Author Topic: What Reaction WOULD You Like?  (Read 7798 times)

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Yvaine

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Re: What Reaction WOULD You Like?
« Reply #45 on: August 07, 2013, 03:07:26 PM »
Well, first of all I think it's uncharitable to assume all teenagers are snotty anyway, but beyond that, I envisioned the OP's son as an adult based on what she has said about him.

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: What Reaction WOULD You Like?
« Reply #46 on: August 07, 2013, 03:27:27 PM »
And it is not just the son.  The OP says that she and her son are the recipients of the husband's enthusiastic monologues, and that the husband gets offended by their lack of response.

I think the problem is that there is no conversation taking place.  Wife and son don't respond because they know it is the only way to avoid 30 minutes of non stop talking.  Yes, it would have been more polite to treat it as a conversation opener, but the OP is saying the problem is that for her husband, this is not a  conversation opener but the opening line in a lecture. 

That is why I think some ground rules need to be laid down at a time when the husband is not bursting to launch into it.
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JoieGirl7

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Re: What Reaction WOULD You Like?
« Reply #47 on: August 07, 2013, 03:31:30 PM »
I don't think the father misinterpreted his son's "okay."

Sure, it can be said in such a way as to imply "tell me more" but if that was truly the situation, I don't think we would be reading about it.

And if the son truly meant that he wanted to hear more, then I presume upon his dad getting annoyed, he would be able to clear that up pretty quickly.  And, in the context of the OP, its apparent that he was not interested.

And it is not just the son.  The OP says that she and her son are the recipients of the husband's enthusiastic monologues, and that the husband gets offended by their lack of response.

I think the problem is that there is no conversation taking place.  Wife and son don't respond because they know it is the only way to avoid 30 minutes of non stop talking.  Yes, it would have been more polite to treat it as a conversation opener, but the OP is saying the problem is that for her husband, this is not a  conversation opener but the opening line in a lecture. 

That is why I think some ground rules need to be laid down at a time when the husband is not bursting to launch into it.

I don't believe that she said that it was 30 minutes of non stop talking.  It's not a lecture, he just gets excited about something and wants his family to share his excitement and they don't.

Yvaine

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Re: What Reaction WOULD You Like?
« Reply #48 on: August 07, 2013, 03:38:49 PM »
So I guess a good question is, is it rude to give a social cue that you don't want a speech on a particular topic? Or is it more polite to play along and accept the lecture? And does this differ based on who's lecturing? Does the son have an obligation to go along with it simply because this is Dad, or would Dad also be rude to not nudge along a lecture by Mom or Son, if they wanted to give one? Is it rude to try to steer a conversation away from a topic one isn't interested in? (barring actually rude wording, like "I don't wanna hear about this boring crap," of course)

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: What Reaction WOULD You Like?
« Reply #49 on: August 07, 2013, 03:42:26 PM »
I was using some hyperbole there, but I also have been trapped by someone like this, and believe me, after 5 minutes (and not the first time it has happened), when you find the topic uninteresting, no matter how excited and enthusiastic the teller is, you get bored.  You can't get a word in edgewise, body language shows me looking anywhere but at the speaker, I am edging toward the door, I have no intention of ever doing this thing, they totally have misunderstood what my interest is, I feel like all the air is being sucked out of the room, yes I would like to be a writer but I will never write a book based on something that happened to you yesterday at work, and I tentatively clear my throat: "No, I don't need you to graph out what happened because I really write --."  Oh, great, not she's offended.

It is a truly dire situation to be in, because the other person is not being mean or rude, they are just stuck on talking.  This isn't a conversation.  It is a chore.
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cwm

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Re: What Reaction WOULD You Like?
« Reply #50 on: August 07, 2013, 03:48:34 PM »
So I guess a good question is, is it rude to give a social cue that you don't want a speech on a particular topic? Or is it more polite to play along and accept the lecture? And does this differ based on who's lecturing? Does the son have an obligation to go along with it simply because this is Dad, or would Dad also be rude to not nudge along a lecture by Mom or Son, if they wanted to give one? Is it rude to try to steer a conversation away from a topic one isn't interested in? (barring actually rude wording, like "I don't wanna hear about this boring crap," of course)

I don't think it's rude to give a social cue, verbal or otherwise, that you don't want a speech on something. If you're not interested in it, you're not interested in it. I'd rather not bore someone by expounding on my loves, which they may not care about. And I'd rather they tell me first rather than letting me waste their time and resenting me for it later.

