Author Topic: Friend's wife is a bit strange  (Read 8390 times)

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SoCalVal

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #45 on: April 20, 2014, 06:26:58 PM »
For whatever reason, Friend's Wife didn't want to share her personal information at that moment and was put on the spot by OP and DB.  I don't know how else she could've responded right at that moment, and I'd give her a pass for how that went down (she obviously didn't want to discuss it, as is her right as it was her personal information being discussed without her prompting).  Just because FW was okay sharing this info with OP doesn't mean she should've expected that OP would be discussing it with strangers who would then be repeating this info back to FW upon meeting her.  DH sometimes shares information about my family with strangers, and I don't think it's okay (one time, it was the poor financial standing of my family member's SO; I don't care that these people don't know SO's family as it still wasn't DH's info to share as we were told this in confidence because SO doesn't know we now know this either).  I could see myself being taken aback by a stranger repeating to me something about myself (one time, upon meeting for the first time DH's uncle's wife's adult daughter who did not live with them, she shook my hand and congratulated me on our engagement...problem is that we had not yet shared the info with Uncle and Wife because we wanted to tell them in person, rather than via e-mail or phone; I, horrified, immediately turned to then-DF and whispered, "They know" -- we were upset because that meant we hadn't been given the chance of telling them ourselves so they ended up getting left out of the announcing which wasn't our intention).

Anyway, I'd let this one go.  I don't see that FW's response was bad; I do see OP's response as bad and rude since it was in FW's presence and hearing (and I think OP owes her an apology).  I'd also check with FW in the future before sharing any more of her personal information (that would be a good time to segue into that apology).



Otterpop

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #46 on: April 20, 2014, 07:04:51 PM »
Sharing where you grew up is NOT intimate information,  like your engagement was, in any social circle I've ever been in.  Furthermore, DW has a turbulent marriage that the group is also knows about (and weren't discussing), so shame is not in the equation if they still socialize.  The fact that she was friendly and huggie with OP at a later date supports this as well.  No way was OP rude, nor does she owe an apology for discussing something 99% of us do with an acquaintance.

It was a normal conversation that went all screwy.

(Seriously, if someone called me "rude" and demanded an apology for mentioning their hometown, that would be the last conversation we'd ever have.)
« Last Edit: April 20, 2014, 07:17:33 PM by Otterpop »

Millionaire Maria

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #47 on: April 20, 2014, 07:12:23 PM »
For whatever reason, Friend's Wife didn't want to share her personal information at that moment and was put on the spot by OP and DB.  I don't know how else she could've responded right at that moment, and I'd give her a pass for how that went down (she obviously didn't want to discuss it, as is her right as it was her personal information being discussed without her prompting).  Just because FW was okay sharing this info with OP doesn't mean she should've expected that OP would be discussing it with strangers who would then be repeating this info back to FW upon meeting her.  DH sometimes shares information about my family with strangers, and I don't think it's okay (one time, it was the poor financial standing of my family member's SO; I don't care that these people don't know SO's family as it still wasn't DH's info to share as we were told this in confidence because SO doesn't know we now know this either).  I could see myself being taken aback by a stranger repeating to me something about myself (one time, upon meeting for the first time DH's uncle's wife's adult daughter who did not live with them, she shook my hand and congratulated me on our engagement...problem is that we had not yet shared the info with Uncle and Wife because we wanted to tell them in person, rather than via e-mail or phone; I, horrified, immediately turned to then-DF and whispered, "They know" -- we were upset because that meant we hadn't been given the chance of telling them ourselves so they ended up getting left out of the announcing which wasn't our intention).

Anyway, I'd let this one go.  I don't see that FW's response was bad; I do see OP's response as bad and rude since it was in FW's presence and hearing (and I think OP owes her an apology).  I'd also check with FW in the future before sharing any more of her personal information (that would be a good time to segue into that apology).

