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Author Topic: Family Feud episode need Etiquette 101 help  (Read 7261 times)

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Secret

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Family Feud episode need Etiquette 101 help
« on: August 11, 2013, 07:24:01 AM »
I know this is etiquette 101, but I can't figure out the correct wording.

My husband's family is feuding again.  SIL and BiL #1 and SIL and BiL #2 had another feud on the weekend.  Basically there are tentative truces for a while, then the problems flare up and another fight starts.  In the past, both sides tell us their sides and we do sympathize with them.  Both sides have issues and communication problems. We see both sides regularly.  One of the reasons we aren't drawn into the feud is because we know how to stand up to the families and have backbones and aren't oversensitive and see everything as a slight. 

Now, recently things have gotten worse and one side ended up using us as pawns in an incident.  We figured out pretty early on we were just being used and decided to let the chips fall where they may and the side that used us as ended up having to apologize.  Whatever, it wasn't a big deal anyway- to me.

After this fight, hubby found out when he went to pick up a pressure washer from SIL #1.  He talked with her for a while and then  the next day he talked to SIL #2 and ended up hearing her side. Both sides decided to bring us into to fight with some stuff like, "Secret is still really mad that you did x" and "Secret's hubby thinks you have issues with y"  Both sides told us what the other said.  Frankly these are exaggerated on both sides and we really dislike being brought into this fight. 

now for the question.  I see SIL #1 every day as she is the receptionist at my work.  I need to sign in and get a badge from her every day.  If it is quiet we talk for a bit and sometimes she tells me the problems with her IL's.  Sometimes I have trouble getting upstairs, even if I'm running late, she'll go into a story if she feels it is important. 

Hubby sees BIL #2 almost daily.   BIL drives a supply truck to hubby's work and Hubby needs to unload the truck with a forklift.  this involves conversations with BIL as they are doing the safety checks and stuff.


How do  I shut down the IL's telling us their side of the feud when we see them.  I don't want to be mean, but I am done sympathizing with both and just want to say, "I"m staying out of this and you both have your own problems and leave us out of it!"

Winterlight

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Re: Family Feud episode need Etiquette 101 help
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2013, 08:17:44 AM »
I'd be really, really busy. Grab your badge and go.

Or just be mean. "I don't want to get into this- bean dip?"
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gramma dishes

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Re: Family Feud episode need Etiquette 101 help
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2013, 08:53:33 AM »





...    I am done sympathizing with both and just want to say, "I"m staying out of this and you both have your own problems and leave us out of it!"

How about (gently) saying EXACTLY that -- to both sets of ILs?  Possibly changing the word 'I'm' to 'We're' with both you AND your husband saying exactly the same words.

TootsNYC

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Re: Family Feud episode need Etiquette 101 help
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2013, 09:24:05 AM »
Here is your problem, in a nutshell:

Quote
In the past, both sides tell us their sides and we do sympathize with them.

hubby found out when he went to pick up a pressure washer from SIL #1.  He talked with her for a while

then  the next day he talked to SIL #2 and ended up hearing her side.

 sometimes she tells me the problems with her IL's.


But you know that. You and DH need tos it down and role play how you will stop them.

Remember that you have feet, and you can walk away. Remember that you can say, "I'm sick of listening to you guys Female Dog about each other. Just shut up."

or, if you want to be more polite, you can say, "Please don't talk about this anymore. It's really, really unfair."

Heck, start singing. While they're talking.

You might also both go other to their houses, as a team, and say to each couple: "Now you guys are all mad at each other again, and we've decided: we don't want to be a part of this. You may not talk to us about your fights with your siblings anymore. Not ever. We've been trying to be all nice and sympathetic, and we're tired of it. Leave us out of it."

Also--this?

Quote
  Sometimes I have trouble getting upstairs, even if I'm running late, she'll go into a story if she feels it is important. 

WALK OFF!! Who gives a flying monkey if "she feels it is important"?

YOU don't. And you are the one on your feet; *she* is trapped at the desk. Walk away. "I don't want to list to this crap anymore," and walk.

TootsNYC

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Re: Family Feud episode need Etiquette 101 help
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2013, 09:42:28 AM »
Came back to say:

You don't *have* to have a confrontation. Sometimes that just creates drama.
(I'll admit, I was annoyed at them when I posted my first response, so that colors the aggression a bit. Sorta obvious, right?)

Especially at the front desk. Just be vague. Don't stop.

Walk in, wave, KEEP WALKING. (Remember, you are the one w/ feet; she is stuck at the desk and can't follow you to talk.)

Say "Hi, how are you, gotta go!" And keep walking.

And then, in all the other encounters, you and DH can use the same tactics.

He goes over to their house to drop something off; he's got feet, he can say, "can't talk right now, I need to get going," and walk to his car and *drive off*!

One of them comes to your house, he puts his hand on their arm in a friendly way and says, "I've got stuff to do, and I need to concentrate, so I'm going to send you home now."

They can go on and on about whatever has ticked them off, but you never, ever, ever address it. Regard it as, oh, a dramatic monologue which would be rude for you to interrupt.

And remember this: every time they vent to you, and you sympathize, you reinforce their quarrel. You reward the bad blood, the griping, etc. They feel good when you listen to them and sympathize with them. You aren't actually helping them.

You may think you're being nice, and being kind, etc. But it's like with a toddler. They want something bad for them, and they're upset when they don't get it. If you sympathize with the upset-ness, all you do is reinforce the idea that they *should* be upset that they can't play with the kitchen knife.