If it becomes a pattern of behavior that keeps getting repeated (as in the case of my father) and polite social cues don't cut it, then having a conversation might help to let dad know that son is looking into things himself and if he has any questions or wants information he'll ask, but to otherwise please not bring it up.

If that doesn't work, then and only then will I condone doing what I did and cutting it off whenever the conversation starts. But I don't think it's rude at all to politely try to steer the conversation away from or towards something. Just don't get horribly PA about it if the conversation that actually happens doesn't match the scripted one you had planned in your head.

wildkitty

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Re: What Reaction WOULD You Like?
« Reply #51 on: August 07, 2013, 04:02:14 PM »
I’m seeing a lot of “But it’s your father” exclamations of why the OP’s adult son should humor his dad and listen to a monologue. Too me it is no different than a mother lecturing about an adult daughter’s weight gain or a mother-in-law stomping boundaries under the guise of “But I was only trying to heeeelp”! The son stopped the lecture before it even started. It is not the place of a parent to lecture their adult children on their career choices. Would you listen to your mother-in-law rant for 30 minutes on the state of your home?

Yvaine

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Re: What Reaction WOULD You Like?
« Reply #52 on: August 07, 2013, 04:05:20 PM »
I’m seeing a lot of “But it’s your father” exclamations of why the OP’s adult son should humor his dad and listen to a monologue. Too me it is no different than a mother lecturing about an adult daughter’s weight gain or a mother-in-law stomping boundaries under the guise of “But I was only trying to heeeelp”! The son stopped the lecture before it even started. It is not the place of a parent to lecture their adult children on their career choices. Would you listen to your mother-in-law rant for 30 minutes on the state of your home?

Though one of Shoo's comments above clued me in that some people in this thread are picturing a minor child. It hadn't occurred to me--his very detailed and thought-out job search made me think young adult rather than teen.

Dr. F.

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Re: What Reaction WOULD You Like?
« Reply #53 on: August 07, 2013, 04:18:38 PM »
I’m seeing a lot of “But it’s your father” exclamations of why the OP’s adult son should humor his dad and listen to a monologue. Too me it is no different than a mother lecturing about an adult daughter’s weight gain or a mother-in-law stomping boundaries under the guise of “But I was only trying to heeeelp”! The son stopped the lecture before it even started. It is not the place of a parent to lecture their adult children on their career choices. Would you listen to your mother-in-law rant for 30 minutes on the state of your home?

This. My Dad does something similar, and it drives me right up the wall.* He tries to connect, but gets it wrong and then gets all upset when I don't respond appropriately.

Let's say I'm a cake baker. I go home to visit, and Dad is full of stories and questions about pie baking.

Dad: So, what do you know about using lard vs. shortening in pie crusts?
Me: Nothing, really.
Dad: No, really, what do you think? I read such-and-so and they said blah blah blah blah.
Me: Oh, OK.
Dad: So, for my next pie, what should I do?
Me: No idea, really. I suppose what you just read.

(Obviously, that is a much shortened description - I'm not so abrupt in real life. And I don't really bake cakes.)

Yeah, I suppose he's trying to engage me in a conversation, but the topic he's chosen isn't one I know anything about! I have nothing to contribute, really. There's no easy segue from his topic to something I know something about, and any attempt on my part to change the topic gets resisted. He gets frustrated when I don't show enthusiasm for whatever the topic is, and don't have input. He also doesn't understand why I get irritated when he asks me for details about pie baking constantly, and the only thing I can respond is, "I don't know! Stop asking!"

I recognize that he's trying to connect with me, and I appreciate that, but being determined to discuss a topic I have no information on and no enthusiasm for is just bound for failure. If he would stop talking and start listening, I probably COULD find topics of mutual interest to discuss. We actually DO have a lot in common - but he WILL NOT DROP the pie subject.

