General Etiquette > Family and Children

What would you have said to personal comment? update post 27

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English1:
Hi

With DP's parents at weekend. DP and I have both had some dental work done recently and it's the first time they've seen us (both had a broken front tooth capped, so feel we are looking good!). She suddenly looked at me and said 'Couldn't you have had braces when you were a child? Why didn't you? Can you have them now?'. 

My 4 front teeth are very wonky and I know they look odd but I don't stress about it. Yes of course I wish they weren't crooked, but they weren't done as a child and I can't afford to do it now.  she's only the 2nd person in my life to comment on it. I went from feeling good about my teeth to feeling embarrassed and a bit crushed. I know they look funny when I look in a mirror or at a photo, but I forget about it the rest of the time. (I had quite a bit done as I am frightened of dentists and not been for nearly 15 years, and I've finally found a dentist I trust and I'm quite relaxed about keeping up regular visits now).

she's not a mean woman, just speaks without thinking.

I flustered for a few seconds then said I couldn't afford it. She asked well, how much would it cost. I said 'thousands' and DP sort of agreed then changed the subject as I think he picked up I was uncomfortable.

What would you have said to make it clearer that you don't appreciate comments like this, without causing any bad feeling?

AvidReader:
There are several responses and I'm sure other posters will suggest even more.

1)  Complete uncomprehending silence.  As though she spoke a languague you could not understand.  Just let the silence sit there.  If she is like many people who do not have a filter between their brains and their mouths, she will probably move on to the next thought that pops into her head.

2)  Why do you want to know?  Throws it back to her.  One hopes she wouldn't be so crass as to describe what you already know.  She might be left stuttering or blubbering and change the subject herself.  Or you can bail her out with followup to your own question with a beandip to "Isn't it lovely out today?"  "Horrible rain we had last week, wasn't it?",   "What do you have planned for this afternoon?",  or some such innocuous subject.

PlainJane:

--- Quote from: AvidReader on August 11, 2014, 07:40:59 AM ---There are several responses and I'm sure other posters will suggest even more.

1)  Complete uncomprehending silence.  As though she spoke a languague you could not understand.  Just let the silence sit there.  If she is like many people who do not have a filter between their brains and their mouths, she will probably move on to the next thought that pops into her head.

2)  Why do you want to know?  Throws it back to her.  One hopes she wouldn't be so crass as to describe what you already know.  She might be left stuttering or blubbering and change the subject herself.  Or you can bail her out with followup to your own question with a beandip to "Isn't it lovely out today?"  "Horrible rain we had last week, wasn't it?",   "What do you have planned for this afternoon?",  or some such innocuous subject.

--- End quote ---

I'm voting for #1. Such intrusive questions neither deserve nor require any kind of response.

Nemesis:
I agree with AvudReader. Stone cold silence speaks louder than any words.

Just practice the blank stare. Don't blink, hold eye contact, and just stare silently. It really works.

Yvaine:
Are you me? I have the same issue. And for a few years, I had (for some reason) a terrible streak of people being asinine about it. For whatever reason, the comments seem to have stopped even though there's been no change in the teeth. I also like the idea of the blank stare.

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