The OP did not put her on the spot. Someone's country of origin is a perfectly acceptable topic of conversation between new acquaintances. If Mrs Donny didn't want to talk about it, it is her responsibility to change the subject. People are allowed to deviate from the norm all they want, but they don't get to shift responsibility to other people.
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SoCalVal

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #48 on: April 20, 2014, 07:23:41 PM »
Sharing where you grew up is NOT intimate information,  like your engagement was, in any social circle I've ever been in.  Furthermore, DW has a turbulent marriage that the group is also knows about, so shame is not in the equation if they still socialize.  The fact that she was friendly and huggie with OP at a later date supports this as well.  No way was OP rude, nor does she owe an apology for discussing something 99% of us do with an acquaintance.

You may not consider it intimate information (I don't as well), but that doesn't mean Friend's Wife feels the same way (if she'd been okay with what was taking place, she wouldn't have contradicted what was said).  It's not on others to decide for individuals what the individuals may consider intimate information about themselves; you may only decide that for yourself.

OP was rude for referring to FW as "she" when she was present; that is not a polite way to reference someone when that person is right there and can hear you.  It's also not polite to continue to put the person on the spot when the situation has obviously hit a bad note (which is when FW contradicted what DB said to her; at that point, the right thing for OP to say would've been something like "Oh, I must've been mistaken then" and moved on to another subject).

I don't think that couple's marital difficulties play a part here.

For whatever reason, Friend's Wife didn't want to share her personal information at that moment and was put on the spot by OP and DB.  I don't know how else she could've responded right at that moment, and I'd give her a pass for how that went down (she obviously didn't want to discuss it, as is her right as it was her personal information being discussed without her prompting).  Just because FW was okay sharing this info with OP doesn't mean she should've expected that OP would be discussing it with strangers who would then be repeating this info back to FW upon meeting her.  DH sometimes shares information about my family with strangers, and I don't think it's okay (one time, it was the poor financial standing of my family member's SO; I don't care that these people don't know SO's family as it still wasn't DH's info to share as we were told this in confidence because SO doesn't know we now know this either).  I could see myself being taken aback by a stranger repeating to me something about myself (one time, upon meeting for the first time DH's uncle's wife's adult daughter who did not live with them, she shook my hand and congratulated me on our engagement...problem is that we had not yet shared the info with Uncle and Wife because we wanted to tell them in person, rather than via e-mail or phone; I, horrified, immediately turned to then-DF and whispered, "They know" -- we were upset because that meant we hadn't been given the chance of telling them ourselves so they ended up getting left out of the announcing which wasn't our intention).

Anyway, I'd let this one go.  I don't see that FW's response was bad; I do see OP's response as bad and rude since it was in FW's presence and hearing (and I think OP owes her an apology).  I'd also check with FW in the future before sharing any more of her personal information (that would be a good time to segue into that apology).

The OP did not put her on the spot. Someone's country of origin is a perfectly acceptable topic of conversation between new acquaintances. If Mrs Donny didn't want to talk about it, it is her responsibility to change the subject. People are allowed to deviate from the norm all they want, but they don't get to shift responsibility to other people.

So DB looked at me and said, "Did you lie to me?" "Of course not," I said. "I don't know why she said that-she is from there!" She just stared down at her plate and pretended to not hear that and Donny looked like he wanted to disappear.

This puts FW on the spot -- the continued discussion (the reaction of the couple indicates to me that they no longer wanted to be part of this discussion topic).  Again, I, personally, don't have a problem with strangers knowing my origin, but that's me.  In this particular case, FW does care and either didn't want to share or didn't want to discuss it.  OP and DB pressing the matter, rather than stating something like, "Oh, we must've made a mistake" and OP referring to FW as "she" makes it rude.



EllenS

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #49 on: April 20, 2014, 07:49:15 PM »
Mrs. Donny behaved very strangely.

According to normal, established etiquette standards, "where are you from" is considered an extremely neutral conversation opening, and "Oh, by the way, Guest 1, you and Guest 2 are from the same place/are familiar with a similar place" is about the most innocuous introduction one can come by. I mean, what's next? Are we going to declare it rude to introduce people by name because they might not be comfortable sharing their name? In that case, they should not attend parties. 

