Author Topic: Polite bean-dip for polite inquiries?  (Read 3308 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

JeseC

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 339
Polite bean-dip for polite inquiries?
« on: May 19, 2013, 08:36:30 PM »
I get the idea of bean-dipping when someone's been rude.  But what about areas where the question itself is completely innocent, merely becoming difficult or awkward because of factors the other person doesn't know about?  I've had this happen a lot with my family.  The situation is a mess.  This means holidays or times when I'm flying home can be a veritable cornucopia of awkward conversations that I don't really want to have, set off by polite inquiries like "Aren't you looking forward to spending time with your mother?  You two should go out for dinner or something!"

Rhindle

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 44
Re: Polite bean-dip for polite inquiries?
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2013, 08:58:08 PM »
Just using your example sentence, I'd say something like "Yeah, eating out at restaurants is pretty fun. What's the best restaurant you've ever been to?" Would that work?

Luci

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5982
Re: Polite bean-dip for polite inquiries?
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2013, 09:25:21 PM »
Most of our family members truly understand "I would rather not discuss that right now".

I guess our families are weird in the non-pushy way.

We just recently had a  situation that was not ready to be discussed, and the slight brush-off, casual comment took care of the questions. The problem has become common knowledge now, so they know that in the long run all the questions have been answered.

We feel that way, too. We are now the older generation, very close, and are just preparing for the new 4th generation.

Piratelvr1121

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 10826
Re: Polite bean-dip for polite inquiries?
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2013, 09:37:15 PM »
Yeah I'd agree something like that would work out. 

Like if someone had said "Well is your family coming out for the baptism?" I'd say "Well yes, my in-laws, my brother and his girlfriend, and my best friend will be there, I can't wait!" To me that is my family so it's not a lie and I don't have to go into the sticky business of why my parents aren't invited.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

BeagleMommy

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3007
Re: Polite bean-dip for polite inquiries?
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2013, 02:57:22 PM »
If someone asks about you spending time with your mother could you try "Well, we haven't made any plans yet.  We'll see what happens."?

JeseC

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 339
Re: Polite bean-dip for polite inquiries?
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2013, 02:05:39 PM »
Most of our family members truly understand "I would rather not discuss that right now".

I guess our families are weird in the non-pushy way.

We just recently had a  situation that was not ready to be discussed, and the slight brush-off, casual comment took care of the questions. The problem has become common knowledge now, so they know that in the long run all the questions have been answered.

We feel that way, too. We are now the older generation, very close, and are just preparing for the new 4th generation.

I get that!  The hard part can be when not saying something (or at least, saying you don't want to talk about it) is effectively saying something.  I may not always want it public knowledge that various issues are going on, especially when I'm dealing with an acquaintance making small talk rather than a good friend.  This can be anything from family issues to relationship issues - I've had another case where someone quite innocently starts gushing on at me about aren't I excited to be in a field with all these men and it must be nice to have such a wide field to choose from?  Truth is, I'm gay and not completely open about it!

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5032
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Polite bean-dip for polite inquiries?
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2013, 05:45:45 PM »
Most of our family members truly understand "I would rather not discuss that right now".

I guess our families are weird in the non-pushy way.

We just recently had a  situation that was not ready to be discussed, and the slight brush-off, casual comment took care of the questions. The problem has become common knowledge now, so they know that in the long run all the questions have been answered.

We feel that way, too. We are now the older generation, very close, and are just preparing for the new 4th generation.

I get that!  The hard part can be when not saying something (or at least, saying you don't want to talk about it) is effectively saying something.  I may not always want it public knowledge that various issues are going on, especially when I'm dealing with an acquaintance making small talk rather than a good friend.  This can be anything from family issues to relationship issues - I've had another case where someone quite innocently starts gushing on at me about aren't I excited to be in a field with all these men and it must be nice to have such a wide field to choose from?  Truth is, I'm gay and not completely open about it!

It's the same as someone wanting a compliment on their new hair cut even if you don't like it: you point out something without saying anything negative or positive.  For the haircut, "You got your hair cut!"  All it says is that you noticed a change while the person will usually take it as a compliment.  For your case about the men, "Yes, there are a lot of men."
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

veronaz

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1995
Re: Polite bean-dip for polite inquiries?
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2013, 06:14:53 PM »
Sometimes saying “I would rather not discuss it” leads to speculation that there’s a problem, or even further inquiries.

"veronaz, how’s your brother?

-I would rather not discuss it.
-Last I heard, he was fine.
-I have no idea."

(Oooooh, must be a problem there.  Wonder what’s going on?)

A better response would be:

"Everyone’s fine.  How’s the new car?"


Luci

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5982
Re: Polite bean-dip for polite inquiries?
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2013, 06:36:40 PM »
Yes. In our case, everyone knew there was a problem, so the worked.