*N.B. I'm over 40, and haven't lived and home since I was 18.

BeagleMommy

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Re: What Reaction WOULD You Like?
« Reply #54 on: August 07, 2013, 04:23:26 PM »
Well, first of all I think it's uncharitable to assume all teenagers are snotty anyway, but beyond that, I envisioned the OP's son as an adult based on what she has said about him.

DS is almost 22.  He is usually a man of few words.  His "Oh, okay" was more of an "I'm listening".  Whomever it was who suggested DH was looking for a "Tell me all about it" type of response hit the nail on the head.  He wants to be asked.  I've been trying for 25 years to explain to him that DS and I just don't pick up on those signals.  If he has a story to tell - tell it.  I promise we'll listen and comment.  It still doesn't mean we'll take those suggestions as gospel and follow suit.

DavidH

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Re: What Reaction WOULD You Like?
« Reply #55 on: August 07, 2013, 04:26:24 PM »
I don't know why we are sure a monologue or lecture was the next step.  For all we know DH could have repeated a funny story she'd told or the name a new restaurant she recommended or described a new dish she'd heard of. 

I agree that "okay" could be a sign the person is listening, but if the next comment is, "Dad, I have no desire to be a personal chef.  I want to work in an actual restaurant.  Why would I ask questions about what a personal chef does?  I already know that I don't want to work for individuals.  I want to feed lots of people.  We covered this in school." it's more likely the "okay" came across as intending to shut him down.

Further, if your spouse's internal monologue is "I just want to slap you" it doesn't suggest they were a receptive audience. 

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: What Reaction WOULD You Like?
« Reply #56 on: August 07, 2013, 04:35:53 PM »
David, that is an excellent point, and in my own circumstance I probably was not giving the person the opportunity to have a normal conversation because I was dreading the monologue, which probably forced them to talk and talk to get something going, which confirmed for me that I was right.  Truly a vicious circle.

Now that I am much older (good lord, much MUCH older), I don't see myself having the same problem, but as a young adult, I didn't know how to seize control of the situation.
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Onyx_TKD

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Re: What Reaction WOULD You Like?
« Reply #57 on: August 07, 2013, 04:47:07 PM »
I don't know why we are sure a monologue or lecture was the next step.  For all we know DH could have repeated a funny story she'd told or the name a new restaurant she recommended or described a new dish she'd heard of. 

I agree that "okay" could be a sign the person is listening, but if the next comment is, "Dad, I have no desire to be a personal chef.  I want to work in an actual restaurant.  Why would I ask questions about what a personal chef does?  I already know that I don't want to work for individuals.  I want to feed lots of people.  We covered this in school." it's more likely the "okay" came across as intending to shut him down.

Further, if your spouse's internal monologue is "I just want to slap you" it doesn't suggest they were a receptive audience.

According to the OP, the sequence was:
DH told DS that client was a personal chef.
DS: "Oh, okay."
DH: "I should just learn to keep my mouth shut because no one cares about anything I say".
DS: "Dad, I have no desire to be a personal chef.  I want to work in an actual restaurant.  Why would I ask questions about what a personal chef does?  I already know that I don't want to work for individuals.  I want to feed lots of people.  We covered this in school."

So by my reading, the OP's DH made an out-of-the-blue statement that his client worked in field X and stopped. DS said "Oh, okay," which I read as indicating "OK, I'm listening, but I don't know if you're trying to go somewhere with this, or if it's just a random bit of trivia that you thought was interesting, so I'll wait and see what you're going to say next." Instead of continuing with whatever line of thought he originally planned, DH shut the conversation down himself by accusing his family of not caring about anything he has to say. Only then did DS respond to that accusation by pointing out that he was not interested in the personal chef business and thus had no reason to ask specific questions based on the original comment.

