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Author Topic: What to Do When You're Invisible (Etiquette Query)  (Read 10796 times)

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LifeOnPluto

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Re: What to Do When You're Invisible (Etiquette Query)
« Reply #15 on: January 11, 2015, 08:36:24 PM »
Wow, what a rude, cliquey group! Look, they could have been lovely people who simply aren't used to including newcomers (and prefer to take the easier option of just chatting amongst themselves), but the fact remains they behaved very rudely. Your date also dropped the ball - it was his responsibility to make sure you were having a good time (or at the very least, not being snubbed by everyone in the circle).

I think you did the right thing by leaving. And frankly, the next time I saw this guy, I'd have been inclined to say "Dude, what was up with your mates? They all gave me the cold shoulder!". 

Raintree

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Re: What to Do When You're Invisible (Etiquette Query)
« Reply #16 on: January 11, 2015, 08:54:33 PM »
Sounds as though they all knew each other really well and weren't interested in meeting a newcomer, and never occurred to them how uncomfortable they were making you feel. I'm not trying to excuse them - it all just sounds like poor social skills on their part.

And maybe some perception of class (which I don't think is very classy, on their part!)

Years ago I went to a party with a guy, and I didn't know anyone. Seemed they were all in "respectable" professions: teachers, accountants, etc., though they were all late 20's to early 30's, same as me. Someone asked me what I "did" so I told the truth: I worked in a retail store. The guy who had asked actually walked away from me at that point. I couldn't believe it. I'm in a relatively "respectable" profession now, and I still can't believe it as I just don't base the value of a person, or whether they are worthy of talking to, on what they do for a living. And ever since, I've hated the "so, what do you do?" method of making small talk. Tell me what you do for fun, or who you are (or ask me about the same) instead.

purple

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Re: What to Do When You're Invisible (Etiquette Query)
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2015, 10:12:35 PM »
I think you dodged a bullet.

He was just an Ooo, I tried to get around the word filter with a nasty word. to make you sit there through that and he obviously knew about it when he had to go and buy your drinks separately.

If that's the kind of frends he keeps, then that's probably a pretty good indication of how he is as well.

Seriously, count your blessings that you found out nice and early.

Cali.in.UK

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Re: What to Do When You're Invisible (Etiquette Query)
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2015, 10:41:23 PM »
I think you did fine, since everyone was ignoring you and your co-worker was only semi-including you I can't really think about anything else you could do. I totally understand bowing out when you did, it seems a bit excruciating. I've definitely had that happen before, I'm pretty outgoing but also not the center of the party so in my own similar situations I think I probably excused myself as well if my social initiations were repeatedly shot down.
I had a pretty cringe-worthy weekend long situation about 5-6 years ago where a friend of mine invited me and my sister to join him and his high school friends at his parents cabin. I had already met all of the guys during college and they were nice while their female friends had went to college on the east coast so I hadn't met them until the weekend... Well, it was sort of like the drinks episode in the OP but it was for the entire weekend. I almost wonder if they are the same people in the post! All very wealthy and kind of snobbish and we were from different worlds. I tried unsuccessfully and multiple times to try to talk with the girls and they were varying degrees of disinterested to just rude. My sister actually cried at one point, I felt so bad that I had brought her along and it was so uncomfortable. The guys sort of shrugged off the girls behaviour and I think just didn't want to get involved.  At least my sister was there with me but I still sort of shudder when I think of that awkward weekend with the mean girls.

English1

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Re: What to Do When You're Invisible (Etiquette Query)
« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2015, 07:14:54 AM »
I've been in that situation a couple of times and it's horrible - you have my sympathy and I think you responded to it with great self control and dignity.

The first time it happened to me I was completely snubbed at my new boyfriend's sister's birthday party. It was a big formal event in a hall, seated at tables, and as my boyfriend was busy a lot of the time helping with arrangements and MCing the event, I was left sitting on a table entirely on my own most of the night. Right at the front of the hall. Despite being as friendly as possible to all the friends/relatives he brought over to introduce me to when they arrived and my inviting them to sit at this table. No. I was desperate to leave after a couple of hours. I burst into tears in the car. It was deliberate, I'm sure, although I never really got any explanation.

