Author Topic: You said I could have them...  (Read 11110 times)

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Surianne

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #45 on: May 29, 2013, 12:56:22 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 agree.  It's such a small issue, too, that I think all of the insults to MIL's character ("a person without honor"?  Seriously?) are really over-the-top.  MIL likely felt put on the spot by the OP, hastily agreed, and realized when the OP brought it up again that she wasn't comfortable with giving the stones away to just anyone. 

I'd say they're about even: OP shouldn't have asked in the way she did, MIL should have let the OP know it wouldn't be possible.  That's not what happened, but it's a minor blip and they should both move on without any resentment.  The friend doesn't automatically deserve beautiful patio stones just because she's a single mom (there are probably plenty of economic options she can find that will work just as well) and it's not the MIL's responsibility to provide them.

If MIL changed her mind after confirming a day and time for the pickup, and the friend was already on the way after having rented a truck, that would be very different.  But the "plans" (I wouldn't even really call them plans) were so preliminary here that I just can't see why this is an issue.

TootsNYC

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #46 on: May 29, 2013, 12:58:15 PM »
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.

No, the OP has *gained* something by this--she has gained info about how her MIL operates.
   The person who "lost" is MIL.


Quote
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.

And that's valuable information to know.

(also, we don't know when the MIL changed her mind and how soon she got a natural opporunity to alert anyone)

I just have a hard time getting THAT judgmental about someone who reneged on a plan to give something of theirs to someone else. Especially something that the recipient didn't crucially need, etc. Those pavings stones were a definite luxury. And the only thing the friend has wasted is the energy spent getting excited about it--she didn't even dig a hole in the yard yet.

shhh its me

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #47 on: May 29, 2013, 01:45:01 PM »
  I think there is an implied "if it works out", "If it wont cost me anything" , "if I don't need them all"  to this type of agreement/promise.  So I don't think she broke a promise if she used them all , it would have cost her money to have them removed "whole" ect. or even if the giver is completely ignorant of the value of an item the offered.  MIL didn't promises to buy the friend flagstone , she offered left over flagstone.

Calistoga

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #48 on: May 29, 2013, 01:46:06 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.

MIL said she would let the OP know when she could come to get them.

MIL never told the OP she could come and get them.

OP asked at a family function when she could come get them. MIL said she had decided to keep them.

At no point did MIL say "Oh, come over this weekend and get them". She did not lead the OP to believe the time was ripe to come fetch the stones.

The MIL definitely reads as someone who is a little flaky, and that's something the OP should keep in mind next time this kind of thing comes up. But I don't think it was an issue of MIL being dishonest.

Virg

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #49 on: May 29, 2013, 02:01:39 PM »
Surianne wrote:

"I agree.  It's such a small issue, too, that I think all of the insults to MIL's character ("a person without honor"?  Seriously?) are really over-the-top.  MIL likely felt put on the spot by the OP, hastily agreed, and realized when the OP brought it up again that she wasn't comfortable with giving the stones away to just anyone."

I find it just as over-the-top to describe MIL changing her mind as a "miscommunication", though.  She may have changed her mind for any of a number of reasons, but the fact is simply that she said she'd give the flagstones to lemonfloorwax's friend and then backed out of the offer, and then compounded a small rudeness into a larger one by not informing either of them when she had the change of heart.  In the end, her actions were rude, and whether we consider it a big deal or a little one doesn't change that.  In the end, she said she'd do something and then didn't do it, and whether we consider it a big breach of trust or a little one doesn't change that, either.

Virg

Surianne

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #50 on: May 29, 2013, 02:14:50 PM »
Surianne wrote:

"I agree.  It's such a small issue, too, that I think all of the insults to MIL's character ("a person without honor"?  Seriously?) are really over-the-top.  MIL likely felt put on the spot by the OP, hastily agreed, and realized when the OP brought it up again that she wasn't comfortable with giving the stones away to just anyone."

