General Etiquette > Family and Children

How to tell them we don't want them to come?

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Idlewildstudios:
Reading one of the threads in the "I need a hug" folder made me think of this. It won't be an issue for another year at least but I know it will come up.

The situation is this... We drive to another city about seven hours away each year for a sporting event for my daughter. We spend four days at this event every year at the end of April. The first two years it was just my daughter, my husband and myself going. But these past two years, since they have retired, my parents have joined us on this trip. We have similar taste in hotels and dining and so the trip works well. We have always done more activities involving my parents in the past, versus my husband's parents ( we all live in the same area).

In the past, husbands parents have made noises about joining us on this trip as well, but given their work schedules they have been unable to join us. The problem is, we really don't want them to come. We know they feel left out not being able to see daughter at this particular sporting event, but we just feel it wouldn't work well.  They are aware that my parents have joined us these past few years and plan on continuing to do so. My in-laws are very excited looking forward to the day when they too can make this trip with us.

Most of the problem involves the fact that my in-laws have completely different vacationing styles than my husband and I and my parents. While my husband and I ( and my parents) like to stay at a slightly nicer style hotel and we also enjoy using this trip as an opportunity to eat at some higher-quality places than what we have locally.  My in-laws are thrifty, very very thrifty. There is nothing wrong with that, except on a trip like this my mother-in-law is very very big on everybody spending "family time" together.  While the hotel is a personal thing and doesn't affect us, they would stay with FIL's niece in a nearby suburb.  That's fine too.  The problem is is that is about a 45 minute drive from the event and, honestly, they are NEVER on time. In fact, they often act slightly irritated that daughters sporting events DO start  on time and start without them. I always give them the event start time and a close approximation of when daughter is due to compete and without fail they will call or text right before she swims to tell me they are running late and is the event running on time.  The are irritated when I tell them, every time, YES!

My other concern is a dining. My parents and the husband and I like to eat as I said, at nicer places. My in-laws, prefer to eat at cheaper places. Which is fine, but we are not willing to compromise on that. And that means my in-laws, will be highly irritated at either A) having to eat at a more expensive place than they want, or B) eating without us.  They are able to very comfortably eat at the nicer places but my MIL sees it as a frivolous waste. My FIL would be fine with the nicer places but we would all have to listen to MIL constantly exclaim over how expensive things are or make comments about how she and FIL are just simple people and aren't used to such high class nonsense ( we aren't talking places with a dress code here, just something a step up from a family diner.)

We can't stop them from coming. However, we just don't think them coming along would work well for anybody. What I don't know is how to tell them this. I know their feelings will be hurt no matter what. 

We currently have a good thing going.  We all have some private time and when we are all together ( DH, myself and my folks) we have a good time and similar tastes.  If my IL's came, it would be constant stream of " let's go to Niece's house to visit!  (No) Why eat there, it's spendy, let's try cheapy place instead.(Ummm... Because we look forward to, AND plan this out a year in advance)"

At a loss...

LazyDaisy:
I'm assuming that you've never discussed restaurants and hotels with them before. They may realize that they won't really want to go if it'll cost significantly more than they thought. Let them know the restaurants where you always eat and the hotel where you always stay and how much you all look forward to both. Give them specifics about food budgets and make a big deal about what a special fancy trip this really is.

If they ever do find the time to join you, let them know the itinerary well in advance and maybe stop telling them the specific time your daughter is expected to swim -- just give them the time that the whole competition starts and that they need to plan on being there from beginning to end. Why would they go to a four-day competition only to watch about 20 minutes of it at most?

Is there any other time/event that you could encourage them to plan for instead?

doodlemor:
It looks to me like the main problem is the dining.  Why don't you plan the restaurants beforehand, and email the menus to MIL and FIL.  You could tell them that the restaurants are the places where you usually eat, and have been looking forward to dining there again.  You could ask her to let you know which ones they will be joining you at for supper/whatever, so that you can make reservations.

I like LazyDaisy's idea of planning everything beforehand.  They may decide not to come if the trip is not to their liking.

JenJay:

--- Quote from: LazyDaisy on February 21, 2014, 07:03:00 PM ---I'm assuming that you've never discussed restaurants and hotels with them before. They may realize that they won't really want to go if it'll cost significantly more than they thought. Let them know the restaurants where you always eat and the hotel where you always stay and how much you all look forward to both. Give them specifics about food budgets and make a big deal about what a special fancy trip this really is.

If they ever do find the time to join you, let them know the itinerary well in advance and maybe stop telling them the specific time your daughter is expected to swim -- just give them the time that the whole competition starts and that they need to plan on being there from beginning to end. Why would they go to a four-day competition only to watch about 20 minutes of it at most?

Is there any other time/event that you could encourage them to plan for instead?

--- End quote ---

This was going to be my suggestion as well. Give them an itinerary and let them choose to join you or not.

You don't have to know which restaurants you'll be eating which meals at, but you could say "We'll be in X town for 3 nights and 4 days, staying at Place. We generally have meals at about 11am and 5pm. We're going to try a couple of new restaurants - This and That, plus visit a couple of our favorites - Others. You're welcome to join us for all meals or just a couple, whichever you'd prefer." Don't agree to travel to the restaurants together if you're concerned they'll keep you waiting. Keep it casual "By the way, we're going to Place for dinner at 5:30. If you'd like to join us we'll get a table for 8."

And definitely either give them a more general idea of her swim times OR let that go and if they're late, they're late. Let's say she'll be swimming at 1pm, I might say "DD will prepare to swim at 12:30pm but I suggest you try to show up a bit early if you want seats." That way maybe they'll show up "late" and still make it on time, without you having to outright lie.

Ravenish:
I've had success in the past coming at it from the "It's tradition" approach. Specifically "It's tradition that we splurge a little more than we normally would for some luxury for [insert event/occasion]". People who are big on family generally respond better/hold their tongues tighter about the idea of a tradition rather than just an annual event.

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