For my second date with current DP we went to a pub to see a band with some of his friends. Tried making conversation with them but they weren't really interested and wandered off most of the time. Turns out these friends don't exactly socialise in the way that I'd socialise with my own friends - they might say 'see you at X' but that' the extent of it, they say hi, they maybe chat for a bit, then everyone does their own thing.

Goog

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Re: What to Do When You're Invisible (Etiquette Query)
« Reply #20 on: January 12, 2015, 08:36:04 AM »
Years ago, I went with my boyfriend to his parents house for a holiday weekend to meet them and go boating.  His parents were nice enough, and he made plans with his sister and her husband (they had been married about a year) for the four of us to go boating all day.

Like the pp above, I was in tears on the drive home.  See, we spent the entire day with the sister and her husband, and I'm not sure she could string together a sentence of more than 4 words, when directed at me, during that entire day.  I tried SO many times to engage her in conversation, and would hardly get any response.  I really wanted to make a good impression, but she would hardly acknowledge me, so it was a really uncomfortable situation for me.  I couldn't even escape because we were on a boat, and the water was then too cold to go swimming.  I only knew my BF, but he obviously knew everyone and wanted to talk to them too, so it wasn't like he could talk to me the majority of the time.  Even when we weren't on the boat (lunch), we couldn't break away because they'd brought their puppy along, and he couldn't be left alone or taken inside anywhere.  BF eagerly asked me on the way home how things went, obviously looking for the response that I'd had a great time, and that's when I burst into tears and said that his sister didn't like me.  He tried to assure me that she liked me; "that's just the way she was."  The next time I visited his parents, his mother said the same thing (BF had told her my impression).  I've since learned (here) that rude people often use that as an excuse for being rude.  I knew BF wasn't a guy who brought a new girl to his parents house every week, so it was just really unfathomable why is sister couldn't bother to be nice enough to try to say more than two words to me without being prompted. 

I ended up marrying this guy, and let's just say that my first impression of his sister was never fully washed away in the ensuing years.

Emmy

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Re: What to Do When You're Invisible (Etiquette Query)
« Reply #21 on: January 12, 2015, 10:39:31 PM »
I find it interesting that the boyfriend says that he was sure his friends would like her.  They sound like an awfully unfriendly bunch.  Maybe this was the first new person he introduced to the group.  I do think they were terribly rude, especially the woman who actually turned her back to shut you out of the conversation.  I haven't had this exact experience, but once in a while in a group such as a church group, I'll be talking to a person after the activity is over and a second person who is a stranger to me will come over, greet the person I was talking to without acknowledging me in any way, then start an entirely new conversation directed only at the other person (no eye contact and body language shutting me out).  It makes me angry that the person treats me like I am not even there.  These actions say much more about the people being rude than the victims of their rudeness.

I'm not sure there is much more you can do than listen to the conversation and try to add something.  If you try a few times and nothing you say is acknowledged or worse, the group actively appears to cut you out of the conversation, there really isn't much more you can do. 

I also think your boyfriend should have made more of an effort to include you in the conversation.  He didn't totally hang you out to dry, but I do feel he should have included you in the conversation.  For example if he knows that both you and his friend Bob like to snowboard and have been to Pikes Peak, he should mention that to Bob.  Usually that gets the conversation rolling.  Often in well established groups, people tend to talk about things you can't relate to such as people you don't know, inside jokes, reminiscing about events you were not there to participate in, etc.


LifeOnPluto

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Re: What to Do When You're Invisible (Etiquette Query)
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2015, 08:26:09 PM »
It really is a tough (and horrible!) situation to be in, isn't it? Unfortunately, I think the only polite option is to just sit quietly and leave as soon as possible. Although it is tempting to stand on a chair and shout "What is wrong with you people? Do I smell or something?"

