate, in your shoes, I think I would speak with MIL first and explain *your* feelings.  Better to understand her views, and know if you are changing a long-standing practice/approach of their family before you address the matter with SIL.  Then speak with SIL.

*inviteseller:
I think you should calmly tell SIL (with your DH's backing) that this is going to be family only.  If she starts whinging on about not getting alot of time to socialize, point out that because of the distance you live from one another, you also don't get to see her alot and would love a family gathering to be just that, family.  And you are the hostess, not your SIL, so she doesn't get to do random invites, and correct me if I am wrong, but does she even tell you this woman is coming?  That is rude and you are ok, IMO by telling her no guests.  And if her or your MIL try to whine and try to get you to give in, tell them if they would like to host the family at a restaurant, and invite who they want, you will gladly hand over the hostess title.
--- Quote from: secretrebel on February 20, 2013, 06:18:07 AM ---You say that she doesn't know anyone at your family events except SIL but shouldn't the hosts be introducing her to the rest of the family and facilitating conversation. Have you tried talking to her yourself? Did you try but dislike the result? Or are you ignoring her because you think she's not really a guest because SIL invited her?



--- End quote ---
I don't think it's OP's place to become friends with this woman because she just keeps showing up at the gatherings, and it doesn't sound like the friend has gone out of the way to get to know the family that she keeps coming to dinner with.  She doesn't attempt to socialize with the family, just with the SIL and that makes her rude.  Why should a hostess go out of her way to make an uninvited guest feel more at ease, when she is also busy trying to find more food so as guest will at least get a meal?

Navigation

[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Go to full version