Author Topic: You said I could have them...  (Read 11178 times)

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MariaE

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2013, 12:45:41 PM »
I think no better of a person who breaks an agreement than of a person who breaks a promise. It's the same thing to me. I'm not saying there aren't situations where breaking a promise/an agreement isn't the lesser of two evils, but this isn't it.
 
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Miss Unleaded

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2013, 01:01:16 PM »
Except the OP mentioned to her MIL when the initial offer was made that SHE didn't want the stones but had a friend who would love them and MIL agreed to that.  If MIL had an issue with the friend taking the stones instead of the OP, she should have spoken up then, not backed out later.

I think the MIL is completely allowed to back out later. They're her paving stones. And they can be worth a lot! And she was only in the planning stages, so it's completely reasonable that she might find, during the tear-out etc., that she has another plan for them. Maybe her landscaper clued her in to exactly how valuable they are, or something.

I vehemently disagree. A word is a word and somebody who goes back on their word is not to be trusted.

But even saying I agree with you on this, the MIL still messed up by not informing the OP straight away instead of waiting for her to ask. This would annoy me more than her going back on her word in the first place.

Once again I have to agree with you, I don't think the MIL was in the right on this one.  Sadly it's not an uncommon for people to flake though, so I don't trust that agreements of this kind will go through unless I have the object in my hands.

Softly Spoken

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2013, 01:21:30 PM »
I think one key difference between this and TootsNYC's situation is that in TootNYC's case she didn't agree, whereas MIL did.

The notion of a promise only meaning something if asked three times is just bizarre to me.  Are we sure it's three times and not two or four?  What situations require a three times promise?  Only ones with monetary value, if so, what amount?  Marriage isn't one of them since in the ceremony you are only asked once if I recall correctly. 

I think you are fine to tell MIL that you are hurt that she reneged on her agreement to give the pavers to your friend and that it puts you in an awkward position.  I'd also say that in the future, please don't say yes if you mean no, or at least tell you once the situation changes.

POD the above and the bolded is spot on!

The issue I see with the OP is that MIL didn't just give a noncommittal answer that was assumed affirmative - she said to let her know when they were going to pick them up. As in, "they are pretty much yours now you just have to come and get them." She gave no indication that she was wavering on what to do with them, and every indication that a) she wanted to get rid of them and b) she had no problem giving them to OPs friend. There were no "well, I'll let you know" or "Maybe I'll give some to her" or any other such waffling. OP was within her rights to assume the proverbial deal was done. Now a PP did mention that perhaps a follow-up with MIL by OP would have been good. Unless they are not as close as suggested by OP, I would have expected OPs stone-needing friend to contact MIL thanking her for the stones and asking for details of pickup...
Maybe lack of communication on OP/OPs friends part led MIL to assume that they didn't want the stones as badly?

I would like to chalk this up to a communication failure on multiple levels, and not assume selfishness on the MILs part. If nothing else, OP has learned to not assume anything and take nothing for granted. However, rather than stewing about it I think she would do well to communicate honestly and politely with MIL as suggested by DavidH - her MILs actions put her in an awkward position and the responsibility of open and honest communication should not fall 100% on her (though she now knows to ask for confirmation from her wavering MIL).
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Olympia

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2013, 02:13:47 PM »
I regard "giving one's word" as a very serious promise. And therefore I do NOT regard "just any agreement" to be the same as "giving one's word."

That's kind of "po-tay-to, po-tah-to," isn't it? If you say you're going to do something, do it. This just sounds like you're giving yourself wiggle room to back out of promises.

turnip

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2013, 02:18:29 PM »
I regard "giving one's word" as a very serious promise. And therefore I do NOT regard "just any agreement" to be the same as "giving one's word."

That's kind of "po-tay-to, po-tah-to," isn't it? If you say you're going to do something, do it. This just sounds like you're giving yourself wiggle room to back out of promises.

Open question - is there ever room to change your mind?   

Shoo

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2013, 02:19:29 PM »
If such an agreement constitutes a promise, and a promise must never be broken, then people would never be allowed to change their minds about anything.  That makes no sense to me.  I agree with Toots on this one.  There are agreements, and then there are promises.  This situation in no way constitutes a promise IMO.

She agreed to give the OP's friend the tiles.  Then she apparently changed her mind.  I think she's allowed to do that.  They're HER tiles.  Her mistake was in not letting the OP know sooner, not in changing her mind about giving them away. 

Surianne

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #21 on: May 28, 2013, 02:21:14 PM »
I agree with Toots as well, I don't see this as a "giving her word" or promise situation.  It might have been better to let the OP know right away when she changed her mind, but it's possible she didn't even think of it again until the OP mentioned it the second time.

MariaE

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #22 on: May 28, 2013, 02:31:21 PM »
I regard "giving one's word" as a very serious promise. And therefore I do NOT regard "just any agreement" to be the same as "giving one's word."

That's kind of "po-tay-to, po-tah-to," isn't it? If you say you're going to do something, do it. This just sounds like you're giving yourself wiggle room to back out of promises.

Open question - is there ever room to change your mind?

Yes, there's room to change your mind, but it requires taking responsibility of both your actions and your consequences. Had the OP's mother contacted the OP earlier and said, "I'm so sorry, I know I said your friend could have these, but I discovered I needed them after all. Please pass on my apologies to her." I doubt we'd have had this thread in the first place.

No longer responding to turnip...

I don't see the semantic difference between an agreement and a promise in terms of commitment.
 
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turnip

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #23 on: May 28, 2013, 02:40:30 PM »
I was thinking about this in the context of conversations I have with my 2 year old.  I try to be careful - sometimes it the morning she'll ask if we can go to the park, and I say "_Maybe_ we can go to the park" if I'm not sure we can fit it into our schedule.

