General Etiquette > Family and Children

When it isn't really a surprise. UPDATES #23, #42, #87

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lowspark:
I would have asked who's coming when he called to ask me to set a couple of extra places. But at this point, considering all the potential for people getting mad, I'd probably just suck it up and act surprised. I mean, you don't have to drop your jaw to the floor or faint dead away, just smile broadly and say something like, "Congratulations! That's wonderful! Welcome to the family!" And then continue the conversation as you would naturally have, meeting her for the first time.

WillyNilly:
I would just go with a "oh my goodness, congratulations!" remark. And realize it can be honest while vague - after all you probably are the type of person who would immediately congratulate someone on getting married right?  So waiting several weeks/months is one of those sort of shocking 'I can't believe I haven't congratulated you already' moments. Let that emotion come out honestly. But let them believe its shock due to their news.

Coley:

--- Quote from: Hmmmmm on March 20, 2013, 02:53:07 PM ---I'd try to press your brother on who he is bringing.

But I wouldn't let on that you already know about the GF, the living together, or the marriage.
I'd also tell your mother that you weren't planning to let him know you spilled the beans.

I feel so sorry for his new wife though.  How uncomfortable to arrive at a home with your son in tow and "Suprise! I'm your new SIL that your brother didn't want you to know anything about!"

--- End quote ---

Yes, exactly. I feel for her. I want to reduce the awkwardness for everyone involved, but for her especially.

My mother is so upset, and when I talked to her the other night, she was lashing out at my brother's wife even though there isn't any evidence for blaming her. My brother is an adult, and he is responsible for his own choices. I told my mother that I intend to welcome my brother's wife as a member of his family. That's who she is, and we need to respect that. By the end of the conversation, my mother was repeating the same messages I was saying, so I hope she will carry through on that line of thought on Easter.

I did hint to my brother about being curious about who he is bringing. He wouldn't spill it. I was happy at the thought that he might be seeing someone. I would be happy if he is happy with his new wife. It's just a lot to swallow all at once.

MindsEye:
I would refuse to play this game altogether.

Tell you mother that you are going to tell your brother that you know the big secret.
Tell your brother that you know the big secret.
Tell them both that you don't appreciate all of the petty game-playing about who gets to know what and when.

Honestly, I think that you missed your chance when your brother asked you to set out plates for his 2 mystery guests.  That is where you should have pushed back and told him that you weren't going to set out any extra plates without knowing who they were for.

Coley:

--- Quote from: lowspark on March 20, 2013, 03:18:58 PM ---I would have asked who's coming when he called to ask me to set a couple of extra places. But at this point, considering all the potential for people getting mad, I'd probably just suck it up and act surprised. I mean, you don't have to drop your jaw to the floor or faint dead away, just smile broadly and say something like, "Congratulations! That's wonderful! Welcome to the family!" And then continue the conversation as you would naturally have, meeting her for the first time.

--- End quote ---

This is a gracious way to handle it, and it would probably be the most comfortable for everyone.

Honestly, it didn't occur to me to ask who he was bringing. I was thinking GF, and at that point, she was still his GF and not yet his wife. I was excited about the possibility of meeting his new GF. Never in my wildest imagination did I think he would bring a new wife!

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