I didn't understand that no one knew there could be drama coming up, so, no, "I'd reather not discuss it," would not work well.

Then, I suppose JesseC has no  choice but to keep serving the bean dip comments until the questioners finally give up.

Best wishes. Stay strong.

RooRoo

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 684
  • I’m out of my mind. Please leave a message.
Re: Polite bean-dip for polite inquiries?
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2013, 10:03:15 PM »
I have a standard, neutral answer for several different inquiries I'd rather not discuss: "...getting along."

It works for everything from "How are you?" to "What's up with them?" "Oh, they're getting along." It's neutral, and doesn't reveal anything.  They're getting along well... or they're getting along towards the divorce, the court case, the lawsuit, the PhD, renewed health, that promotion...

One can make it less neutral with tone of voice, of course.  ;D
"Someday we must write a book of Etiquette for sensible people," said Mrs. Morland, "though apart from a few rules it really boils down to an educated mind and a kind heart." ~ Angela Thirkell, Never Too Late

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5032
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Polite bean-dip for polite inquiries?
« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2013, 08:45:00 AM »
I have a standard, neutral answer for several different inquiries I'd rather not discuss: "...getting along."

It works for everything from "How are you?" to "What's up with them?" "Oh, they're getting along." It's neutral, and doesn't reveal anything.  They're getting along well... or they're getting along towards the divorce, the court case, the lawsuit, the PhD, renewed health, that promotion...

One can make it less neutral with tone of voice, of course.  ;D

Unfortunately, "getting along" can also mean "being friendly" which may not be the case.  I like the idea, just not the particular phase. 
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

JeseC

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 339
Re: Polite bean-dip for polite inquiries?
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2013, 02:08:15 PM »
Yes. In our case, everyone knew there was a problem, so the worked.

I didn't understand that no one knew there could be drama coming up, so, no, "I'd reather not discuss it," would not work well.

Then, I suppose JesseC has no  choice but to keep serving the bean dip comments until the questioners finally give up.

Best wishes. Stay strong.

Right.  Typically the issues are from people trying to make small talk.  Like the stuff with my mother - the inquirer probably doesn't know anything other than that I'm a student who lives far away from my family.  And unfortunately even slight hints of problems I've learned tend to expose me to a barrage of "interesting assumptions."  (Seriously, what's with the mothers-are-always-wonderful thing our society has going???  And the fact that I'm young does not mean I'm in need of your advice.  Or your opinions on kids these days.  And especially not your opinion on how if I were just nicer the problems would all go away.)

Margo

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1491
Re: Polite bean-dip for polite inquiries?
« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2013, 03:13:04 PM »
In that case I'd go with something vauge.
Polite person: " Aren't you looking forward to spending time with your mother?  You two should go out for dinner or something!"
You: "I', sure I'll see her" (if you will. You don't have to say whether you are looking forward to it, or will enjoy it)
OR
Polite person: " Aren't you looking forward to spending time with your mother?  You two should go out for dinner or something!"
You: "I'm really looking forward to the trip home" (after all, 'home' can mean your home town, home state, not just your Mom's home."
or " I'm really looking forward to the break" (they may assume that you mean you're looking forward to spending the break at your Mom's, or seeing her. You haven't actually said so.

Also, if you follow up with a question of your own you can move the conversation on, to talk about what the other person is doing, or planning.

Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5032
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Polite bean-dip for polite inquiries?
« Reply #13 on: May 27, 2013, 05:14:49 PM »
In that case I'd go with something vauge.
Polite person: " Aren't you looking forward to spending time with your mother?  You two should go out for dinner or something!"
You: "I', sure I'll see her" (if you will. You don't have to say whether you are looking forward to it, or will enjoy it)
OR
Polite person: " Aren't you looking forward to spending time with your mother?  You two should go out for dinner or something!"
You: "I'm really looking forward to the trip home" (after all, 'home' can mean your home town, home state, not just your Mom's home."
or " I'm really looking forward to the break" (they may assume that you mean you're looking forward to spending the break at your Mom's, or seeing her. You haven't actually said so.

Also, if you follow up with a question of your own you can move the conversation on, to talk about what the other person is doing, or planning.

This is along the lines of what I suggested, so I definitely agree with it.  You can answer their questions without actually telling them anything negative or positive.  Let them make the assumptions they want to make.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

greencat

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2330
Re: Polite bean-dip for polite inquiries?
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2013, 05:57:53 PM »
There's also "Oh, doesn't look like I'll see Mom this time.  Maybe another visit!  I've got plans with Aunt and Uncle and Cousin and Great-Aunt who I haven't seen in forever and..." gloss over the sticky part and then bury them in happy details.