However sometimes I'm wrong. She'll ask "Read book?" and I'll say, "We'll go downstairs and read a book" and then we go downstairs and distractions happen - her brother needs breakfast, the kitchen's a mess, other stuff comes up.  I may follow the letter of the law by reading her a book an hour later, but it'd be fair of her to feel a little put off.  I do try to avoid doing that, but it's not always possible.

However I reserver the words "I promise" for times when I am ( almost ) 100% sure I won't break my word to her.  She had to have eyedrops recently at night, and now at bedtime she'll ask "No eye drops" and I say "No eye drops, I promise".   I'm trying to give her some security by being very specific about the times when I know something is or isn't going to happen.

( She also often worries about going to the doctor's.  "No doctor?" she'll say, concerned, if we go out somewhere.  "No doctor, I promise" I reassure her.  I sometimes worry that one day we're going to get into an accident at the store, and we'll end up at the doctor's, and she'll never trust me again.  )


- new post arrived, now I'm no longer being responded to?  It was, truly, a genuine question.

MariaE

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #24 on: May 28, 2013, 02:45:11 PM »

- new post arrived, now I'm no longer being responded to?  It was, truly, a genuine question.

Nononono! I just meant that while the rest of the post was in response to your question, my last paragraph was a general statement rather than part of the response.

Edited for spelling.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 02:51:08 PM by MariaE »
 
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Olympia

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #25 on: May 28, 2013, 02:47:33 PM »
I regard "giving one's word" as a very serious promise. And therefore I do NOT regard "just any agreement" to be the same as "giving one's word."

That's kind of "po-tay-to, po-tah-to," isn't it? If you say you're going to do something, do it. This just sounds like you're giving yourself wiggle room to back out of promises.

Open question - is there ever room to change your mind?

I think so. Life happens and sometimes you commit to something that just isn't possible. Even in the original poster's situation, the mother in law could have said that she's sorry, but she realized that she needed them after all. I'm mostly objecting to the idea that you can agree to something and just say, "hey, it wasn't a promise, it was an agreement, and agreements don't mean anything to me."

Curious Cat

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #26 on: May 28, 2013, 02:49:13 PM »
I was thinking about this in the context of conversations I have with my 2 year old.  I try to be careful - sometimes it the morning she'll ask if we can go to the park, and I say "_Maybe_ we can go to the park" if I'm not sure we can fit it into our schedule.

However sometimes I'm wrong. She'll ask "Read book?" and I'll say, "We'll go downstairs and read a book" and then we go downstairs and distractions happen - her brother needs breakfast, the kitchen's a mess, other stuff comes up.  I may follow the letter of the law by reading her a book an hour later, but it'd be fair of her to feel a little put off.  I do try to avoid doing that, but it's not always possible.

However I reserver the words "I promise" for times when I am ( almost ) 100% sure I won't break my word to her.  She had to have eyedrops recently at night, and now at bedtime she'll ask "No eye drops" and I say "No eye drops, I promise".   I'm trying to give her some security by being very specific about the times when I know something is or isn't going to happen.

( She also often worries about going to the doctor's.  "No doctor?" she'll say, concerned, if we go out somewhere.  "No doctor, I promise" I reassure her.  I sometimes worry that one day we're going to get into an accident at the store, and we'll end up at the doctor's, and she'll never trust me again.  )


- new post arrived, now I'm no longer being responded to?  It was, truly, a genuine question.

I believe that poster meant they were no longer replying to you within that post, not that they were now going to ignore you

As for the topic at hand, in my family if something is offered (and end table, gardening supplies) it is with the understanding that it is no longer needed/wanted and it would be accepted, if not downright expected to say "well I can't use it but so and so can."

Yes the mil was allowed to change her mind but she should have called the OP as soon as she did.

turnip

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #27 on: May 28, 2013, 02:54:56 PM »

- new post arrived, now I'm no longer being responded to?  It was, truly, a genuine question.

Nononono! I just meant that while the rest of the post was in response to your question, my last paragraph was a general statement rather than part of the response.

Edited for spelling.

Ah - thank you!  I misread and thought I'd managed to offend.  A fair and well thought out response :-)

MariaE

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #28 on: May 28, 2013, 02:58:26 PM »

- new post arrived, now I'm no longer being responded to?  It was, truly, a genuine question.

Nononono! I just meant that while the rest of the post was in response to your question, my last paragraph was a general statement rather than part of the response.

Edited for spelling.

Ah - thank you!  I misread and thought I'd managed to offend.  A fair and well thought out response :-)

Thanks!  :)
 
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lady_disdain

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #29 on: May 28, 2013, 02:59:10 PM »
I regard "giving one's word" as a very serious promise. And therefore I do NOT regard "just any agreement" to be the same as "giving one's word."

That's kind of "po-tay-to, po-tah-to," isn't it? If you say you're going to do something, do it. This just sounds like you're giving yourself wiggle room to back out of promises.

Open question - is there ever room to change your mind?

I think so. Life happens and sometimes you commit to something that just isn't possible. Even in the original poster's situation, the mother in law could have said that she's sorry, but she realized that she needed them after all. I'm mostly objecting to the idea that you can agree to something and just say, "hey, it wasn't a promise, it was an agreement, and agreements don't mean anything to me."

Exactly.

I see this as no different from any other commitment. I find the idea that anything should have to be triple checked before it is firm absolutely baffling (if the date was far in advance, I could see calling the week before to be sure or if I knew the other person was ahving a particularly chaotic week, but those are exceptions, not the norm). If a friend flaked out on me and told me that I hadn't called twice to confirm, I would seriously rethink any other engagements with that person.