It's worse when you're stuck at a table (ie at a sit-down wedding reception) then it is at a house party, where at least you can move around, examine the host's bookshelf, get a drink from the kitchen, etc.

NFPwife

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Re: What to Do When You're Invisible (Etiquette Query)
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2015, 10:19:26 PM »
In the fall of 1989, I joined a club of people who shared an interest of mine (I'll call it CIC, for Common Interest Club). I attended the monthly meetings, I participated, and I felt welcome.

In March, two members -- a man and a woman, not a couple -- co-hosted a St. Patrick's Day party. It was announced in the club newsletter, and all members were invited. The plan was to have two different Common Interest activities going on in separate areas of the house (which was Female Host's home).

I came, looking forward to participating in one or both activities, but nobody spoke to me. I attempted to strike up conversations, but people looked right past me as if I weren't even there. I hung out in both activity areas for a short time, but again, more of that invisible feeling. I ended up leaving in tears shortly thereafter.

Memorial Day weekend, CIC puts on Big Weekend Event. When I arrived, Male Host and the CIC's president (who was not at the party, but her husband was) were working the entrance. While Male Host was briefly out of range, I had a moment alone with the prez. I asked her, "So, is this group really cliquey, or what?" and I told her about my experience at the party.

She immediately called Male Host over and told him what I'd just told her. He apologized for being a bad host, admitted he had been too wrapped up in other things to really notice what was going on with me -- although he did notice I was there -- and took me under his wing for the rest of that weekend, introducing me to folks, telling me stories about the group and otherwise making me feel welcome and comfortable.

That was 25 years ago. For 23 of those 25 years, the artist formerly known as Male Host -- known here as Bagman -- and I have been a couple. And over the course of those 25 years, I have become close friends with many of the people who ignored me at that party. I've also been a board member, secretary, newsletter editor and president of CIC. We've welcomed lots of new members since then, and as far as I know, most of them have been welcomed far more warmly than I was, and I'd like to think I played a part in that.

The moral of the story is, some groups just become very insular and don't know how to deal with newcomers. Given a choice between taking a newcomer under their wings and interacting with one another the way they always have, they choose the easier option.

If the newcomer is someone's friend or date, they tend to assume that the person s/he came with has the "making him/her feel welcome" thing covered and will wait for that person to bridge the gap. ("Hey, Bob, I've been dying to hear about that blues festival you went to last weekend. My friend Martha here is a big fan of the blues ....")

Not excusing the behavior of OP's date or his friends ... just offering a possible explanation. I think in her position, I might have brought it up to him shortly afterward. "So, what's with your friends? They didn't seem to like me very much."  If we really do enjoy each other's company, this might nudge him into being more proactive about including me with his friends ... maybe with a smaller group.

What a unique and lovely "how we became a couple" story!

I agree that you were in the presence of jerks, OP, and like several others I would have had to bring it up to him. I would have been running through the different scenarios of why they were rude and I'd be turning those over in my head until I could rule them in or out.

sammycat

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Re: What to Do When You're Invisible (Etiquette Query)
« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2015, 10:44:21 PM »
Regardless of the motives for the other friends in their rudeness, the "date" dropped the ball big time. If he could see what was happening he had an obligation to step in and try and salvage the situation, whether that be by talking to you himself, or trying to include you in other conversations with his friends. You had a lucky escape by only going on one outing with this person.

Emmy

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Re: What to Do When You're Invisible (Etiquette Query)
« Reply #25 on: January 14, 2015, 10:30:19 AM »
It really is a tough (and horrible!) situation to be in, isn't it? Unfortunately, I think the only polite option is to just sit quietly and leave as soon as possible. Although it is tempting to stand on a chair and shout "What is wrong with you people? Do I smell or something?"

