Author Topic: You said I could have them...  (Read 11187 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #30 on: May 28, 2013, 03:04:15 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.

No, I'm giving OTHER people wiggle room to back out of hastily made, ill-thought-out agreement. (i.e., on the OTHER side of the equation)

And I'm giving myself a reminder to verify before I rely on the agreements OTHER people make. (i.e., on the OTHER side of the equation)

And I'm also very careful about whether I leave people with the impression that I've made "a commitment." I carefully say, "let me check," or "maybe" or "it sounds like a good idea, I'll let you know." I'm not sure whether other people do this.

lady_disdain

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #31 on: May 28, 2013, 03:27:50 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.

No, I'm giving OTHER people wiggle room to back out of hastily made, ill-thought-out agreement. (i.e., on the OTHER side of the equation)

And I'm giving myself a reminder to verify before I rely on the agreements OTHER people make. (i.e., on the OTHER side of the equation)

And I'm also very careful about whether I leave people with the impression that I've made "a commitment." I carefully say, "let me check," or "maybe" or "it sounds like a good idea, I'll let you know." I'm not sure whether other people do this.

No one would take it as an agreement with your phrasing. That, however, wasn't what happened to the OP. Her MiL gave her a firm answer and went on to talk about a date for collection ("let me know", etc). That isn't doubtful, hesitant or penciled in - it is a commitment.

In second place, if the MiL had changed her mind, she had a duty to inform the OP about it, instead of just hoping it would disappear. The recipient, after all, was already making plans based on the offer (lining up transport, etc).

GreenEyedHawk

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #32 on: May 28, 2013, 07:33:13 PM »
Of course MIL has every right to change her mind...but she should have informed the OP at the earliest, rather than waiting til arrangements were made to come pick the stones up.

If I had made arrangements with a truck-owning friend to pick up something large, and they took the time to help me out only for us to find that the thing we were retrieving was no longer available, I have to admit I'd be pretty put out, not only for myself but also for my vehicle owning friend, who took time out of their day and inconvenienced themselves to help me.
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JoieGirl7

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #33 on: May 28, 2013, 08:35:12 PM »
I don't view her agreement as a "commitment."  For one thing, at that time she agreed, there was only one side to it--hers.  The friend didn't even know about it yet.

What if the MIL was counting on the friend to take the stones away and then she didn't?  Without an agreement on both sides at the same time, there is no agreement.  Either the OP or the friend would have to come back to the MIL and reaffirm that yes, the friend did in fact wish to take the stones.  Because the OP really can't speak for her friend.

If the MIL really needed to get rid of them and the friend decided she didn't want to take them, would the OP have been cheating her MIL?  No.

And the MIL saying that she would tell the OP when the friend could pick up the stones was rather noncommittal.  Turns out she lived up to her promise though.  The answer was "never."

TootsNYC

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #34 on: May 28, 2013, 09:18:58 PM »
Of course MIL has every right to change her mind...but she should have informed the OP at the earliest, rather than waiting til arrangements were made to come pick the stones up.

If I had made arrangements with a truck-owning friend to pick up something large, and they took the time to help me out only for us to find that the thing we were retrieving was no longer available, I have to admit I'd be pretty put out, not only for myself but also for my vehicle owning friend, who took time out of their day and inconvenienced themselves to help me.

But they hadn't made actual arrangements--time and date, etc.
The friend had just asked someone if they'd be WILLING. No other plans had been set.

The OP found out that the MIL had changed her mind BEFORE final pick-up plans had been set--in fact, *when* the OP asked about setting up a time, the MIL told her she was keeping the stones.

I do agree, MIL should have said something earlier. But the reality is that the only thing the OP and her friend have lost is their excited plans.

livluvlaf

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #35 on: May 28, 2013, 11:00:05 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?

Personally, I think there always is ... but the longer you wait to inform the other parties, the worse the situation for you.

If MIL had called that evening to let her know that she had changed her mind, I'm sure the friend wouldn't have been terribly disappointed.

If a few days had passed before MIL called, she should offer an explanation why she changed her mind.

Waiting until the last minute, no explanation nor apology offered ... IMHO MIL is rude.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2013, 11:06:36 PM by livluvlaf »

PeterM

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #36 on: May 29, 2013, 12:10:02 AM »
I do agree, MIL should have said something earlier. But the reality is that the only thing the OP and her friend have lost is their excited plans.

