Author Topic: Friend's wife is a bit strange  (Read 8954 times)

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EllenS

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #45 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.
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Otterpop

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #46 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 #47 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 #48 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 #49 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.


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Daydream

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #50 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 #51 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 #52 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 #53 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 #54 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 #55 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.

SamiHami

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #56 on: April 21, 2014, 08:06:28 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.

No, not at all. She talks to the men in our social group just fine. And Donny is her 3rd husband, so I I don't think shyness has anything to do with it. She is also a strikingly beautiful woman. I have no doubt at all that she's used to attention from males.

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GrammarNerd

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #57 on: April 21, 2014, 09:55:09 AM »
OP, I would say that she gaslighted you.  (I won't get into what the brother said, b/c that was rude in a public setting, but the greater issue here is Mrs. Donny denying the content of many previous conversations.)

I know someone like this.  Things would come up in conversation....all part of the 'getting to know you' thing.  You remember things about people that might come up in future conversations.  This type of thing has happened more than once with her.  Sure, they were minor things, but when you're told one thing, and then the person in question does an about-face and denies what she told you previously, it makes me kinda mad even if the things are minor.  I mean, for something SO minor, why not just tell the truth?  I mean, one time one of her things was that she couldn't wear flip-flops that go between the toes.  She went on and on about it, in great detail, about how she couldn't wear that style and it was so hard to find the other kinds of shoes and how she wished she could find more in that style, etc.  So then guess what?  I see her wearing flip flops that go between her toes.  I never said anything b/c it really wasn't worth it, but it was just another case of me realizing that I couldn't believe what she said.  There were other times when it was a similar situation to what was in the OP, where there were other people involved, and I was made to look like a fool. 

If I was the OP, I would be very tempted to play dumb and ask Mrs Donny about her plans for the party, how she came up with the idea, etc.  Then, if she makes any comments about her being from that area, then I would act confused, b/c she told me point blank in front of my brother that she was NOT from that country.  Let her squirm her way out of it.  Of course, I couldn't do it at the party, but believe me, I would want some sort of explanation for her making me look like a liar and feel like fool.  And I would also be tempted to turn it around on her, and ask HER why SHE lied, because obviously she did, because she told you two dramatically different stories at different points in time.

I would really steer clear of her.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 11:07:47 AM by GrammarNerd »

pierrotlunaire0

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #58 on: April 21, 2014, 10:31:43 AM »
Personally, I would try to keep Mrs. Donny at arm's length.  Perhaps she didn't want to discuss her country of origin with your brother or not at that moment, but how were you supposed to know that?

She's just a little too .....um, something, for my taste.  Someone above suggested that like a friend of hers, Mrs. Donny's statements of reality change with the weather, and maybe that is true here.
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bah12

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Re: Friend's wife is a bit strange
« Reply #59 on: April 21, 2014, 10:50:32 AM »
I think how you act around her is how you act around anyone that you don't exactly get along with but is tied to someone that you want to maintain a relationship with...you treat her kindly and respectfully.  You don't have to be her best friend, but continue to be pleasant.

I don't think there's anything wrong with saying she's from a country you and your brother lived in as a way to facilitate conversation between them (I'm assuming here that the when she told you she was from there, that you also connected that you had once lived there...how did she act then?). 

I don't think it was polite for your brother to accuse you of lying to him...especially in front of her.  A better response would have been "Oh, I thought my sister said you were from there.  I must be mistaken."  And a better response for you would have been "Oh, I thought you said previously you were from there. I must be mistaken."  I agree it was rude for you to talk about her as if she weren't there in front of her.  And I think insulting to say "She IS from there" when she just said she wasn't. (Regardless of what she said beforehand).

And her acting like nothing had happened the next time she say you, was the correct response on her part.

Not everything and everyone can be explained.  Who knows why she said she was from there once and then denied it the second time.  There may be a legitimate reason and there may not be.  I don't think it matters if she lied, when she lied, how stangely or not she acted...the response from you needs to be the same.  Don't argue with her, don't talk about her as if she isn't there, and be nice.  It's all you can do.