Etiquette School is in session! > "So kind of you to take an interest."

Shamelessly etiquette-proof people

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Here's a question I run into more and more.  What do you do with people who are so shamelessly rude that if you try to return a polite answer to a rude question, they just go on the attack?  Here are a few examples, all of them from real life, and hardly exaggerated.

Q. How much do you pay in rent?
A. Oh, I've been really lucky that my landlady hasn't raised it in years.  Some of my friends who have tenants could tell you more than I could about the going rates in the neighborhood.
Q. No, I'm asking you how much YOU pay.
A. Oh, like I say, I'm lucky, it's less than the going rate.
Q. You're accusing me of being rude, aren't you!
A. Sigh.

Q. So, what are your politics?
A. Oh, I'm kind of an independent moderate.
Q. No, I mean who are you voting for this fall?
A. Well, it's a tough decision, because I have a lot of disagreements with both of them, even though they both seem basically decent.
Q. Our country needs frank and robust discussion, and you're trying to censor and silence me!
A. Sigh.

Q. Don't you just hate those people who live in state X?
A. State X never seemed like my cup of tea, but when I visited some friends who moved there, I was surprised to find a lot of things I liked about the place.  Parts of the state are beautiful, and the cities, which are rather congested, it is true, have some lovely architecture.
Q. I don't mean the physical setting, I mean the horrible people who live there.
A. There are millions of people there, so I'm sure some of them are horrible, but the ones I met were really nice.
Q. There all bigots, and there's nothing I hate worse than a bigot.  You seem to like bigots!
A. Sigh.

I remember Miss Manners suggesting that when other people's kids are being rambunctious in your house you should express concerns that the poor dears might hurt themselves (by falling off the bookcase they are climbing, or whatever), and then in one column a reader reported that he tried that approach, but the shameless parents called his bluff and said, "You're accusing us of being rude, aren't you!"  As I recall Miss Manners didn't have much of an answer of how to deal with that, and I don't either.  Unfortunately that kind of attitude is getting more and more common.  Obviously, I would simply drop such people as my personal friends, but I run into this a lot among the friends of my friends.  There is this notion that conflict, even ugly conflict, is a positive virtue, and that anything less is somehow sneaky or censorious.  Do you all run into this sort of thing, and how do you deal with it?  Particularly, how do deal with your friends who do not act this way, but who tolerate other friends who do, and include them in the social circle?  Thanks.

"I'm not sure why you'd jump to that conclusion, unless secretly you feel you are being rude? I simply disagreed with you. Oh, look. Bean dip. Excuse me, I must go get some."


--- Quote from: caranfin on October 20, 2008, 01:00:47 PM ---"I'm not sure why you'd jump to that conclusion, unless secretly you feel you are being rude? I simply disagreed with you. Oh, look. Bean dip. Excuse me, I must go get some."

--- End quote ---


Same sort of situation for me.   We have 3 extremely large pine trees in our yard. Really old and towering way above the houses. They are in good health ( according to tree guy ).

Recent discussion - but this occurs a lot with things he wants to criticize:

My Dad : When are you going to take down those trees ?
Me : We aren't planning on taking them down
My Dad: 30 minutes of trying to convince me to take down trees.

So - how do I get around this ?  He asks a question referencing when we are going to do something - that he jolly well knows we aren't going to do. It's his opening then to argue argue argue.

I usually pretend I do not hear him - which doesn't aleys work. I have said - why is that your business ? and he plays the poor old picked on Dad victim card ....... any good suggestions ?

"When are you planning to take down those trees?"

"When it's necessary. And it's not right now. Our tree guy says they're fine. But if they ever become a danger, we'll get them taken care of."


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