I find it just as over-the-top to describe MIL changing her mind as a "miscommunication", though.  She may have changed her mind for any of a number of reasons, but the fact is simply that she said she'd give the flagstones to lemonfloorwax's friend and then backed out of the offer, and then compounded a small rudeness into a larger one by not informing either of them when she had the change of heart.  In the end, her actions were rude, and whether we consider it a big deal or a little one doesn't change that.  In the end, she said she'd do something and then didn't do it, and whether we consider it a big breach of trust or a little one doesn't change that, either.

Virg

I'm not sure what's over-the-top about the word miscommunication?  I'm happy to choose another word if you can explain the objection to that one.  "Misunderstanding" maybe?

JoieGirl7

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #51 on: May 29, 2013, 02:16:08 PM »
Answer me this:
If the MIL agreeing with her DIL that the friend should have the stones is an obligation that she must follow through with, then why was the friend not on the phone to her the next day to thank her?

Why, if this was a fait accompli, would she wait until she was actually picking up the stones or later to thank her for it--or at the very least talk to her about it?

Because if agreeing to give her the stones is such a promise that it must result in the gift, then shouldn't that be acknowledged immediately?  Why is it ok for the friend to just sit on her tush and do nothing?  And just wait?

Someone has suggested that they don't think she should keep contacting the MIL to ask about it, but that's disingenuous.  One call.  One contact.  There was no contact between the friend and the MIL.

Realize that the MIL is not giving the stones to her DIL to give to her friend.  The OP tells us that the MIL knows the friend.

So, why did the friend not call the MIL?

Calistoga

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #52 on: May 29, 2013, 02:18:05 PM »
Oh dear. I'm the one who used miscommunication, because that's what it was- a failure to properly communicate. If MIL had communicated earlier that she planned on keeping the stones, there wouldn't have been an issue. It's entirely possible that MIL considered "I'll let you know" to be a non-committal answer and didn't feel like she was backing out of an agreement. The whole problem could have been avoided with better communication between MIL and OP.

Surianne

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #53 on: May 29, 2013, 02:20:31 PM »
Oh dear. I'm the one who used miscommunication, because that's what it was- a failure to properly communicate. If MIL had communicated earlier that she planned on keeping the stones, there wouldn't have been an issue. It's entirely possible that MIL considered "I'll let you know" to be a non-committal answer and didn't feel like she was backing out of an agreement. The whole problem could have been avoided with better communication between MIL and OP.

Yes, I used it too and that's what I meant as well.  I'm confused as to the issue surrounding the word.

Lynn2000

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #54 on: May 29, 2013, 02:37:25 PM »
I think confusion and hurt are reasonable responses. As you can see from this thread, people have some strong opinions about the situation, opinions which are often opposed! MIL could have been coming at the situation from one set of expectations, and the OP from another.

Not having been there, I could imagine the initial conversation going either way. Is MIL put on the spot when the OP says her friend could use the flagstones instead, and agrees only because she can't think of what else to do? Then MIL just sort of puts the whole incident out of her mind and hopes it will go away. Or, did MIL agree with enthusiasm to the idea of giving the stones to the OP's friend, then inexplicably change her mind and fail to inform anyone of this?

I must admit I don't think MIL looks great in either interpretation. If she went so far as to say, "I will let you know when you can pick up the stones," she's taken an active part in agreeing to the situation, and if she wants to cancel the offer she needs to be active about that, too, like by calling the OP and saying she's changed her mind. I think the situation would have to be seriously mis-reported, for MIL to not realize she'd left the OP with the impression her friend could have the stones. And if MIL really didn't want Friend to have them, either right then or later, I think she was remiss for not informing the OP of her own volition. So I think she dropped the ball on that. And I don't like the way she shrugged off the OP's inquiry--maybe they were in front of people and she didn't want to discuss it right then, but it sounds like she didn't seek out the OP to further explain later.

Was the OP out of line for suggesting MIL give the stones to her friend? I think, in a general situation, say with an acquaintance, it would be better to phrase it carefully. "I can't use X myself, but I might know someone else who could. Do you want me to ask around, or do you have other plans for them?"