Midnight Kitty

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Re: What Reaction WOULD You Like?
« Reply #58 on: August 07, 2013, 05:00:11 PM »
I don't know why we are sure a monologue or lecture was the next step.  For all we know DH could have repeated a funny story she'd told or the name a new restaurant she recommended or described a new dish she'd heard of.
I don't really have any advice for the OP and I don't want to threadjack ... but  >:D

My family dynamics are a mess.  "Conversations" are actually a series of monologues/lectures. No one is allowed to interrupt the speaker for any reason whatsoever.  Forget questions.  Forget requests for clarification.  Mom tells her story her way for as long as it takes.  Then the conversational ball is tossed to the next person.  (I have no clue how that is decided.)  My brother will lecture on his amazing inventions and Very Important Work for up to an hour - with no interruptions.  He's talking so far over my head that he might as well be speaking a foreign language.  He doesn't care if I understand; He just wants to describe how smart/clever/inventive he is.  There is no "natural flow" where what one person says prompts an observation by another person which reminds a third person of an amusing anecdote.

My brother loves to drop conversational bombs, too - he says something that sounds outrageous, but plausible, then waits for someone to say "How could that happen?" Then he has the floor and will talk until his jaw falls off.

My brother cut me out of his life and that suits me just fine.  My mother took his side, never listened to my side, and she is punishing me by not speaking to me.  I don't think either of them realize what a blessing it is not to have them in my life.  I send cards to my mother for Mother's Day, her birthday, etc. because otherwise I feel like a bad daughter.  Otherwise, no contact suits me perfectly.

I dread what will happen when my father dies since he is the only one with significant assets.  I know he'll make my brother the executor of his estate because Bro lives near him.  This is the same Brother who used to cut cake into complex geometric shapes when we had a "I'll cut, you choose" situation.  His goal was always to make the smaller piece look bigger so I would take it and he would get the biggest piece.  I dread the mind games he will play on me when divvying up the estate.  I told my father to please spend every penny and leave us with nothing so there won't be any conflict.
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Marcus Aurelius

Lynn2000

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Re: What Reaction WOULD You Like?
« Reply #59 on: August 07, 2013, 08:49:55 PM »
Actually it seems like the subject the OP chose would be a good thing to ask Dad, with sincerity, once things have calmed down ("What reaction would you like?"). What I see are people coming at the same conversation with different agendas and expectations, and they're irritated when those clash.

Dad did some work on behalf of his son--he talked to the personal chef for quite a while about her job, asking her questions that he didn't have to ask. If he wants to share that information, and be thanked for it, he needs to communicate it better, and not get offended when people can't read his mind after a single vague opening line. Making people pry information out of him to show their interest, even when the interest is completely feigned, is not a polite thing to do, it's just playing power games.

On the other hand, if DS assumes Dad is gearing up to do another dull, off-topic monologue, he needs to find a better way to deal with it, by redirecting the conversation, listening politely, asking on-topic questions, whatever. Some experimentation/discussion may be required. I think his longer response about not wanting to be a personal chef pretty clearly indicates that he thought whatever his dad was about to say was not going to be relevant to him, and I'm guessing from Dad's response that this came through in the "okay."

Other people have suggested more articulately why this might have been a poor assumption from a knowledge/connections point of view. Also, assuming someone is going to say something boring and irrelevant before they say more than one line seems dodgy to me. You may be completely correct in your assumption, but I don't think you ought to let them know you've assumed that, you know? It's like in Emma when she tells the dull girl, "Hey, you're dull, and we don't want to hear your dull stories anymore." (paraphrased) Everyone knows she's dull, but everyone else politely pretends otherwise, and extricates themselves without hurting her feelings, because they know she means well.

But regarding "means well"... I think it can be a fine line between showing interest but not getting it quite right due to lack of knowledge, and willfully not getting it quite right because you want to push the person down a slightly different path. The former can probably be looked upon with affection in some cases, while the latter may seem self-centered and controlling. (For another Jane Austen comparison, picture Lady de Bourgh using her social power to make everyone sit in her parlor all day and listen to her dull stories, which often include criticisms of her guests' behavior.) A lot depends on context and personalities. If you generally get the sense someone disapproves of your life choice, you may feel their off-target comments are subtle criticisms, and you may be right or you may just be over-sensitive. On the other hand, if you generally feel someone is supportive of your life choice, you may feel their off-target comments are their attempts to connect with you despite their lack of knowledge, and appreciate them.
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