You also send the message that you think they're *right* in some way. And you take away the opportunity for them to actually look at their demand, or their fight, and second-guess themselves.

So another possible response to them, which might be easier to maintain, is to be dismissive:
   "You guys fight all the time, and you always get over it. This is nothing, I'm sure it'll be gone tomorrow."
 That might even be a great "cut-and-paste" line with them.

It might take practice, but that's the road to peace.

AvidReader

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Re: Family Feud episode need Etiquette 101 help
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2013, 10:01:12 AM »
Refuse to engage or get drawn in.  When party #1 starts griping to you about party #2 or vice-versa, just say in your friendliest and most helpful manner, "You and ...the other party... need to resolve this without involving us.  Have a great day/change topic now."  No display of sympathy, no agreement, no disagreement, no contradiction....just not engaged. Think Teflon.  Rinse, lather, repeat.  You must literally become the broken record and say the same.thing.every.single.time one or the other brings up an issue even if they delve in 2 minutes later by ignoring you the first time you say it.  Do you best not to be drawn in, even when party #1 says, "Well, party #2 said this about what you and DH did/said etc."  Again, "You and ...the other party... need to resolve this without involving us." 

NyaChan

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Re: Family Feud episode need Etiquette 101 help
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2013, 10:50:37 AM »
In a gentle tone:  "Let's not talk about this at work." 

Then, I think you can say what you were wanting without being rude once work is over, just mind your tone so that you are very firm but not scolding.  "I understand that you both have problems with one another.  I am not getting involved in them - please respect that."

CrazyDaffodilLady

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Re: Family Feud episode need Etiquette 101 help
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2013, 01:42:52 PM »
You must refuse to listen, every single time.  Some great phrases have already been suggested.  Make it absolutely clear that you and hubby refuse to get involved.  Because you love them all so very much, of course.
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jedikaiti

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Re: Family Feud episode need Etiquette 101 help
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2013, 02:49:55 PM »
You must refuse to listen, every single time.  Some great phrases have already been suggested.  Make it absolutely clear that you and hubby refuse to get involved.  Because you love them all so very much, of course.

BINGO. Even sympathetic listening must come to a screeching halt. "We are not getting involved in this matter." To all parties concerned, from both you and DH, ad nauseam.
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JenJay

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Re: Family Feud episode need Etiquette 101 help
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2013, 03:24:23 PM »
I would compose an email and send it to all four of them. I'd say something like -

"In the past we have been happy to offer an ear and a shoulder to each of you when you've been upset about arguments. Lately our names have come up more and more. We're hearing that we supposedly said this to this person and that to that person, etc. It's extremely important to us to stay out of the arguments and not take sides. We love and respect you all and wish to maintain good relationships with everyone. We've discussed it and decided that we don't want to be involved in your disputes any longer. We don't want to hear you vent about each other and we won't be offering advice. It was always our intent to offer support but somewhere along the way we accidentally ended up involved, and that ends now. Please respect our boundaries as we have always respected yours."

Then, when any of them start complaining about the other, put your hand up and say "Sorry, I can't get involved."

JeanFromBNA

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Re: Family Feud episode need Etiquette 101 help
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2013, 03:36:22 PM »
I would absolutely shut it down at work every single time.  You're running late for a meeting, expecting a phone call, behind on a deadline, someone is waiting for whatever hubby is unloading, going to get in trouble with your boss (even if trouble is just a frown).  If they don't get the message after a couple of weeks, then tell them flat out that family arguments have no place at work.  It's not good for any of you.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Family Feud episode need Etiquette 101 help
« Reply #11 on: August 11, 2013, 05:45:35 PM »
You must refuse to listen, every single time.  Some great phrases have already been suggested.  Make it absolutely clear that you and hubby refuse to get involved.  Because you love them all so very much, of course.

This. You guys have offered what seems like a sympathetic ear in the past. But in reality, it's gossiping  about family members. Send them all a note saying that neither of you are willing to listen to complaints about the others. And if they continue to try to drag you into their disputes, it will end up damaging your relationship with them.

TootsNYC

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Re: Family Feud episode need Etiquette 101 help
« Reply #12 on: August 11, 2013, 08:41:47 PM »
They love the drama; it makes them feel important.
And when you listen and sympathize, it makes them feel important.

If you're *bored* (and dismissive), I bet it will hit them where it really hurts. "Oh, are you guys fighting again? You always get over it, it's not important."

Marbles

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Re: Family Feud episode need Etiquette 101 help
« Reply #13 on: August 12, 2013, 01:54:01 AM »
For SIL trying to bend your ear as you try to get your badge, don't feel bad about cutting her off as she's starting her rant. "Oh, SIL. I have to get upstairs. See you later!" Say it cheerfully and walk on.

If you catch them trying to use your words in a "Secret says you guys are poopyheads..." way, I'd pick a stock phrase to use "You know that we love you guys and wouldn't say something like that about you." And then I'd be sure to never give either one of them any ammunition. Then, when they try to draw you and your DH into their drama, just use a stock "Aw, I hope you guys work it out. We love you!"

BeagleMommy

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Re: Family Feud episode need Etiquette 101 help
« Reply #14 on: August 12, 2013, 11:08:59 AM »
I would simply say to each party "We love you guys and we are not getting in the middle".

If it gets too much you may need to have a "come to deity" meeting with both couples.  Something along the lines of:

We are NOT going to be a party to the ongoing feud between the group of you.  We do not want to know the details.  Either work it out or don't, but leave us out of it.