If someone has personal secrets/is in the witness protection program/reacts strongly against normal conversation, it's not anybody else's problem.

Knowing how to behave graciously in the face of wierd behavior is not easy. I think OP was shanghaied by Mrs. Donny and her brother into a very awkward position. Yes, using "she" is rude but really, the best you can do in a situation like that is be prepared for next time. Now you know that Mrs. Donny has trouble making ordinary conversation. If she does something like this again, ignore her and beandip.

Otterpop

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #50 on: April 20, 2014, 07:55:21 PM »
OK SoCalVal that makes sense.  But I still think OP was blindsided by DW denying she was from there, then by brother asking if she'd lied.  OP was flustered and could not bring herself to address DW again during that baffling conversation.

I would have reacted the same way, then hopefully collected my wits enough to ask DW why she'd told me otherwise numerous times before.

OP, if you ever have an update... ;)

baglady

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #51 on: April 20, 2014, 08:26:58 PM »
Everyone in this scenario could have behaved better, but hindsight is always 20/20, and many if not most of us don't react in the optimal manner when blindsided with an awkward situation.

IMO the only person who was truly rude was OP's brother, for insinuating that his sister was a liar -- in front of other people, no less.

OP did nothing wrong by bringing up Mrs. Donny's country of origin as a conversation starter. Mrs. D had told her she was from there, and gave OP no indication that it was any kind of secret. OP had no way of knowing that she might not want to disclose that info to people she didn't know well.

Ideally, she should have let OP know that before the party. Less ideally, she should have said something like "Oh, no, I'm not from there; sorry if I misled you," then taken OP aside and let her know the reason for the public denial.

But as I said, hindsight is 20/20. I don't know if I would have reacted any differently from OP in the same situation, especially if my brother questioned my honesty in front of others.

A series of unfortunate events, this was. I think OP's experience with Mrs. D's past drama queen behavior is probably coloring her interpretation of the scenario ... and that's not a slam on OP. It's just human nature.

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Daydream

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #52 on: April 20, 2014, 08:44:27 PM »
I'd like to think that I would have laughed off my brother's remark as a joke and replied, "Yup, I guess I am," with a genuinely confused expression, then beandipped.  But of course I don't really know if I would have since it didn't happen to me.

Regarding the OP using a pronoun instead of Mrs. Donny's name when referring to her:

I wouldn't expect any English-speaking adult to have constructed their sentences differently.

I don't know if this is the type of thing that only bothers writers, but it drives me nuts when in the first few scenes of a play or the first episode of a TV show, the characters repeatedly and artificially refer to each other by name when a pronoun would suffice.  It's bad writing because normal people don't talk that way.

I get that they are introducing new characters to us and want us to remember their names, but it comes off as stilted and fake.  People don't say, "Mary, did Jennie tell you about her school trip?  Jennie goes on lots of school trips.  On Jennie's last trip, Jennie bought a kite then Jennie brought it home and we went to the park."

They would use "Jennie" in the first sentence, then use "she" and "her" afterwards.

In the OP's case, she referred to Mrs. Donny as "she" because that's how normal people talk.  She was a real person in a real-life situation, not an actor in a poorly-written sitcom. 

She'd already mentioned Mrs. Donny by name when politely introducing the topic of where she was from to her brother as a point of conversation.  Therefore, in every sentence following that pertained to that discussion, her brother knew who she meant.  So, to turn to him and say, " I don't know why Mrs. Donny said that.  Mrs. Donny is from there!" would have been odd.

If, in a conscious attempt to not use "she," the OP had instead turned to Mrs. Donny directly and said, "I don't know why you said that.  You are from there!" while the woman looked down at her plate, that would have been far worse, IMO, and very confrontational.

Maybe people are just making a point that they feel she shouldn't have said anything about Mrs. Donny at all, though.

