... how do you deal with them?
- the hostess who is clearly not taking needed rest because you are there... even though you don't want to be entertained by her all the time/just then and don't at all think it would be rude if she retired to her room for awhile.
- the guest who comes over for a planned visit and asks if she woke you up, or thanks you too much & worries she's an inconvenience, no matter how much you deny it.
- the hostess who is so anxious for you to have a good time that it fills the room with tension & you can't relax in her presence.
- the person who apologizes for something that wasn't a big deal and didn't bother you... and doesn't appear to believe you when you tell them it's OK, or acts like you are being incredibly more generous than they deserve.
Do you all know any of these people? I'm so bad at dealing with them
I get impatient & short with them. I just get so frustrated--the fact is they succeed in making me feel guilty, and then I get mad because I usually don't actually have anything to feel guilty about, and because with all their expressed concern for me to feel good they have managed to make me feel bad.
Case in point: an elderly lady who comes over for tea every week. She has a standing invitation, partly because I enjoy her company and partly to give her a break from from her husband whose growing memory loss is very hard to deal with. This is why she always comes to my house instead of my coming to hers--but she frets openly about this imbalance and supposed burden on me. One hour of tea and almost-always-enjoyable conversation is not that much of a burden, folks. I admit there have been a handful of times I forgot she was coming or what time it was, and had to scramble to get things ready while she sat at the table... so maybe what happened the other day was
my fault. I had everything ready & nice, realized as her car pulled up that a couple things were still messy, and as she walked up to the door she saw me through the window re-folding the afghan and putting it on the couch. I opened the door with a big smile and a greeting... and she asked me in a worried tone whether she'd woken me up. (She knows I nap on that couch.) I'm afraid I stared blankly at her, then frowned (I didn't mean to but I suspect I did) and said "No! I was just straightening up!" She really was not PA, just genuinely worried she was taking away from the sleep I need in my "delicate condition"... but it made me feel like I wasn't a good hostess.
Maybe I'm just not.
And then there's my MIL. I know how lucky I am to have this problem, but I don't know how to handle it. She's always the hostess & I'm always the guest, b/c FIL can't travel far, and she is always so anxious for me to have a good time that I feel watched, self-conscious & tense. I feel like I have to gush to make her believe I'm happy, and I stink at gushing. I just can't act naturally & be myself around her--I feel too much pressure to make her think I'm enjoying her hospitality, and the truth most of the time is that, because of all the pressure, I'm not. (It's such a relief when there are other guests to take some of the pressure off.) I like her, she's a nice lady... all I want is to put her at ease. How do you put people at ease? I don't seem to have the knack.
Do I just need to accept that although these people express only a desire for me to be happy and unburdened, they are actually people who are asking me to do something for them, to soothe their anxieties, even if that's hard for me to do? Maybe it's focusing too much on the contradiction involved in that that makes me so impatient & bad with them. What do you all do with the anxiously-polite people in your lives?