The OP has lost the ability to trust that her MIL will follow through on her agreements. If the question is did the MIL have the right to change her mind, of course she did. But I don't see any way she wasn't rude in not bothering to tell the OP that she'd changed her mind until asked. The OP says that MIL had said in the first conversation that she'd let the OP know when they could come get the stones. I think that at the very least obligated MIL to contact the OP when she changed her mind.

I know that if this happened to me I wouldn't trust any future offers from MIL until she actually came through with them.

JoieGirl7

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #37 on: May 29, 2013, 01:58:36 AM »
You know we don't really know that she was remiss in telling the OP that she had changed her mind.

We know that she told her this past weekend, but we don't know when the original conversation was.

In any case, it's one thing to get something for free.  It's another thing to be passive about it--and I mean that in a social sense, not that she wasn't going to get a truck to haul them away.

The minute the OP told her friend about the stones, the friend should have been on the phone to the MIL to talk to her about it.  Why?  Because she is the one who stands to benefit.

The only benefit that I can see for the MIL is that if she really didn't want those stones, she would have the benefit of having them hauled off without cost.

Everyone wants the MIL to be pro-active, to immediately inform others if her plans change and the friend seems to have no obligation to do anything whatsoever!

If the DIL and the friend thought this was such a fait accompli, then why wasn't the friend on the phone immediately to thank the MIL for her generosity?

Why would she wait until it actually happened, if it had to happen?  --If the MIL has no recourse and now having agreed with her DIL must give the stones away?

It all seems very entitled to me.

I think it makes a big difference that MIL did not freely offer the stones to the friend but that the OP suggested it.  It doesn't matter that the MIL is usually very generous.

She obviously didn't want to get rid of the stones that badly.  And really when someone is getting rid of something that has a very real value one should check themselves and make sure they are not taking advantage.

Nowhere is the MIL asked, are you sure you want to get rid of those?  Are you sure its ok if my friend takes them?  That should be the attitude.  Not, "OK, cool, tell us when."

It should be one of humble gratitude.

My friends amaze me sometimes at how grateful they are when I am generous.  There are usually several "really?  Are you sure?  You could use this for yourself. You could sell it."

And the answer that satisfies them is "It would really make me happy for you to have it and to enjoy it."

Nowhere here was there a connection between the MIL and the friend.  The friend had a chance to make one and she let that chance slip by.  The OP acting on her behalf does not count.  The OP was not the giver, the MIL was.

Shoo

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #38 on: May 29, 2013, 09:48:20 AM »
Also, how could the friend make arrangements to pick up the stones if she hadn't even talked to the MIL to find out when it would be a convenient time to do so?

Friend is just as much at fault here as anyone.

Virg

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #39 on: May 29, 2013, 10:28:41 AM »
TootsNYC wrote:

"if the OP's MIL said, "Oh, okay," is that a promise?"

This seems to be dancing around the point.  According to the OP, MIL agreed, and that's enough of a commitment that backing out requires positive action on MIL's part to advise lemonfloorwax/friend that she's changed her mind.  Changing her mind isn't the fault I see here, it's doing so without then telling anyone that the change occurred.

Audrey Quest wrote:

"Nowhere is the MIL asked, are you sure you want to get rid of those?  Are you sure its ok if my friend takes them?  That should be the attitude.  Not, "OK, cool, tell us when.""

I can't get comfortable with considering the sort of reaffirmation to be universal.  According to the OP, lemonfloorwax's "MIL agrees and says she will let me know when I can come get the stones."  I think it's reasonable to take MIL at her word when she agreed, and so I don't see where any further request is necessary.  As long as lemonfloorwax's friend expresses her gratitude she's well within bounds.

Shoo wrote:

"Also, how could the friend make arrangements to pick up the stones if she hadn't even talked to the MIL to find out when it would be a convenient time to do so?"

Arranging transport can be a multi-step process.  Just yesterday I did something of the sort for someone who wants to pick something up from my yard that's very big and heavy.  We initially discussed moving it, and then he found someone from whom he could borrow a truck.  After that arrangement he called me to figure out when he should borrow it to get the item.  I see this the same way, so I don't see any overt ball-dropping in this.