Saying, "I can't use X myself, but my friend Betty could really use it! She's be so thrilled with it, you know she's in a tough spot right now and free X would really make her day!" could put a lot of pressure on the offerer, who might have had a list of other people they were going to offer X to if you declined.

One hopes the offerer would say, "Well actually, if you don't want it, I'm going to ask people in my family first. But if no one else is interested, I'll keep your friend Betty in mind, and let you know," instead of, "Erm, uh, hmm, okay." But if the offerer felt pressured to agree, I wouldn't blame them for changing their mind later (or rather, sticking to their original plan)--but I think, having agreed, they do need to inform the other person in a timely manner that the offer has been rescinded. Surely the person they were talking to is not so intimidating that they can't call/email/text later and say, "Sorry, change of plans with the X, they aren't available anymore." Otherwise why would they even offer the X to them in the first place? 

All that being said, in some families/social circles it would be completely normal, acceptable behavior to transfer an offer of something to a friend, so I can't say if it was actually rude of the OP. Such things may have happened before in her family and it all went perfectly well. I think at this point, there would be no use in saying anything to MIL. As the OP notes, they are MIL's stones, and she didn't sign a contract. It would definitely teach me to be a) cautious of believing MIL the next time she said I could have something (not necessarily so much that she's lying or flaky, but that perhaps I might be misinterpreting her); and b) cautious of trying to transfer an offer to a friend, in case that put the offerer in an awkward spot.
~Lynn2000

JoieGirl7

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #55 on: May 29, 2013, 04:09:45 PM »
There's a problem with that though. One has an agreement with a person, not a situation.

I don't think that the MILs agreeing to let the friend have the stones can be anything more than a go-ahead to the OP to talk to her friend about whether she wants the stones.

The OP is not the friend.  Just because she says her friend wants the stones doesn't mean she actually does want them.  It's all just too vague.  And its a passing conversation.

The intent of the MIL might be that she would get rid of the stones if her DIL really wanted them, but maybe not.

Until the renovations were complete and the fate of the stones sealed, I would never assume even with a vague agreement that I would get something valuable for free from someone.

And the OP seems way too invested in wanting to give away something to her friend that doesn't even belong to her.

lemonfloorwax

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #56 on: May 29, 2013, 10:26:35 PM »
OP here. Thanks everyone for the advice and (somewhat harsh at times) input. My husband and I are going to talk to MIL, in a non accusatory manner, just to see if we can clear things up.

Twik

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #57 on: May 29, 2013, 11:31:46 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.

This. If I were in the MIL's position, I would feel honor-bound sto either give up the stones, or grovel with apologies for being so flaky as to change my mind after making an offer that was taken up in good faith.

I really don't see where there is any room to say it really wasn't an offer.
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citadelle

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #58 on: May 29, 2013, 11:57:50 PM »
Is it possible that MIL's husband disagreed with her decision to give the stones to the friend? I know that has happened to me - I've made those types of decisions/offers without discussion and then my husband lets me know later that he wishes I hadn't.

I know, she should not have offered then without discussion, but it happens. And then my husband doesn't want me to "throw him under the bus" so I have to say that something else changed.

JoieGirl7

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Re: You said I could have them...
« Reply #59 on: May 30, 2013, 01:46:04 AM »
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.

This. If I were in the MIL's position, I would feel honor-bound sto either give up the stones, or grovel with apologies for being so flaky as to change my mind after making an offer that was taken up in good faith.

I really don't see where there is any room to say it really wasn't an offer.

It was an offer, but it was not a deal.  You have to have two sides to have a deal.  The OP is not the friend.  She can ask her mom about it, but the friend actually wanting the stones and concretely communicating that didn't happen.

What if MIL was counting on the friend to get these stones out of her yard and it turned out that the friend really didn't want them like the OP said she did?  is the friend obligated to take them?

I don't think so.  This wasn't a done deal.