It's worse when you're stuck at a table (ie at a sit-down wedding reception) then it is at a house party, where at least you can move around, examine the host's bookshelf, get a drink from the kitchen, etc.

although that's when a smartphone would come in handy.  I do find it abysmally rude to surf a smart phone while socializing, but I think this would be an exception to the rule.  It would beat staring into space and waiting for the minutes to pass.

DanaJ

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Re: What to Do When You're Invisible (Etiquette Query)
« Reply #26 on: January 14, 2015, 04:22:45 PM »
Years ago I went to a party with a guy, and I didn't know anyone. Seemed they were all in "respectable" professions: teachers, accountants, etc., though they were all late 20's to early 30's, same as me. Someone asked me what I "did" so I told the truth: I worked in a retail store. The guy who had asked actually walked away from me at that point. I couldn't believe it. I'm in a relatively "respectable" profession now, and I still can't believe it as I just don't base the value of a person, or whether they are worthy of talking to, on what they do for a living.

Gah! I hate the "What do you do?" question.

Here are some tricks I learned though from a former job that really required a lot of networking. In a case like the OP's, when it seems they were all doody-heads, it might not make a difference, but it can help win people over if you're in a tough crowd and your host drops the ball and doesn't help.

1) Answer the dreaded "What do you do?" question with your favorite passion or hobby, then ask them about theirs.

Examples:

"What do I do? Oh, I spend too much time cleaning glue off the floor because I make such a mess building my kayak. Do you have any hobbies?"

2) Ask them questions that require a lot of detail or a story to answer.

People love talking about themselves. You can become the most popular person in the room if you enthusiastically encourage them to go fullblown "Me! Me! Me!" Bonus points if you can get them to feel like they are authorities in some matter and you are soliciting their valued advice.

eHellion: "...Do you have any hobbies?"
Ice Queen from IgnoreYouLand: "Aromatherapy."
eHellion: "Fascinating, what lead you there? Was it your passion all along or did something specific pique your interest?"

Ice Queen: "I've just gotten back from southern France."
eHellion: "Wow, what was your favourite part of the trip? If someone only had two days, what do you think are the absolute musts?"

3) Make mental notes, so if you see them again you can ask them a specific question. It shows you remember them and that's a nice boost to their ego.

eHellion: "Oh, hi Ice Queen. How did your renovations go at the cottage? Did your deck turn out the way you hoped?"

Things will go either one of two ways: either they will finally start engaging with you so they can toot their own horns a little, or they will grunt one-word answers and you know the are 100% doodyheads. If the latter, you can feel free to excuse yourself saying the babysitter just texted that your toddler is drunk and playing with matches.

Allyson

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Re: What to Do When You're Invisible (Etiquette Query)
« Reply #27 on: January 14, 2015, 05:18:36 PM »
This happened to me once! I met a cool person who invited me to a party at her place, it was a potluck. When I got there, basically nobody would talk to me. I'm almost sure that it's because I brought the wrong thing to the potluck. Nearly everyone there had brought homemade, organic, awesomely complex dishes, and I brought...well, not that.

Piratelvr1121

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Re: What to Do When You're Invisible (Etiquette Query)
« Reply #28 on: January 16, 2015, 06:19:08 PM »
My somewhat snarky and dark sense of humor would tempt me to say outrageous things if I find people aren't really listening to me.  Like in Patch Adams when the therapist is ignoring him during his session. 

"And I thought if I lit my farts I could fly to the moon. Or at least Uranus. And if that didn't work, I could use my *male member* as a pogostick and maybe that might be a way of getting around."
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars.  You have a right to be here. Be cheerful, strive to be happy. -Desiderata

Benni

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Re: What to Do When You're Invisible (Etiquette Query)
« Reply #29 on: January 16, 2015, 06:33:00 PM »
OP - what should have happened was your date should have escorted you away from the situation and made you comfortable elsewhere, another bar, restaurant, home, wherever.  He dropped the ball.  Buying you drinks and engaging you now and then is not a date, it is torture for you.

Luckily you found out that he was either rude or clueless and his friends were jerks.  Would that everyone could find that out at the beginning of their relationship.