Virg

sparksals

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #40 on: May 29, 2013, 10:43:47 AM »
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.


Agree with Toots and Shoo.  I just don't see this as 'promise-worthy'. 


I personally think the OP put the MIL on the spot.  MIL offered the stones to the OP.  The OP was rude to suggest her friend as MIL may have offered them to OP first, but may have had someone in mind to ask second.  The OP doesn't mention if the MIL asked if she knew anyone who would want them, so I believe the OP overstepped and put MIL in an awkward position.

PeterM

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #41 on: May 29, 2013, 12:26:26 PM »
Audrey Quest wrote:

"Nowhere is the MIL asked, are you sure you want to get rid of those?  Are you sure its ok if my friend takes them?  That should be the attitude.  Not, "OK, cool, tell us when.""

I can't get comfortable with considering the sort of reaffirmation to be universal.  According to the OP, lemonfloorwax's "MIL agrees and says she will let me know when I can come get the stones."  I think it's reasonable to take MIL at her word when she agreed, and so I don't see where any further request is necessary.  As long as lemonfloorwax's friend expresses her gratitude she's well within bounds.

Yeah, I don't see it as rude to trust someone will do what they say without repeatedly asking to make sure. Honestly, I'd find that rude. If every time I offered someone an item or favor they repeatedly asked if I was sure I'd probably stop offering, and if every time someone offered something to me I had to follow up twice to make sure they actually intended to do what they'd said they would I'd just stop accepting their offers altogether.

Can we formalize some kind of shortcut language? "I tell you three times that you may have what I just said you may have, so there is no need for you to badger me to make sure."


Quote
Shoo wrote:

"Also, how could the friend make arrangements to pick up the stones if she hadn't even talked to the MIL to find out when it would be a convenient time to do so?"

Arranging transport can be a multi-step process.  Just yesterday I did something of the sort for someone who wants to pick something up from my yard that's very big and heavy.  We initially discussed moving it, and then he found someone from whom he could borrow a truck.  After that arrangement he called me to figure out when he should borrow it to get the item.  I see this the same way, so I don't see any overt ball-dropping in this.

Plus, the MIL told the OP that she, MIL, would be in touch to let OP know when they can come get the stones. I know when I tell someone that I consider it annoying if not rude for the other party to contact me to ask unless a fair amount of time has gone by. The timing definitely matters, but the ball was in MIL's court to make contact, at her request.

OP, what was the timing here? How long between MIL saying she'd let you know when you could come get the stones and you asking after them?

cheyne

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #42 on: May 29, 2013, 12:31:05 PM »
MIL agreed to let Friend have the stones and said she would let OP know when she and Friend can come and get the stones.

How is this not a "promise" or commitment?  If you agree to something, you have an obligation to follow through.  The words coming out of your mouth should mean something.  IMO MIL is a person without honor.  And yes I do believe that a commitment is just that, you don't get to change your mind just because it may be more advantagous to you.

However, I would not say anything to her about it as I feel it would just cause trouble.  People don't like to be called on their lack of honor.

OP, I do feel badly for your friend who was looking forward to receiving the stones.

Calistoga

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #43 on: May 29, 2013, 12:35:32 PM »
I don't think this is an issue of trust. It was a miscommunication. OP and her friend understood MIL's commitment to giving away the paving stones to be more set in...stone...than it actually was. It would have been nice if both sides had talked a bit more.

PeterM

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #44 on: May 29, 2013, 12:47:04 PM »
I don't think this is an issue of trust. It was a miscommunication. OP and her friend understood MIL's commitment to giving away the paving stones to be more set in...stone...than it actually was. It would have been nice if both sides had talked a bit more.

I really, honest and truly do not understand this. MIL said they could have them, and that she'd let them know when they could come get them? How in the world is that a miscommunication? It seems obvious in retrospect that what MIL actually meant had a "unless I change my mind" on the end of it, but I don't see why the OP should have been expected to know that.

As Cheyne just said, words have meaning. If MIL didn't mean what she said, she should have said something different. Yes she has the right to change her mind, but that's what it was. She said she'd do something and then she didn't. This was not a miscommunication. She communicated one thing, and then reneged on the offer.