Etiquette School is in session! > "I'm afraid that won't be possible."

We'd rather have you babysit than join us...

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I think that's perfect. In fact, I think it's what you should have been saying all along. It doesn't matter whether you are bringing someone else to the event or coming solo. You have plans. I hope they haven't decided that you have to come up w/ an excuse that involves someone *else*.

Though I think you should have been saying, and should start saying, with a little surprise in your voice, "No, I'm going to the event. I can't babysit."

You have plans for the night--you don't need ANY excuse, especially since they aren't asking you for your company (the opposite!) but are offering your employment.

And I think you need to be busy more when it's a church meeting. shake this up a bit, push back a little, or you're going to find yourself being taken advantage of an resenting it (and them).

I agree that they have just not thought beyond "when we go to church events and need a sitter, AnaMaria is who we call." They might not be differentiating between meetings & social events but instead lumping it all into "church".

I don't see anything wrong with saying exactly what you've told us. That you're happy to help out when it's an important meeting or a date night but to please remember that you normally attend church events unless you are otherwise busy so chances are you wouldn't be able to babysit for those occasions. I think if you say it politely and just keep repeating it whenever you are asked, they'll get the idea after a while.

I'd give these people the benefit of the doubt and guess that they just aren't thinking as opposed to them really being advantage takers.


--- Quote from: Hmmmmm on January 06, 2014, 03:10:17 PM ---No, it's not a horrible answer. I would think "Oh, I'm also planning to attend the choir performance on Saturday" is more than reasonable. Or even "Oh, I've already made plans for Saturday." They don't need to be told that your plans are to attend the performance. And if you see them there and they say "I thought you had plans" then you say "Yes, I was planning to attend this event."

And can I say this is a perfect example of when "It never hurts to ask" is not appropriate. Sure it could be the parents are thinking "Let's see if AnaMarie can sit. She may not be planning to attend X." But because of the frequency you are starting to feel more like hired help than a member of the church family.

--- End quote ---

POD.  I don't think it is unreasonable or rude for people to ask if you are willing to do something you have previously been willing to do, if they ask politely.  It is also not unreasonable or rude to say "no", as long as you say it politely.

I don't think it would be bad either to say "Sorry, I was actually planning on attending that event as well!" and I'm sure most people would understand.

Thanks for the reassurance, everyone!

Just to clarify, under some circumstances this response might be necessary:

--- Quote from: TootsNYC on January 06, 2014, 03:30:17 PM ---
And I think you need to be busy more when it's a church meeting. shake this up a bit, push back a little, or you're going to find yourself being taken advantage of an resenting it (and them).

--- End quote ---

...but, it isn't as though my church family "uses" me as a babysitter on a regular basis.  In our congregation, we make an effort to look out for each other- we arrange meal trains for new mothers or the bereaved, when someone in the church is moving we are all there helping them pack and clean, and we try to practice hospitality.  It's been difficult for me to participate in some of these efforts- after college, I moved home with my parents to work some low-pay-but-great-experience jobs that increased my chances at getting into grad school, and I'm now IN grad school living in a tiny apartment, teaching in the mornings and in class at night, so I've never had the space or money to host events or prepare meals for an entire family.  Babysitting is a way for me to take part in our efforts to care for one another as a family.  As I mentioned, I only sit for free when it is a family VOLUNTEERING at our church, such as someone going to worship team practice or a Bible-study leaders' meeting.  When a church employee, such as one of our pastors, needs childcare for one of these events, the church actually pays for their babysitter.  The whole issue here is that I don't mind babysitting at all; it's just hurtful when people expect me to skip events intended for our church family to babysit.


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