The OP couldn't have known that discussing a subject Mrs. Donny seemed to have taken pride in before would have upset her that time, so I think she was understandably caught off-guard when responding to her brother's "accusation" of her being a liar. 

(I still hope that he was just kidding and flustered, though.)
« Last Edit: April 20, 2014, 08:58:02 PM by Daydream »

EllenS

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #53 on: April 20, 2014, 08:55:43 PM »
It's not the pronoun vs. name that's the problem, manners-wise. It's referring to someone in the third person, after introduction and when they are ostensibly part of the conversation. It's talking "over their head" and implies that the person is not a fully sentient adult.



Daydream

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #54 on: April 20, 2014, 09:12:38 PM »
It's not the pronoun vs. name that's the problem, manners-wise. It's referring to someone in the third person, after introduction and when they are ostensibly part of the conversation. It's talking "over their head" and implies that the person is not a fully sentient adult.

I see that as being true in many situations where the person being discussed is objectified, deliberately insulted, ignored, or not welcome/expected to join the conversation.  A couple of real-life memories are going through my head right now. 

It just doesn't apply in *this* situation, to me.

SamiHami

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #55 on: April 20, 2014, 09:15:02 PM »
Well, thinking back Mrs. Donny has seemed a bit of an odd duck since meeting her. I don't think that's a terrible thing at all, but socially she seems off a bit. She does seem to go back and forth between effusive and bubbly to sullen and withdrawn.

I was actually trying to be nice to Donny by inviting them along that evening. He seems to really want to socialize with DH and myself and our schedules don't often allow for that. It worked out that evening so everything seemed great!

From here forward I will be polite and friendly but that is as far as it will go. I will not apologize to her; I think at most she and I both misstepped-her for lying and thereby creating an awkward situation, and me for not responding with more grace. I will not bring up the topic with her in the future and as far as I am concerned, it is over.

As a final note, Donny's birthday is later this month. She is throwing him a party. The theme? Her culture-the food, decorations, music. All from the culture she was born and raised in, and denied that evening at dinner. We are going to the party, and I will report back if anything interesting occurs.



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DanaJ

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #56 on: April 20, 2014, 10:01:00 PM »
This puts FW on the spot -- the continued discussion (the reaction of the couple indicates to me that they no longer wanted to be part of this discussion topic). 
My impression of the OP is that Donny's Wife decided to lie on a whim, and Donny's uncomfortable reaction was because he was mortified by his wife's sudden, unexpected cuckoo-for-coacoa-puffs behaviour.

Daydream

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #57 on: April 20, 2014, 10:11:36 PM »

As a final note, Donny's birthday is later this month. She is throwing him a party. The theme? Her culture-the food, decorations, music. All from the culture she was born and raised in, and denied that evening at dinner. We are going to the party, and I will report back if anything interesting occurs.

Mrs. Donny sounds like a fascinating person.  I'm now wondering if she took some instant, unwarranted dislike to your brother and that was her childish way of showing it. 

Or, perhaps the opposite -- he is so devastatingly handsome and charming that she was blushing like a schoolgirl at the thought of having to talk to him.  Maybe she bent her head to hide her blushing cheeks from everyone, especially her husband.    ;D

Yes, please do report back to us if anything interesting happens at the party.

TootsNYC

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #58 on: April 20, 2014, 10:16:21 PM »
As a final note, Donny's birthday is later this month. She is throwing him a party. The theme? Her culture-the food, decorations, music. All from the culture she was born and raised in, and denied that evening at dinner. We are going to the party, and I will report back if anything interesting occurs.

Is it at all possible that she misheard you? That she thought you'd said some OTHER country name that's similar?

Tia2

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #59 on: April 21, 2014, 07:11:56 AM »
Does Mrs. Donny come from a culture/background where women don't socialise with men?  I just wonder because she seemed very keen to shut down the conversation with Brother and I was wondering if it was personal or just because he was a man.